SpaceX offers new details on Crew Dragon test anomaly

Internal Memo Suggests That SpaceX Crew Capsule Explosion Video Could Be Legit

Internal Memo Suggests That SpaceX Crew Capsule Explosion Video Could Be Legit

Koenigsmann spoke at a briefing NASA held prior to the scheduled May 3 launch of a cargo Dragon spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station. "In terms of schedule, finishing the investigation and resolving this anomaly is our prime focus right now".

Koenigsmann said the company is now focused on the investigation into the mishap, and declined to estimate how much of an impact it will have on the schedule of upcoming test flights.

As the rocket was being fueled with about 15 minutes left before takeoff in the early hours of Friday, the launch was aborted after news of the problem were reported.

Koenigsmann remains hopeful SpaceX can launch two NASA astronauts to the space station this year.

Koenigsmann said initial data indicated that the anomaly occurred during the activation of the engine SuperDraco, but he said he didn't believe the engines themselves caused the accident.

The cargo flight, the 17th for SpaceX under its current contract with NASA, originally was expected to launch earlier this week, but the mission was delayed when an electrical distribution box aboard the space station malfunctioned early Monday, taking down two of the lab's eight solar power circuits.

Speaking at a news conference for an upcoming SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station, Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of build and flight reliability at the rocket company, gave the first in-depth details about an investigation into what exactly happened on April 20 when SpaceX tested the engines of its Crew Dragon astronaut capsule at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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"It's certainly not great news for the schedule overall", Koenigsmann said. "We are looking at all possible issues, and the investigation is ongoing".

This cargo Dragon, flying a mission designed CRS-17, previously flew to the station on the CRS-12 mission in August 2017.

When pressed about the accident, Koenigsmann declined to say whether an explosion or fire was involved.

Six weeks after a successful test flight without a crew to the space station, the crew Dragon was engulfed in flames during a ground test. SpaceX was in the process of firing the capsule's thrusters on a test stand. Earlier in the week, the flight was postponed by a major power shortage at the space station. This unit is responsible for providing power to several of the station's systems, including the robotic arm normally used to capture capsule like the Dragon as they approach the ISS.

Boeing also has encountered recent delays with its Starliner crew capsules.

The launch day forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff.

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