SpaceX Says Launch Pad Explosion Probe Won’t Slow Its Space Taxi Project

SpaceX Launches Dragon Spacecraft For Mission To International Space Station
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - OCTOBER 07: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket attached to the cargo-only capsule called Dragon lifts off from the launch pad on October 7, 2012 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rocket is bringing cargo to the International Space Station that consists of clothing, equipment and science experiments. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Photograph by Joe Raedle — Getty Images

SpaceX on Thursday said efforts to develop and certify a space taxi for NASA are not being slowed by an investigation into a launch pad fire that destroyed its rocket and a $200 million Israeli communications satellite.

Boeing (BA) and SpaceX, owned and operated by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, are building spaceships to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, a $100 billion laboratory that flies 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

NASA, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is looking to turn over crew transport to SpaceX and Boeing before the end of 2018, breaking a Russian monopoly. SpaceX is aiming for its first test flight to the station in 2017.

“We’re full-steam head for certification. We’re still trying to remain on schedule,” Abhishek Tripathi, director of certification for SpaceX, said during a webcast panel discussion at an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conference in Long Beach, California.

“I know what I need to do in the next day and in the next month,” Tripathi said, adding that his work is not being affected by the accident investigation.

SpaceX, with oversight from the Federal Aviation Administration, is working to figure out why one of its Falcon 9 rockets burst into flames on Sept. 1 as it was being fueled for a routine prelaunch test at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The blaze destroyed the communications satellite, owned by Israel’s Space Communication, which was scheduled to be carried into orbit two days later.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.

SpaceX has not yet disclosed how much damage was done at its primary launch site.

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said on Wednesday the company was hoping to resume flights in November at a second, nearly complete launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, adjacent to the Air Force base.

The company, which has a backlog of 70 missions for NASA and commercial customers, worth more than $10 billion, also flies from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.

Read More

Artificial IntelligenceCryptocurrencyMetaverseCybersecurityTech Forward