Dragon’s Six Second Ride

dragon-hold-down-firingI hope they never have to do that for real, but if they do I hope it goes at least as well.

Either way, that was way cool! I need to write something like that into a story-line sometime and describe it through the eyes of the one on the ride.

Today, the Dragon Crew Capsule underwent its pad abort test. As of this writing it appeared successful, but I guess they’ll know that for sure after they study the data returned from it. The test is to confirm that the spacecraft can escape a launch accident at the pad from a dead stop. If this had been an actual launch accident, with people inside, it would have had to put a lot of distance between itself and a rocket exploding on the launch pad and outrun debris from the blast. To do that, it pretty much has to be shot out of cannon.

Do you think that was fast enough?

Other systems have been tested this way, but this flight was to test a new technology that will lower costs, improve flexibility and survive-ability and also prepare the way to start landing these capsules and re-flying them. That will lower the cost of spaceflight and bring it closer to you and I. Unlike past launch abort systems, which use a solid rocket booster tower attached to the nose of the capsule, this system uses eight liquid-fueled rockets attached to the capsule. The plan is, that on some future flight, they will use these rockets to land the capsule after successful flights. The launch abort tower system that other systems use just gets tossed aside after launch to burn up in the atmosphere and the capsule splashes down in the ocean.

This capsule will be recovered after the test and studied for issues that they will correct for the final design. Then this same capsule is intended to be relaunched on the in-flight abort test later this year.

English: Artist's concept of SpaceX's Falcon 9...

English: Artist’s concept of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle and Dragon crew and cargo capsules. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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~ by Bill Housley on May 5, 2015.

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