The famous Crew Dragon, SpaceX’s manned capsule designed to fly astronauts in space, has passed yet another test in advance of its upcoming and highly anticipated demonstration launch.
The new-generation human-carrying space pod recently performed a parachute test simulating an emergency abort procedure and passed the test with flying colors, reports Space.com.
Conducted in late June over Southern California, the parachute test featured an unmanned Crew Dragon prototype, which SpaceX released at low altitude from a helicopter.
This was the 16th test of Crew Dragon’s parachute system and aimed to assess how well it was able to slow down the spacecraft in case of a low altitude abort, in order to facilitate a soft landing.
The test was a complete success and saw the Crew Dragon capsule initially deploy a series of drogue parachutes — small parachutes that deploy first in order to pull the larger parachutes from their pack — followed by the spacecraft’s four large parachutes.
SpaceX filmed the whole thing and later released two videos captured during Crew Dragon’s parachute test, which were posted on Twitter last week.
“At Naval Air Facility El Centro in Southern California, SpaceX recently completed its 16th test of Crew Dragon’s parachute system — verifying the system’s ability to slow Crew Dragon and ensure a safe landing in the unlikely event of a low altitude abort,” SpaceX officials tweeted on June 26.
At Naval Air Facility El Centro in Southern California, SpaceX recently completed its 16th test of Crew Dragon’s parachute system—verifying the system’s ability to slow Crew Dragon and ensure a safe landing in the unlikely event of a low altitude abort. https://t.co/OOQnAtNXJ3 pic.twitter.com/kFX7Qth3AK— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 26, 2018
This first one-minute-long video shows the entire test sequence, from the moment the Crew Dragon is released in the air until it touches down on the ground after having deployed both sets of parachutes.
The second video, given below, offers a different view of the Crew Dragon as it tumbles down through the air and then starts to gently glide down on its four large parachutes.
This is the latest in a series of tests that the space vehicle intended for manned missions has undergone in recent months. As the Inquisitr previously reported, SpaceX’s crew transport pod went through an electromagnetic interference test in late May.
Additionally, the Crew Dragon completed a vacuum chamber test at NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Ohio two weeks ago. As reported by the Inquisitr, this second on-ground test was meant to find out if the capsule is ready for the extreme thermal conditions of outer space.
Built on the design of the company’s cargo-ferrying Dragon spacecraft, the same one that just delivered nearly 6,000 pounds of science gear and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), the Crew Dragon was developed to carry astronaut crews to the ISS and even to Mars.
According to Space.com, which cites NASA officials, Crew Dragon’s first uncrewed flight test is slated for late August, while the first manned launch could take place in December.