On Saturday, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon experienced a failure during an engine test at the company’s landing site in Cape Canaveral. The incident resulted in a massive plume of smoke rising from the company’s facility in Florida. The aerospace vehicle maker carried out the test in order to prepare for an in-flight abort test. No injuries were reported due to the fall, but it evinces some fault in Dragon’s SuperDraco engines. The capsule has eight small engines, SuperDracos, capable of fire during launch. Even more, they can detach the capsule from a rocket if it suffers from any type of failure. SpaceX says now intends to work together with NASA to know the exact reason behind the fault.
The main objective behind the emergency escape system is to safely land the crew if any fault occurs in the early stages of flight. One of the company’s representative said SpaceX conducted a series of engine tests at Landing Zone 1 in Cape Canaveral. It successfully completed the initial tests, but the final trial resulted in an anomaly. The company has been testing the space capsule intending to prepare it for ferrying astronauts to space. It is a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program which achieved a milestone last month. Elon Musk’s Crew Dragon docked a crewless test flight to the ISS. It remained there for less than a week and then plunged back in the Atlantic Ocean.
In the end, the test flight revealed the capsule’s potential to accomplish all the major tasks it requires to do. It also crossed a significant hurdle that the aerospace maker needed to pass before moving towards a crewed mission. Although, a test to check Crew Dragon’s emergency abort system is the next step towards achieving the commercial mission. Failure in the test could probably change SpaceX’s scheduled to launch a crewed mission, slated sometime in June. On the other hand, Boeing, an aerospace company, is developing a craft, CST-100 Starliner under the same commercial program. At the moment both of the company’s inceptions are obstructed with delays. But now the two companies may be more regular in the schedule.