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On Monday, SpaceX said it had identified the cause of the explosion of its Dragon II spacecraft during a ground test in April, according to the latest news from foreign media. The reason is that a valve accidentally leaked some propellant of the spacecraft, triggering a chain reaction, resulting in the explosion of the spacecraft.
According to foreign media reports, the cause of the accident has been determined. SpaceX said it will replace these components in all future versions of the Long2 spacecraft to ensure that explosions and leaks will not occur again.
SpaceX's lost spacecraft is a test version of the company's Long2 spacecraft. The Long2 spacecraft was built for NASA to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
In March, the unmanned spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station and returned to Earth on a perfect test mission. But in a routine test of the spacecraft on April 20, the capsule exploded violently and disintegrated, ejecting orange gas into the sky.
Immediately after the accident, SpaceX set up an investigation team to identify the cause of the explosion. Since then, the company has been working with NASA. But SpaceX has not been able to determine the exact cause.
With the discovery of the leak, the company now says that the investigation has been completed about 80%.
At a news conference on Monday, Hans, SpaceX's vice president for manufacturing business and flight reliability
According to the company, the problem stems from the emergency suspension and astronaut escape system of LongEr spacecraft, which consists of a series of small thrusters embedded in the spacecraft. If everything goes well during the mission, these Micro-thrusters will never really be used. But if something goes wrong during future launches, the propeller can ignite and safely evacuate the astronauts from a disintegrated rocket.
SpaceX says a leaky valve causes the propellant needed by these propellants to enter another high-pressure system. When such leakage occurs, high pressure will impact the liquid violently, leading to the failure of valuable components, and ultimately leading to the loss of the spacecraft.
Koniman said that although it was known that there were some internal problems with the leaking valve, the propellant leak was certainly not anticipated. Ultimately, he admits, to some extent, it's a design problem.
The executive said that SpaceX would replace all these types of valves with another component and that the new component should be more reliable.
SpaceX claims that its California headquarters has many Long2 spacecraft in different stages of production. However, it is not clear when the Long2 spacecraft will fly again.
Before the April explosion, SpaceX had been planning to take the first astronauts to the International Space Station on the Long2 spacecraft this summer. Now it seems that SpaceX is more likely to launch its first manned mission early next year.
A representative of NASA, however, said she was somewhat pleased with the failure because the explosion occurred on the ground, not during the flight.
It is well known that the United States terminated its space shuttle program several years ago because of repeated accidents, and later had to rely on Russian manned spacecraft to transport American astronauts to the International Space Station. If the Long2 spacecraft project succeeds, NASA will also be able to reuse local tools to complete the delivery mission.
In addition to SpaceX, Boeing has also won a NASA contract to develop a manned spacecraft system, but the company's manned spacecraft has not yet made its first test flight.
Not long ago, NASA executives said that there was no doubt that the explosion of SpaceX's Long2 spacecraft had affected NASA's manned flight plan.
It is worth mentioning that SpaceX uses