SpaceX explains why its Crew Dragon spaceship blew up in April - Tue 16 Jul 03:01 GMT

A lead SpaceX engineer said an anomaly that destroyed its Crew Dragon capsule, which is designed to fly NASA astronauts, was caused by a small valve.

  The seven-person capsule, called Crew Dragon, blew up because of a valve problem, SpaceX executive Hans Koenigsmann said on Monday.

  What SpaceX thinks a leaky valve destroyed its Crew Dragon ship In March, the Crew Dragon capsule in question launched into orbit, docked with the space station, and then returned toEarth.

  The investigators' best hunch at this point, SpaceX said in a statement, is that during the processing of the used spaceship, a "slug" of the liquid oxidizer for the Super Dracos — a toxic substance called nitrogen tetroxide — leaked through the check valve and into the pressurization tubes.

  What else SpaceX said about the Crew Dragon's explosion Below is SpaceX's full and detailed statement on the matter: On Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 18:13 UTC, SpaceX conducted a series of static fire engine tests of the Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort test vehicle on a test stand at SpaceX's Landing Zone 1, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

  After the vehicle's successful demonstration mission to and from the International Space Station in March 2019, SpaceX performed additional tests of the vehicle's propulsion systems to ensure functionality and detect any system-level issues prior to a planned In-Flight Abort test.

  In order to understand the exact scenario, and characterize the flammability of the check valve's titanium internal components and NTO, as well as other material used within the system, the accident investigation team performed a series of tests at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.

  The Crew Dragon spacecraft originally assigned to SpaceX's second demonstration mission to the International Space Station (Demo-2) will carry out the company's In-Flight Abort test, and the spacecraft originally assigned to the first operational mission (Crew-1) will launch as part of Demo-2.