SpaceX Admits Crew Dragon Explosion Destroyed the Spacecraft

Nearly three weeks after reports pointed to the Crew Dragon spacecraft being destroyed in an incident during testing, a SpaceX official confirmed the information.
Crewed flight of Dragon uncertain following explosion 1 photo
Photo: SpaceX
Speaking at a press conference at the company’s headquarters, SpaceX’s vice president of Build and Flight Reliability Hans Koenigsmann said the capsule was destroyed during Super Draco thruster testing, just as initial rumors said.

"We fired them in two sets each for 5 seconds, and that went very well," the official was quoted as saying by
“And then, just prior, before we wanted to fire the Super Dracos, there was an anomaly and the vehicle was destroyed."

In the Crew Dragon capsule, eight Super Draco engines act as an escape system in case the launch of a crewed mission fails mid-flight, separating the capsule from the rocket.

The investigation is still ongoing, Koenigsmann added, so we aren’t to expect many more details on the subject. He did hint at the fact that the anomaly – SpaceX still calls the incident anomaly – occurred during the activation of the thrusters.

A video supposedly showing the moment the capsule exploded surfaced shortly after the incident, but its poor quality and unknown source made its authenticity questionable. That changed this week, when information surfaced about SpaceX admitting the images are real and asking its employees to stop sharing info on the incident.

It is “up to NASA and other companies onsite to make the determination about what information related to their activities is released,” and all other parties are “prohibited from photographing or videotaping operational activities that take place on KSC CCAFS property,” SpaceX said.

It’s still unclear what Crew Dragon was destroyed in the explosion, but word is it is the same one that was successfully launched to the International Space Station and returned to Earth in March.

The next stage of the capsule’s testing was supposed to be a crewed flight later this year, but it is unclear at this point how the incident affects those plans.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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