That's almost a week because the anomaly caused the engine space capability of the SpaceX Crew Dragon during the test. Several details have been discovered, and it's still unclear how the incident could delay NASA's ability to deliver astronauts to ISS. This week, NASA's security panel has remained firm, saying the investigation is under way.
At Cape Canaveral last weekend, SpaceX conducted a static fire test on eight SuperDraco engines on the crew capsule. The test does not go well.
The capsule was lit, and clouds of thick orange smoke could be seen miles. There were even reports of an explosion. Mercifully, there were no injuries.
The test may result in loss of the capsule, but we do not know for sure (it's probably toast). We also do not know if toxic fumes were released into the environment (it seems likely), or if the incident will affect the NASA program for commercial crews (also likely).
BROKERS: #SpaceX The crew's dragon suffered an anomaly during a test fire today, according to the 45th space wing. Smoke can be seen on the beaches.
"On April 20 an anomaly occurred in Cape Canaveral AFS during the static fire of Dragon 2. The anomaly was contained and there were no injuries." pic.twitter.com/If5rdeGRXO
– Emre Kelly (@EmreKelly) April 20, 2019
Everything that we can really be sure of, and as stated in the SpaceX release, issued shortly after the April 21 incident, is that there was an "anomaly". Yes, no shit, Sherlock. NASA did not add much to the story.
The surprising lack of information about the incident, as well as the failure of SpaceX and NASA to get involved in the public, does not work well, as evidenced by the recent Orlando Sentinel a member written by his editorial board, who wrote:
"Anomaly" is a blurred industry buzz that tells the public zilch about what happened to the program that the federal government spends billions of dollars to astronauts returning to space on US hardware rather than bypass driving on Russian missiles.
We do not know how much the capsule or the equipment included in the test is damaged. We do not know the range of possible reasons why SpaceX explores. We do not know if SpaceX has another capsule ready to continue the program. We do not really know what happened.
There was no press conference. We will not be able to ask questions to the company's executives. No detailed news. No images or video for damage. The public is in the dark.
The secret aspects of Elon Mask's investments are fine when they spend their money (or investor money) for building electric cars or carrying tunnels across the country. It's not right when the public finances his efforts, such as the crew of the SpaceX crew.
NASA finally held a public meeting this week to resolve the incident, although few details were disclosed, as SpaceNews reports. A meeting at the Marshall Space Flight Center involved the Advisory Panel on the Protection of the Aerospace Agency (ASAP), an independent body led by a former NASA astronaut, Patricia Sanders.
During the meeting, Sanders reacted a lot to what we already know. The exercise on April 21 was the test of the eight largest crew crew Draco – a key component of the capsule termination system.
In the event of an emergency, these larger boosters, known as SuperDracos, will seize Dragon Dragon from the unsuccessful rocket during the launch (there is a video of SuperDracos in action). The capsule is also equipped with a dozen small Draco suppressors, which are used to monitor altitude and maneuver from orbit.
The test last weekend was made in preparation for a scheduled flight test, which should take place later this winter – a test that now appears to be in danger.
Speaking at the ASAP meeting, and how CNet reports, Sanders said the test of the smaller Dracos was successful, but she confirmed that the release of the eight SuperDracos resulted in an anomaly.
"The release was intended to demonstrate the performance of the SuperDraco integrated system in two vibro-acoustic animal levels for a vehicle for aborting environments," said Sanders, published by SpaceflightNow.
Panelists did not disclose the scene in which the anomaly occurred during the test, or whether the Crew Dragon exploded.
SpaceX, Sanders said, is now conducting the investigation, with NASA actively participating, reports SpaceNews. The initial phase will include data collection and reconstruction of the timeframe.
The researchers will review data on space telescope data and analysis of the crew's damaged crew, according to NASA's written statement this week.
As for the impact this incident might have on the NASA program for commercial teams, the panel was unclear.
"We know there's a lot of interest in the recent SpaceX accident," said ASAP Sandra Magnus at the meeting, according to SpaceNews. "We are patient and let the teams investigate."
This last failure comes at a time when things seem to be taking place well for NASA's Commercial Crew program. On March 3, 2019, the SpaceX Falcon 9 missed an unreasonable crew of the ISS crew. Successfully returned to Earth several days later, tangled in the Atlantic on March 9th.
The crew dragon used during the April 21 test was the same model that was used during this important walkway, known as the Demo-1. The first crew capsule test, Demo-2, is scheduled for July 25, with reports suggesting that the mission had already been rejected in late September or early October before a failed weekend test, according to SpaceNews.
"Prior to the start of Demo-1, NASA and SpaceX identified configuration changes and subsequent qualification tasks that would be required to be completed before Demo-2 was possible," said Magnus.
"Whatever the recent incident, there is still a lot of work to be done between Demo-1 and the crew of the flight. It's still early to speculate on how this body will change based on recent events." As always, the panel encourages the team to be on guard against the dangers of the distributed pressure. "
The failed test and the subsequent investigation could lead to further delays to the Commercial Team Program, which is working to restore America's ability to independently deliver astronauts to the International Space Station and to other locations in space.
The US does not have this retirement capacity for the space shuttle program in 2011, and instead, Russia had to pay for Soyuz missiles.
At a meeting this week, Sanders said the results of the investigation would determine the impact of a failed Demo-2 timeframe test, saying there would be no crew missions while the Commercial Teams Program did not receive "the data they needed," according to CNet.
On a positive note, the incident is unlikely to have any impact on IIS load missions. A different crew crew model that is not equipped with SuperDraco drives is used for supply missions. The launch of SpaceX scheduled for Tuesday, April 30th from Cape Canaveral, is scheduled as scheduled.
As for learning more about this "anomaly" of the crew, we just need to hurry up and wait.