GAO reportedly faults SpaceX rocket engine

SpaceX launch
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches Iridium telecommunication satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Jan. 14. (SpaceX Photo)

Investigators from the Government Accountability Office are said to be raising concerns about persistent cracking in the turbine blades in SpaceX’s rocket engines, and adding to doubts about the schedule for flying NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

The concerns are contained in a draft report being prepared by the GAO, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Journal said its information came from government and industry officials familiar with the GAO’s study of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and its Merlin engines.

In response to today’s Journal article, SpaceX said it was working to resolve the turbine blade issue in cooperation with NASA.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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