NASA and SpaceX were curious on Thursday for what was caused by a mysterious but seemingly grave incident last weekend during engine testing of the Crew Dragon capsule to transport US astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
SpaceX said an "anomaly" occurred during Saturday's ground testing at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
A photo on Florida Today's website showed large amounts of smoke pouring out of the test site, causing speculation about a potential explosion
A video posted on Twitter showed an explosion. The video was not authenticated, and SpaceX has not denied its correctness.
SpaceX has not released any further details since its statement on Saturday, and NASA has returned questions to Elon Musk's company.
However, the NASA Security Advisory Committee mentioned the incident during a Thursday meeting, confirming that this was the case as a result of the launch of the spacecraft's SuperDraco engines.
Patricia Sanders, head of the panel, said the "launching of eight SuperDracos has led to an anomaly."
"The mishap did not cause injury," she told the meeting in Huntsville, Alabama. At the time of the incident, no staff was present on the ground floor area.
"SpaceX conducts the investigation with NASA's active participation," she added, noting that the initial focus was on collecting data and securing the site.
"The investigation will take some time before root cause analysis is complete," Sanders said, without speculating what impact the incident might have on the possibly manned flight of the ship, which will bring two astronauts to outer space 201
Another member of the Security Jury, Sandra Magnus, called patience on the press and the public.
"We know there is a lot of interest in SpaceX's recent mishap and we ask for patience (allow) allow the team to investigate," she said.
The Dragon capsule was successfully launched in March with no crew aboard SpaceX. He docked with the ISS and returned to Earth without incident.
In the coming months, the company will test the demolition system during the flight.
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The return of the capsule to the earth would be slowed down by parachutes before splashing into the ocean.
Boeing is also developing a capsule for NASA's travel to the ISS, but the first unmanned voyage is scheduled for August.
An incident on the SpaceX pad could delay its first manned flight
© 2019 AFP
SpaceX and NASA due to capsule accident before crew (2019, April 25)
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