Launch abort data suggests Dragon performed “flawlessly”


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A preliminary review of the data gathered during SpaceX’s launch abort test on January 19, 2020 suggests the system performed “flawlessly”.

The Crew Dragon began its launch escape maneuver at 10:31:25 a.m. EST (1531:25 GMT) — initiated by a low setting of an on-board acceleration trigger — when the Falcon 9 was traveling at a velocity around 1,200 mph (536 meters per second), according to SpaceX.

Eight SuperDraco thrusters immediately pressurized and ignited as the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage engines were commanded to shut down as part of the abort sequence. The escape engines on the Crew Dragon produced nearly 130,000 pounds of thrust at full power. The SuperDracos performed flawlessly, SpaceX said, accelerating the capsule away from the top of the Falcon 9 at a peak acceleration of 3.3Gs. The SuperDracos accelerated the spacecraft from about 1,200 mph up to more than 1,500 mph (about 675 meters per second) in approximately seven seconds, according to SpaceX.

At this point it appears the only reason the first manned launch might be delayed a bit is if NASA decides to turn it into a long duration mission, requiring new training for the crew.

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2 comments

  • Richard M

    At this point it appears the only reason the first manned launch might be delayed a bit is if NASA decides to turn it into a long duration mission, requiring new training for the crew.

    Hopefully they make that decision *immediately*, because the sooner they make it, the sooner the crew can begin the extra training.

    Some of this decision may depend on where things stand with the Starliner investigations. If the investigations really *are* (as Eric Berger’s source suggests) uncovering worrisome new problems with the thruster performance such that, whether or not they decide Boeing needs to fly the OFT again or not, the Starliner crewed flight looks more and more like getting pushed back to late in the year or worse… then maxing out the value of the crewed Dragon test flight by extending it would get some extra ooomph.

    Frustrated as I am with Boeing on many levels, I really do hope they can get Starliner flying ASAP. NASA really needs both of these vehicles in operation – the sooner, the better.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Agreed. Both systems in operation would be huge.
    Not only because of turn around rate, but also redundancy.

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