SpaceX continues to investigate explosion during Crew Dragon spacecraft test

A reporter takes a smart phone photo of a mock up of the Crew Dragon spacecraft during a media tour of SpaceX headquarters and rocket factory on August 13, 2018 (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Caption
A reporter takes a smart phone photo of a mock up of the Crew Dragon spacecraft during a media tour of SpaceX headquarters and rocket factory on August 13, 2018 (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Credit: David McNew

Credit: David McNew

NASA says it continues to work with SpaceX as the company leads the investigation into a static fire mishap that destroyed a Crew Dragon spacecraft in April.

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SpaceX has yet to say what may have led to that explosion, and the company is readying its next spacecraft.

Five weeks after the explosion that destroyed the capsule, which had made a successful unmanned test flight to the International Space Station. SpaceX is making new spacecraft assignments but has yet to say what led to the destruction of its Demo-1 capsule.

"They'll have to tell NASA what went wrong and what they've done to fix it," said Dale Ketcham, with Space Florida. "The public has a right to know. Particularly on a human-rated spacecraft, there'll be a lot of interest. But they really don't have an obligation to tell us until they're confident they know what the answer is."

Last week, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine spoke about the need for public transparency.

Now, NASA says the site of the explosion at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station has been deemed safe and is open to investigation team members.

They will determine the impact to commercial crew flights tests to the International Space Station.

"The chance that they may launch again or launch for the first time this year with people on it is still conceivable -- more challenging than before the anomaly, but it's conceivable," Ketcham said.

The spacecraft originally assigned to the Demo-2 launch, the first flight test with a crew on board, will now be used for the company's in-flight abort test. The first operational mission spacecraft will now be used for the company's manned test flight.

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