Dragon Test Successful

SpaceX carried out a successful test of the unmanned Crew Dragon capsule on 19 Jan 2020. Crew Dragon is designed to carry astronauts to space instead of relying on Russia. A previous flight of Dragon took it to the International Space Station where it docked for several days before returning to Earth. This test of Dragon was designed to see if it could safely escape from a malfunctioning Falcon9 booster under the most extreme conditions.

About a minute after launch the rocket passed through maximum dynamic pressure where stress forces from the atmosphere were at a maximum. Normally the rocket would continue to burn for a few more minutes raising the altitude and speed of Dragon before a second stage would help it achieve orbit. In this test the rocket shut down prematurely. Dragon sensed the change and fired its escape rockets at once. It proceeded ahead of the coasting Falcon9 booster, barely visible in the video. The booster lost control and started to tumble slowly. The aerodynamic forces broke it apart causing it to explode. The Crew Dragon was safely brought down into the Atlantic by parachutes and was recovered.

A manned flight to the ISS will possibly take place in April 2020.

Video from the SpaceX transmission.

 

5 thoughts on “Dragon Test Successful

  1. The reliance on Russia since the demise of the Shuttle has seemed a bit strange but is evidence that – at least in science – both countries can co-operate.

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