A space capsule suspected to have exploded last month in an incident characterized by manufacturer SpaceX as an "anomaly" was in fact completely destroyed, a US senator confirmed on Wednesday.
"SpaceX's latest anomaly has caused the complete loss of the capsule," said Senator Richard Shelby, chairman of a Senate committee that administers Nasa's budget, during a hearing.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told Shelby that the agency, which contracted its mission to resume the transport of American astronauts to the International Space Station, SpaceX and Boeing by Elon Musk, would be conducting a joint investigation with SpaceX.
NASA and SpaceX remained silent as to what caused the serious incident during the engine tests on April 25.
A leaked video posted on Twitter, later indirectly authenticated by NASA, showed an explosion.
NASA is counting on SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule to transport astronauts to and from ISS, a task undertaken since 2011 by Russia, with the first planned manned flight before the end of the year.
The capsule that exploded was to be launched by a rocket in the coming months during a full-scale test of its in-flight abortion system that would allow it to return to Earth in an emergency.
SpaceX and NASA are now expected to work urgently to find out the cause of the blast, as well as replace the capsule – questioning NASA's declared goal of launching US astronauts into space from US soil through the end of 2019.
(This story was not edited by the Business Standard team and generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)