The dreams of crewed spaceflight of SpaceX seems to have experienced a setback. The 45th Space Wing of the firm and the US Air Force have confirmed to Florida Today that a Crew Dragon capsule experienced an “anomaly” during a static test fire that was conducted at Cape Canaveral. SpaceX said that the majority of the tests that were made went according to plan, however, a “final test” resulted in some problems on the testing stand. The observers could see smoke from miles away which suggests that the capsule or something attached to it had caught fire.
The firm had been making preparation for a mission abort test that would have fired all eight of the SuperDraco engines of the Crew Dragon in mid-launch, showing that the capsule could get away from its host rocket in an emergency. The said test was supposedly scheduled to take place this coming June, however, it is not certain that this will happen on schedule in light of the incident today. A crewed launch was supposedly planned to take place as soon as July, however, it seems that the timeline will likely change for that as well.
NASA, however, is not deterred by the mishap. In a statement, Jim Bridenstine, the Administrator of the Agency, said that anomalies like this are “why we test,” and that the space agency would “learn, make the necessary adjustments” and continued to push forward with its Commercial Crew Program. Still, this clearly is not what NASA wanted to hear months before it was making preparations to make history but it is another reminder that the road to private human spaceflight has been perilous.