NASA Report: Design Error May Have Caused 2015 SpaceX Rocket Explosion Written 14 March 2018

ABC News reports that a new NASA report released Monday suggests that a design error may have caused a SpaceX rocket to explode during liftoff in June 2015. The Falcon 9 rocket was carrying 4,000 pounds of supplies for the ISS, but “burst into flames above Cape Canaveral in Florida just 139 seconds after its launch, and SpaceX concluded that the explosion was most likely due to a faulty steel part called a strut.” NASA stated in its report, “SpaceX chose to use an industrial grade (as opposed to aerospace grade) 17-4 PH SS (precipitation-hardening stainless steel) cast part (the ‘Rod End’) in a critical load path under cryogenic conditions and strenuous flight environments.” NASA also “concluded the steel strut was implemented without sufficient testing.” In a statement, SpaceX “said it no longer uses these struts but noted that the part had been certified ‘to withstand well beyond the expected loads.’” A SpaceX spokesman confirmed, “NASA Launch Services Program’s independent review came to the same conclusion as SpaceX – that all credible causes for the anomaly were corrected or mitigated by SpaceX before the company returned to flight.”
More Info (ABC News)