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SpaceX faces setbacks in its manned space shuttle program

Hawthorne - SpaceX faces setbacks in its space program that aims to send NASA astronauts into the orbit this year due to the loss of its first crew capsule which burst into flames during testing.

On April 20, Dragon crew capsule, which is expected to carry NASA astronauts into the orbit, was covered by smoke and flames while testing the abort thrusters.

SpaceX said the test area was clear and no one was injured.

The same capsule had carried out a successful test flight to the International Space Station last month with no crew on board.

It was supposed to be reused in a launch abort test in June. After that, a manned capsule was supposed to launch with two astronauts as early as July.

After the incident, NASA said that it was too early to revise the planned launch dates since the accident is still so fresh.

“This is why we test, we will learn and make the necessary adjustments and safely move forward with our commercial crew program.” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.

The abort thrusters are vital for the safety of astronauts during the launch. They are designed to pull the crew capsule safely away from the rocket in case of an emergency.

SpaceX said that the company was investigating the incident and working to make the Dragon crew capsule the safest spacecraft ever built.

The company has so far released very few details about the accident, therefore, it remains unknown how it might impact future launches.

The cargo capsule of the California-based aerospace company has been making deliveries to the International Space Station since 2012.