SpaceX acknowledges capsule destroyed; CRS-17 launch set for Friday | World Defense

SpaceX acknowledges capsule destroyed; CRS-17 launch set for Friday

Khafee

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SpaceX acknowledges capsule destroyed; CRS-17 launch set for Friday
By Paul Brinkmann
May 02, 2019


SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is retrieved by the company’s recovery ship, Go Searcher, in the Atlantic Ocean, about 200 miles off the east coast of Florida on March 8 after its return to Earth on the Demo-1 mission. Photo courtesy of NASA. | License Photo

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., May 2 (UPI) -- 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.

 

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SpaceX launch with CRS-17 scrubs Friday, will try again Saturday
By Paul Brinkmann
UPDATED MAY 04, 2019

SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket as it headed to Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Thursday. Photo by Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell/UPI | License Photo

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., May 3 (UPI) -- SpaceX's launch of the CRS-17 cargo mission to the International Space Station scrubbed Friday morning.

The company tweeted that it was standing down due to an electrical issue on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship. Another launch is set for 2:48 a.m. Saturday.

The capsule is packed with 5,500 pounds research, crew supplies and hardware, on top of a Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX will attempt to land the first-stage booster on the droneship about 12 miles off the coast.

On board the capsule are materials to support dozens of science and research investigations that will occur during ISS Expeditions 59 and 60, including NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 that will be installed robotically on the exterior of the space station.

The mission previously had been set for Wednesday but an issue with the International Space Station's electrical power system earlier in the week had caused a delay. NASA said that had been resolved by Thursday.

 
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