SpaceX Building A New Dragon for Launch Abort Testing
Emergency Escape for Crew is Program’s Major Priority
HAWTHORNE, Calif. — SpaceX is deep into the production of the Dragon spacecraft that will be used to demonstrate the craft’s launch abort abilities during a test launch next year.
The ability of a spacecraft to escape from an emergency situation at the launch pad or during ascent into space is a major priority for the next generation of American spacecraft now under development in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
The Dragon spacecraft will use powerful, side-mounted Draco thrusters to lift the spacecraft away from its booster soon after liftoff during the test. No one will be inside the spacecraft for the launch, but the mission parameters will be set up as though there were, with extensive instrumentation and parachutes aboard to safely recover the Dragon.