Universe Today Podcast

Episode 623: Escape! Spaceflight Abort Systems from the Launch Pad to Interplanetary Travel

February 4th, 2020  •  15 mins 50 secs  •  Download (14.5 MB)  •  Link with Timestamp

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On Sunday, January 19th, 2020, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying its newly designed Crew Dragon spacecraft. 84 seconds into flight, at the moment of maximum aerodynamic pressure, the capsule fired its eight SuperDraco thrusters, detaching from the top of the rocket and flying ahead.

Moments after, the Falcon 9 rocket exploded in midair, destroying a completely good rocket, but the capsule was completely safe, jettisoning its trunk and landing gently in the ocean a few minutes later.

Nobody was on board the spacecraft, just a couple of test dummies, but this test proved that in the case of an emergency during the ascent stage fo the mission, Crew Dragon would be able to carry its astronaut crew to safety.