SpaceX Demo 1 Flown Crew Dragon was Test Vehicle Impacted in Static Fire Test Anomaly at Cape: Photos

SpaceX static fire testing anomaly April 20,
2019 impacted Demo-1 Crew Vehicle sends smoke billowing into the skies over
Cape Canaveral, FL. Credit:
Craig Bailey/Florida Today

Ken
Kremer —
SpaceUpClose.com &
RocketSTEM
– 21 April 2019



CAPE CANAVERAL/KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL  The recently
launched and recovered SpaceX Demo-1 crew vehicle spacecraft was in fact the test vehicle impacted in the April 20 testing anomaly failure at Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – – Space UpClose has confirmed – that sent smoke billowing into the
skies without warning and suffered potentially catastrophic destruction
on the test stand during static fire testing of the Super Draco thrusters.



The failed test will almost
certainly delay the inaugural astronaut launch on the SpaceX Demo 2 mission
planned for NET (no earlier than) this summer from Launch Complex39A at
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. 



NASA and SpaceX immediately
formed an investigation task force to determine the cause of the accident,
apply lessons learned and fix what’s wrong to ensure the safety and the lives of
our brave astronaut crews.  



Apparently nothing usable for
a space launch remains of the SpaceX Demo-1 Crew Vehicle as a result of what
appears to be a sudden destructive event at the end of a series of static fire tests that had apparently gone very well until the very last test that day.



The lead photo above was
taken during the anomaly event Saturday afternoon, April 20, by my colleague
Craig Bailey for Florida Today while covering a local surfing event showing unsuspecting
Cape Canaveral beachgoers frolicking in the foreground and thick clouds of orange
smoke rising uncontrollably in the background.  



SpaceX had planned to reuse
the Demo-1 spacecraft for the critical In Flight Abort Test planned for NET
June as a key milestone to be achieved prior to launching a Crew Dragon with
NASA astronauts aboard on the inaugural ferry flight test to the International Space Station (ISS)
and back. 



See herein my photos from the
triumphantly successful Demo-1 prelaunch, launch and recovery phases arriving
into Port Canaveral, FL in March 2019. 



An unconfirmed video circulating
on the internet appears to show the static fire test in progress ending with a catastrophic
explosion and fire and virtually complete destruction of the SpaceX Demo-1 Crew
Vehicle at about T Minus 8 seconds. 



However the exact condition
of the Demo-1 capsule is not known at this time because SpaceX has not revealed
any details at all. 



Up Close view of SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft bolted atop Falcon
9 rocket with Crew Access Arm astronaut walkway in position after being raised
vertical at NASA’s historic Launch Complex 39A in Florida on March 1, 2019 ahead
of scheduled maiden liftoff March 2 at 2:49 a.m. EST on critical unpiloted test
flight on Demo-1 mission. This vehicle apparently destroyed during static fire
test anomaly failure on Apr. 20, 2019 on Landing Zone-1 at Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Initial data reviews carried out by SpaceX engineers
indicate the anomaly occurred during the actual SuperDraco static fire test –
which was the last in a series that day.  



But much further additional and wide ranging reviews
will be required to determine the probable cause – which is not known at this
time.  
Scorched SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1 capsule on deck of GO
Searcher recovery ship arrives into Port Canaveral, FL late evening March 9, 2019
some 35 hours after splashdown at 8:45 a.m. EST March 8, in the Atlantic Ocean
approximately 230 miles northeast
of Cape Canaveral, Florida and hoisting on deck
. This vehicle apparently
destroyed during static fire test anomaly failure on Apr. 20, 2019 on Landing
Zone-1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
The incident was first reported by Florida
Today late Saturday afternoon and confirmed to Space UpClose by both the 45th
Space Wing of the US Air Force and SpaceX a short time later.   
NASA also issued a statement later Saturday
from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine confirming that SpaceX was conducting
static fire testing involving the Super Draco engines on the Crew Dragon test
vehicle. 
Up Close view of SpaceX Falcon 9 Crew Dragon with Crew
Access Arm astronaut walkway in position after being raised vertical atop
Falcon 9 rocket at NASA KSC  historic Launch
Complex 39A in Florida on March 1, 2019 ahead of maiden liftoff March 2 on critical
unpiloted test flight on Demo-1 mission. Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
There were no injuries according to SpaceX and the Air
Force during Saturday’s incident which took place during a static test firing
sequence involving the vehicles Super Draco abort engines at Landing Zone 1 at
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

SpaceX
will continue to work closely with their NASA partners to thoroughly review the
test data and implement corrective actions as the investigation has commenced
and continues into the foreseeable future.

