SpaceX says an investigation into the launch pad explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and its satellite payload has turned up evidence of a “large breach” in the supercooled helium system for the oxygen tank on the rocket’s second stage.
Today’s update made clear that the root cause of the Sept. 1 blast at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida has not yet been identified. Nevertheless, SpaceX said it anticipated to return to flight as early as November, “pending the results of the investigation.”
SpaceX is leading the investigation, just as it did last year when a Falcon 9 broke apart shortly after liftoff. That mishap involved a component inside the second-stage oxygen tank, but today the company said it’s ruled out a connection between the two blasts.