MAY 06, 2019 7:20 AM PDT

SpaceX's Crew Dragon Capsule Confirmed a 'Total Loss' Following Anomaly

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

A Crew Dragon capsule that underwent a Super Draco static fire test at SpaceX’s Florida-based Landing Zone 1 site a couple of weeks ago didn’t live to tell the tale. Immediately following the anomaly, flames and plumes of dark smoke engulfed the site, indicating what could only be described as a catastrophic failure.

An image of the smoke following the Crew Dragon capsule disaster from two weeks ago.

Image Credit: Emre Kelly/Twitter

SpaceX is no stranger to mishaps, but this was an upsetting setback to SpaceX’s long-term goal of working with NASA to bring crewed space launches back to American soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle era. The commercial space company had just recently demonstrated the flight capabilities of its Falcon 9 rocket and was ready to move forward with its first crewed demo flight later this year; but perhaps not…

Related: Watch SpaceX fly a Tesla Roadster electric supercar into space with a Falcon Heavy rocket

Both NASA and SpaceX have been unusually quiet about the anomaly; they've mostly left the public in the dark about the incident and its aftermath. However, both parties are working closely with one another to investigate the root cause of the failure such that it won’t happen again – especially not with living people onboard.

It wasn’t until this past Thursday that SpaceX finally spoke up regarding details about the incident, and as it would seem, the Crew Dragon involved in the anomaly two weeks ago is, in fact, deemed a complete loss. The fire allegedly transpired after the Draco engines discharged, but before the Super Draco launch abort engines could.

But that’s about all we know about the situation currently; the test-fire site remains off-limits, pending a more thorough investigation. As you might come to expect, NASA’s decision to move forward with a crewed Crew Dragon demonstration this year will depend heavily on the results of the investigation and whether this is something that can be avoided in the next run.

Related: SpaceX demonstrates initial Crew Dragon capsule capabilities for NASA

SpaceX is hopeful about the pending investigation, noting that more Crew Dragon capsules are coming off the assembly line as time goes by and that the company will be ready whenever NASA chooses to move forward with another Super Draco static fire test.

An artist's impression of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule approaching the International Space Station's docking region.

Image Credit: SpaceX

It’s worth noting that NASA has also partnered with Boeing to conduct crewed space launches, and even if SpaceX can’t get its act together this year, Boeing may still get the chance to do so. NASA doesn’t have much choice in the matter, especially since the American space agency’s agreement with Russia to piggyback off the nation’s Soyuz platform will soon expire.

Those rooting for SpaceX’s success can only hope that the investigation finds an easy fix for the problem. Otherwise, it could be back to the drawing board for SpaceX, and that would impact the company’s projected launch timeline with NASA.

Source: Phys.org, Space.com

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 29, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Black Hole Found Lurking Outside Our Galaxy
JUL 29, 2022
Black Hole Found Lurking Outside Our Galaxy
A recent study conducted by an international collaboration of experts and published in Nature Astronomy have discovered ...
SEP 21, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Are Water Worlds Common?
SEP 21, 2022
Are Water Worlds Common?
A study recently published in Science suggests that many exoplanets have larger amounts of water than previously thought ...
SEP 27, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Four-legged Robots May Explore the Moon
SEP 27, 2022
Four-legged Robots May Explore the Moon
The Legged Exploration of the Aristarchus Plateau (LEAP) mission is a concept study funded by the European Space Agency ...
OCT 22, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Cloud Cradles Haunted by Dark Planets
OCT 22, 2022
Cloud Cradles Haunted by Dark Planets
I have seen the dark universe yawning, Where the black planets roll without aim; Where they roll in their horror unheede ...
OCT 23, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Black Hole "Wobble" Wobbles Researchers
OCT 23, 2022
Black Hole "Wobble" Wobbles Researchers
In a recent study published in Nature, an international team of researchers led by Cardiff University in the United King ...
NOV 03, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Martian Core Identified Through Planetary Scan
NOV 03, 2022
Martian Core Identified Through Planetary Scan
In a recent study published in Nature Astronomy, a pair of researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) hav ...
Loading Comments...