Musk: Dragon Abort Test Successful

Dragon abort test with SuperDraco engines.  (Credit: SpaceX)
Dragon abort test with SuperDraco engines. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also held a brief press conference after the test. Here are the highlights:

  • Test vehicle went from zero to 100 mph (160 kph) in 1.2 seconds “That’s pretty zippy.”
  • Dragon reached top speed of 345 mph (555 kph)
  • “If there had been people on board they would’ve been in great shape.”
  • One of SuperDraco thrusters had a lower than expected thrust due to a fuel mixture ratio that was “slightly off”
  • Only four of the eight SuperDragos need to fire for an abort
  • SuperDragos can be used for propulsive touch downs on land
  • Up next: an in-flight abort test out of Vandenberg Air Force Base
  • SpaceX will conduct an uncrewed flight to the International Space Station followed by a second test with a crew
  • Musk expects to be transporting astronauts to ISS within two years, give or take six months

The pad abort test was one of two remaining milestones under SpaceX’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capabilities agreement with NASA. The other is the in-flight abort test. Each milestone is worth $30 million.

Dragon's trunk separates from capsule during pad abort test. (Credit: SpaceX)
Dragon’s trunk separates from capsule during pad abort test. (Credit: SpaceX)
Dragon pad abort test article descends under parachutes. (Credit: SpaceX)
Dragon pad abort test article descends under parachutes. (Credit: SpaceX)
Dragon pad abort test. (Credit: NASA)
Dragon pad abort test. (Credit: NASA)