At the moment, it’s not clear which of the existing Crew Dragons was at the center of all this, as the company only said it was a “test vehicle.”
"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,” SpaceX says.
“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."
According to several sources, SpaceX was testing the Super Draco thrusters fitted on the spacecraft to act as an emergency abort system. This system kicks in to separate the capsule from the rocket if anything goes wrong during launch.
The world witnessed such a system in action in October last year, when the Soyuz MS-10 experienced a problem with the launch rocket’s boosters and had to detach from the launch vehicle mid-flight.
SpaceX already flew an uncrewed Dragon to the International Space Station in March 2019 and was supposed to return to the station sometime in July, this time with humans onboard.
It’s not clear at the moment how this weekend’s still unknown problem will affect those plans.
On Sunday, a poor-quality and very short video that allegedly shows the Crew Dragon explode was published online. You can see it below.