But this explosion during the static test firing of the Crew Dragon capsule may change things. In the process of DM-1 launch preparations, Crew Dragon likely spent a minimum of 80 minutes with its SuperDraco thrusters and propellant systems primed and ready to abort at any second, apparently without a single mildly-concerning issue. The test "sent a reddish-orange plume into the sky visible for miles around", suggesting a fairly serious malfunction of the engine systems, said Spaceflight Now, which described the anomaly as an accident.
The first manned flight of Dragon 2 spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) has been put off due to an accident that occurred during the tests, a source in the aerospace industry told Sputnik.
NASASpaceflight.com reported that significant delays, if they occur, might threaten to throw NASA's entire crew program into doubt because Boeing Starliner, a competing program, also is dealing with setbacks. "We will learn, make the necessary adjustments and safely move forward".
In a statement, a SpaceX spokesperson confirmed there was a problem of some kind during tests of the spacecraft at Landing Zone 1, the former Launch Complex 13 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, but provided few details about the what happened.
A SpaceX Crew Dragon experienced an "anomaly" during ground tests that manifested as a column of smoke rising from the spacecraft's thrusters.
The used Crew Dragon, with no one on board, was to fire powerful SuperDraco engines to push the spacecraft away from a Falcon 9 rocket about a minute after its launch from Kennedy Space Center.
Boeing's schedule already reflects delays from a test stand failure previous year of the CST-100 Starliner capsule's abort engines. This system kicks in to separate the capsule from the rocket if anything goes wrong during launch. That test was expected to take place some time this summer prior to this anomaly. That Dragon was slated to be reused for the upcoming in-flight abort test.
SpaceX already flew an uncrewed Dragon to the International Space Station in March 2019 and was supposed to return to the station sometime in July, this time with humans onboard.