SpaceX acknowledges capsule destroyed; CRS-17 launch set for Friday

SpaceX acknowledges capsule destroyed; CRS-17 launch set for Friday

SpaceX and NASA also ensured that there were no correlations in the accident between Crew Dragon and its cargo version, which is set to head to the ISS as early as Friday morning on SpaceX's 17th resupply mission to the station.

"We're going to learn a lot, and I think this will make the program actually safer at the end of the day", Koenigsmann, SpaceX's vice president of build and reliability, told reporters.

In context: Last month, we reported on SpaceX's successful launch of its unmanned "Crew Dragon" capsule.

While he declined to speculate how long the failure probe might take, he said, "I hope this is a relatively swift investigation".

A Falcon rocket was poised to blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, early Friday, with a Dragon cargo capsule.

Otherwise, Koenigsmann revealed little more about the disaster, saying teams "are very carefully reviewing the telemetry data, and recovered hardware".

'We powered up Dragon and it powered up as expected, ' Koenigsmann said.

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The Crew Dragon had been scheduled to carry USA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station in a test mission in July, although the recent accident, as well as some other hitches in the vehicle's design, are likely to push that schedule to later in the year or into 2020.

He said the abort engines have been fired hundreds of times in other tests and that "we have no reason to believe there's an issue with the Super Dracos themselves".

The status of Crew Dragon after this dilemma was unclear, but it has now been officially confirmed that the capsule was destroyed. The impact to the schedule will depend on the results of the accident investigation, he said.

NASA said it was the second time such a unit had been replaced robotically, without needing to make astronauts perform a spacewalk.

Less than 10 minutes after the mission's launch, SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket on the deck of a ship stationed about 12 miles off Cape Canaveral.

That will allow NASA faster access to the cargo returned by those spacecraft, and also build up experience for propulsive landings of crewed Dragon spacecraft. "We feel very comfortable moving forward with this particular mission". "We were able to get our arms around the common areas that we had to look at, that they had to look at", he said. Kenny Todd, NASA's space station operations and integration manager, said the faulty unit was swapped out by controllers using the station's robotic arm, clearing the way for the launch to proceed. Earlier in the week, the flight was postponed by a major power shortage at the space station.

But just as SpaceX was activating the SuperDraco thrusters, which are used for emergencies to push the capsule away from the rocket, something went wrong.

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