December 10, 2019

Video: Crew Dragon tests abort thrusters at Cape Canaveral


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SpaceX conducted a static fire test of the SuperDraco abort thrusters on the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft Wednesday afternoon at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The test-firing occurred at approximately 3:08 p.m. EST (2008 GMT) Wednesday on a test stand at Landing Zone 1, the site where SpaceX lands Falcon 9 rocket boosters for reuse. An attempted static fire of the SuperDraco thrusters ended in an explosion at the same test site in April, leading to a redesign inside the capsule’s abort propulsion system.

SpaceX is developing the Crew Dragon spacecraft under a $2.6 billion contract with NASA. The spaceship is designed to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

The SuperDraco static fire test paves the way for a high-altitude abort demonstration as soon as next month, during which SpaceX will verify the emergency escape thrusters’ ability to propel the Crew Dragon capsule away from a Falcon 9 rocket in flight.

The Crew Dragon’s first test flight with astronauts is scheduled in the first half of 2020.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


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