On Monday, SpaceX announced that a malfunctioning titanium valve was the main reason behind the Crew Dragon Space Capsule explosion during a test in April this year. The explosion has cast doubts on the manned flight of the SpaceX missions to the International Space Station (ISS).
The VC of SpaceX Mission Assurance, Hans Koenigsmann, however, assured that it is still possible to use the Dragon capsule for a manned space flight this year. However, for that many things need to be done perfectly during the rest of the year.
Both Boeing and SpaceX are working simultaneously on capsules that will be carrying astronauts in space from the US – something that has stopped ever since the reusable space shuttle program was called off in 2011. At present, the United States has to purchase Soyuz capsules from Russia, which are launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Meanwhile, a press release from SpaceX stated that though the test failed lessons that were learned will help to improve the safety and reliability of the flight vehicles in the future. The Vice President, however, assured that the SuperDraco thrusters, which were the principal part of the failed test, have nothing to do with the glitch.
The main culprit behind the failure of the test was a check valve, which was replaced and is being currently put under a series of tests in the other capsules that the company owns. The team that carried out the investigation concluded that the valve got burnt down during the test, leading to the failure. They had recovered the charred remains of the valve from the debris left by the explosion.
Titanium is responsible for a series of explosions in various industrial settings, when it is heated to extremely hot temperatures, particularly in the presence of moisture. Minerals, metals and Materials society published this information.
Manager, Commercial crew program of NASA Kathy Luenders said that the procedure to approve manned spacecraft is lengthy and need to pass many tests.