Science

NASA Workers Banned From Sharing Images After SpaceX Capsule Explosion Leak

NASA Workers Banned From Sharing Images After SpaceX Capsule Explosion Leak”

A company vice president told reporters Thursday it's too soon to know what went wrong during the April 20 test or whether the capsule's March space flight contributed to the failure.

"It's certainly not great news for the schedule overall", Koenigsmann said. While Crew Dragon - which is, as the name suggests, created to transport up to four human passengers rather than just cargo - is based on the same core design, it has the SuperDraco thrusters while the cargo variant does not.

He added that the company doesn't believe there is an issue with the SuperDraco thrusters themselves, as those have gone through about 600 similar tests in the past successfully. The impact to the schedule will depend on the results of the accident investigation, he said.

Koenigsmann said SpaceX has several other crew vehicles in various stages of production, but that it won't be able to confirm the status of its timeline to get humans into space until the investigation is complete. And all of them have been accounted for. The same craft had previously been to the International Space Station, used by SpaceX for its successful "Demo-1" mission. The warning came after a leaked video showed a SpaceX Crew Dragon exploding at a test site.

"We have tons of data, but we don't have now something we can say, oh, it was most likely this or that", he said.

"This is why we test", Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator, said at the time in a statement. That mission would have been the first launch of US astronauts aboard an American rocket from USA soil since the space shuttle was retired in 2011.

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

As such, SpaceX and NASA will go ahead on the upcoming ISS cargo mission, which will use a Falcon 9 rocket and Cargo Dragon capsule.

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.

The malfunction of main bus switching unit No. 3 also knocked out one of two circuits feeding the space station's robot arm.

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.

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.

The weather forecast is not ideal, with a 40% chance of conditions meeting launch rules during the instantaneous window, according to the Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.



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