Space

SpaceX Crew Dragon hovers on tails of fire

The hover test burn lasted five seconds
The hover test burn lasted five seconds
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The hover test burn lasted five seconds
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The hover test burn lasted five seconds

SpaceX has shown off its new party trick with the release of a video of the Crew Dragon manned space capsule conducting a powered hover test. Though no one was aboard, the tethered mock-up craft managed to lift itself into a hover position using the its SuperDraco thrusters during a five-second burn.

The Crew Dragon test was conducted in November at the company's facility in McGregor, Texas. It shows all eight SuperDarco engines firing as they would during a mission.

Once matured, the SuperDraco technology, which also powers the Crew Dragon's launch abort system, will allow the Dragon to return to Earth using the thrusters to slow the craft and then make a powered landing on dry land with the precision of a helicopter, and without the need for parachutes.

NASA says that the propulsive landing option won't be used on the first Crew Dragon flights scheduled for 2017 that will ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). Instead, the capsule will make a parachute descent for a splashdown recovery in the ocean.

The video shows the hover test both in real time and slow motion.

Sources: SpaceX, NASA

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2 comments
Racqia Dvorak
Same folks developing the reusable rockets. NASA take note: this is what you stopped doing. And on the other side of the pond is the Skylon developments. Super excited to see that finally coming to fruition.
Munoz-Nieves Jose
What most impresses me about Elon Musk and his ventures is his all around approach. His is a reliance on the new and cutting edge technology. Software, hardware it all comes about around the accepted way of doing things. If WWE are to move forward it will be with a reworking of the past from a new perspective. The goals are the same it the approach that changes.
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