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.

®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.