"The initial tests completed successfully but the final test resulted in an anomaly on the test stand", said SpaceX in a statement.
But when has anything as complex as firing up rockets gone smoothly for extended periods of time?
No injuries were reported, but the anomaly threw up a huge pillar of smoke from SpaceX's Landing Zone 1 during testing of the Dragon's Super Draco thrusters.
Nearby beach-goers saw orange smoke pour out from Cape Canaveral during the test that was big enough to show up on radar.
Elon Musk's SpaceX suffered an anomaly in one of its Crew Dragon capsules while conducting engine tests at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Saturday, the company said. "Our teams are investigating and working closely with our NASA partners", the company further added.
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The anomaly apparently took place during testing of the SuperDraco thrusters used as part of the launch abort system for the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The company launched its first Crew Dragon test flight for NASA last month, and was expected to fly that same vehicle during an upcoming in-flight abort test.
A test of the emergency escape system for SpaceX's new spacecraft created to carry NASA astronauts into orbit went awry on Saturday, and an unverified video making the rounds on Twitter claims to show just how bad the anomaly was.
Neither SpaceX nor NASA gave immediate updates on the status of the capsule, which was scheduled for its first flight with a crew this year.
Bridenstine tweeted that the nation's planned space missions with crews will move forward safely. SpaceX has been preparing the Crew Dragon capsule for a crewed flight to the ISS, which is now scheduled for sometime in July. NASA said of the explosion "This is why we Test". The spacecraft successfully docked with the space station.
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. That capsule was slated to be used for an upcoming in-flight abort test, the second of two meant to prove the spacecraft can escape from a malfunctioning booster, before a crew will be cleared for launch.