Elon Musk and his company SpaceX are in the spotlight of a negligence lawsuit following an accident that left a worker severely injured. The victim’s wife, Ydy Cabada, has filed a lawsuit in a state court in Los Angeles, California, on behalf of her husband, Francisco Cabada, who has been in a coma for over two years.
The incident occurred on January 18, 2022, during a pressure test at SpaceX’s facilities in Hawthorne, California. During the test, a part of the Raptor V2 engine broke loose, striking Francisco Cabada’s head and fracturing his skull. This incident, along with other previously unreported workplace injury incidents, has highlighted systemic issues within SpaceX.
Sources close to the company have revealed that senior managers at the Hawthorne facilities were warned on multiple occasions about the dangers of rushing the development of the engine, as well as deficiencies in staff training and component testing. Additionally, it was found that the part that failed and caused the accident had a pre-existing defect at the time of the test, which was not addressed.
SpaceX has chosen not to comment on the workplace injury investigation or the Cabada case. On the other hand, NASA, which has contracted the company as a private space contractor for a significant sum, has yet to issue comments on the lawsuit against SpaceX.
SpaceX’s Raptor engines are crucial to the development of Starship, the company’s next-generation rocket intended for crewed and uncrewed space missions. Despite this incident and the concerns raised, NASA is moving forward with its plans to use Starship for moon missions in the next decade.