SpaceX Pad Abort Test a Success
“Just after 9am ET today, SpaceX completed the first key flight test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft, a vehicle designed to carry astronauts to and from space. The successful Pad Abort Test was the first flight test of SpaceX’s revolutionary launch abort system, and the data captured here will be critical in preparing Crew Dragon for its first human missions in 2017.”
Lasting less than two minutes, 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, each of which produces about 15,000 pounds of 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.
Checkout entire article with more photos on SpaceX.com.