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for catching!— Sarafina Nance (@starstrickenSF) December 23, 2019
As part of their Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Program, NASA has contracted with aerospace giants like SpaceX and Boeing to provide commercial launch services to the International Space Station (ISS). These services will consist of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon (Dragon 2) and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner bringing astronauts to orbit in the coming years, effectively restoring domestic launch capability to the US.
To get these spacecraft ready for flight, Boeing and SpaceX have been putting them through rigorous launch tests. Tomorrow morning (Saturday, Jan. 17th), SpaceX will be conducting its final test in preparation for crewed flights. This is the all-important in-flight abort test, which will be live-streamed by NASA TV – will take place at 7:45 AM EST (4:45 AM PST) from Launch Complex 39A in Florida.
Test - Spacecraft - Escape - Capabilities - Event
This final uncrewed test, which will demonstrate the spacecraft’s escape capabilities in the event of an emergency during launch, is absolutely critical to ensuring that the spacecraft is ready to carry crews and cargo to the ISS. It comes on the heels of last week’s full-duration static fire test with the Falcon 9 rocket (on Jan. 11th) and a static fire test of the Crew Dragon – which took place on Nov. 13th.
There was also the first piloted flight of the Crew Dragon to the ISS, which took place in March of 2019. For this final test, the Falcon 9’s flight trajectory has been plotted to mimic a Crew Dragon mission to the ISS and match the physical environments the rocket and a crewed mission will encounter during a regular flight. The flight trajectory is also expected to cause the Falcon 9 to break up and fall into the Atlantic.
Crew - Dragon - Escape - Min - Seconds
The Crew Dragon, meanwhile, has been configured to intentionally trigger a launch escape about 1 min and 30 seconds into its flight. When this happens, the Falcon...
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