SpaceX Crew Dragon suffers 'anomaly' during engine testing

SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule suffers an anomaly during its Florida engine test

SpaceX told Florida Today that the malfunction, and subsequent smoke, was brought about by an "anomaly". The failure occurred during testing of the spacecraft's Draco and SuperDraco thrusters with the anomaly occurring during the testing of the later.

In a statement, a SpaceX spokesperson confirmed there was a problem of some kind during tests of the spacecraft at Landing Zone 1, the former Launch Complex 13 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, but provided few details about the what happened. The incident will likely lead to further delays with NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

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.

Other reports, however, suggest that the test article was the Crew Dragon that flew a successful uncrewed mission to the space station and back last month.

During testing Saturday, the SpaceX Crew Dragon, created to ferry humans between Earth and the International Space Station (ISS), suffered "an anomaly".

It is not immediately clear if this proposed test stand was to be used during Saturday's planned static fires, although the testing occurred in the vicinity of SpaceX's Landing Zone 1. However, with the anomaly, it appears the schedule could be in doubt. A final assessment, however, "resulted in an anomaly on the test stand". Under CCP, Boeing and SpaceX have been tasked with returning America's crewed spaceflight capability by providing crew rotation flights to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX has been preparing the Crew Dragon capsule for a crewed flight to the ISS, which is now scheduled for sometime in July.

NASA called the flight "a major milestone", and it raised hopes that the Crew Dragon's first manned flight could take place before year's end.

This is concerning, as the United States has purchased seats on the Russian Soyuz rocket to fill the gap between the ending of the Space Shuttle and Commercial Crew coming online.

A video making rounds online shows Crew Dragon being destroyed in a massive explosion during the safety test. 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.