SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft suffers anomaly during ground tests
24 April, 2019, 12:29
NASA has awarded SpaceX and Boeing Co a total of $6.8 billion to build competing rocket and capsule systems to launch astronauts into orbit from American soil.
The US Air Force confirmed that during a SpaceX test there was "an incident", which caused no injuries.
The statement continued and said that "The initial tests completed successfully, but the final test resulted in an anomaly on the test stand".
The Crew Dragon (Dragon 2) spacecraft from United States private space company SpaceX suffered a problem during static combustion tests of its launch abortion engines, SpaceNews reported, citing a SpaceX spokesman.
Eyewitnesses on beaches near Cape Canaveral reported seeing a dark cloud mid-afternoon from somewhere in the vicinity of the Air Force facility.
It's not clear whether the incident will affect the timeline for SpaceX to ready the craft, which is part of the Commercial Crew Program - a project to provide NASA with new vehicles to launch astronauts into space, and that is already running long behind schedule.
SpaceX has experienced a problem during the testing of its Crew Dragon capsule, according to numerous witnesses in Florida.
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In a statement, SpaceX said it's committed to ensuring that its systems "meet rigorous safety standards".
"This is why we test", echoed NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. The second crewed flight should take place before the end of the year.
Godspeed to SpaceX and NASA as they enter into this challenging and unplanned failure investigation.
Although it is too earlier to speculate at the possible impact the failure will have on the development of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, it is likely that the mishap will delay the launch of the first crewed mission to well into 2020.
SpaceX calls Dragon "a free-flying spacecraft created to deliver both cargo and people to orbiting destinations". The company had been set to fly the capsule with a crew aboard on another test flight this year.
Boeing's Starliner development effort suffered a setback last June when an anomaly cropped up during a test of the spacecraft's launch abort engine system. The spacecraft successfully docked with the space station.
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