SpaceX has successfully conducted an abort test of the technique it will use for its human-crewed rockets if they ever encounter an issue during flight.
The test took place at Kennedy Space Center and has included a Falcon 9 rocket launching and being terminated with intent after 80 seconds. The Dragon capsule on top managed to remove itself from the rocket, and distance from the booster.
The parachutes attached to the vehicle brought it to a safe landing about 30 kilometers (19 miles) off Florida. There were no humans involved in the rehearsal, as the occupants of the Crew Dragon capsule were two Anthropomorphic Test Devices, also known as ‘dummies.’
Flawless Last Test
This abort test was considered to be the last significant test for SpaceX before NASA gives the green light for the company to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) this year. The U.S. space agency has contracted SpaceX and also Boeing to help with the routine transportation of NASA astronauts to the ISS.
The clearly flawless abort test demonstrated by SpaceX should bring this aim closer, with possible launches as soon as this summer. The company has stated that the escape maneuver would be outstanding, and it was.
On-Board footage depicted the Dragon capsule drop its service-module segment, before employing two attached parachutes. Four main others were then released, lowering the vehicle into the Atlantic Ocean about nine minutes after the Falcon 9’s launch.
SpaceX’s CEO and founder Elon Musk praised everyone involved in the rehearsal and was shared the day’s statistics: “The peak velocity of Dragon during abort was more than double the speed of sound, Mach 2.2, and achieved an altitude of 40km, 131,000ft. These are exciting specs, for [Dragon] to have gone to three times the altitude of a typical airliner.”
Manned Flights to Start This Summer
Both esteemed SpaceX and flight giant Boeing were supposed to deliver their transportation services by 2017, but the companies had to struggle with and defeat some challenging technical issues.
SpaceX, for instance, had one of its capsules blow off on a ground test in April of 2019. Boeing, on the other hand, which calls its crew vehicle Starliner, saw troubles with an unmanned dummy test at the space station just last month.
Boeing’s Starliner encountered an issue immediately after takeoff, which led to massive fuel waste, leaving the vehicle short of the fuel needed to get to the ISS. However, it appears that both space companies will get to launch crewed flights in the following months.
NASA has picked shuttle veterans Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to debut in the first Crew Dragon flight. Mr. Musk stated that the capsule would be at the Kennedy Space Center in a while and could be ready to takeoff before July of this year.
However, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine claimed that the call of launch might rely on how long the space agency wants the two men to stay on the ISS.
“Do we want that first crew to be a short duration (mission)? Or do we want it to be a longer duration? If it’s going to be a longer duration, then we have to have some additional training for our astronauts to actually be prepared to do things on the International Space Station that we weren’t planning to have that initial test crew necessarily do,” Bridenstine said.