Dragon 2 blasts off from the rocket simulator on the pad. Credit: NASA/Space News.
Another milestone has been reached by SpaceX as they prepare a new crewed spacecraft to take American astronauts into orbit. The Dragon 2 space capsule abort test was designed to see if the craft's unique rocket system could safely remove the capsule from a dangerous rocket launchpad. And it did. Eight SuperDraco thruster engines swiftly propelled the Dragon 2 test capsule from the rocket pad and out over the Atlantic shore.
The test occurred at Launch Complex SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida on Wednesday this week. The SuperDraco engines are integrated into the capsule itself, which is different than the escape tower designs of the 20th Century space systems. Their power is so good that one of the engines could fail and the craft would still be able to lift astronaut crewmembers to safety. Once launched, the simulated service module fell away, and after coasting a bit, the capsule deployed parachutes for a watery landing down the coast.
Splashdown near the shore.
You can read more about the test and the test dummy occupant, at NASA Spaceflight.com: