SpaceX to conduct final Crew Dragon test this weekend before capsule carries humans into space

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The Crew Dragon capsule will eventually take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station and is also being eyed for commercial space flight. Pictured above is a prior parachute test
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SpaceX to conduct final Crew Dragon test this weekend before capsule is approved to carry astronauts into space

  • SpaceX will conduct a test of Crew Dragon’s in-flight abort system this weekend
  • The test will be the final one before the capsule is cleared for human launch
  • Last year, Crew Dragon exploded during a test and badly damaged the capsule 

Slowly but surely, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule is inching toward its first human-passengered launch.

According to a tweet from SpaceX, Crew Dragon’s last important safety test is slated for this weekend on January 18th and will analyze the capsule’s launch escape system.

‘Static fire of Falcon 9 complete – targeting January 18 for an in-flight demonstration of Crew Dragon’s launch escape system, which will verify the spacecraft’s ability to carry astronauts to safety in the unlikely event of an emergency during ascent,’ SpaceX tweeted. 

The test will be dependent on weather and directly proceeds a static fire of SpaceX’s rocket – the Falcon 9.

During this test, the craft is launched into high-altitude and is tasked with aborting the capsule during high-velocity, which is the most stressful point of the launch. 

The test will come just two months after a safety test in November during which Crew Dragon completed a crucial test of its parachute. 

In the test, the capsule was dropped from a plane and landed safely using only three of its four parachutes.

The drop was meant to simulate Crew Dragon’s ability to navigate Crew Dragon to Earth in the event that one of its four main parachutes failed to work.

According to SpaceX, the test went off without a hitch 13 consecutive times. 

For SpaceX the test, and an upcoming one this week, will mark a significant step after an explosion during one in April that engulfed the empty capsule in fire and smoke.

The Crew Dragon capsule will eventually take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station and is also being eyed for commercial space flight. Pictured above is a prior parachute test

The incident was set off by a leaking component and completely destroyed the capsule – a glitch that has contributed to SpaceX’s delayed timeline for Crew Dragon, which it’s developing for NASA

If Crew Dragon successfully completes its test, the capsule will be cleared for launching astronauts but also eventually clear the way for civilian space tourism.

WHAT IS SPACEX’ CREW DRAGON CAPSULE?

The March 2 test, the first launch of U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil in eight years, will inform the system design and operations (Artist's impression)

The March 2 test, the first launch of U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil in eight years, will inform the system design and operations (Artist’s impression)

The capsule measures about 20 feet tall by 12 feet in diameter, and will carry up to 7 astronauts at a time. 

The Crew Dragon features an advanced emergency escape system (which was tested earlier this year) to swiftly carry astronauts to safety if something were to go wrong, experiencing about the same G-forces as a ride at Disneyland. 

It also has an Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) that provides a comfortable and safe environment for crew members. 

Crew Dragon’s displays will provide real-time information on the state of the spacecraft’s capabilities, showing everything from Dragon’s position in space, to possible destinations, to the environment on board.  

Those CRS-2 Dragon missions will use ‘propulsive’ landings, where the capsule lands on a landing pad using its SuperDraco thrusters rather than splashing down in the ocean. 

 That will allow NASA faster access to the cargo returned by those spacecraft, and also build up experience for propulsive landings of crewed Dragon spacecraft.

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SpaceX to conduct final Crew Dragon test this weekend before capsule is approved to carry astronauts into space

  • SpaceX will conduct a test of Crew Dragon’s in-flight abort system this weekend
  • The test will be the final one before the capsule is cleared for human launch
  • Last year, Crew Dragon exploded during a test and badly damaged the capsule 

Slowly but surely, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule is inching toward its first human-passengered launch.

According to a tweet from SpaceX, Crew Dragon’s last important safety test is slated for this weekend on January 18th and will analyze the capsule’s launch escape system.

‘Static fire of Falcon 9 complete – targeting January 18 for an in-flight demonstration of Crew Dragon’s launch escape system, which will verify the spacecraft’s ability to carry astronauts to safety in the unlikely event of an emergency during ascent,’ SpaceX tweeted. 

The test will be dependent on weather and directly proceeds a static fire of SpaceX’s rocket – the Falcon 9.

During this test, the craft is launched into high-altitude and is tasked with aborting the capsule during high-velocity, which is the most stressful point of the launch. 

The test will come just two months after a safety test in November during which Crew Dragon completed a crucial test of its parachute. 

In the test, the capsule was dropped from a plane and landed safely using only three of its four parachutes.

The drop was meant to simulate Crew Dragon’s ability to navigate Crew Dragon to Earth in the event that one of its four main parachutes failed to work.

According to SpaceX, the test went off without a hitch 13 consecutive times. 

For SpaceX the test, and an upcoming one this week, will mark a significant step after an explosion during one in April that engulfed the empty capsule in fire and smoke.

The Crew Dragon capsule will eventually take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station and is also being eyed for commercial space flight. Pictured above is a prior parachute test

The incident was set off by a leaking component and completely destroyed the capsule – a glitch that has contributed to SpaceX’s delayed timeline for Crew Dragon, which it’s developing for NASA

If Crew Dragon successfully completes its test, the capsule will be cleared for launching astronauts but also eventually clear the way for civilian space tourism.

WHAT IS SPACEX’ CREW DRAGON CAPSULE?

The March 2 test, the first launch of U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil in eight years, will inform the system design and operations (Artist's impression)

The March 2 test, the first launch of U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil in eight years, will inform the system design and operations (Artist’s impression)

The capsule measures about 20 feet tall by 12 feet in diameter, and will carry up to 7 astronauts at a time. 

The Crew Dragon features an advanced emergency escape system (which was tested earlier this year) to swiftly carry astronauts to safety if something were to go wrong, experiencing about the same G-forces as a ride at Disneyland. 

It also has an Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) that provides a comfortable and safe environment for crew members. 

Crew Dragon’s displays will provide real-time information on the state of the spacecraft’s capabilities, showing everything from Dragon’s position in space, to possible destinations, to the environment on board.  

Those CRS-2 Dragon missions will use ‘propulsive’ landings, where the capsule lands on a landing pad using its SuperDraco thrusters rather than splashing down in the ocean. 

 That will allow NASA faster access to the cargo returned by those spacecraft, and also build up experience for propulsive landings of crewed Dragon spacecraft.

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