Though SpaceX has yet to confirm the authenticity of the video, the company did report that the anomaly was quickly contained and that no one was injured. The Crew Dragon is composed of Draco thrusters for standard maneuvers and eight larger SuperDraco thrusters used for aborts in case of emergency.
That would have been the last test before NASA approved SpaceX to put astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley inside a new, updated version of the Crew Dragon vehicle for a crewed test set for no earlier than July. During the uncrewed mission, the capsule successfully docked with the space station and a week later, returned to Earth.
SpaceX has suffered a serious setback in its effort to launch NASA astronauts into orbit this year, with the fiery loss of its first crew capsule during testing. "Initial data reviews indicate the anomaly occurred during the SuperDraco static fire test; additional review will be required to determine the probable cause", the SpaceX spokesperson said.
The SpaceX spacecraft that flew to the International Space Station just over a month ago experienced an apparent explosion during a test of its engines Saturday, putting into question the schedule for NASA's highly anticipated program to return astronauts to space from American soil. These are created to safely heave the capsule away from the rocket in the event of an emergency.
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The University of Southern California's Garrett Reisman, a former NASA astronaut who directed space operations for SpaceX until a year ago, said it was a "tough day. not good" for the company.
Crew Dragon is on SpaceX's recovery vessel-completing the spacecraft's first test mission! "We will take lessons learned from this test - and our rigorous comprehensive test campaign - to ensure Crew Dragon is one of the safest human spaceflight vehicles ever built". The California-based company released few details, though, on the accident itself and how it might impact future flights. After that, the space company has relied on Russia's Roscosmos to provide Soyuz rockets for the transfer of astronauts into the International Space Station.
Earlier this month, NASA announced major delays for test flights of Boeing's Starliner crew capsule. Those efforts were expected to culminate this year with crewed flights - the first from the USA since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.
"The NASA and SpaceX teams are still assessing the anomaly that occurred, but I can tell you we are still tracking, as of today, for Tuesday, April 30, and that launch will be at 4:22 a.m".