The long awaited Pad Abort Test for SpaceX’s Dragon Version 2 (prototype) is scheduled to take place on Wednesday May 6, 2015 at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida, with the test window opening at 09:00 EDT (13:00 UTC) and running through 16:00 EDT (20:00 UTC). The test itself will be extremely brief, only lasting just under two minutes.
It will simulate a launch pad emergency that requires Dragon to fire its eight SuperDraco engines, each with 15,000 lb. of thrust and pull Dragon V2 and test dummy away from the rocket (test stand in this case) to safety and subsequent parachute splashdown in the Atlantic. This test will be unmanned aside from the unnamed dummy along for the ride.
Assuming everything goes to plan, SpaceX plans on an unmanned in-flight abort test from Vandenberg AFB in California later in 2015.
SpaceX’s Estimated Timeline For the Pad Abort Test:
T-0: The eight SuperDracos ignite simultaneously and reach maximum thrust, propelling the spacecraft off the pad.
T+.5s: After half a second of vertical flight, Crew Dragon pitches toward the ocean and continues its controlled burn. The SuperDraco engines throttle to control the trajectory based on real-time measurements from the vehicle’s sensors.
T+5s: The abort burn is terminated once all propellant is consumed and Dragon coasts for just over 15 seconds to its highest point about 1500 meters (.93 mi) above the launch pad.
T+21s: The trunk is jettisoned and the spacecraft begins a slow rotation with its heat shield pointed toward the ground again.
T+25s: Small parachutes, called drogues, are deployed first during a 4-6 second window following trunk separation.
T+35s: Once the drogue parachutes stabilize the vehicle, three main parachutes deploy and further slow the spacecraft before splashdown.
T+107s: Dragon splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean about 2200 meters (1.4 mi) downrange of the launch pad.
Crew Dragon will accelerate from 0 to nearly 100 mph in one second. The entire test is less than two minutes long, with Dragon traveling over one mile in the first 20 seconds alone.
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