SpaceX has published an update on the investigation into the destruction of its Crew Dragon test vehicle in April.
In short, it was a leak and a dubious valve tip thinned.
The incident happened at 18:13 UTC on April 20, while SpaceX conducted static fire engine tests on a test ground at the company's landing zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The infamous video (and later drew) showed that the canister exploded as the company prepared to fire the eight SuperDraco thrushes for one last time during the test. SuperDracos are designed to push the spacecraft away from a fake Falcon 9 and can only be used in a starting flight scenario.
The 12 Draco thrushers used to maneuver the spacecraft, which has inheritance from the haulage carrier, had already been tested.
A review of data showed that "anomaly" happened about 1
The result of the study shows how happy SpaceX has been to catch problems before a crew is shot into the canister.  A leaking component allows liquid oxidants (nitrogen tetroxide) to enter high pressure helium tubes during soil processing. A slug of this oxidizer is driven by a helium valve at rapid pressure, resulting in a structural failure in the valve. The failure of the titanium component in a high pressure nitrogen tetroxide environment was sufficient to cause ignition.
The SpaceX team was anxious to talk about SuperDraco's thrusters' survival – hardly any comfort for anyone who might have been inside the canister.
The ultimate cause looks like a fantasy error. The reaction between titanium and nitrogen tetroxide at high pressure was simply not expected. As SpaceX pointed out, titanium has been used safely for decades.
Lessons have learned financially and scheduling, but thankfully not for human life. The flow paths that allow liquid propellants to enter gaseous systems will be eliminated, and these control valves should be replaced with burst discs, which are fully covered until opened with high pressure.
The changes will be made for all future capsules, including the Crew Dragon originally intended to carry the first crew, which will instead be used for the interruption test.
The spacecraft that originally planned to perform the first operational crew mission to the International Space Station will now be used for Demo-2, taking astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on a first track orbit in Musk & # 39; s Space Jupiter.
Neither NASA nor SpaceX would be drawn when the first crew could take place. ®
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