In 2019, SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, did a great job. At a minimum, she was able to successfully raise the Starhopper spacecraft to 150-meter height and launch more than 60 Starlink Internet satellites into orbit on our planet. But every year the tasks of the company become more complicated and already this year it intends to carry out a manned flight to the International Space Station. This is an extremely risky mission, because if an accident occurs during the flight, astronauts inside the Crew Dragon ship can simply die. To avoid this, the engineers developed an emergency rescue system, during the testing of which the Falcon 9 booster rocket was blown up. It’s not worth scolding the company for another failure – the explosion was planned in advance.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft rescue system test results were tweeted on SpaceX. The development of this system was extremely necessary for the company, since without the technology of landing and rescue astronauts in the event of an accident, the NASA space agency would simply not allow it to fly to the ISS. Initially, the test of the emergency rescue system was scheduled for January 18, but it was postponed the next day due to bad weather. Thus, the launch of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle with the Crew Dragon ship took place on January 20 from Cape Canaveral.
During the flight, SpaceX specifically provoked an accident. After separation of the bow of the Falcon 9 rocket, a fuel ignition occurred, which caused an explosion. However, thanks to the emergency rescue system, already after 84 seconds of flight, the Crew Dragon capsule with two mannequins detached from a collapsing rocket and successfully landed in water 32 kilometers from the coast. Soft landing was facilitated by several open parachutes.
Splashdown of Crew Dragon in the Atlantic Ocean! pic.twitter.com/V1C2Xfd9Mk
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 19, 2020
The SpaceX emergency rescue system is practically no different from the technologies of other companies. In the event of an accident, eight SuperDraco engines are built into the Crew Dragon spacecraft. If the sensors detect an unforeseen situation, these engines are activated and take the manned ship away from a collapsing missile. Then the system opens four parachutes and gently lowers the capsule with the crew into the water.
How well the emergency rescue system did its job is not yet clear. To find out, the company at least needs to check the condition of the mannequins that were inside the capsule. If all is well with them, the next flight of the Crew Dragon ship may take place in March 2020. As part of this space mission, SpaceX will try to send real people to the International Space Station.
US authorities have high hopes for SpaceX, because if it can independently deliver astronauts to the ISS, Russia’s help will no longer be needed. The fact is that earlier Russian Soyuz launch vehicles were used to deliver astronauts to the station and this cost the United States a lot of money.