SpaceX confirms crew capsule destroyed in ground testing

SpaceX confirms crew capsule destroyed in ground testing

"I believe what we learn from this test will make us basically a better company and Dragon 2 at the end a better vehicle, a safer vehicle". "In terms of schedule, finishing the investigation and resolving this anomaly is our prime focus right now".

While he declined to speculate how long the failure probe might take, he said, "I hope this is a relatively swift investigation".

SpaceX still can not access the test stand at Cape Canaveral, Florida, because of toxic fuel contamination. Flames engulfed the capsule a half-second before the launch-abort thrusters were to fire.

Koenigsmann said the company has been in touch with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken - who will be on board for the crew Dragon's next test flight to the space station - and that the two have offered encouragement and motivation.

Crew Dragon already has one mission under its belt, acing a test flight to the ISS last month.

As is standard procedure for such tests, the area was evacuated well ahead of time and winds were blowing out to sea.

"Because this (was a) ground test, we have a high amount of data, a huge amount of data from the vehicle and the ground sensors", Koenigsmann said. "That said, we're looking at all possible issues and the investigation is ongoing". Some of the tanks survived the mishap and are still pressurized, preventing investigators from completing hardware recovery at the test site.

Koenigsmann also confirmed, as had been suspected by observers, that the explosion happened Saturday during activation of the spacecraft's SuperDraco thrusters, which are used to land the craft as part of a launch escape system. And all of them have been accounted for.

"I don't want to completely preclude the current schedule", he said. The planned tests for human passengers in Crew Dragon, however, look nearly certain to be delayed. The company is striving to launch a Starliner without astronauts to the space station in August.

The go-ahead to proceed with the launch of SpaceX's 17th station resupply mission came after NASA teams successfully restored two of eight power channels aboard the laboratory complex orbiting 250 miles above Earth.

'Just keep in mind this is still very early in the investigating, ' Koenigsmann said, reading from a prepared statement.

While the space station and its six astronauts were never in any danger, NASA wanted the outpost at full electrical capability before launching the SpaceX Dragon supply ship.

Todd also said that NASA worked closely with SpaceX to confirm that there was no commonality between the systems involved in the Crew Dragon anomaly and those on the cargo Dragon.

'We continue to have high confidence in that particular thruster'. The flight was delayed by a power problem that occurred at the station Monday and was fixed Thursday.

Flight controllers completed the fix work Thursday, operating the station's big robot arm by remote control. Eastern May 3, but forecasts predict only a 40 percent change of acceptable weather because of an approaching system.



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