Incident on SpaceX pad could delay its first manned flight

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

A mysterious but apparently serious incident occurred Saturday in Cape Canaveral, Florida involving the SpaceX capsule meant to carry American astronauts into space late this year, the private company and NASA announced.

Elon Musk's SpaceX suffered an anomaly in one of its Crew Dragon capsules while conducting engine tests at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Saturday, the company said.

SpaceX said the craft was undergoing a "series of engine tests" at a facility in Cape Canaveral, and something went wrong during the final stretch.

A photo taken Saturday by Florida Today visual journalist Craig Bailey showed a plume of orange smoke rising above nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

That was the final test scheduled before for a launch with crew Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. "Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting anomalies like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test".

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"This is why we test", Bridenstine said in the Twitter statement. And it comes ahead of tests of the capsule's escape system, which is created to jettison the spacecraft away from its rocket in the event of an emergency. "Our teams are investigating and working closely with our NASA partners", the company further added. "We will learn, make the necessary adjustments and safely move forward with our commercial crew program".

SpaceX is developing its Crew Dragon capsule to transport crew to the International Space Station.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon during testing in an anechoic chamber earlier in 2018. Now, the launch of the Dragon 2 spacecraft in July is out of the question. As the Times noted, SpaceX is building a different Crew Dragon capsule for that crewed test.

For the last eight years, NASA has been dependent on Russian Federation to ferry its astronauts to the International Space Station, paying Roscosmos up to $81 million per seat.

In the last nine years, SpaceX has successfully built, tested, launched, and recovered Cargo and Crew Dragons 18 times, including five instances of Cargo Dragon capsule reuse, all with minor or no issues.

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