Video Appears to Show SpaceX New Dragon Capsule Exploding During Test
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
April 22, 2019
Unverified video posted to Twitter over the weekend appears to show a large explosion involving SpaceX's new spacecraft designed to take astronauts into orbit.
According to Business Insider, SpaceX was testing the crew capsule's emergency abort system on the new Crew Dragon capsule when the explosion occurred. Smoke could be seen for miles rising over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Saturday after the malfunction.
According to a statement from SpaceX, the malfunction and smoke came after an "anomaly" occurred during the safety test.
"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," the company said in a statement. "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."
The video went viral on Twitter Sunday and appeared to show a large explosion several seconds into the footage. SpaceX has not said what may have gone wrong with Saturday's test.
Photos taken from a beach located near the Air Force station showed a large plume of orange-red smoke rising from Cape Canaveral. Witnesses reported being able to see the smoke for miles around.
BREAKING: #SpaceX Crew Dragon suffered an anomaly during test fire today, according to 45th Space Wing. Smoke could be seen on the beaches.— Emre Kelly (@EmreKelly) April 20, 2019
"On April 20, an anomaly occurred at Cape Canaveral AFS during Dragon 2 static test fire. Anomaly was contained and no injuries." pic.twitter.com/If5rdeGRXO
The Crew Dragon, or Dragon 2 spacecraft, completed an uncrewed test run to the International Space Station in March. NASA is counting on using the new crew capsule from SpaceX to ferry astronauts up to the ISS, but those plans may now be in doubt thanks to Saturday's 'anomaly'.
The agency has been relying on Russia to launch astronauts to the ISS ever since the space shuttle program was discontinued in 2011.
NASA had planned to use the Dragon 2 spacecraft with NASA test pilots aboard in July. However, there is no word on whether the 'anomaly' could forced those plans to be post-poned.
Photo: Getty Images