SpaceX Crew Dragon suffers anomaly during engine test; no injuries reported

SpaceX Crew Dragon suffers anomaly during engine test; no injuries reported

According to several sources, SpaceX was testing the Super Draco thrusters fitted on the spacecraft to act as an emergency abort system.

A SpaceX capsule created to ferry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station suffered a failure during an engine test Saturday afternoon that sent a billowing plume of smoke into the air over Cape Canaveral, Florida. The explosion was so intense that it was picked up on the local weather radar. The tests were carried out on Saturday at SpaceX's test stand in Cape Canaveral, located in the southeastern U.S. state of Florida.

"The initial tests completed successfully but the final test resulted in an anomaly on the test stand", SpaceX said in a statement.

He added that SpaceX is investigating the anomaly in close cooperation with its partners in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). And its first crewed mission, which will carry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, was slated for July, though NASA recently said that timeline was under review.

SpaceX did not specify which Crew Dragon was on the test stand during the engine test, or if it survived the anomaly at Landing Zone 1.

Last month, with the Crew Dragon in the midst of a smooth first demonstration flight, independent safety advisers urged vigilance, saying the days ahead were "a time for both optimism and caution, not a time for haste".

Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine referred on Twitter only to an "anomaly". That crewed flight is targeted for sometime this summer, pending a successful in-flight abort.

Test mosaic of a SuperDraco pod, which will be used in the Crew Dragon spacecraft as a launch escape system as well as a propulsive landing system. "It is necessary to deal with the causes of the accident that took place during the tests".

After Boeing and SpaceX each have flown test flights with astronauts, NASA will certify their safety to fly operational missions with four-person crews - one more person than can fit in a Soyuz. NASA's latest schedule calls for the Starliner to make an uncrewed flight to the space station no earlier than August, with a crewed demonstration flight to follow no earlier than late 2019.

This post will be updated with any further information on the test from SpaceX.

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