The Monitor Daily (U.S.) – SpaceX Dragon 2 capsule performed outstandingly in hover test conducted in November 2015 at the McGregor, Texas facility. Elon Musk’s company has one more success story to add to the list.
Crew Dragon capsule or Dragon 2 capsule is hailed as the future of NASA coordinated commercial crew program. Against this background, every successful test of the Dragon 2 capsule ensures the safety of astronauts ferried back home from the International Space Station. During the hover test, the thrust force of the eight SuperDraco engines surrounding the Crew Dragon capsule were under strict scrutiny. Propulsive landing gained enormously from the hover test conducted by SpaceX.
Albeit the test lasting for no longer than five seconds, the Crew Dragon capsule generated 33,000 pounds of thrusts. It was sufficient for the Dragon 2 capsule to hover in upright position before it rested on the pad. The eight SuperDraco engines performed flawlessly as can be noticed in the video released by SpaceX on January 21st. Their thrust force is estimated at approximately 16,000 pounds overall. Although their full capacity wasn’t on display this time, the successful hover test proves that propulsive landing finally gained ground.
Although SpaceX Dragon 2 capsule performed outstandingly in hover test, NASA announced that propulsive landing isn’t in the cards just yet. The SuperDraco engines will rest as the first manned missions employing the Crew Dragon capsule are set to use parachutes. Instead of using propulsive landing, it is envisioned that parachutes will slow SpaceX’s capsule down before it lands in the ocean. For those familiar with the Apollo missions, the technique will be very similar in during the first manned missions conducted under the commercial crew program.
Before the Crew Dragon capsule becomes the go-to means of transportation, it still stands the certification test. This is bound to happen rather soon, as crewed test flights are already planned for 2017. SpaceX’s Dragon 2 capsule will be launched into orbit atop the Falcon 9 rockets. Following an initial testing period when parachutes will be used, the propulsive landing features stemming from the thrust force of the SuperDraco engines will be put to good use.
The main goal is to use the Crew Dragon Capsule for controlled landing performed with the utmost consideration for the crew’s safety. The latest hover test proved that controlled landing using propulsive landing features is possible. According to NASA, the Dragon 2 capsule hovered and landed with the accuracy of a helicopter.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia