On Saturday, April 20, something bad happened to SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship. We still don’t know exactly what happened. But at least we now know more than we did last month.
Initially, SpaceX and NASA declined to give much information on the anomaly, the smoke, or especially the explosion. But ultimately, that leaked video must have persuaded SpaceX and NASA to tear the bandage off and confirm what many already expected: Crew Dragon blew up.
It’s hard to argue with a video
In a public statement last week, SpaceX vice president of mission assurance Hans Koenigsmann described how, while situated on a test stand in Florida, Crew Dragon had successfully test-fired its Draco maneuvering thrusters twice. It was just preparing to fire its Super Draco thrusters (which, in the event of a mishap with the spaceship’s rocket booster, would be used to safely propel the spaceship and its crew away from the explosion), when all of a sudden, “there was an anomaly and the vehicle was destroyed.”
Now even Koenigsmann’s statement repeated the party line that it was “too early to confirm” what exactly happened. Still, here’s what we know that’s important for investors.
The spaceship that blew up last month was the same vessel that successfully completed an unmanned docking with the International Space Station in March.