CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX & # 39; s Crew Dragon astronaut taxi successfully fired launch missiles on land today (Nov. 13) at company facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, keeping the vehicle on target for an important flight test in the coming weeks.
The brief "static fire," which occurred at approximately 3:08 am EST (2008 GMT), paves the way for SpaceX's (IFA) trial in-flight abuse. , an important endless flight designed to show that the capsule can keep astronauts safe in the event that something goes wrong during launch If the IFA went well, people could fly the Crew Dragon in next year.
Static fire today occurred nearly seven months after the explosion rocked the same test site in a previous attempt to test the successive escape of SuperDraco by Crew Dragon. That anomaly, which destroyed the particular capsule, led SpaceX to tweak the design of the Crew Dragon abortion system.
Full duration of static fire. launch of complete Crew Dragon escape system ̵1; SpaceX and NASA teams are now reviewing test data and working toward an in-flight demonstration of the launch of Crew Dragon launch by pic.twitter.com/ CMHvMRBQcWAVE19459011 / 11November 13, 2019
SpaceX, next to NASA, the US Air Force and the National Transportation Safety Board, spent several months investigating the incident in April before determining the cause of ] that the company announced to journalists during a teleconference in July.
Like many similar designs, the Crew Dragon's escape engines rely on volatile chemicals (known as hypergolics) that are combined when combined. This allows for simpler and more reliable machines, but managing propellants can be tricky.
According to SpaceX representatives, the explosion on April 20 occurred during a test of thrusters in the same Crew Dragon spacecraft that flew the historic invisible Demo-1 mission to the International Space Station ( ISS) in March. SpaceX is testing the ship's thrusters (both the smaller Draco maneuvering thrusters and the larger SuperDracos) ahead of the planned IFA, originally expected to take place this summer.
During an April trial, a small amount of liquid oxidizer leaked to another system, causing an explosive chain reaction that led to vehicle destruction, investigators concluded. SpaceX says that, going forward, the company will redesign the system, and replace the explosion-proof valves.
In today's successful static fire, SpaceX can move the anomaly and prepare for the upcoming IFA, which is expected to take place sometime in December. Once SpaceX and NASA review the data collected in this test, a date for the in-flight abort will be set.
SpaceX is one of two companies building space taxis for astronauts under a NASA contract. Boeing also develops its own crewed spacecraft, the CST-100 Starliner capsule to enable astronauts crews to and from the space station. Boeing completed a ground test of its release of the escape system, called a pad abort on November 4.
Starliner had not yet been visited by the orbiting lab, but Crew Dragon had a ISS mission under its belt – the week Demo-1, which ended in a 19009003] successful ocean-destroying . This first flight was a major ride for SpaceX and one was required to complete before taking on the Dragon Crew.
IFA is just as important. The upcoming test will show that the capsule has the ability to keep astronauts crew safe in the event of a malfunction during launch into orbit. (A Russian Soyuz spacecraft had to put its emergency escape system in action in October 2018 after the Soyuz government failed as expected during a crewed launch on the ISS.)
In during the IFA, eight SuperDraco machines – embedded in the body of the Crew Dragon – were on fire, showing that the spacecraft could pull itself out of the rocket. SpaceX will launch one of the Falcon 9 rockets with Crew Dragon on top. Just after the lift, the company will activate the abortion system, which will blast the capsule away from the rocket.
Video: SpaceX Crew Dragon SuperDraco Tests of Multiple Spectacular Views
SpaceX has not yet proven flight tests during flight, even for the company performed the successful pad abort ground test in 2015 using the system. a short stay before returning to Earth.