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Falcon 9 rocket loss not to affect private space exploration market

June 29, 2015, 18:52 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The cause of the accident will be eliminated and everybody will understand that it was a one-time error which won't be repeated, CEO of Russian suborbital tourism company says
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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Sunday, June 28, 2015

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Sunday, June 28, 2015

© AP Photo/John Raoux

MOSCOW, June 29. /TASS/. The Sunday accident with the American Falcon 9 privately financed rocket with the Dragon spacecraft will actually not affect the development of the private space exploration market, Pavel Pushkin, CEO of Russia’s company KosmoKurs engaged in the suborbital tourism development, said on Monday.

The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft were developed by the US private company SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation). According to previous reports, the rocket that was launched on Sunday exploded about 2.5 minutes after its lift-off to the International Space Station (ISS). The spaceship, which was to deliver about two tons of cargo to the ISS, was lost. According to Reuters, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Sunday’s explosion shortly after liftoff of unmanned SpaceX rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station will not deter the agency's human spaceflight program. He said the commercial cargo program was designed to accommodate the loss of cargo vehicles. "We will work closely with SpaceX to understand what happened, fix the problem and return to flight," Bolden said in a statement.

"Most likely, this situation will not greatly affect private space exploration. They will eliminate the cause of the accident and continue to fly normally. So everybody will understand that it was a one-time error which will not be repeated," Pushkin told TASS.

According to the SpaceX version, the problem appeared to be linked to excessive pressure in the rocket’s propellant tank. Pushkin supposed that the rocket’s crash could have been caused by the pressure valves. "The second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket has helium tanks. Most likely, an improperly adjusted valve during helium input created higher pressure than was needed. To avoid this, our national rocket equipment industry and NASA use check valves against excess pressure. Maybe, this experience was overlooked and such valves were not installed on the rocket," said Pushkin.

KosmoKurs is developing a suborbital reusable complex that can deliver a tourist capsule to orbit. The carrier rocket will run on alcohol and use liquid oxygen as an oxidizer. The company currently has about eight employees, including specialists who were involved in building the reusable Buran complex and the Angara carrier rocket. All of KosmoKurs’ partners and suppliers are based in Russia, which according to Pushkin will give the company "a reasonable combination of cost, ergonomic characteristics and reliability.".

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