Home / Science / SpaceX "Anomaly" could delay manned space flight

SpaceX "Anomaly" could delay manned space flight



<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "On Saturday, April 20, something bad happened The spacecraft Crew Dragon from SpaceX We still do not know exactly what happened. But at least now we know more than last month. "Data-reactid =" 11 "> On Saturday, April 20, something bad happened to SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft. exactly what happened. But at least now we know more than last month.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Eyewitness accounts & nbsp; at the time of the event He referred to the "smoke" seen on the Florida coast, NASA & nbsp; and SpaceX & nbsp; issued statements that referred to an "anomaly." News media reported an explosion. incident video he showed the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on his test bed that suddenly exploded into a fireball. "data-reactid =" 12 "> Eyewitness accounts at the time of the event referred to" smoke "seen off the coast of Florida NASA and SpaceX released statements that refer to an" anomaly. "The media reported on Finally, a leaked video of the incident showed the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft at its test stand that suddenly became a fireball.

Initially, SpaceX and NASA refused to give much information about the anomaly, smoke or, especially, the explosion. But ultimately, that leaked video must have persuaded SpaceX and NASA to tear the bandage and confirm what many already expected: the Crew Dragon exploded.

Artistic representation of the SpaceX Crew Dragon link with the International Space Station

Image source: SpaceX.

<h2 class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "It is difficult to argue with a video"data-reactid =" 26 ">It is difficult to argue with a video

In a public statement last week, SpaceX's mission assurance vice president, Hans Koenigsmann, described how, while on a test bench in Florida, Crew Dragon had successfully executed his Draco maneuver thrusters twice. He was preparing to fire his Super Draco thrusters (which, in case of a mishap with the rocket of the spacecraft, would be used to safely propel the spacecraft and its crew away from the explosion), when suddenly, "There was an anomaly and the vehicle was destroyed. "

Now even Koenigsmann's statement repeated the line of the party that it was "too early to confirm" exactly what happened. However, this is what we know is important for investors.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The spacecraft that exploded last month was the same vessel & nbsp; who successfully completed an unmanned docking with the international space station in March. "This spacecraft, as you remember, crashed into the sea after completing its mission, so it is possible that the April accident had something to do with the wear (and seawater) on the ship, and not it's a flaw in the initial design of the ship. " data-reactid = "29"> The spacecraft that exploded last month was the same vessel that successfully completed an unmanned dock with the International Space Station in March. This spacecraft, it will be recalled, crashed into the sea after completing its mission: – so it is possible that the April accident had something to do with wear (and seawater) on the ship, and It is not a flaw in the initial design of the spacecraft.

SpaceX planned to reuse this particular spacecraft to perform a "flight abortion test" in June, launching a Dragon Crew on a rocket, then turning on its Super Draco thrusters to demonstrate the ability to quickly propel the capsule of an explosion (hypothetical) rocket. The successful completion of that test would have allowed the company to launch astronauts to the ISS in July, on a mission dubbed Demo-2.

But due to the April anomaly, it is now likely that both the June abortion flight test and the July launch attempt will have to be postponed. On the one hand, SpaceX will definitely have to build a new spacecraft now. (Several are under construction, but that will still take time). Some experts say that the mission of the ISS could slip until 2020, and even Koenigsmann admits that the accident "was not good news for the calendar".

<h2 class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "What it means for investors."data-reactid =" 32 ">What it means for investors.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Although SpaceX rival Boeing (NYSE: BA) has suffered Delays and setbacks of their own.& nbsp; When preparing his CST-100 Starliner spacecraft for test flights, he is still expected to launch his first unmanned Starliner in a test to ISS in August. If that goes well, a manned mission could continue in November & nbsp; As SpaceX can now see its first manned mission delayed in 2020, this seems to change Boeing to leadership in this race. Boeing may well win bragging rights as the company that returns American astronauts to space, on board a US spacecraft, for the first time since the shuttle program was closed in 2011. "data-reactid =" 33 "> Although rival SpaceX Boeing (NYSE: BA) has suffered delays and setbacks of its own to make its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft ready for test flights, it is still expected to launch its first unmanned Starliner in a test to ISS in August. If that goes well, a manned mission could continue in November. As SpaceX can now see its first manned mission delayed in 2020, this seems to change Boeing to leadership in this race. Boeing can earn boasting rights as the company that returns American astronauts to space, on board a US spacecraft, for the first time since the shuttle program was closed in 2011.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Such success (if it happens) would tend to validate the decision of NASA to pay Boeing $ 4.2 billion to execute six transport missions to ISS aboard Starliner, instead of & nbsp;awarding SpaceX only $ 2.6 billion for the same job. And if NASA paid a reliability bonus once, then Boeing's argument for continuing to charge higher prices (and to earn larger profit margins) than SpaceX in the future would reinforce. "Data-reactid =" 38 "> Such success (if it occurs) the tendency of NASA to pay Boeing $ 4.2 billion to carry out six missions of transport to ISS on board the Starliner, instead of granting SpaceX only $ 2.6 One billion for the same work, and if NASA paid a reliability premium once, then Boeing's argument to continue to charge higher prices (and obtain higher profit margins) than SpaceX in the future would be reinforced.

Now all Boeing has to do is successfully launch its spacecraft to the ISS in August, as planned, and then do it again three months later, before SpaceX recovers.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " More from The Motley Fool "data-reactid =" 40 "> More from The Motley Fool

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Rich Smith It has no position in any of the actions mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the mentioned actions. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy."data-reactid =" 48 ">Rich Smith does not have any position in any of the actions mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the mentioned actions. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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