SpaceX Crew Dragon Critical In-Flight Abort System Test On January 18

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SpaceX Crew Dragon is gearing up the upcoming in-flight abort test. The company has fired up the booster, which is crucial for the unmanned testing of the vital safety system. The Crew Dragon will soon carry NASA astronauts for space missions to and from the International Space Station. The flight abort test is scheduled for January 18.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Abort System Tests Scheduled For January 18

 

SpaceX Crew Dragon Abort System

The Crew Dragon will demonstrate the launch abort system designed to pull the capsule free of its rocket during an emergency. The abort system is a key safety feature, especially for manned space missions. It is designed to safeguard astronauts during the launch. When the Russian Soyuz rocket booster failed during a flight in 2018, NASA astronauts Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin were able to safely abort using the system.

SpaceX tweeted about a hot-fire test for the Falcon 9 rocket, that took place on January 11 at NASA's Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Station. The booster will be attached to the Crew Dragon capsule for the upcoming test flight.

The process for the test launch is a lengthy one. Firstly, SpaceX engineers had to put the rocket through a practice launch countdown. The brief static fire test is part of the standard prelaunch procedure and is one of the key milestones before the actual liftoff. Super-chilled propellants like kerosene and liquid oxygen were loaded into the rocket before igniting the first stage.

 

Commercial Spacecraft For NASA

NASA has signed contracts with SpaceX and Boeing to build private spacecraft to fly astronauts to and from ISS. The upcoming abort system test is acknowledged by NASA, which said that it "is one of the final major tests for the company before NASA astronauts will fly aboard the spacecraft."

The SpaceX Crew Dragon has already made multiple tests. Most recently, the uncrewed test flight called the Demo-1 was completed successfully. The upcoming test flight will be the final major test flight for the Crew Dragon spacecraft, before carrying astronauts. If it goes well, it will soon liftoff a crewed flight carrying NASA's Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to and from the International Space Station.

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