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A one room fire at SpaceX

A fire broke out in a battery room at SpaceX’s California facility yesterday, injuring no one.

Though the article suggests the fire was not significant, it is also gives no details.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

3 comments

  • Gealon

    Mmm, the absence of details is indeed a little annoying. Also, don’t get me wrong, I like what SpaceX is doing, but I feel this is once again a good time to point out that just because Lithium is the flashy new thing in battery technology, doesn’t make it the best. Given the lack of details I can’t say if this was an electrical fire or a battery fire. If they are indeed using lithium ion batteries at their plant, which I assume they would given SpaceX likes to deal only with the new and flashy, this fire was likely a battery fire and could have been very dangerous as lithium is highly flammable and the electrolyte used in Lion batteries is an oxidzer.

    Battery fires with older older/less energy dense technologies such as Nickel Iron, Lead Acid or even Litium Iron Phosphate are virtually unheard of, especially with LiFe batteries as they are designed for safety. Again, it’s all an assumption on my part as to what fire might have been given the lack of details, but I thought I’d take the opportunity to alert people to the safer battery chemistries out there. Just because Lithium Ion is one of the most energy dense, does not make it the best in all applications.

  • wayne

    Gealon–
    Thanks for the clarification on ‘batteries.’ –I have trouble keeping track of which versions are subject to “spontaneous combustion.”

    slight tangent–
    Are those solar-panels on top of the factory?
    (Musk is having trouble convincing his Board, to go forth with the takeover of his cousin’s solar-panel company.)

  • Edward

    I worked at a place that had a couple of electrical fires in the course of a month. The first was ground support cabling near the connectors at the spacecraft (fire did not reach the spacecraft); they had been mishandled, arced, and the insulation caught fire. Later, an electrical rack caught fire. That was a bad month, but we got the fires out using fire extinguishers only (and cutting power), no one was injured, and no hazardous materials response was required.

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