SpaceX plans to send a rocket to space every two weeks despite safety concerns

SpaceX plan to send a rocket to space every two weeks

SpaceX are building a new launch pad

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Less than six months after one of its rockets exploded, SpaceX believes it will soon be capable of launching a rocket every two weeks.

The company hopes to launch regular commercial flights to space via its flee-flying Dragon capsule. However it suffered major embarrassment in September when a Falcon 9 rocket, which would take the Dragon into space, exploded on takeoff.

Although similar rockets have since been successfully launched, the safety concerns have remained. Last week representatives of the US Congress suggested that the rockets' components were prone to cracking, and Nasa - a key client - has suggested such a defect amounts to an "unacceptable risk."

Nonetheless SpaceX, which is backed by tech guru Elon Musk, believes the technical concerns are being resolved and it will be capable of fortnightly launches once its new launchpad in Florida opens.

The new pad is located at Nasa's Kennedy Space Center, north of Cape Canaveral where last year's explosion took place. The launchpad there is still being repaired, Engadget said.

The company has paid around $100 million for the new Florida launchpad, and is spending around $50 million on repairs to the old one at Cape Canaveral.

Gwynne Shotwell, the corporation's president, also told Reuters that their rocket engines are being tweaked to ensure optimal performance, while new turbopumps and software are being developed to resolve the cracking concerns.

They are also planning on conducting unmanned test flights with the Dragon capsule in November.

SpaceX originally planned to conduct a manned mission with the Crew Dragon in 2018 to the International Space Station, however the Wall Street Journal has claimed this is likely to be pushed back.