The SpaceX crew dragon suffers from an "anomaly" when testing at Cape Canaveral


SpaceX's Crew Dragon automatically connects to the International Space Station earlier this year.
Photo: NASA (AP)

One of SpaceX crew's Crew Dragon crew caps suffered an "anomaly" on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida while it was testing its engines on Saturday. "That the capsule was destroyed.

According to Spaceflight Now, nearby workers said they heard an explosion, but no injuries were reported. In a statement to Florida Today, a spokesman for the company left little detail, focusing instead on how the incident occurred in unmanned rather than in-flight tests and / or with humans on board:

Earlier in the day, SpaceX performed a series of engine tests on a test vehicle Crew Dragon on our test bench located in Landing Zone 1 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. said SpaceX in a statement. "The first tests were done successfully, but the final test resulted in an anomaly on the test bench."

"Our main focus is to ensure that our systems meet stringent safety standards and to detect such anomalies prior to flight. Our teams are investigating and working closely with our NASA partners, "said the company.

NASA's director Jim Bridenstine echoed this sentiment. He notably published a statement on Twitter in which he declared in particular: "That is why we test".

SpaceFlight Now wrote that the accident had occurred while SpaceX was performing an "engine abandonment test". The crew Dragon uses Draco thrusters for normal maneuvers, as well as eight larger SuperDraco thrusters used for interruptions in an emergency. According to the Los Angeles Times, SpaceX confirmed that the boat causing the anomaly was the one that was automatically docked to the International Space Station earlier this year, which engineers had planned to refurbish . This capsule should have been subjected to an unarmed flight drop test, which would first require the type of static fire test that went wrong on Saturday.

Business Insider released a video of what a Twitter user would have described as a detonating device, but its resolution was low and it could not be immediately verified. The site wrote that "When asked about the video, SpaceX simply pointed to the statement on Saturday's test."

It is unclear whether the incident will affect the ship's readiness schedule in SpaceX, which is part of the commercial crew program – a project to equip NASA with new vehicles for launching astronauts into space , which has already fallen far behind. (NASA lost this capability years ago with the withdrawal of the Space Shuttle and has since trusted the Russian company Roscosmos to provide seating on the Soyuz rockets in order to transfer the astronauts to the International Space Station.)

According to Spaceflight Now, the first test of the Crew Dragon with humans on board, scheduled for July 25 at the earliest, was already "likely to be postponed until late September or early October," no matter what happened. passed Saturday. As the Times noted, SpaceX is building a different capsule for Crew Dragon.

Boeing, who is also developing a gear called CST-100 Starliner for the commercial crew program, is not expected to start non-screwed tests for months.

[SpaceFlight Now]
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