A simulated in-flight abort scenario to test whether the Crew Dragon craft can protect astronauts in the event of an emergency at launch, due to take place on Saturday, has been postponed by 24 hours due to bad weather at the recovery site in the Atlantic Ocean, SpaceX announced.
Standing down from today’s in-flight Crew Dragon launch escape test attempt due to sustained winds and rough seas in the recovery area. Now targeting Sunday, January 19, with a six-hour test window opening at 8:00 a.m. EST, 13:00 UTC— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 18, 2020
SpaceX’s planned test of the emergency abort system is one of the final steps remaining before the company will be accredited to fly NASA astronauts from US soil to the International Space Station (ISS). Currently, NASA purchases seats to fly astronauts to the ISS from Russia, using Soyuz spacecraft.
The in-flight abort test assesses whether the Crew Dragon craft can detach from a Falcon 9 rocket in the event of an emergency after launch. One minute and 30 seconds after launch, the Crew Dragon will separate from the rocket and launch its own engines to travel a safe distance from the rocket. The unmanned Crew Dragon craft is set to land in the Atlantic Ocean after deploying parachutes.
The first test flight of the Crew Dragon craft took place in March, and the unmanned vessel docked with the ISS. The in-flight abort test was initially meant to take place in mid-2019, but was delayed after an explosion during a ground test in April.
NASA has given contracts to Boeing and SpaceX to develop US spacecraft to transport crew to the ISS. After the completion of all tests, NASA will need to certify the safety of both SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner before they can start their missions.