A SpaceX Crew Dragon experienced an "anomaly" during ground tests that manifested as a column of smoke rising from the spacecraft's thrusters. The Crew Dragons were expected to fly with astronauts aboard later in the year, and it is currently unclear whether recent tests could delay that.
— Code Tripping (@Code_Tripping) April 21, 2019
Though few details are available, SpaceX did release a statement to SpaceNews confirming the incident.
“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,” a spokesperson told SpaceNews. “The initial tests completed successfully but the final test resulted in an anomaly on the test stand.”
Images from Cape Canaveral show a column of smoke visible from local beaches. The ground test anomaly came from an engine test, specifically the SuperDraco engines which provide power for astronauts to get to safety during an aborted launch.
Beyond fire and smoke, the anomaly even showed up on radar:
— Jabes 🚀📷 (@GISRockstar) April 20, 2019
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine also shared a statement to Twitter:
NASA has been notified about the results of the @SpaceX Static Fire Test and the anomaly that occurred during the final test. We will work closely to ensure we safely move forward with our Commercial Crew Program. pic.twitter.com/yE2J5yGzA7
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) April 21, 2019