SpaceX completes key Crew Dragon launch system static fire test


SpaceX has confirmed that it ran a static fire test of its Crew Dragon astronaut capsule launch escape system. That's a key step that it needed to run, and one that is under especially high scrutiny because a static fire of its thrusters back in April resulted in an explosion that destroyed that spacecraft. After an investigation, SpaceX and NASA were confident that they identified and corrected the cause of that faulty test, which seems to have worked in their favor with today's engine fire.

Today's stick fire appears to have gone much more smoothly, with SpaceX noting that it ran for the full planned duration, and that now its own engineers along with NASA teams will be reviewing the results of this test and the data it provided. So long as what these teams find from these test results is within their expected range and criteria for success, that will mean they can move on to an in-flight demonstration of the crew space system -- the next and necessary step leading up to the eventual crewed flight of Crew Dragon with NASA astronauts on board.

The in-flight abort test that will be the next key step for Crew Dragon will demonstrate how the SuperDraco crew escape system would behave in the unlikely event of an actual emergency during a crewed mission, albeit with a Crew Dragon spacecraft that doesn't actually have anyone on board. NASA requires that its commercial crew partners demonstrate this system to ensure the safety of those on board by showing that they can quickly move the crew capsule to a safe distance away from the spacecraft in case of emergency. Elon Musk has said they'd hope to fly an in-flight abort as early as mid-December, provided this static test shows that everything is behaving as predicted.

If everything goes as planned with that crucial demonstration, NASA and SpaceX are optimistic that a first mission with crew on board could fly as early as the first part of next year. Commercial crew co-contractor Boeing is tracking to a similar timeline with its own Starliner crew capsule program.


More Related News

The Case for Space
The Case for Space

'Mars is looking real," Elon Musk tweeted on Tuesday evening. "Progress is accelerating."Musk has every right to be bullish. At a SpaceX facility in Boca Chica, Texas, on Tuesday night, the Starship prototype Serial Number 5 launched in a brief test flight. The fifth-generation rocket - hopefully the model for the rockets that will one day shuttle people, cargo, and satellites to and from the moon and Mars - rose nearly 500 feet before landing near the launch pad in a controlled descent. It was the first rocket of its kind to successfully launch with full-sized propellant tanks.Tuesday's test launch came just two days after the safe return to Earth of the DEMO-2 crew members, who launched...

NASA Is About to Study Some Awfully Old Asteroids
NASA Is About to Study Some Awfully Old Asteroids

The Trojans are time capsules from when the solar system formed.

SpaceX: Musk
SpaceX: Musk's 'Mars ship' prototype aces 150m test flight

A prototype of the engine for SpaceX's next-generation Starship vehicle has made a 150m test "hop".

'It came alive:' Astronauts recount wild ride home on SpaceX's Crew Dragon
  • US
  • 2020-08-05 04:01:33Z

At a news conference from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, their first extensive public remarks since coming home, Behnken, 50, and Hurley, 53, described the tense final moments of their 64-day journey. The duo endured tremendous, jolting forces as the SpaceX-built Crew Dragon, an acorn-shaped vehicle that had carried them to the International Space Station, fired rocket thrusters to slow its descent for re-entry, then pierced the outer atmosphere.

SpaceX: Nasa crew describe rumbles and jolts of return to Earth
SpaceX: Nasa crew describe rumbles and jolts of return to Earth

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley describe returning to Earth from the ISS in SpaceX's vehicle.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Economy