SpaceX Crew Dragon Suffers ‘Failure’ During Testing

Apr 21, 2019

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Elon Musk thinks big. With his company SpaceX, Musk not only wants to put people into orbit, he wants to send them to the moon, to Mars, and even wants people to travel in rockets rather than in planes for international journeys. But big dreams often go hand in hand with big failures — it’s simply the nature of being on the bleeding edge of technology.

On Saturday afternoon, SpaceX’s crew module, designed to take astronauts to the International Space Station, suffered a failure during a test at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, according to a report by Florida Today.

A spokesperson for the 45th Space Wing, which oversees operations at the base at Cape Canaveral, confirmed to Florida Today that the Crew Dragon, or Dragon 2 as it’s known, had “an anomaly occurred at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during the Dragon 2 static test fire.” The explosion resulted in smoke that was heavy enough to be picked up by weather radar. The good news is that the anomaly was contained and there were no injuries.

The Crew Dragon had its first test ,which was completed successfully, back in March.

Exactly what caused the ‘anomaly’ and what the anomaly is has yet to be determined. In a statement from SpaceX, it confirmed the event and that it’s working to find the cause. “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.”

This test failure and the investigation into what caused the incident will likely push back the timeline for the first manned flight of the Crew Dragon. SpaceX was poised to be the first of the commercial space companies that NASA is working with to put its astronauts in space.

However, Musk isn’t the only billionaire trying to conquer space: Sir Richard Branson and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos have their own plans to make space open to everyone. Boeing also has a passenger spacecraft, the CTS-100 Starliner, in the running, which it plans to use to launch crews by the end of the year. This current setback for SpaceX means the two companies might be much closer to launching around the same time now.

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Featured Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

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