"Dragon is on its way to the International Space Station!"
"Forty-fifth Space Wing Spokesman Jim Williams informs Florida Today the anomaly happened Saturday in Cape Canaveral Air Force Station while the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule was experiencing a" static evaluation flame".
SpaceX and NASA have remained tight-lipped about the incident, referring to it only as an "anomaly" and pledging to investigate. The Dragon cargo spacecraft is carrying over 5,000 pounds of crew and station supplies, science and research payloads, and Station hardware. That mission would have been the first launch of US astronauts aboard an American rocket from USA soil since the space shuttle was retired in 2011.
Almost two weeks after a fiery explosion during a ground test of its new crew capsule, SpaceX confirmed on Thursday that the vehicle was destroyed, but neither the company nor Nasa, its primary customer, have publicly acknowledged the nature of the mishap.
CNBC published Koenigsmann's entire statement earlier today, which is reprinted below. SpaceX released a brief press release, explainingthe final test of the vehicle resulted in an "anomaly".
Koenigsmann did confirm that the mishap occurred when the Dragon was on the test stand.
This new test, Koenigsmann explained, began with firing the Draco thrusters.
There were no injuries. "SpaceX had taken all safety measures prior to this test, as we always do".
While it is too early to confirm any cause, whether probable or crude, the initial data indicates that the anomaly occurred during the activation of the SuperDraco system. "We were able to get our arms around the common areas that we had to look at, that they had to look at", he said. Those have been through about 600 tests at our test facility in Texas and you also know about the pad abort, we did some hover tests, so there was a lot of testing on the SuperDraco and we continue to have high confidence in that particular thruster. SuperDraco, for the unaware, is the name SpaceX gave to the Crew Dragon's engine.
SpaceX and NASA have offered few details.
However, there have been nine SpaceX re-supply missions to the ISS since then and countless other tests, with no further issues appearing during liftoff.
Employees at the Kennedy Space Center were reportedly told they can be sacked for sharing footage from the facilities. That is why we test. That was pretty huge news at the time, and after it successfully landed without a hitch, things were looking very positive for future Crew Dragon tests (and eventual crewed flights).