But as Christian Davenport first reported for the Washington Post on Wednesday, an explosion rocked SpaceX's development facility in McGregor, Texas, over the weekend. The SpaceX team doesn't know if the engine itself was what exploded, just that something did within the test bay. No-one was injured but the explosion caused damage to the facility, the company confirmed in a statement.
"All safety protocols were followed during the time of this incident", said a company spokesman, John Taylor. But the fact that SpaceX is going to reexamine its engine design, specifically, could mean that the firm wanted to further increase available thrust with the Block 5 engine, or that the explosion is related to other changes to the base design.
SpaceX confirmed that a "Block V" Merlin engine, a new version under development, suffered an anomaly during a qualification test on Sunday at the company's facility in McGregor.
The explosion has caused a dent in an otherwise successful year of SpaceX, which conducted 16 launches this year without glitches.
The active Falcon 9 rockets now rely on Block 4 Merlin engines. It should be noted that this is not the first fiasco space company, as the summer in 2015, the rocket with cargo for the global space station crashed during a failed start.
The same incident was happened in 2015, in which SpaceX's uncrewed Falcon 9 exploded a few minutes after launch from Cape Canaveral but no one was injured or hurt. The step involves pumping liquid oxygen through the engine to check for potential leaks, and an unknown event caused the liquid within the rocket to ignite. Preparation of engines, now operational, will continue a few days after the fix the test stand. Its next launch, a national security mission, is scheduled for next week from the Kennedy Space Center.
Musk has said he eventually hopes to phase out all of his company's rocket systems, including the upcoming Falcon Heavy rocket, by building a totally reusable "Big F--ing Rocket" system created to colonize Mars. But he has warned that the Heavy is a complex rocket, which uses 27 first-stage engines, and that it too could explode.
SpaceX has partnered with NASA and by next year it is expected to deliver supplies for astronauts in ISS.