SpaceX’s Crew Dragon astronaut taxi efficiently fired its launch-escape engines on the ground at this time on the firm’s facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, conserving the vehicle on target for a vital flight check within the coming weeks.
The transient “static fireplace,” which occurred at roughly 3:08 p.m. EST (2008 GMT), paves the way in which for SpaceX’s upcoming in-flight abort (IFA) test, a vital uncrewed flight designed to show that the capsule can preserve future astronauts protected within the event that one thing goes improper throughout launch. If the IFA goes effectively, people may fly aboard Crew Dragon sometime next yr.
Today’s static hearth occurred practically seven months after an explosion rocked the same take a look at the stand throughout an earlier try to test-fire Crew Dragon’s SuperDraco escape thrusters. That anomaly, which destroyed that individual capsule, led SpaceX to tweak the design of Crew Dragon’s abort propulsion system.
SpaceX, along the side of NASA, the U.S. Air Force, and the National Transportation Safety Board, spent a number of months investigating the April incident earlier than determining the basis trigger, which the corporate introduced to reporters throughout a teleconference back in July.
Like many comparable designs, the Crew Dragon escape engines depend on volatile chemical compounds (referred to as hypergolic), which combust when mixed. This permits for less complicated and extra reliable engines, however managing the propellants may be difficult.
In accordance with SpaceX representatives, the explosion on April 20 occurred throughout the testing of the thrusters on the same Crew Dragon spacecraft that flew the historic uncrewed Demo-1 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) during March. SpaceX was testing the craft’s onboard thrusters (each the smaller Draco maneuvering thrusters and the larger SuperDracos) forward of the planned IFA, which was initially anticipated to happen this summer.