A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule is hauled aboard a recovery ship at the end of a mission to the International Space Station in March. (SpaceX Photo)
SpaceX suffered a setback in preparations for its first crewed launch to the International Space Station today when one of its Crew Dragon spacecraft experienced an anomaly during an engine test firing in Florida.
No injuries were reported, but the anomaly threw up a huge pillar of smoke from SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 during testing of the Dragon’s Super Draco thrusters. The static-fire test was being conducted in preparation for an in-flight abort test tentatively scheduled for June.
The in-flight abort test is meant to demonstrate the Crew Dragon’s system for rocketing the crew to a safe landing in the event of an emergency experienced during the early stages of flight. The uncrewed abort test is a necessary step toward sending astronauts to the space station aboard a different Crew Dragon by as early as mid-July.
Today’s anomaly seems likely to force a change in that schedule.
Here’s what SpaceX had to say in an emailed statement:
“Earlier today, SpaceX conducted a series of engine tests on a Crew Dragon test vehicle on our ...