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.
A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule suffered an anomaly during a routine test fire at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Saturday afternoon, the 45th Space Wing confirmed today, according to an article in FLORIDA TODAY.
With SpaceX and NASA still mute on details of what they dubbed an "anomaly" during the latest Crew Dragon capsule safety test - a video has leaked online apparently showing a "rapid unscheduled disassembly" event, aka a big boom. SpaceX was running engine tests on an unmanned space vehicle over the weekend at Cape Canaveral when something went seriously wrong. A US Air Force spokesperson told local press the incident, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, had been contained and no-one had been injured.
NASA officials have said SpaceX must successfully complete the in-flight abort test before moving on the first crewed flight of a Crew Dragon. "We will learn, make the necessary adjustments and safely move forward with our Commercial Crew Program", he added. The test "sent a reddish-orange plume into the sky visible for miles around", suggesting a fairly serious malfunction of the engine systems, said Spaceflight Now, which described the anomaly as an accident.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured about 20 meters away from the International Space Station's Harmony module.
The Elon Musk-led company conducted a successful test of the capsule without crew in March.
The Crew Dragon successfully rendezvoused with the space station on March 8, during an uncrewed test launch.
SpaceX had appeared to be cruising to victory over Boeing in the race to be the first to launch astronauts to orbit from U.S. soil since NASA's final shuttle mission in 2011. The failure occurred during testing of the spacecraft's Draco and SuperDraco thrusters with the anomaly occurring during the testing of the later.