Sunday , April 18 2021

We still know Sick for SpaceX Capsule "anomaly" and its impact on NASA's crew

The SpaceX Crew crew capsule, subjected to the flying test in 2015.
Image: SpaceX

That's almost a week because the anomaly caused the engine space capability of the SpaceX Crew Dragon during the test. Several details were discovered, and it is still unclear how the incident would have delayed NASA's ability to deliver astronauts to ISS. Yesterday, Nasa's security panel remained modest, saying the investigation was 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 see 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).

Everything that we can really be sure of, as stated in the SpaceX press release issued shortly after the April 20 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 engage in the public, does not work well, as evidenced by a recent article by Orlando Sentinel, 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 yesterday to resolve the incident, although few details were discovered, as reports from SpaceNews. 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 20 April was a test of eight oversized crew crew Draco-a key component of the capsule interruption 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 test during the flight, which should take place later this summer – a test that now appears to be in danger.

Speaking at the ASAP meeting and as reports on C | Net, Sanders said the smaller Dracos test 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," Sanders said, as SpaceflightNow reported. 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 the active involvement of NASA, SpaceNews reports. The initial phase will include data collection and reconstruction of the timeframe. The researchers will review data on space telescopic data and analysis of the crew's damaged crew, according to NASA's written statement Thursday.

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 member 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 2, 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 8. The crew dragon used during the April 10 test was the same model that was used during this important walkway, known as Demo-1. The first crew capsule test, Demo-2, is scheduled for July 25, with reports suggesting that the mission had already been discarded 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 United States did not have this capacity since retiring the space shuttle program in 2011 and instead, Russia had to pay to drive Soyuz missiles.

At a meeting yesterday, Sanders said the results of the investigation would determine the impact of the failed test on the Demo-2 timeline, saying that no crew missions occur while the commercial crew program does not get the "data they need," according to C | Net.

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 simply need to hurry and wait.

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