SpaceX acknowledges capsule destroyed
by Paul Brinkmann
Kennedy Space Center FL (UPI) May 02, 2019
SpaceX acknowledged Thursday that the company's Crew Dragon capsule was destroyed last weekend in an explosion during a test firing.
"It is too early to confirm any cause," Vice President Hans Koenigsmann during a press conference at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. "This will make us a better company ... to ensure that Crew Dragon is one of the safest spacecraft ever built."
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. The company has tested the Crew Dragon systems 600 times, he said.
"We do not think it was a problem with the SuperDraco itself," he said.
But the explosion should not have any effect on SpaceX's Cargo Dragon capsules, NASA said Thursday. The cargo spacecraft doesn't have the same SuperDraco thrusters.
A cargo capsule is due to launch at 3:11 a.m. Friday, but rain and clouds could push the launch back to the same time Saturday. An issue with the International Space Station's electrical power system earlier in the week has been resolved.
Asked if there was still a chance for launching the Crew Dragon again this year, Koenigsmann replied, "I certainly hope so."
He said several Crew Dragons are being produced. "Depending on the investigation, we can make changes to its hardware as we continue to build," he said.
Otherwise, Koenigsmann revealed little more about the disaster, saying teams "are very carefully reviewing the telemetry data, and recovered hardware."
In the hours after the explosion, SpaceX only acknowledged an "anomaly" during the test, despite a huge cloud of orange smoke seen around the Space Coast and a leaked video that appeared to show destruction of the capsule.
The CRS-17 launch will be on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage on the company's "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship, which will be stationed roughly 12 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
NASA Workers Banned From Sharing Images After SpaceX Capsule Explosion Leak
Employees at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida have reportedly been told that they could be fired for sharing photos and videos from inside the facility after footage of SpaceX's Crew Dragon dramatic explosion was circulated without apparent consent from the company nor the space agency.
According to an internal memo seen by the Orlando Sentinel, the ban refers to workers employed by aerospace company Jacobs under the Test and Operations Support Contract (TOSC).
A spokesman for Jacobs said that this policy includes a "standard warning", with punishment including dismissal. "This communication was intended as an internal reminder to our TOSC workforce. It is common practice for businesses to provide guidelines to employees regarding the release of information pertaining to company business or activities," the spokesman was quoted as saying.
On 20 April, SpaceX was performing tests on its new reusable astronaut taxi, Crew Dragon, in Cape Canaveral, Florida ahead of its launch which is scheduled to take place later in the year. A video allegedly taken at the site shows the dramatic explosion of the capsule as a static fire test went horribly wrong.
While the footage was apparently published an employee, both NASA and SpaceX have been tight-lipped about the matter so far. SpaceX released a brief press release, explaining the final test of the vehicle resulted in an "anomaly".
Crew Dragon, also known as Dragon 2, earlier made an unmanned test flight to the International Space Station and returned to Earth, successfully splashing down in Atlantic Ocean.
The flight marked the first time a spacecraft reached the ISS from US soil since NASA pulled the plug on the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.
Source: United Press International
Source: RIA Novosti
SpaceX capsule was destroyed in 'anomaly': lawmaker
Washington (AFP) May 1, 2019
A space capsule suspected to have exploded last month in an incident characterized by manufacturer SpaceX as an "anomaly" was in fact completely destroyed, a US Senator confirmed Wednesday. "The most recent SpaceX anomaly caused the complete loss of the (crew) capsule," Senator Richard Shelby, chairman of a Senate committee that manages NASA's budget, said during a hearing. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told Shelby the agency, which has contracted its mission to resume carrying US astronaut ... read more
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