SpaceX stated March 24 that one of many closing parachute checks for its Crew Dragon spacecraft went awry, an issue it blamed on the check setup and never a flaw with the parachutes themselves. In a statement, SpaceX stated that it tried to carry out a parachute check by dropping a check article from a helicopter. The corporate didn’t describe the check article; however, in some previous exams, it has used a mockup of a Crew Dragon spacecraft.
As a result of the helicopter was not but in place for the check, the parachute system on the check article was not armed, “and as such, the parachute system didn’t provoke the parachute deployment sequence,” the corporate stated. The check article was destroyed; however, nobody was injured.
Whereas SpaceX had suffered issues with parachute exams previously, including a test failure in April 2019, the corporate stated the parachutes weren’t at fault on this take a look at since they had been by no means activated.
Earlier than this incident, the corporate had reported a string of successes of a brand new Mark three parachute design meant to enhance their security. In December, SpaceX introduced it had performed 10 successful consecutive “multi-chute” tests of the Mark 3 design, a milestone NASA and SpaceX had mentioned in October it hoped to realize by the tip of the year.
Throughout a press convention on the Kennedy Space Center March 6 earlier than the launch of a cargo Dragon mission, Hans Koenigsmann, VP of constructing and flight reliability at SpaceX, stated that the corporate was “nearly finished” with Crew Dragon parachute testing.
SpaceX didn’t disclose in its assertion if this incident concerned the primary or second of the two remaining checks that Koenigsmann referred to, and the way it could have an effect on remaining preparations for the Demo-2 Crew Dragon mission. That flight, presently scheduled for mid-to-late May, will ship NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station and mark the primary crewed orbital flight from U.S. soil for the reason that retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.
NASA stated earlier March 24 that it would have representatives from the commercial crew program on SpaceX’s investigation into a premature engine shutdown throughout a Falcon 9 launch on March 18. The company stated it was nonetheless planning on a May launch of the Demo-2 mission, however “would regulate the date based on evaluate of the information, if applicable” from that investigation.