On July 5, Musk announced that he would have answers within the week, but no announcement was forthcoming until the company invited reporters to today’s press conference.

Figuring out what went wrong is a make or break task for SpaceX. Beyond the cost of the $60 million rocket and four tons of supplies, the Falcon 9 is the company’s work-horse product. Some $7 billion in revenue is at stake from 50 scheduled missions set to use the rocket.

SpaceX has a contract to lift an ocean-studying satellite on behalf of a joint EU-US mission in August; neither the company nor the partners has commented on whether the mission will go forward as planned.  Nearly every major satellite company is counting on SpaceX to put satellites into space within the next year, including Iridium, SES, Eutelsat, and Orbcomm.

SpaceX’s low cost and high speed attracted these clients, but if it cannot quickly repair the fault, the company may be in trouble, although alternative options for its clients are limited: The latest generation of Russian rockets has proven unreliable, and flight schedules are packed at major launch companies like like Arianespace and United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

NASA, which hired SpaceX to bring supplies to ISS, is also facing a conundrum. Its two commercial partners, SpaceX and Orbital ATK, have both experienced mission failures in the last year, even as one Russian mission went wrong in the spring, putting ISS within a month of tapping its food reserves. A different Russian mission successfully re-supplied the station earlier in July.

“This is the first time we’ve had a failure in seven years,” Musk said. “I think to some degree, the company as a whole became maybe a little bit complacent after twenty successes in a row.”

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