A launchpad test of SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle – intended to one day fly astronauts to the International Space Station – has ended in flames.
The company acknowledged it had been conducting "a series of engine tests on a Crew Dragon test vehicle" in Cape Canaveral in Florida this weekend.
"The initial tests completed successfully but the final test resulted in an anomaly on the test stand," said a statement.
Images apparently showing the spacecraft bursting into flames appeared on social media but SpaceX and NASA have so far not commented on them.
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
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said that the space agency had been notified about Saturday's anomaly.
"This is why we test," he said. "We will learn, make the necessary adjustments and safely move forward with our Commercial Crew Program."
Led and founded by billionaire Elon Musk, SpaceX has developed multiple launch vehicles and rockets as part of its plans to reshape the space industry – primarily by reusing and recycling its Falcon 9 launch rockets.
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The company's technology has to be rigorously tested before it can be used to launch or carry people into space.