SpaceX technician placed in coma after being struck during rocket test

A SpaceX employee was hospitalized with a fractured skull and put in a coma for two months after checking a rocket engine and suffering a blow to the head, according to a report.

On Jan. 18, an integration engineer “performed pneumatic pressure tests on a Raptor V2 engine,” according to a report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The final step was “performed for the first time using an automated program, as opposed to the normal manual method used in previous surgeries,” the report said.

A Raptor engine is a rocket engine used in the SpaceX Starship, a launch vehicle currently under development by SpaceX.

The worker was struck by the fuel regulator cover, which had become detached from the regulator module, the report said. He suffered a fractured skull and head trauma and was in a coma for two months.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.

The technician has been identified as Francisco Cabada, a Los Angeles resident and father of three, according to multiple reports.

Cabada’s sister-in-law set up a GoFundMe page for his family because Cabada is the “main breadwinner,” she wrote. She points to a “tragic accident” that happened on January 18. More than $51,000 had been raised as of Tuesday afternoon.

Cabada’s sister also uploaded a TikTok video in March posting photos of Cabada and referencing the accident.

“Almost 2 months since his accident and it’s getting harder and harder by the day,” she wrote. “We’re trying to stay strong, but we can’t help but collapse.”

According to the report, SpaceX was fined $18,475 by OSHA for two safety violations from the accident.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-10-18/spacex-employee-fractured-skull-coma-rocket-test-california SpaceX technician placed in coma after being struck during rocket test

Alley Einstein

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