Following investigation, SpaceX says a faulty strut caused the CRS-7 rocket explosion

After weeks of self-led investigation, Elon Musk’s SpaceX program officially named a strut as the likely culprit of the CRS-7 rocket’s fiery explosion last month. That’s right, a two-foot-long, inch-thick piece of steel is responsible for blasting a massive rocket and its payload into smithereens.

In an update released by SpaceX itself, the aerospace manufacturer says it spent thousands of hours analyzing flight data and matching it against rocket systems to come up with what it’s calling a “preliminary assessment.” Though SpaceX plans to continue the investigation, it feels confident the flawed strut which blew during the rocket’s ascension is the main cause for the explosion. It also reports that several hundred struts fly on each mission, with each designed to brace for up to 10,000 lbs of force. Unfortunately for the CRS-7, the failed strut blew at just 2,000 lbs of force.

What makes this strut so much more important than others aboard the CRS-7 is the fact it braced a container of helium within the second-stage liquid oxygen tank. When it eventually blew — at approximately 139 seconds into the flight — the helium bottle began releasing its contents into the oxygen, rapidly increasing the pressure of the tank. The pressure increased so quickly that just 0.893 seconds elapsed between the initial signal of trouble, to when the rocket completely exploded.

During a recent telephone news conference, Musk himself deemed the accident a likely product of company complacency, citing continued success — before CRS-7 obviously — as the reason why. Until last month’s failure, SpaceX saw essentially 18 consecutive successful launches dating back to June of 2010. Musk also added during the call the team plans to continue assessing all aspects of the launch to make sure the strut was the only part of the rocket responsible for CRS-7’s demise.


Despite the explosion seeming like an obvious setback even for a company like SpaceX, the company says it expects to return to flights by this coming fall and intends to fulfill each launch for its list of customers in 2015. Musk and company also feel the explosion gives SpaceX an opportunity to manufacture safer launch vehicles, and remains confident in the program’s safety as it preps for the opportunity to take astronauts to the International Space Station in 2017.

Product Review

Airselfie 2 may as well be a GoPro stapled to a drunk hummingbird

On paper, the Airselfie 2 is marketed as flying photographer that fits in your pocket and snaps selfies from the sky. Unfortunately it’s more like a HandiCam controlled by a swarm of intoxicated bumblebees
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.

Everything we know about 'Anthem', including new details on Javelin classes

BioWare announced an upcoming action role-playing game called 'Anthem' at EA Play 2017. Here's everything we know about the game so far, including gameplay, DLC, and when you'll be able to play it.
Emerging Tech

Hotter than the sun: Chinese fusion reactor claims breakthrough

China’s “artificial sun” has reached a temperature of 180 million ºF with a heating power of 10 megawatts -- six times hotter than the center of the sun. The achievement could mark progress towards fusion as a clean energy source.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Emerging Tech

Warm up or cool down with the press of a button on the wrist-worn Embr

We review the Embr Wave, a personal heating and cooling wearable designed by a team of MIT engineers that’s now on Kickstarter. Our thoughts? It’s a little bit addictive.
Emerging Tech

Hope it doesn’t melt! Rocket to ISS carries vital supplies — including ice cream

A rocket has launched over Virginia's eastern shore, carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Inside the spacecraft are supplies for the ISS itself and the crew onboard, such as scientific equipment and food.
Emerging Tech

‘Super-Earth’ discovered orbiting nearby star

Astronomers have discovered a large planet circling a sun nearby to Earth called Barnard's Star. The potential new planet is thought to be cold and icy and has a size of around 3.2 times the Earth.
Emerging Tech

OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully tests its asteroid-sampling arm

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, launched in September 2016, is closing in on its target of the Bennu asteroid. The craft has now unfurled its robotic arm, called the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM), and tested it successfully.
Product Review

DJI has always been the king of drones, and the new Mavics are almost perfect

After flying both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom for over a week, we’re convinced that these are two of the best drones that DJI has ever made.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…