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Koenigsmann spoke at a briefing NASA held prior to the scheduled May 3 launch of a cargo Dragon spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station. These include "a standard warning" that the certain violations "could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination and removal from employment", she said. And so we will take the lessons learned from this and I'm convinced this will help us to ensure that Crew Dragon is one of the safest human spaceflight vehicles ever built.

That work was completed early Thursday, restoring redundant power to the robot arm and clearing the way for the Dragon's launch Friday, weather permitting.

"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. (2,495 kilograms) of cargo, crew supplies, and research experiments for the space station.

"While it is too early to confirm any cause, whether probable or crude, the initial data indicates that the anomaly occurred during the activation of the SuperDraco system", he added.

"It's certainly not great news for the schedule overall", Koenigsmann said. The capsule had successfully test-fired its smaller Draco thrusters, but just before it fired its SuperDraco engines, "there was an anomaly and the vehicle was destroyed".

As you mentioned already, Crew Dragon is built upon the heritage of Cargo Dragon but these are different spacecraft.

When pressed about the accident, Koenigsmann declined to say whether an explosion or fire was involved. But an old power-switching unit malfunctioned at the station Monday and knocked two power channels offline.

Six weeks after a successful test flight without a crew to the space station, the crew Dragon was engulfed in flames during a ground test. SpaceX was in the process of firing the capsule's thrusters on a test stand.

The April 20 accident occurred on a landing zone at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as SpaceX was conducting a test of emergency thrusters created to propel the capsule, dubbed Crew Dragon, to safety from atop the rocket in the event of a launch failure.

The next chance to launch the capsule is Saturday at 2:48 a.m. ET and there's about a 70% chance of favorable weather.

Boeing's launch plan also encountered multiple delays.