“Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting [issues] like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test,” SpaceX said in a statement.
Crew Dragon is already overdue, and more delays could make things tricky for NASA. The United States has not had the technology to fly humans to orbit since the space shuttle program ended in 2011. Meanwhile, NASA has paid Russia about $80 million per seat to send astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz capsules — a fact that isn’t very popular in the halls of Congress.
NASA decided to ask the private sector to design and build a new generation of spacecrafts.
Crew Dragon was scheduled to conduct a key test of its emergency abort system in June. And its first crewed mission, which will carry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, was slated for July, though NASA recently said that timeline was under review.
Boeing is aiming to launch Starliner’s uncrewed test flight sometime in August, potentially putting the capsule on track to fly astronauts by the end of the year.