SpaceX launch with CRS-17 scrubs Friday, will try again Saturday

A Crew Dragon capsule at the Kennedy Space Center

The Crew Dragon (or Dragon V2) is a reusable capsule for transporting people and cargo to space. "In terms of schedule, finishing the investigation and resolving this anomaly is our prime focus right now". Separately, a helium leak was detected at the ground site, one the company plans to have fixed by Saturday, when a new attempt has been rescheduled.

NASA said it was the second time such a unit had been replaced robotically, without needing to make astronauts perform a spacewalk.

"We have no reason to believe there is an issue with the SuperDracos themselves", Koenigsmann said, adding that the engines have been tested almost 600 times in the past. SpaceX won the $2.6-billion contract from NASA to design & build Crew Dragon.

"It's too early to confirm any cause or probable root", Koenigsmann said.

SpaceX is continuing to target 3:11 a.m. EDT Friday, for a launch of its 17th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-17) Mission from Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station; however, a disturbance in the tropics is delivering rain across the Florida Peninsula. "Just before we wanted to fire the SuperDracos, there was an anomaly and the vehicle was destroyed", he said.

The mission previously had been set for Wednesday but an issue with the International Space Station's electrical power system earlier in the week had caused a delay.

"Finishing the investigation and resolving this anomaly is actually our prime focus, certainly for me, right now", he said. While Crew Dragon - which is, as the name suggests, created to transport up to four human passengers rather than just cargo - is based on the same core design, it has the SuperDraco thrusters while the cargo variant does not. "We are looking at all possible issues, and the investigation is ongoing".

When pressed about the accident, Koenigsmann declined to say whether an explosion or fire was involved. The Falcon 9 rocket was due to launch at 8.11am, with its Dragon capsule being deployed 10 minutes later but this has since been postponed. He did note that SpaceX has other Dragons in its fleet. Because the arm is used to capture and berth the cargo Dragon spacecraft, NASA opted to delay the launch until flight controllers could use the arm to install a spare unit. Weather is forecast to be favorable, with a 70 percent chance of "go" conditions.

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