Following news last week that salmon farmer Atlantic Sapphire has been hit by shortages of liquid oxygen (LOX), it has now become clear that these shortages are affecting industries across Florida. Last week, SpaceX chief Gwynne Shotwell warned that the shortage affecting the salmon farmer could also impact upcoming launches, as many launch providers rely on LOX, a commonly used propellant.
On Friday, NASA and the United Launch Alliance (ULA), a collaboration between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, announced that they would delay the launch of a satellite in September by one week.
With the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, cases are on the rise. Hospitals treating COVID-19 patients rely on LOX for ventilator treatments, and with rising numbers, LOX is becoming hard to find.
“We’re actually going to be impacted this year with the lack of liquid oxygen for launch,” Shotwell said.
This is a risk, but not yet a limiting factor
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 26, 2021
On Twitter on Thursday, Musk addressed the oxygen problems, claiming they were ‘”not a limiting factor yet”.
“We’ll definitely make sure hospitals get the oxygen they need, but for anyone who has liquid oxygen left, email me,” Shotwell said.