SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft had an anomaly during tests Saturday

  • Four pairs of SuperDraco engines power the Crew Dragon
    spacecraft’s escape system. [credit: SpaceX ]

Following a
successful demonstration mission
of its Crew Dragon spacecraft
in March, SpaceX has been preparing that vehicle for a critical
launch abort test this summer. During this test flight, after
launching from Florida on a Falcon 9 booster, the Dragon will fire
its powerful SuperDraco engines to show that the spacecraft can
pull itself safely away from the rocket in case of a problem with
the booster.

On Saturday, as part of preparations for this abort test, the
company experienced some sort of anomaly. According to a company
spokesperson: “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.”

It is not immediately clear how significantly this incident will
affect SpaceX as it works toward Dragon’s first crewed mission,
which will carry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the
International Space Station. Previously, sources have said that
flight could occur by about October under ideal conditions. If the
problems were serious, Saturday’s accident may substantially delay
this schedule, although in the past SpaceX has shown a propensity
to rapidly diagnose failures and return to flight quickly, with

just 4.5 months
of downtime after a rocket failure in
September, 2016.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft had an anomaly during tests Saturday