Friday , August 19 2022

The Dragon crew module exploded on ground engine tests


yesterday 17:00

This year at the beginning of March, the version of the garrison of Dragon joined ISS for the first time and returned to the Earth without any problems. But the next trials became fatal.

SpaceX Dragon's delivery module became the first private module in mid-2012 to successfully join the International Space Station (ISS) and made its first commercial supply trip by the end of the same year. This year, a crew version of this module joined ISS successfully at the beginning of March. The station was still automatic, the astronauts were not available.

Shuttle for ISS

With a maximum of 7-seat crew module, the Dragon Dragon, SpaceX has large schemes. Not only should it be able to transport the crew to the International Space Station, but in the future it intended to fly to Mars in a modified form within the Red Dragon program. However, this program was eventually canceled in 2017, with SpaceX focusing on the development of next generation missiles.

Crew version of Dragon: The first test went to the ISS without a problem. The module only exploded later in engine escape tests.

Crew version of Dragon: The first test went to the ISS without a problem. The module only exploded later in engine escape tests.

Source: SpaceX

However, the astronauts crew version to the space station has evolved. Crew Dragon works just like its costly variation. Fully autonomous in flight, it can also be controlled from the Hawthorne Control Center in California, of course, the astronauts aboard the ship will be able to correct its journey. It was designed from the start to not only be able to connect to the ISS, but also to land on solid ground and even liquid, and ultimately it's a good idea. better get a surface landing.


Naturally, in the crew version, there is much more security in mind, the module contains a special escape system, which can get the astronaut capsule to security if the launcher has serious problems. Even a few weeks ago, the crew module went through a trouble-free mission to the ISS.

Of course, it was only a test trip so far, so there were no astronauts on its deck or the equipment had been completed. Some control systems and displays were not active, missing either completely or rather than dummies. This is a common practice, and for tests of such type it is necessary to consider the costs, only very important devices and components associated with its management and its safety & security. n are installed. As it was not a full-featured module, it was supposed to test important technologies. These include a rescue escape system.

This is particularly important if there is a launcher failure or other startup problems. Fracking a second can determine whether astronauts reach security when a launcher does not succeed. Just for this risk the crew (Crew) Dragon has special 3D SuperDraco machines, which are about 200 times stronger than the classic Draco engines that are moving, and in particular they are able to secure & # The maximum power of 100 thousandth seconds after firing.

Link: Here's how Dragon crew joined the ISS.

Link: Here's how Dragon crew joined the ISS.

Source: NASA

Engine test

How should such an emergency move go? Basically, using SuperDraco machines, the module will move away from the unstable rocket, adjusting it to the return site with correction nozzles, starting to lower the speed by braking parachutes on about 10 kilometers, and the main parachutes they land into the sea develop in a kilometer. In order for the system test to go live, Draco and SuperDraco powerful moving machines would be tested.

Three tests will take place over the last weekend. But they did not, because there was "inconsistency." At least, the company named the event in Twitter, where it described the event very briefly – a series of tests were held in the Canaveral Mouse Landing Zone 1 test area, with an inconsistency in the final. They will now investigate this in detail with NASA.

I've completely destroyed it

According to witnesses who published photographs on social networks, "Anomaly" was a large smoke smoke with an atypical red color. It was possible to watch it from the nearby beaches from a distance of several kilometers. The color was caused by nitrogen dioxide, which Draco and SuperDraco machines burn with monomethylhydrazine. Our fuel is very toxic.

So, the anomaly seems to be directly related to engine testing, which was later confirmed by Jim Bridenstine, the National Aviation and Space Service administrator. The video, which later appeared on YouTube, showed that the blast completely destroyed the crew's module, and that no one was hurt.

Machine Test: Two have run successfully, the third has exploded, Dragon has been completely destroyed.

Machine Test: Two have run successfully, the third has exploded, Dragon has been completely destroyed.

Source: SpaceX / YouTube

Search for cases

The question is what caused it. As a module he had used and landed in the ocean and spent a few tens of minutes on the surface, the water may have penetrated somewhere where he could not be found, and caused misfortune. , although all module systems are quite right in front of them.

The second theory suggests that the heaters that engineers were planning to add to the module in order to keep the fuel temperature lower than its critical value could cause the accident t . If this happens, vibrations that can damage Draco moving machines can occur, which actually happened in one of the test trips.

The consequences of the accident

What does this accident mean to fly crews? A few important things. The entire program is being postponed because SpaceX does not currently have a module that can perform flight tests from the escape system. After that, the first delay with the sharp crew to the ISS is also delayed.

It was said that the Dragon crew could fly to the space station in the second half of this year. The crew module was due to present a pair of US astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, to the ISS in July this year, to stay there for two weeks.

They will have to wait a few weeks longer for the trip and ask them whether they will fly in Dragone. It is possible that a sudden start of its crew version will be postponed until 2020. This will, of course, also depend on the results of the investigation and the identification of the failure.

The question is how will it look at the launch of the cargo version without cost. In this case, the experts prefer to continue with the start, the next one is scheduled for 30 April and was valid at the time of writing. report.

Moreover, a Dragon crew crash is also interesting to Boeing. He also developed a crew module to transport astronauts to the ISS, from the name Starliner. He should have been flying without a crew to the ISS for the first time next month, but his journey was delayed for at least three months, the exact date was not announced. The first crewed aircraft was also postponed, probably in November.

It seems that if Dragoon's problems persist, Starliner will eventually win in these races and, after shuttle shutdown, the first US engine to bring astronauts to ISS.

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