Sunday, January 24, 2021
Home Lead Story SpaceX Suffers Serious Setback During Crew Capsule Testing

SpaceX Suffers Serious Setback During Crew Capsule Testing

This capsule flew to the International Space Station last month on a crewless trial run, and it was supposed to be reused in a launch abort test in June

SpaceX has suffered a serious setback in its effort to launch NASA astronauts into orbit this year, with the fiery loss of its first crew capsule during testing.

Over the weekend, the company’s recently flown Dragon crew capsule was engulfed in smoke and flames on an engine test stand at Cape Canaveral. SpaceX was testing the Dragon’s abort thrusters when Saturday’s accident occurred.

The company said the test area was clear and no one was injured.

This capsule flew to the International Space Station last month on a crewless trial run, and it was supposed to be reused in a launch abort test in June. Another capsule was supposed to follow with two astronauts as early as July. Astronauts haven’t launched from Florida since 2011.

spaceX
FILE – The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule approaches the International Space Station, March 3, 2019. VOA

NASA said Monday it’s too early to revise the target launch dates, given that the accident is still so fresh. “This is why we test,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement over the weekend. “We will learn, make the necessary adjustments and safely move forward with our commercial crew program.”

Until Saturday, SpaceX was on a roll to resume crew launches from Florida. The March test flight, to the space station and back, went smoothly. The SuperDraco thrusters embedded in the sides of the capsule were not used during the demo.

The thrusters are crucial to protect astronauts in flight; they’re designed to fire in an emergency and pull the capsule safely away from the rocket.

The University of Southern California’s Garrett Reisman, a former NASA astronaut who directed space operations for SpaceX until last year, said it was a “tough day … not good” for the company. “But thankfully no one got hurt and with everything we learn from this anomaly Crew Dragon will be a safer vehicle for all her future crews,” he tweeted.

SpaceX said it will make sure, through the accident investigation, that the Dragon is one of the safest spacecraft ever built for astronauts. The California-based company released few details, though, on the accident itself and how it might impact future flights.

spaceX
Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. Pixabay

Former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe, now with Syracuse University, said via email Monday that it’s “too early to tell what the implications may be.”

SpaceX and Boeing

NASA has not launched astronauts from Cape Canaveral since the last shuttle flight in 2011, instead paying for rides on Russian rockets. The space agency turned the job over to two private companies — SpaceX and Boeing — to build new capsules to ferry astronauts to and from the space station.

ALSO READ: Spacecraft Test Runs into Serious Problems, Smoke All Over SpaceX in Florida

Earlier this month, NASA announced major delays for test flights of Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule. The initial trip to the space station, without astronauts, is targeted for August, with the first Starliner crew potentially flying by year’s end.

NASA stressed that next week’s launch of a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule remains on track. The supply ship is set to blast off from Cape Canaveral on April 30. SpaceX has been making deliveries to the space station since 2012. The crew Dragon is a much-enhanced version of the cargo version. (VOA)

STAY CONNECTED

19,120FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,773FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Bilingual Homes Makes The Child More Attentive

 If your child grew up speaking two different languages, it can shift your attention between different tasks quicker than those who pick up a...

Yerwada Jail Is Now Unlocked For Tourists

Marking a new chapter for tourists, the Maharashtra government will throw open important prisons in the state for 'jail tourism', starting this Republic Day...

Mountain Kilimanjaro Is Scaled By A Telangana IPS Officer

The Indian Police Service IPS official reached the top of Mountain Kilimanjaro, 5,895 meters above sea level, on January 21 at 08.15 a.m. (local...

Amit Shah Claims North East Has The Potential To Become A Tourist Hub

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving no stone unturned in...

Swara Bhasker Says That The Idea Is To Try Things One Hasn’t Done Before

Actress Swara Bhasker has donned multiple looks in her new web series, Aapkey Kamrey Mein Koi Rehta Hai, and she says trying different things...

How Financial Institutions Assess Your Financial Health And What You Can Do To Improve It

Everyone works hard to make the right financial decisions in their lives. Doing so involves adopting practices like saving money and making secure investments....

7 Great Teachings Of Guru Acharya Chanakya

BY SHWETA PORWAL Chanakya, traditionally identified as Kautilya or Vishnugupta was born in the 3rd century BC (350-275 BC) in Patliputra. Chanakya was born to...

CT Helps Catch Liver Disease

Researchers have identified that multiple CT findings can identify patients with high-risk non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) -- advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis, that is...

Recent Comments