A Leaky Component Caused the SpaceX Crew Dragon Explosion
Wired - Mon 15 Jul 22:56 GMT

The company still hopes to send two astronauts to the International Space Station this year but says the goal will be “increasingly difficult” to reach.

  NASA has tapped SpaceX and Boeing to lead the effort, and both companies hope to attempt crewed missions to the ISS by the end of the year.

  NASA and SpaceX have spent the past three months investigating the “anomaly”; although the inquiry is ongoing, the company announced earlier today that it has identified the cause of the disaster.

  According to Koenigsmann, the explosion occurred during a test of the Crew Dragon’s in-flight abort system, which is used to jettison the capsule from the rocket if something goes wrong during launch.

  Koenigsmann didn’t say when he expected this test to occur, but if it goes well, SpaceX will expect to launch two NASA astronauts to the ISS as early as mid-November.

  SpaceX is now neck and neck with Boeing, which plans to perform the first uncrewed launch of its Starliner spacecraft to the ISS in September and a crewed launch to the space station by late November.

  Last month, billionaire hotelier Robert Bigelow announced that his space company purchased four flights to the ISS in a SpaceX Crew Dragon and is selling tickets for $52 million a pop.

  But until SpaceX can convince NASA their spacecraft is safe for astronauts, the only thing it will be launching to space is more cargo.