Feeds

SpaceX successfully tests SuperDraco rescue rockets

Aims to build the safest spacecraft ever

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

SpaceX has confirmed the successful test of its SuperDraco rocket engine, which will form the backbone of safety and landing systems for its Dragon spacecraft.

The SuperDraco system is an upgrade to the existing Draco propulsion system used to maneuver the Dragon spacecraft in orbit. Each SuprerDraco engine is capable of 15,000lb of thrust, and eight of them will be built onto the Dragon module, allowing it to escape a faulty booster or land – on Earth or otherwise – with a high degree of accuracy.

superdraco escape capsule

In case of booster failure, press escape button

“SuperDraco engines represent the best of cutting edge technology,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO. “These engines will power a revolutionary launch escape system that will make Dragon the safest spacecraft in history.”

SuperDraco is a bit more sophisticated than the Launch Escape System (LES) used on the Apollo rocket back in the previous millennium. Back then the LES was little more than a mini-rocket that sat on top of the astronaut’s capsule and could provide 20 to 30 seconds of thrust before being jettisoned, at which point the occupants would have to hope that their capsule's parachutes would be enough to avoid a terminal thud.

dragon lands on mars

Next stop Mars?

The eight-rocket system should provide the Dragon capsule with a higher degree of safety, since it should allow for a powered landing, but Musk makes no secret of the fact that he wants to go to Mars (indeed he promised his wife a honeymoon there by some reports), and the system would be ideal for landing in the relatively light gravity of the Red Planet. Having eight rockets provides additional safety, since the capsule should still be controllable if one engine fails.

The tests were carried out at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas, and successfully managed to carry out a full burn, as well as throttled operations – which will be key to allowing the level of control needed to pilot the Dragon capsule safely.

®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.