SpaceX: Crew Dragon Capsule Abort Engine Test a Success

The ground test paves the way for testing the engines in flight and crewed test flights.

Imagine hurtling towards space aboard a capsule attached to Falcon Heavy. Suddenly there's an engine failure. What do you do?

Thankfully, SpaceX's engineers have designed a fail-safe for this situation with the Crew Dragon's abort engines. If anything were to happen to Falcon Heavy, the Crew Dragon capsule could detach using its engines, get to a safe distance, and then deploy parachutes to descend safely to Earth.

RELATED: SPACEX COMPLETES VITAL TEST OF ITS CREW DRAGON PARACHUTES

Yesterday, SpaceX successfully fired up the engines the Crew Dragon during a ground test in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This paves the way for a crucial test flight in the upcoming months, followed by crewed test flights next year.

Emergency abort engines

The emergency abort engines, known as SuperDracos, have caused a delay in SpaceX's plans — in April, a Crew Dragon test capsule exploded.

After several months of investigation, the company's engineers discovered this was due to a leaking valve that allowed propellant to leak into another system, causing the capsule to go up in flames.

The new successful ground tests follow a redesign of the capsule and have put an end to SpaceX's investigation.

Crewed missions coming soon

The next step is a test flight and a manned test flight before the passenger Crew Dragon spacecraft can be deemed fully operational.

SpaceX also recently successfully completed tests of the parachute system that would bring the capsule back down to Earth in the case of an emergency.

The last major test SpaceX will do is for its first crewed mission. The company will send two NASA astronauts — Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley — to the ISS for a quick visit before sending them back to Earth.

The safe travel of these astronauts will allow SpaceX to start regularly sending crews back and forth between the ISS and Earth.

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