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SpaceX suffers serious setback with crew capsule accident

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the unmanned Crew Dragon capsule on its nose sits at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 1, 2019. - JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX has suffered a serious setback in its effort to launch NASA astronauts into orbit this year.

Over the weekend, the Dragon crew capsule that flew to the International Space Station last month was engulfed in smoke and flames on an engine test stand. SpaceX says it was testing the Dragon’s abort thrusters at Cape Canaveral, Florida, when Saturday’s accident occurred. The company says the test area was clear and no one was injured.

This Dragon was supposed to be used in a launch abort test in June, with another capsule making the first flight with a crew as early as July.

NASA said Monday it’s too early to revise the target launch dates.

Earlier this month, NASA announced major delays for test flights of Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule.

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