SpaceX Crew Dragon Conducts Propulsive Hover and Parachute Drop Tests; Videos

SpaceX Dragon 2 crew vehicle, powered by eight SuperDraco engines, conducts propulsive hover test at the company's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.  Credit: SpaceX

On the road to restoring US Human spaceflight from US soil, SpaceX conducted a pair of key tests involving a propulsive hover test and parachute drop test for their Crew Dragon vehicle which is slated to begin human missions in 2017.SpaceX released a short video showing the Dragon 2 vehicle executing a “picture-perfect propulsive hover test” on a test stand at the firms rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.The video published last week shows the Dragon 2 simultaneously firing all eight of its side mounted SuperDraco engines, during a five second test carried out on Nov. 22, 2015.Using the SuperDragos will eventually enable pinpoint propulsive soft landings like a helicopter in place of parachute assisted landings in the ocean or on the ground.The video clip seen below includes both full speed and slow motion versions of the test, showing the vehicle rising and descending slowly on the test stand.https://youtu.be/07Pm8ZY0XJIVideo caption: SpaceX Dragon 2 crew vehicle, powered by eight SuperDraco engines, conducts propulsive hover test firing at rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.The eight SuperDraco thrusters are mounted in sets 90 degrees apart around the perimeter of the vehicle in pairs called “jet packs.” The SuperDracos generate a combined total of 33,000 lbs of thrust.SpaceX is developing the Crew Dragon under the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) awarded by NASA to transport crews of four or more astronauts to the International Space Station. “This test was the second of a two-part milestone under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program,” said SpaceX officials. “The first test—a short firing of the engines intended to verify a healthy propulsion system—was completed November 22, and the longer burn two-days later demonstrated vehicle control while hovering.”The first unmanned and manned orbital test flights of the crew Dragon are expected sometime in 2017. A crew of —> Read More

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