SpaceX technician suffered fractured skull and put in coma after being struck during rocket test, report says
SpaceX rocket engineer Nick Rogers was struck during a test launch Saturday morning and is now being treated at a Los Angeles area hospital, though his condition is unknown at this time, according to the report.
Rogers, a SpaceX employee who was at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, for training, was struck by an object while he was riding in the back of the Falcon 9 rocket that launched into space at 11:05 a.m. Pacific time.
SpaceX spokesman Barry Doran told the Los Angeles Times he has no information about Rogers at this time, but said an investigation into the incident is ongoing. The report could not be immediately confirmed.
Rogers was taken to a hospital Saturday morning in Los Angeles. His condition is unknown, and his family at this time has also had no information about his condition.
Rogers has been flying the Falcon 9 rocket since he started at SpaceX in 2006. The company has made commercial launches on the Falcon 9 a part of its business since 2008.
This isn’t the first time the Falcon 9 rocket has been used for a non-launch test flight. The rocket has logged several successful test launches for the company, including in 2009, when SpaceShipOne made history as the first privately built and privately funded spacecraft to travel around the world (see “SpaceShipOne: History of America’s First Private Spacecraft”).
The rocket, a modified version of the company’s earlier successful rocket, flew safely as it took off from Los Angeles and carried out a test flight with its Dragon spacecraft payload.
SpaceX has a history of non-launch tests with the Falcon 9. The company used the rocket for a series of “dry runs” of the company’s Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket and its Dragon spacecraft to test out the technology involved in launching and recovering the two parts with Dragon.
The company has also performed another similar dry-run of its Falcon 9 to launch the company’s Falcon Heavy rocket, which will be twice the size of the Falcon 9.