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SpaceX successfully tests Dragon abort system
Posted: Fri, May 8, 2015, 7:48 PM ET (2348 GMT)
Dragon pad abort test (NASA) A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft performed a pad abort test Wednesday in Florida, successfully demonstrating its ability to escape in an emergency. The Dragon, seated on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 40, fired its eight SuperDraco engines for about six seconds at 9:00 am EDT (1300 GMT) Wednesday. The thrusters sent the spacecraft to a peak altitude of more than one kilometer, splashing down just offshore in the Atlantic about 99 seconds later. The company declared the test a success, although one of the thrusters appeared to underperform, shortening the flight by several seconds. The test demonstrates the ability of the Dragon to escape its launch vehicle in an emergency; SpaceX also plans to use those thrusters for future propulsive landings of the spacecraft. An in-flight abort test, where the Dragon separates from a Falcon 9 after liftoff, is planned for later this year.
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