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SpaceX Faces Challenge Over Astronaut Safety

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Earlier this month, SpaceX delivered 10 new Iridium satellites to orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket in a flawless launch from California, and then landed one of the rocket stages on a ship. It was the company’s first flight since its disastrous launchpad accident in Florida this fall, which destroyed a rocket and $200 million in equipment. But the success came just days after a NASA report to Congress that again raised questions about the risks that the company’s fueling procedures could pose to astronauts.

The new annual report, by NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, raises concerns about SpaceX’s “load-and-go” rocket-fueling process, which calls for the fueling of super-chilled liquid oxygen to be conducted after astronauts have boarded the spacecraft, in order to keep the fuel as cold as possible. – READ MORE

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