SpaceX and NASA are currently investigating the cause of an anomaly that resulted in engine damage to the Crew Dragon capsule designed to transport people between Earth and the International Space Station. The incident occurred on April 20, but did not cause injury.
According to a SpaceX spokesman, The anomaly caused a serious failure with the Crew Dragon and could have led to the loss of the spacecraft, but the details remained low. After the incident, orange smoke was piled over the test area at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and an unchecked video of the vehicle ran on Twitter and showed a fiery explosion. The video has since been deleted.
The spaceshipHe has been through a series of tests with his SuperDracos, a series of eight rocket engines to be dropped by a launcher in an emergency. NASA's NASA Aeronautics Advisory Board (NASA) director Patricia Sanders said on Thursday that firing the smaller Draco engines was successful, but firing the eight SuperDracos caused the anomaly.
"SpaceX leads the investigation with NASA's active involvement," Sanders noted at the meeting. "The investigation takes some time to complete the root cause analysis."
Sandra Magnus, the former astronaut and current ASAP member, knows there is great interest in the mishap, but she asked for patience. The investigation is currently gathering data, and Magnus made it clear that there will be no missions until the Commercial Crew program gets "the data it needs."
NASA and SpaceX planned to launch the Crew Dragon with a Falcon 9 booster in June of this year to test the on-board demolition abilities using the SuperDraco engines and to prepare two NASA astronauts for the first demonstration to start with crew in July. Although NASA has not yet been officially excluded, it has recently dropped its recording dates from its launch date.
"It's still too early to speculate on how this work will change as a result of recent events," Magnus said.