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The Crew Dragon vehicle ahead of its first uncrewed launch to the ISS. Photo: SpaceX

One of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsules — the company's vehicle designed to fly NASA astronauts into space — experienced a malfunction during ground testing in Florida on Saturday.

Why it matters: The anomaly could push back SpaceX's plans to launch humans from U.S. soil this summer.

  • According to an unconfirmed video reportedly showing the incident, the Crew Dragon capsule appeared to be engulfed in flames during the failure. No one was hurt as a result of the incident, according to SpaceX.
  • The capsule was the same Crew Dragon that successfully flew to and docked with the space station in March.
  • "Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting anomalies like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test," a SpaceX spokesperson said in a statement. "Our teams are investigating and working closely with our NASA partners."

Driving the news: Details about exactly what happened are scant, but it comes in the context of repeated delays to NASA's Commercial Crew program.

  • NASA has been working toward launching people from U.S. soil again since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.
  • SpaceX and Boeing are in the final stages of development for their respective spacecraft, but it's not a sure thing that either company will launch humans to orbit before the end of the year.
  • Boeing has already delayed the first uncrewed flight of its Starliner capsule to the station, moving it from this spring to August at the earliest.
  • SpaceX was originally targeting July for its first crewed flight, but there were rumors of a delay even before this mishap.

What they're saying:

  • "Tough day for our @SpaceX team not good - but thankfully no one got hurt and with everything we learn from this anomaly Crew Dragon will be a safer vehicle for all her future crews," former NASA astronaut and SpaceX director of space operations Garrett Reisman said on Twitter.
  • "We will learn, make the necessary adjustments and safely move forward with our Commercial Crew Program," NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.

Be smart: Because the root cause of the failure hasn't been released, it's difficult to know exactly how much of a delay this might cause for SpaceX. If the problem is traced back to an issue with the test stand, for example, that won't be as serious as a design flaw with the capsule itself.

Go deeper: SpaceX is raising another $500 million

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adults

Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed a booster shot for adult recipients of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after the initial dose.

Why it matters: The advisory committee raised concerns about a dearth of data to support their decision but ultimately decided to support an additional shot for those over 18.

Capitol Police officer indicted for obstructing Jan. 6 investigation

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

A U.S. Capitol Police officer has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges for allegedly helping hide evidence of a participant's involvement in the Jan. 6 riot.

Driving the news: Officer Michael A. Riley, 50, is accused of telling the unidentified participant, referred to as "Person 1," in the Jan. 6 riot to delete posts from Facebook, which showed them in the Capitol during the attack.

7 hours ago - World

British MP dies after being stabbed while meeting constituents

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

David Amess, a Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K., was fatally stabbed Friday while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England, according to AP.

The big picture: Police said a man, 25, was arrested for the stabbing in Leigh-on-Sea and is being held on suspicion of murder. A knife was also recovered at the scene, authorities said.