• Danny D. Daniels

    Did the last flight of the Dragon spacecraft (CRS-11) to the ISS have in flight abort capabilities?

  • Dick Eagleson


    No. The Dragon 1 does not have in-flight abort capability and cannot be retrofitted to do so. The Dragon 2 will have in-flight abort capability. That will apply whether it is carrying crew or doing an all-freight run by the way.

    The Dragon 1’s software, however, was modified after the CRS-7 accident to deploy chutes if it finds itself intact and falling before getting to orbit. The CRS-7 Dragon survived the in-flight breakup of the booster’s 2nd stage and could have survived if it had deployed its chutes. But that particular scenario had not been allowed for in its control software. Now it is.

    I believe SpaceX intends to reuse its existing stock of flight-proven Dragon 1’s by refurbishing them, as needed, until Dragon 2 enters service – initially for crew transfer and, at some point soon thereafter, in an all-freight version. The refurbed Dragon 1’s may continue in service beyond Dragon 2’s entry into service also if NASA or some other customer needs their abilities. But no more Dragon 1’s will be built after SpaceX converts the production line over to exclusively Dragon 2 output. Retired Dragon 1’s will probably all wind up in museums eventually.

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