Discussion in 'Science, Tech, & Space Exploration' started by Dundee, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. Toroid

    Toroid Founding Member

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  2. Toroid

    Toroid Founding Member

    SpaceX Dragon capsule returns to earth. The thing looks like a damn marshmallow.
    SpaceX completes a 'perfect' mission as Dragon lands in the Atlantic | Daily Mail Online
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  3. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    SpaceX Won’t Admit That Its Crew Capsule Exploded

    There was almost certainly an explosion during a SpaceX test this weekend. Why does the company refuse to use that word?

    Sometimes, when you fill a small metal capsule with rocket fuel, it will explode.

    That’s what appears to have happened this past weekend when SpaceX attempted a static test of its Dragon 2 capsule. “Crew Dragon capsule explodes,” wrote Scientific American. Business Insider called it a “large explosion.” Quartz said that it “blew up.” There’s even a grainy video of the test that seems to show a fireball.

    But SpaceX? The company called it an “anomaly.”

    You’d never know what happened if you only read SpaceX’s prepared statement, which downplayed the apparent explosion as much as possible.

    “Earlier today, SpaceX conducted a series of engine tests on a Crew Dragon test vehicle on our test stand at Landing Zone 1 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The initial tests completed successfully but the final test resulted in an anomaly on the test stand. Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting anomalies like this prior to flight are the main reason why we test. Our teams are investigating and working closely with our NASA partners.”

    SpaceX isn’t the only space agency to use “anomaly” to describe a spacecraft glitch. There are several instances where NASA has used the word to characterize launch problems or spacecraft communication issues. But we haven’t found an instance where NASA said “anomaly” when it meant “explosion” — in that regard, SpaceX stands alone. When something blows up, NASA says so.

    Perhaps the problem that led to an explosion was an “anomaly”; it would be confusing if it was expected. But the explosion itself? Calling it anything but is a disservice.

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  4. CasualBystander

    CasualBystander Celestial

    Well, there is speculation that salt-water corrosion caused a tank failure.

    This is the dragon capsule that landed in the water.

    The propulsion system wouldn't be in the sealed area of the spacecraft.

    Further - the fuel is hypergolic. It is both nasty and doesn't need an ignition source.

    But it is stable for long periods of time.
  5. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    They finally admit the explosion took place, I guess they wanted to get all their ducks in a row before admitting there was a failed test...

    Spaces confirms crew capsule destroyed in ground test
    In a big blow for Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the company has confirmed its Dragon crew capsule was destroyed in ground testing.

    SpaceX finally confirmed Thursday its crew capsule was destroyed in ground testing two weeks ago and conceded that the accident is “not great news” for the company’s effort to launch astronauts this year.

    Hans Koenigsmann, a company vice president, told reporters it’s too soon to know what went wrong during the April 20 test or whether the crew Dragon capsule’s test flight in March - minus astronauts - contributed to the failure.

    Flames engulfed the capsule a half-second before the launch-abort thrusters were to fire.

    SpaceX still cannot access the testing area at Cape Canaveral for safety reasons, according to Koenigsmann. The company does not want to disturb any evidence that could provide clues to the failure, he noted.

    The company has concluded, meanwhile, that the smaller, simpler cargo version of the Dragon capsule is safe to fly to the International Space Station. SpaceX was on track to launch a Falcon rocket with station supplies early Friday morning in the US, although approaching storms threatened yet another delay. Earlier in the week, the flight was postponed by a major power shortage at the space station.

    An old power-switching unit failed Monday, slashing the space station’s power by 25 per cent and ruling out any deliveries. By Thursday, flight controllers had replaced the box and restored full power to the orbiting outpost.

    Because the April 20 accident occurred so close to SpaceX’s landing site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the booster for the cargo launch cannot return there following lift-off. Instead, the first-stage booster was aiming for a barge stationed about 12 miles offshore, much closer than usual.

    The cargo and crew versions of the Dragon capsule are considerably different. The cargo Dragon does not have the SuperDraco thrusters that are embedded into the side of the crew Dragon. Those thrusters would be used to push a capsule off a just-launched rocket in an emergency. They weren’t used during the test flight to the space station in March.

    Koenigsmann said he does not believe the thrusters themselves caused the accident. The system had been activated - which involves opening and closing valves, and pressurizing systems - when flames erupted.

    SpaceX was going to launch the newly returned crew Dragon in another test this summer, to see how the SuperDraco thrusters work in an aborted flight. More crew Dragons are being built and can be used for this test, according to Koenigsmann.

    Koenigsmann remains hopeful SpaceX can launch two NASA astronauts to the space station this year. The impact to the schedule will depend on the results of the accident investigation, he said.

    NASA has contracted with SpaceX and also Boeing to ferry astronauts to and from the space station, instead of having them hitch expensive rides on Russian rockets.

    Before the accident, SpaceX had been shooting for a summertime crew launch. “I don’t want to completely preclude the current schedule,” he said.

    “It’s certainly not great news for the schedule overall, but I hope we can recover.” Koenigsmann said the company has been in touch with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken - who will be on board for the crew Dragon’s next test flight to the space station - and that the two have offered encouragement and motivation. Boeing also has encountered recent delays with its Starliner crew capsules.

    The company is striving to launch a Starliner without astronauts to the space station in August.


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