Just six weeks after splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean following a successful Demo-1 test flight, the same SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft was set to perform multiple static fire tests on Saturday to verify that the capsule’s propulsion systems were functioning properly ahead of an inflight abort test planned for the summer. However, during the testing, the spacecraft suffered a significant anomaly. The incident will likely lead to further delays with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
On March 8th – after a four day stay at the International Space Station – Crew Dragon returned to Earth with a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean. The mission was an uncrewed demonstration flight – called Demo-1 – meant to certify Crew Dragon for human spaceflight.
Immediately after returning to port, SpaceX technicians began preparing the capsule for the inflight abort test. The test will see Crew Dragon fire its SuperDraco thrusters to pull itself away from a Falcon 9 rocket – demonstrating the spacecraft’s abort capability in the event of an anomaly with the launch vehicle.
Map of SpaceX’s proposed Dragon processing facility near Landing Zone-1
To prepare for the abort test, it is now understood that previously undisclosed static fires of the Crew ...