WASHINGTON — A SpaceX executive May 3 provided new details about, but no cause of, an incident that destroyed a Crew Dragon spacecraft during a ground test last month.
Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of build and flight reliability at SpaceX, said at a NASA briefing about the upcoming launch of a cargo Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station that the anomaly took place just before the ignition of the SuperDraco thrusters on the spacecraft during an April 20 test at the company’s Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Koenigsmann said that the spacecraft had, earlier in the day, completed other tests on the stand, including of its smaller Draco thrusters. “Just before we wanted to fire the SuperDracos, there was an anomaly and the vehicle was destroyed,” he said.
He declined to speculate on the cause of the accident. “It is too early to confirm any cause, whether probable or root,” he said. “The initial data indicates that the anomaly occurred during the activation of the SuperDraco system.” The activation of the thrusters takes place about a half a second before ignition. He added, though, that he didn’t think the problem was with the ...