The rapid growth of the commercial satellite-launch industry has the FAA moving ahead to take over some safety oversight duties from the Department of Defense. Someone has to be responsible for overseeing collision avoidance for objects in orbit, and traditionally that has been the military’s role. But the FAA and the Pentagon appear to be ready to discuss moving that oversight to civilians, according to a Wall Street Journal report this week.
The ground explosion of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Sept. 1 was likely caused by a “large breach” of the helium system, the company said Friday. SpaceX, NASA and the FAA, among others, continue to investigate the cause of the fiery incident at Cape Canaveral that destroyed the rocket and its payload as it stood at Launch Complex 40 during a pre-launch test.