SpaceX Crew Dragon experiences 'anomaly' during NASA ground test

22 April, 2019, 17:41 | Author: Emilio Conner
  • SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft suffers anomaly during ground tests

America's human space programme suffered a setback when a new capsule created to carry astronauts was destroyed in an explosion during a test of its crew safety system.

SpaceX told Florida Today that the malfunction, and subsequent smoke, was brought about by an "anomaly".

U.S. aerospace manufacturer SpaceX said earlier in the day that an "anomaly" had occurred during the static fire tests of the abort engines of its crewed Dragon spacecraft, also known as Dragon 2. While the initial tests were completed successfully, "the final test resulted in an anomaly on the test stand", the statement said.

Pictures of orange smoke rising over the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station have been spreading on the social media.

"Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting anomalies like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test", the spokesperson added.

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.

Bridenstine tweeted that the nation's planned space missions with crews will move forward safely.

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An unverified video from a user named Astronut099 (allegedly a SpaceX intern) was posted on Twitter claiming to show the results of the failed test.

SpaceX calls Dragon "a free-flying spacecraft created to deliver both cargo and people to orbiting destinations".

SpaceX had appeared to be cruising to victory over Boeing in the race to be the first to launch astronauts to orbit from USA soil since NASA's final shuttle mission in 2011.

In the meantime, NASA has been paying Russian space agency Soyuz around $80 million per-seat to send American astronauts to the International Space Station.

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

The Crew Dragon spacecraft was launched for the first time on an uncrewed test mission earlier the year.

The first piloted flight, with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on board, is now targeted for late July.

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