KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., May 2 (UPI) -- SpaceX acknowledged Thursday that the company's Crew Dragon capsule was destroyed last weekend in an explosion during a test firing.
"It is too early to confirm any cause," Vice President Hans Koenigsmann during a press conference at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. "This will make us a better company ... to ensure that Crew Dragon is one of the safest spacecraft ever built."
Koenigsmann also confirmed, as had been suspected by observers, that the explosion happened Saturday during activation of the spacecraft's SuperDraco thrusters, which are used to land the craft as part of a launch escape system. The company has tested the Crew Dragon systems 600 times, he said.
"We do not think it was a problem with the SuperDraco itself," he said.
But the explosion should not have any effect on SpaceX's Cargo Dragon capsules, NASA said Thursday. The cargo spacecraft doesn't have the same SuperDraco thrusters.
A cargo capsule is due to launch at 3:11 a.m. Friday, but rain and clouds could push the launch back to the same time Saturday. An issue with the International Space Station's electrical power system earlier in the week has been resolved.
Asked if there was still a chance for launching the Crew Dragon again this year, Koenigsmann replied, "I certainly hope so."
He said several Crew Dragons are being produced. "Depending on the investigation, we can make changes to its hardware as we continue to build," he said.
Otherwise, Koenigsmann revealed little more about the disaster, saying teams "are very carefully reviewing the telemetry data, and recovered hardware."
In the hours after the explosion, SpaceX only acknowledged an "anomaly" during the test, despite a huge cloud of orange smoke seen around the Space Coast and a leaked video that appeared to show destruction of the capsule.
The CRS-17 launch will be on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage on the company's "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship, which will be stationed roughly 12 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.