Elon Musk’s space company is about to be hit with a $50 million dollar lawsuit from the telecommunications company whose satellite was destroyed in the recent rocket explosion.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket exploded Sept. 1 in the run-up to a mission to carry a satellite that was supposed to provide phone, video and internet services for the Middle East, Europe, and locations across sub-Saharan Africa. The $200 million dollar satellite was owned by the Israeli company Spacecom and its loss was covered by insurance. The $50 million is intended to cover disruptions to Spacecom’s business not covered by insurance.
“The company has begun measures to recover funds invested in the project,” Spacecom said in a press release. The company said compensation for the destroyed satellite would be about $50 million — or an unspecified number of free satellites launches from SpaceX.
Presently, the cause of the explosion is still unclear, but an investigation has revealed the accident likely began with a failure in the the rocket’s upper stage oxygen tanks. Industry experts believe that the explosion could have been caused by a fuel leak, unknown contaminants in the liquid oxygen propellant or a problem with the rocket’s staging.
Nobody died in the explosion and there was no threat to public safety, according to officials. The rocket’s explosion was so large that was seen on radar.
SpaceX rockets have previously exploded several times during landing attempts, which Musk called a “huge blow.” Currently, SpaceX has nine more scheduled launches this year.
SpaceX plans to use a similar rocket to launch a human into space in October 2017. The company is currently racing Boeing to be the first private company to send humans to the International Space Station. SpaceX and Boeing, along with other companies, have made huge advancements in reusable rocketry, which has the potential to greatly reduce the costs of getting into space.
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