SpaceX: Crew Dragon Explosion Occurred Prior to SuperDraco Firing

An instrumented mannequin sit in the Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Demo-1 mission. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX provided more information today about the explosion that destroyed a Crew Dragon capsule on the test on April 20 as Elon Musk’s company prepares to launch a Dragon resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday.

During a pre-flight conference on Thursday, Vice President of Mission Assurance Hans Koenigsmann said the Crew Dragon capsule powered up as expected for the test. Engineers then fired the small Draco maneuvering thrusters successfully.

The explosion occurred during the activation of the SuperDraco abort system but prior to the firing of the engines. Koenigsmann said the problem was not with the thrusters themselves, which have been tested about 600 times.

Koenigsmann said investigators are still trying to piece together precisely what happened. The investigation is being led by SpaceX with the assistance of NASA.

The destroyed Crew Dragon capsule flew a flight test to the ISS in March. SpaceX planned to use it in an in-flight abort test that had been scheduled for June.

The abort test is one of the last major milestones prior to a crewed flight test to the space station. That was nominally scheduled for July, but unofficial account indicate it was going to slip several months.

Koenigsmann said he did not know what the impact of the accident on the schedule. He noted that SpaceX has a number of Crew Dragon spacecraft in various stages of production.

Meanwhile, SpaceX is preparing to launch a cargo Dragon resupply mission to the space station on Friday. Liftoff is set for 3:11 a.m. EDT (0711 GMT ) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The launch was delayed for two days due to a power problem on the station that was corrected over night.

The weather forecast is not looking very good for the Friday morning launch.

The Arch Mission Foundation Announces Launch of Lunar Library Aboard Beresheet Lander

Credit: Arch Mission Foundation

LOS ANGELES (Arch Mission Foundation PR) — The Arch Mission Foundation today announced the launch of the first installment of their Lunar Library™, a 30 million page archive of civilization, created as a backup to planet Earth. The library will be delivered to the Moon as part of SpaceIL’s lunar mission, which was launched on Thursday, February 21st aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The Lunar Library is being built across a series of missions to deliver extremely long-duration time-capsules containing a curated collection of public and private libraries and other archives to the Moon. The Library will be regularly updated with additional installments to various destinations around the surface of the Moon with the help of lunar landings by a variety of commercial entities, non-profit organizations, and governments.

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Arch Mission Foundation Partners with Astrobotic to Launch Historic Lunar Library

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Astrobotic PR) — The Arch Mission Foundation and Astrobotic today announced a partnership to land the Lunar Library™ on Astrobotic’s first mission to the Moon in 2020. The Lunar Library will last for up to billions of years on the Moon, continuing the Arch Foundation’s mission to preserve and disseminate humanity’s most important knowledge across time and space.

The foundational components of the Lunar Library will include the Wikipedia, and the Long Now Foundation’s Rosetta Project, a digital library of human languages. Additional content and data for the Lunar Library, will be announced in the coming year.

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