Company ABL Space Systems received confirmation from the FAA that the investigation into the anomaly that led to the accident of the first flight of the RS1 rocket on January 10 of this year was closed. The accident occurred 10.93 seconds after liftoff when a fire in a cavity in the bottom of the rocket damaged key wiring harnesses, resulting in a complete loss of electrical supplies. All engines shut down simultaneously as their valves lost power. The rocket therefore lost thrust and landed on the launch pad of the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska, where it exploded. The source of the mentioned fire is related to the overly restrictive rocket holder and flame deflector, which led to the recirculation of exhaust gases and overloading of the thermal protection of the lower part of the RS1 rocket.
ABL has identified 22 corrective actions that should prevent these problems from recurring in the future. Among the changes, we can find a redesigned rocket holder and flue gas deflector, strengthened by closures and distributions, or additional activities to limit the risk. The ABL must incorporate any corrective actions that affect public safety and then obtain FAA approval. The Office will thereby confirm that all safety and other applicable regulatory requirements have been met. Only then will the company be able to continue with the activities related to the launches. The investigation of the accident of the first RS-1 rocket was conducted by ABL under the supervision of the FAA.
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