Technology: SpaceX turned to fast-igniting fuel for its capsule escape system. That could be part of the accident probe - PressFrom - US
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TechnologySpaceX turned to fast-igniting fuel for its capsule escape system. That could be part of the accident probe

17:54  23 april  2019
17:54  23 april  2019 Source:   latimes.com

NASA, SpaceX test flight to go ahead

NASA, SpaceX test flight to go ahead The first test flight of the new commercial Dragon space capsule will go ahead following approval by NASA and SpaceX.

A launch escape system (LES) or launch abort system (LAS) is a crew safety system connected to a space capsule , used to quickly separate the capsule from its launch vehicle rocket in case of

Modifying the fueling procedures, as demonstrated during SpaceX 's launch Saturday from California, is a first step. Accident investigators traced the cause of the launch pad fireball to a helium canister in the SpaceX 's plan to fuel its rockets after the crew is aboard has raised questions by NASA safety

SpaceX turned to fast-igniting fuel for its capsule escape system. That could be part of the accident probe© SpaceX/NASA/SpaceX/TNS SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, with its Crew Dragon capsule attached, rolls out of the company's hangar at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in January 2019.

During the Apollo era, NASA astronauts relied on a rocket tower at the top of the capsule to pull them safely away in case of an emergency. If it wasn't used, the tower was jettisoned after the Saturn V rocket had reached about 295,000 feet.

But when SpaceX and Boeing Co. set out to build a new capsule, NASA decided to maintain the escape function all the way to orbit. In SpaceX's case, that means building thrusters into the sides of its Crew Dragon - a move that also simplifies the number of staging events. Those SuperDraco thrusters are powered by monomethylhydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide - propellants that, when combined, immediately ignite.

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Ground crews were fuelling the Falcon for a brief test-firing of its engines, two days before its scheduled SpaceX is urging anyone with audio, photos or video of the accident to send the material to “Still working on the Falcon fireball investigation,” Musk said on Twitter. “ Turning out to be the

Space - X has disclosed that liquid oxygen on the second stage solidified - meaning it was too cold - and that set off a cascade of failures. They haven't yet announced details about the cascade, but I think it ' s likely that the unanticipated cold caused carbon fiber delamination of one of the hydrogen tanks within

The combination of those propellants may be scrutinized as part of the investigation into an accident Saturday during a "static fire" test of a Crew Dragon's SuperDraco engines in Florida. The "anomaly," as SpaceX and NASA described it, sent up a plume of orange smoke - a sign, experts say, that could indicate nitrogen tetroxide was involved.

Neither SpaceX nor NASA would say whether the Crew Dragon test capsule - the same one that flew on a first, uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station in March - was lost in the explosion. Hawthorne-based SpaceX said no one was injured and that teams from the company were investigating and "working closely with our NASA partners."

The very purpose of the SuperDraco engines - almost instantly spiriting away astronauts from the rocket during an emergency - explains the decision to use those so-called hypergolic propellants, said David Barnhart, director of USC's space engineering research center.

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A SpaceX capsule designed to ferry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station suffered a failure during an engine No one was injured, and it was not clear what caused the accident or how serious it was . And it comes ahead of tests of the capsule 's escape system , which is designed to

SpaceX said Friday that evidence points to a large breach in the rocket's helium system during a routine prelaunch test that turned into a devastating Helium is part of the pressurization system . While the launch pad was damaged, nearby support buildings and fuel tanks were unscathed

"You don't have to wait for an igniter," he said. "You get instant thrust."

During a 2015 test of the capsule's abort system, the Crew Dragon's eight SuperDraco engines fired up, and each instantly produced about 15,000 pounds of thrust, according to a NASA statement at the time.

Hypergolic propellants have been used in other spacecraft, dating back to the engine that powered the upper section of the Apollo lunar module. The space shuttle used them in its orbital maneuvering system, allowing the shuttle to move through space.

Satellites also use them to maneuver, said Ray Lugo, director of the University of Central Florida's Florida Space Institute and former director of the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

The propellants can be easily stored, unlike liquid oxygen, which needs to stay cold, said Phil Westmoreland, a professor in the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering at North Carolina State University.

Incident on SpaceX pad could delay its first manned flight

Incident on SpaceX pad could delay its first manned flight A mysterious but apparently serious incident occurred Saturday in Cape Canaveral, Florida involving the SpaceX capsule intended to carry American astronauts into space late this year, the private company and NASA announced. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); “Earlier today, SpaceX conducted a series of engine tests on a Crew Dragon test vehicle on our test stand at Landing Zone 1 in Cape Canaveral, Florida," a SpaceX spokesman said in a statement.

Currently, SpaceX fuels its rockets around 30 minutes before they launch, and the plan The reason SpaceX has such a short turn around time has to do with the propellant the company uses. These cryogenic temperatures increase the density of propellant that can be used in the rocket, giving the

SpaceX launched a major test Wednesday (May 5) of the innovative rocket escape system for its manned Dragon spaceships, a critical system It was over in less than two minutes, with video of the Dragon crew capsule abort test showing the craft soaring skyward from a pad at Cape Canaveral Air

And unlike a solid rocket booster, which simply burns down once it is ignited, hypergolic propellants can be controlled through opening and closing valves in the rocket engine chamber. That helps throttle thrust, depending on how much is needed, Barnhart said.

But hypergolic fuels must be handled carefully, Westmoreland said. When researching how to improve the safety of the materials, he said, his group would isolate the two different types of propellants on two separate sides of the working area.

"These react together," he said. "That's why you have to be extra careful."

SpaceX said it had been conducting a series of engine tests Saturday on the Crew Dragon capsule. While initial tests were successfully completed, the final one "resulted in an anomaly on the test stand," SpaceX said in a statement at the time.

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