• SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle experiences 'anomaly' during test

    By: Chip Skambis , Melonie Holt

    Updated:

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - During a series of engine tests Saturday afternoon, a SpaceX official said a Crew Dragon vehicle experienced an “anomaly," which witnesses said sent a large plume of smoke into the sky at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. 

    Witnesses reported seeing the large plume of smoke around 3:30 p.m. 

    A SpaceX spokesperson released the following statement: 

    "Earlier today, SpaceX conducted a series of engine tests on a Crew Dragon test vehicle on our test stand at Landing Zone 1 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The initial tests completed successfully but the final test resulted in an anomaly on the test stand. 

    Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting anomalies like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test. Our teams are investigating and working closely with our NASA partners."

    Officials did not say if this would cause any delay for the launch of a Crew Dragon capsule targeted for July. 

    In March, SpaceX launched a Crew Dragon capsule with a mannequin on board, which successfully returned to Earth six days later.

    Dale Ketcham, of Space Florida, the state's aerospace economic development agency, said accidents are a part of spaceflight.

    Francisco Sedano

    "This is the nature of what we do here. It's the nature of the industry," he said. "You build into your system. You're going to have accidents, and hardware is going to fail. Elon's lost a lot of rockets in the past and learned from it."

    Rep. Bill Posey said he does not believe the incident will delay SpaceX's schedule.

    "What we've heard may have happened will probably not affect at all the SpaceX schedule," he said. "And we will be launching American astronauts on American rockets on American motors in the near future."

    Ketcham echoed Posey's remarks.

    "SpaceX is good about figuring out what went wrong, fixing it and getting back in the air," he said.

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