SpaceX: Leaky valve caused crew capsule to explode in test

2 years 4 months 2 weeks ago Monday, July 15 2019 Jul 15, 2019 July 15, 2019 2:53 PM July 15, 2019 in News - AP Texas Headlines

AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - SpaceX says a leaky valve caused its crew capsule to explode during a test back in April.

The company announced the preliminary results of its accident investigation Monday.

SpaceX's crew Dragon capsule had just returned from a successful test flight to the International Space Station and was undergoing a ground test at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The abort-system thrusters were milliseconds away from firing, when the spacecraft exploded and was destroyed.

Hans Koenigsmann, a SpaceX vice president, says a check valve allowed liquid oxidizer to leak into the high-pressure abort system. The titanium valve ignited, leading to the blast. He says the check valves will be replaced with more reliable disks.

Koenigsmann says while it's not impossible, it's becoming "increasingly difficult" to fly astronauts on the capsule by year's end.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More News

7 Days