SpaceX confirms crew capsule destroyed in ground testing


SpaceX has been uncharacteristically mum since one of the company's Crew Dragon capsules suffered an "anomaly" last month.

The vehicle that will head to the ISS has already flown on SpaceX's 12th resupply mission, Koenigsmann said. "I think this will actually make the program safer at the end of the day", he said. "We will see what comes out of it".

The Crew Dragon (or Dragon V2) is a reusable capsule for transporting people and cargo to space.

SpaceX still can not access the test stand at Cape Canaveral, Florida, because of toxic fuel contamination.

The Crew Dragon features an advanced emergency escape system (which was tested earlier this year) to swiftly carry astronauts to safety if something were to go wrong, experiencing about the same G-forces as a ride at Disneyland. "Just before we wanted to fire the SuperDracos, there was an anomaly and the vehicle was destroyed", he said.

He didn't say how the capsule lost in the test mishap, which flew on the Demo-1 mission to the station, would be replaced for the in-flight abort test.

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

Before the accident, SpaceX had been shooting for a summertime crew launch.

Those CRS-2 Dragon missions will use "propulsive" landings, where the capsule lands on a landing pad using its SuperDraco thrusters rather than splashing down in the ocean. And all of them have been accounted for. He noted SpaceX has "multiple spacecraft" in various stages of production, which he said should mitigate any effect the loss of this capsule will have on the test flight schedule.

"This is why we test", Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator, said at the time in a statement.

NASA and SpaceX had hoped to launch a different Crew Dragon in late July, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on a test flight to the International Space Station. The company is striving to launch a Starliner without astronauts to the space station in August. "They were very sympathetic and reached out to us".

SpaceX is set to launch a Falcon rocket with station supplies early Friday morning.

But the explosion should not have any effect on SpaceX's Cargo Dragon capsules, NASA said Thursday.

'We continue to have high confidence in that particular thruster'.

NASA's engineers encountered a problem with the Space Station's power system on Monday, April 29. "Station is in good shape now to support the CRS-17 launch", said Kenny Todd, NASA's manager of space station operations and integration.

The investigation is still ongoing, with SpaceX and NASA working together to figure out what, exactly, happened to the SuperDraco thrusters.

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.