Saturday , July 31 2021

NASA's safety panel offers more details about the dragon's anomaly, insists on patience

SpaceX crew movement is approaching the International Space Station in March 2019.
Zoom in / SpaceX crew movement is approaching the International Space Station in March 2019.


As a brief statement came out Saturday after a test of the Crew Dragon vehicle, the result was an anomaly, SpaceX did not offer any further comments on its current investigation. Moreover, NASA has not said much, except that it claims to support the investigation and this the agency has "full confidence in SpaceX" to understand and solve the problem that seems to have destroyed the crew's capsule.

A previously scheduled NASA Aviation Safety Advisory Board meeting on Thursday, however, offered a slightly deeper insight into the problem that occurred with the Crew Dragon vehicle at the SpaceX 1 landing facility in Florida near both starting locations for the company.

"The event happened during a static fire test conducted before the flight disruption test," said Patricia Sanders, chairman of the group responsible for ensuring that NASA has a healthy safety culture and reduces the risks wherever possible during space flights.

The "Dragon Crew" capsule in question is the same as the International Space Station's demonstration mission in March. On Saturday, the spacecraft was preparing for a launch flight in the summer. During the escape flight, the Dragon would fire from Florida to Falcon 9 and then shoot with his powerful SuperDraco engines to show that the Dragon could safely escape the missile in case of a booster problem before or during a flight .

"The gun was designed to demonstrate integrated SuperDraco systems in a two-vibrating acoustic state of the vehicle to break the environment," Sanders said. Sanders explained that the test simulates the Falcon 9 rocket, which is under the spacecraft that breaks down and causes an interruption.

"The launch of 12 service units Dracos has been successfully completed," she said, noting that the 12 smaller Draco engines used to maneuver in space are working normally. "The launch of eight SuperDracos has led to an anomaly," Sanders concluded. This suggests that the anomaly occurred during or immediately after the SuperDraco test. Sanders also noted that SpaceX followed all the safety protocols for the test and that no one was injured.

Later at the meeting, another member of the Safety Commission, former astronaut Sandy Magnus, said he understood the public's desire to know more about the incident. Some people, including the editorial staff of Orlando Sentinel, called for more information to come up immediately.

But SpaceX and NASA need to get more time to investigate the incident, Magnus said. "We know it has a lot of interest in the recent SpaceX accident," she said. – We are patient. At present, the investigation remains at the stage of accident locking, data collection and the development of a time schedule for the anomaly to begin the process of identifying the underlying cause.

Both NASA and the safety panel said it was too early to see how this failure would affect the schedule for the planned SpaceX flight crash test and the first Dragon mission. The agency has been working during a crew flight since early October, but it seems likely to be back in early 2020, at least.

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