SpaceX ran a set of Crew Dragon tests, which, in previous attempts, culminated in a blast. The company tried a similar round of tests on April 20th, but after a while they said that the Crew Dragon capsule that was used in the test was destroyed. The official reason for the explosion was a faulty component that leaked liquid oxidizer into tubes that contained high pressure helium.
Thankfully, the latest attempt turned out to be a complete success!
About the tests
The company ran the tests near Landing Zone 1 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It began with two one-second long burns for two of the Crew Dragon’s 16 Draco thrusters. The purpose of the thrusters are maneuvering and altitude control, as well as reorientation.
After some time, eight SuperDraco engines were fired up. Their will take the role of accelerating the spacecraft for about nine seconds.
“Full duration static fire test of Crew Dragon’s launch escape system complete – SpaceX and NASA teams are now reviewing test data and working toward an in-flight demonstration of Crew Dragon’s launch escape capabilities.” – tweet from SpaceX.
After all of this takes place, the Draco thrusters and the SuperDraco engines started in a similar sequence they would if the spacecraft had to recalibrate its trajectory in order to be able to deploy its parachute and then close its flaps before reentering the atmosphere.
Purpose of the tests
The tests will help scientists from SpaceX and NASA confirm that the escape system of the Crew Dragon is good to go before they perform a planned in-flight demonstration.