SpaceX Crew Dragon suffers anomaly at Cape Canaveral

Katie Ramirez
April 22, 2019

A SpaceX capsule created to ferry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station suffered a failure during an engine test Saturday afternoon that sent a billowing plume of smoke into the air over Cape Canaveral, Florida.

SpaceX statement released a statement on the anomaly, per CBS space correspondent Bill Harwood.

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

The statement did not specify whether the mishap involved a flight version of the Crew Dragon ferry ship or whether it might have been an engine test article of some sort.

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 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.

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That was the final test scheduled before for a launch with crew Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.

SpaceX said its teams are investigating and are working closely with U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) partners.

Reddish smoke can indicate hypergolic propellants like those used by the Super Draco abort engines in the Crew Dragon spacecraft.

'Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting [issues] like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test, ' the company said in a statement. The spacecraft successfully docked with the space station.

NASA and SpaceX have confirmed that there was some kind of "anomaly" during a series of engine tests of the Crew Dragon capsule, after witnesses reported and shared pictures of a plume of orange smoke visible from miles away. The first demonstration flight under NASA's Commercial Crew Program launched on March 2.

Boeing's first unpiloted Starliner flight is tentatively planned for August with the first piloted flight expected late this year.

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