In the latest release, the safety group of NASA has said that the plans of the SpaceX to lit off its “space taxi” rockets at the time when astronauts are on board is very much a possible option. Some NASA officials have raised serious concerns over the company’s “load and go” policy whereby the fuel would be loaded into the rocket when the astronauts are inside the spacecraft. The scientists have put the plan of SpaceX’s “space taxi” in considerable doubt. However, on the other hand, the Safety Council of NASA has given the plan a clean, green signal. The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel has given the vote of confidence for the execution of the project made by Elon Musk and his team.
Retired Captain Brent Jett Jr. has said in his statement that the safety council goes through all the necessary steps and actions to find out if any plan has such potential of causing any harm to the rockets or the astronauts boarding it beforehand. As far as this particular plan of the company is concerned, they have made the necessary test and also said that the company has also abided by all the rules that were needed to be followed for executing this plan. So there should not be any problem in giving green signal to this plan.
Now, what is this “load and go” procedure? It is a process whereby the company would load super-chilled fuel just half an hour before launching of the rocket. This is mainly done to ensure the fact that the fuel does not heat up much if it loaded hours before. Moreover, it will also be a cost-saving initiative from the company’s point of view. The super-chilled fuel makes it more dense in composition than that of the traditional mix of the liquid oxygen and fuel. As a result, more of such quantity can be loaded as boosters. In turn, such extra propellant will also ensure the fact that sufficient fuel remains so that the rocket can come back to Earth safely as well.
But as per the rule books of NASA, the astronauts or the ground staffs should not be near the rocket when fuel is poured into the missiles. So it is strictly against the NASA’s space shuttle programs. The issue was taken up seriously in January at a meeting conducted at the House Committee on Science after an explosion took place during fueling in September of the previous year in the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.