SpaceX Crew Dragon Escape System Testing Begins With SuperDraco Abort Engines

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SpaceX Crew Dragon, which is gearing up for its next space mission, will begin testing the escape thrusters. The Crew Dragon is packed with eight SuperDraco abort engines, which, under emergencies will eject the capsule away from the Falcon 9 rocket ride. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk notes that the crucial test will begin next month.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Escape System Testing Begins

 

SpaceX Crew Dragon SuperDraco Engines

The SuperDraco abort engines were installed in the Crew Dragon recently. During an emergency, the SuperDraco engines will jerk away during an unmanned in-flight abort (IFA) test. The test is set to take place from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The entire test will remain in the Earth's atmosphere from start to finish.

The IFA test is a crucial step for the Crew Dragon to test its operational flight. According to Elon Musk's tweet, if things go as planned, the test could take place within the next four-six weeks. The SpaceX Crew Dragon is on a tight schedule for developing spaceships for the NASA Commercial Crew Program.

SpaceX For NASA Commercial Crew Program

The upcoming SuperDraco abort engine test will decide how the tie-up between NASA and SpaceX will shape out. NASA has been encouraging private space agencies to build spaceships for future space missions. So far, NASA largely depends on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, which the agency wants to steer independently of.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Escape System Testing Begins

 

The SpaceX Crew Dragon has already completed one trip to the International Space Station on an unmanned mission. However, that particular space capsule was destroyed during a series of engine tests after its return to Earth. The accident was traced to a faulty valve in the abort-engine system. SpaceX then rectified the designs to prevent similar accidents from occurring again, Musk noted.

Once the IFA test is completed, SpaceX will get the green light to proceed with the Demo-2 mission, which will take NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in a round trip to the ISS. Following the success of the Demo-2 mission, NASA would then sign contracts with SpaceX for further space missions.

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