SpaceX Crew Dragon Emergency Abort System Test Completed

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SpaceX has completed the emergency landing on the Crew Dragon. The crucial test was conducted on an unmanned astronaut capsule onboard the Falcon 9 rocket. The success of the Crew Dragon abort system test is a big step for future missions to fly NASA astronauts, as early as Spring 2020.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Abort System Test Successful

 

Abort System Test Overcomes Delays

The abort system test was originally scheduled to take place in mid-2019. But the explosion of the Crew Dragon capsule in April, just before firing the launch abort thrusters caused a massive delay. A lengthy investigation was conducted. Next, SpaceX scheduled to test the system on January 18 this year. But bad weather conditions pushed the test a day ahead to January 19.

Finally, the Crew Dragon astronaut capsule was launched at 10:30 AM EST and successfully splashed down about 19 minutes off the coast of Cape Canaveral in Florida, roughly eight minutes later. The abort system functioned as required and ejected itself from the Falcon 9 rocket and mimicked a launch failure.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon deployed the SuperDraco thrusters to jet itself away from the rocket at supersonic speed, which was approximately 2,400kph. The capsule ejected four parachutes to slow its descent. The capsule carried two human-shaped test dummies to gather data on immense g-force that astronauts will be subjected to during an abort.

Elon Musk Elated

On the successful completion of the crew abort system test, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said "it is a picture perfect mission. It went as well as one can possibly expect," at a press conference. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine also described the test as a success.

 

Following the success of the test, SpaceX will next send humans aboard as the final test mission for NASA's commercial crew program. Most likely, the manned abort system test will take place in the second quarter of 2020, Musk said.

Elon Musk also noted that SpaceX is testing its rescue teams' response after the splashdown, which is again key to the trail carrying humans. The response teams will scramble toward the Crew Dragon with the US Air Force's Detachment 3 emergency rescue teams in tow, a crucial process to test the practice a rescue mission to retrieve astronauts.

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