SpaceX: Will Mysterious 'Anomaly' Ground Elon Musk's Interstellar Dreams?

By CCN: Tesla billionaire Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX suffered another setback when one of its Crew Dragon capsules encountered a mysterious “anomaly” during engine tests being carried out at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on April 20.

The SpaceX facility in Florida was covered in dense orange smoke, though the so-called anomaly was brought under control without any injuries, Reuters reports.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule Encounters Mysterious 'Anomaly'

SpaceX said in a statement:

"The initial tests completed successfully but the final test resulted in an anomaly on the test stand."

Though it isn’t clear as to what caused the anomaly, an educated guess would suggest that something went wrong with the engine of the Crew Dragon spacecraft that’s being prepped to take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and back.

Of course, speculation about a potential engine fire remains just that, as both SpaceX and NASA have remained mum on the nature of the "anomaly." Perhaps that's because of the massive investment the space agency has made into the project.

Yet Another Blow to Tesla Founder's Interstellar Dreams

elon musk spacex
Elon Musk is also facing troubles at Tesla, forcing him to put out fires on two fronts. | Source: DAVID MCNEW / AFP

NASA doled out a princely sum of $6.8 billion to Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Boeing five years ago. Musk received $2.6 billion of that grant. The companies are tasked with building capsules and rockets that will send astronauts into space from American soil.

That’s why any anomaly at SpaceX will be a big loss of face for NASA as astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are set to take the first manned flight in July this year. Any more hiccups could blow up Elon Musk’s SpaceX ambitions into smoke as he is already a couple of years late from the 2017 deadline when the Crew Dragon was originally supposed to take flight.

NASA had to call out Musk and SpaceX earlier this year about safety concerns in its annual report. Reuters reported in February:

"For SpaceX, the report mentioned the redesign of a SpaceX rocket canister following a 2016 explosion and its “'oad and go' process of fueling the rocket with the crew already inside the capsule."

The annual report added  that SpaceX’s launch schedule faces “serious challenges.”

Elon Musk Forced to Fight Fires on Two Fronts

Nothing seems to be going in favor of the embattled Elon Musk. His electric car company Tesla faces an avalanche of problems from production to logistics, even as the company touts alleged advances in self-driving technology.

SpaceX isn’t in tip-top shape either, as Musk laid off 10% of its workforce in January. Around 600 employees lost their jobs as SpaceX decided to become a leaner company in a bid to lower costs and prepare for the challenges ahead.

The silver lining is that SpaceX has already beaten Boeing by successfully sending an unmanned capsule to the ISS in March this year that managed to return safely. But it is an entirely different ballgame when astronauts climb onboard.

Every facet of the spacecraft needs to be checked over and over again until the results are consistent. There should be no anomalies when human lives are at stake.

This article is protected by copyright laws and is owned by CCN Markets.

About the author

Harsh Chauhan
Harsh Chauhan

Harsh Singh Chauhan is based out of Indore, India. He has a wealth of experience evaluating publicly-traded companies across several verticals, including technology, oil and gas, retail, and consumer goods. He is a syndicated author whose articles have been published on reputed online platforms across the U.S., Europe, and India since 2011.

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