Test of SpaceX crew escape system goes off perfectly

SpaceX-Dragon-pad-abort-test-Cape-Canaveral-Florida-EDIWeekly

SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk in 2002, conducted a successful crew escape system test, called a pad abort test, on its Crew Dragon spacecraft yesterday at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The pad abort test simulates how the crew would be carried to safety if an emergency occurred on the launch pad. The Crew Dragon capsule is designed to greatly improve the odds of survival in the event of a catastrophic failure, such as an explosion, at launch.

Its eight Super Drago engines are built directly into the walls of the craft and can provide enough thrust, in a short enough time, to propel the capsule away from its booster rocket if necessary. SpaceX says that the engines can provide 120,000 pounds of thrust in under one second, and can launch the Dragon over 300 feet in two seconds. A crew would experience a force of nearly 5Gs during launch. It has been compared to the ejection seat in a fighter jet, except that rather than ejecting the pilot from the craft, it ejects the craft from the launch vehicle.

In the test, the eight engines ignited simultaneously, reached maximum thrust almost instantly, burned for just six seconds, and lifted the Dragon capsule to a height of about 5,000 feet. The trunk section was jettisoned and the capsule rotated before dropping back with the aid of three parachutes for a gentle ocean splashdown.

A SpaceX spokesman and former astronaut, Garrett Reisman, said that the earlier NASA launch programs Apollo and Gemini had crew escape capability, but not the space shuttle. SpaceX is under contract with NASA to develop commercial spaceships that can carry astronauts to the International Space Station. The US is currently relying on Russia for crew transport services.

Another crew escape system test planned for later this year will have the capsule riding a Falcon 9 rocket to a height of 40,000 feet. The first manned missions are scheduled for 2017.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • Ontario vs Canada: Ontario challenges the Federal Carbon Tax in court; a threat to manufacturing and jobs, they say
  • Expect record-high auto sales in 2015: Scotiabank
  • More R&D, innovation not free trade deals needed to boost Canada's exports: economist
  • GE increasing its investment in fracking technology
  • Goodbye NAFTA, Hello USMCA trade deal: it's not all in the name — Canadian dollar soars, stocks rise; autos win, dairy loses
  • First new Canadian refinery in 30 years now on track for 2017
  • Canada one of the world’s most energy-intensive countries: 15 percent energy reduction possible through lighting, computer and HVAC retrofitting: Conference Board of Canada Report
  • Audit pans government's climate change progress
  • Ontario government accepts mining report recommendations
  • Optimism abounds for Canada's LNG future after Pacific Northwest approval
  • Shipyard receives $65.4 million under national shipbuilding strategy
  • Manufacturing sales up in December but down for the year on weak energy sector
  • Developing BC's LNG industry would generate $7.4 billion per year: report
  • CSeries engine problem just an oil seal leak: Pratt & Whitney
  • Chip shortage worsens due to Russia-Ukraine crisis, creating extreme under supply in the automative market into 2024
  • First Electric Car Day held at Queen's Park
  • Elon Musk's green vision extends to the Tesla Semi, capable of hauling 80,000 pounds for up to 400 miles on a single 30 minute charge
  • China to totally ban gas and diesel in new car market; with interim targets of 20% electric or hybrid by 2025
  • 200 days in lockup: Four volunteers live in simulated moon lab in preparation for future moon mission
  • IKEA to add EV charging stations at Canadian stores
Scroll to Top