SpaceX Pad Abort Test

The Pad Abort Test was the first key flight test of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, a vehicle designed to carry astronauts to and from space. Dragon traveled from 0-100 mph in 1.2 seconds, reaching a max velocity of 345 mph. The test simulated how Dragon would carry astronauts to safety if an emergency occurred on the launch pad. Crew Dragon’s abort system is powered by eight SuperDraco engines which together produce 120,000 pounds of axial thrust. The engines are integrated directly into the sides of the vehicle rather than carried on top of the vehicle as with previous launch abort systems. This configuration provides astronauts escape capability from the launch pad all the way to orbit and allows the spacecraft to use the same thrusters to land propulsively on land at the end of a mission.

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