There have been some pretty remarkable advances in space travel and exploration technologies over just the last few years. Our plans for the future are getting bigger and bolder as a result. As humans are now preparing for a new era of manned space travel, there’s a lot of optimism connected to such endeavors.
However, there’s also the need for a lot preparation and anticipation of what could go wrong. As we aim for new heights, we also have to incorporate a way out when the unexpected or the undesirable happens. That’s when the importance of technology like the Dragon V2 and SpaceX’s Launch Abort system becomes so apparent.
A Launch, A Landing And A Milestone
The highly anticipated critical Pad Abort test of the Dragon V2 went exactly as planned this past May the 6th. It’s launch started at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, ascended to 4,500 feet and ended, safely, as the craft arched and rotated, its parachutes unfurled, and the capsule landed in the Atlantic Ocean. While it wasn’t nearly as dramatic as the recent test of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, the successful Launch Abort system test marks an important step toward upcoming manned missions, which are set to begin in 2017.
Ensuring Crew Safety With A New System
The test showed the viability of a new type of abort system that’s incorporated into the structure of the spacecraft itself. The system has been designed to project the crew and the Dragon V2 into full orbit as it ejects away from the launch vehicle. This is unlike a separate rocket tower, which becomes useless only moments after ascent and can therefore only be used in the first minutes of flight if something goes wrong. For the Dragon V2 in-flight abort test will follow this initial trial and hopefully demonstrate how the system preforms after an actual launch with the Falcon 9 booster.
The Dragon V2 appears to be well on its way to taking a very important title: the only other reusable spacecraft besides the famous Space Shuttle that will carry a human crew. Are you eager to see how additional tests will play out as we get closer to 2017? Share your thoughts on this aerospace milestone in the comments.