As Elon Musk's SpaceX closes in on the possible cause of a fiery explosion in April that destroyed one of its astronaut capsules, a company executive said on Monday its plan to launch humans into space this year looked "increasingly difficult." One of the space company's Crew Dragon capsules exploded on a test stand at a Florida Air Force station moments before firing eight emergency abort thrusters designed to propel an on-board crew to safety in the event of a failure.
Crew Dragon was slated earlier this year to carry US astronauts to the International Space station in a first manned test mission in July, although that date slipped until November following the explosion and some other hitches in the vehicle's design. Monday's comments were a fresh sign that the schedule could slip into 2020.
"I'm pretty optimistic at this point in time because we have a good path forward," Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX’s vice president of Build & Flight Reliability told reporters on a conference call as the company provided fresh details from the investigation. My emphasis is really on making sure this is safe and by the end of this year, I don't think it's impossible, but it's getting increasingly difficult."
NASAs new mission is to study the Sun NASA launched a satellite on Thursday night to explore the mysterious, dynamic region where air meets space. The satellite called Icon, short for Ionospheric Connection Explorer rocketed into orbit following a two year delay. It was dropped from a plane flying over the Atlantic off the Florida coast.
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