WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

SpaceX: Upper Stage Fueling Breach Caused Fireball

Explosion during fueling of a Falcon 9 rocket. Photo: US Launch Report / YouTube


SpaceX says a breach in the fueling system of a Falcon 9 rocket’s upper stage is to blame for an explosion earlier this month.

Investigators are combing through 3,000 channels of engineering data to narrow down the cause. The time from when the anomaly occured and the rocket exploded is about 93 milliseconds — 1/10th of a second.

The fireball erupted during fueling ahead of a static fire engine test. That explosion destroyed the rocket and an Israeli communication satellite.

The explosion damaged the launch pad at LC-40, but SpaceX says ground systems around the pad were largely unaffected. SpaceX leases another pad on Florida’s Space Coast, LC-39A. However, that pad is being refurbished for SpaceX’s Commercial Crew Program and the launch of its heavy lift rocket Falcon Heavy.

SpaceX says a return to flight could happen as early as November. LC-39A should be ready for flight, and the private space company has another pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Last year, SpaceX lost a rocket minutes after launching to the International Space Station. The accident grounded the fleet for months. In a statement, SpaceX says investigators “exonerated any connection with last year’s CRS-7 mishap.”

The FAA, NASA and Air Force are assisting in the investigation.


Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida news, updates on special programs and more.

GET THE LATEST
Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to ... Read Full Bio »

TOP