SpaceX  policy is to take lessons learned from this
test – and their overall rigorous comprehensive test campaign – to ensure Crew
Dragon is one of the safest human spaceflight vehicles ever built.



The Super Draco abort engines are intended to
save the astronauts lives in case of a catastrophic rocket emergency by quickly
pulling the Crew Dragon vehicle away from the failing rocket in a split second before
they are killed or injured. 
Water reflection launch view as SpaceX Falcon
9 soars off Launch Complex 39A at
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2:49 a.m. EST, March 2,
2019
carrying the company’s first commercially-built and operated Crew Dragon
spacecraft
to orbit for docking with the International Space Station (ISS) – as seen from VAB roof.  This vehicle apparently destroyed during static
fire test anomaly failure on Apr. 20, 2019 on Landing Zone-1 at Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station, FL. Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
The commercial Crew Dragon vehicle is being
developed under a contract awarded to SpaceX by NASA back in 2014 with the goal
of returning US human spaceflight capabilities in a safe, reliable and cost
effective manner. 

That capability to launch humans to space was
lost since the forced retirement of NASA’s Space Shuttle fleet in 2011. 

The SpaceX Crew Dragon was intended to launch
American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from US soil later
this year- for the first time since NASA’s space shuttles were retired in 2011. 

Those plans by NASA and
SpaceX may now be delayed, but the exact impact is unclear at this time pending
the results of an investigation. 

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon raised vertical with
Crew Access Arm in position at NASA’s historic Launch Complex 39A in Florida on
March 1, 2019 ahead of maiden liftoff March 2 on critical unpiloted test flight
on Demo-1 mission. Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Watch my SpaceX Demo-1 Crew Dragon launch
video here:


Video Caption: Maiden launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying unpiloted commercially-built Crew
Dragon on Demo-1 test flight for NASA
to the International Space Station. Crew Dragon lifted off at 2:49
a.m. EST, March 2, 2019 from Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
in Florida
– as seen in this video camera stationed at the
pad.
Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The next SpaceX launch to the ISS on the
Dragon CRS-17 resupply mission for NASA is still targeting April 30. 

Watch my commentary at Fox 35 TV News Orlando about the SpaceX
Crew Dragon testing failure here and the implications for delay in future Crew
Dragon test flights here:



http://www.fox35orlando.com/news/local-news/spacex-capsule-that-is-expected-to-be-the-future-of-manned-missions-suffers-an-explosion


Dr. Ken Kremer/Space UpClose interviewed on Fox 35 WOFL TV
News on 22 April about the SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1 vehicle Super Draco engine
testing failure that took place on 20 April 2019. Screenshot: Ken Kremer/WOFL

Watch for Ken’s continuing
onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
and more space and mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.



Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and
Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer
– email: ken at kenkremer.com



Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the
KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about
space topics.

………….
Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events



Learn more about the upcoming/recent SpaceX Demo-1 launch and test failure, SpaceX
Falcon 9/CRS-17 launch to ISS, Falcon 9 Beresheet
launch, USAF GPS 3-01, NASA missions, ULA Atlas &
Delta launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events at Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville,
FL, evenings: 



Apr
28-30
: “SpaceX Falcon 9 Demo-1
and Beresheet

launch,
Dragon CRS-17 resupply
launch to ISS, SpaceX Falcon Heavy & Falcon 9 launches, upcoming SpaceX
Falcon 9 ULA, NRO & USAF Spysats, SLS, Orion, Boeing and SpaceX Commercial
crew capsules, OSIRIS-Rex, Juno at Jupiter, InSight Mars lander, Curiosity and
Opportunity explore Mars, NH at Pluto, Ultima Thule, Kuiper Belt and more,”
Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings. Photos for sale

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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