NASA Workers Warned About Sharing Images After SpaceX Explosion Video Leak: Report

An internal memo to some workers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center is warning that employees could be fired for sharing images after a video of SpaceX's Crew Dragon explosion leaked online last week, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel

The memo, which was sent to NASA contractors under specific contract, also confirms that SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule did explode — something SpaceX and NASA have not publicly confirmed — during an April 20 abort system test, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

On April 20, the company tested the capsule's SuperDraco escape engines, which are designed to get astronauts out of harm's way in the event of a launch emergency, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A video of the failed engine test was leaked on Twitter, and suggests that the capsule exploded; other coverage showed large plumes of smoke in the skies above the Florida coast. 

In the memo, the incident is identified as an "anomaly." While the communiqué confirms that the leaked video is legitimate and that the Dragon capsule did explode, neither SpaceX nor NASA have publically released details about the event. 

"As most of you are aware, SpaceX conducted a test fire of their crew capsule abort engines at [Cape Canaveral Air Force Station], and they experienced an anomaly," the email obtained by the Orlando Sentinel reads. "Subsequently, video of the failed test — which was not released by SpaceX or NASA — appeared on the internet." 

In the memo, employees were warned that they could be fired if they publicly share photos and videos from the space center, according to the Orlando Sentinel. 

"It is up to NASA and other companies onsite to make the determination about what information related to their activities is released to the public," the memo stated.

Investigations are underway to determine what happened during the testing incident. Currently, it is unclear what impact the event will have on the commercial crew program. 

For more details, visit the Orlando Sentinel.

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Samantha Mathewson
Contributing Writer

Samantha Mathewson joined as an intern in the summer of 2016. She received a B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, in Connecticut. Previously, her work has been published in Nature World News. When not writing or reading about science, Samantha enjoys traveling to new places and taking photos! You can follow her on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13.