The Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), a California-based space transportation firm, is set for first-ever “pad abort” test that will help NASA save lives in case of an emergency in a human spaceflight.
The test of “Crew Dragon” spacecraft, scheduled for May 6, will help NASA abort from a launch or pad emergency and safely carry crew members out of harm’s way, the US space agency said in a statement.
The test will simulate an emergency abort from a test stand on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida.
The Dragon capsule will also have a dummy astronaut named Buster.
“The pad abort is going to show that we have developed a revolutionary system for the safety of the astronauts, and this test is going to show how it works. It is our first big test on the ‘Crew Dragon’,” said Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of Mission Assurance with SpaceX.
Although SpaceX will perform the test under under NASA’s Commercial Crew Programme (CCP), it can use the data gathered during the development flight as it continues on the path to certification.
Under a separate Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract, NASA’s CCP will certify SpaceX’s “Crew Dragon”, Falcon 9 rocket and ground and mission operations systems to fly crews to and from the International Space Station (ISS).
SpaceX is aiming for a manned flight as early as 2017.