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SpaceX completes over 700 tests of Crew Dragon’s SuperDraco engines

SpaceX has completed over 700 tests of its Crew Dragon SuperDraco engines as it pushes to use the spacecraft to bring astronauts to the International Space Station.

Elon Musk’s private space company tweeted out the test numbers on Thursday, saying that the tests “demonstrate the Crew Dragon’s ability to safely carry astronauts away from the rocket in the unlikely event of an emergency.”

Also known as the Dragon 2, the Crew Dragon is meant to carry up to seven astronauts and has an integrated launch escape system that can — hopefully — ferry a crew to safety in the event of an emergency.

SpaceX added that Crew Dragon’s eight engines can move the spacecraft half a mile in only 7.5 seconds.

Fired together at full throttle, Crew Dragon's eight SuperDracos can move the spacecraft 0.5 miles—the length of over 7 American football fields lined up end to end—in 7.5 seconds, reaching a peak velocity of 436 mph

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 12, 2019

The Dragon spacecraft was successfully able to dock with the space station in March, becoming the first American spacecraft in history to autonomously dock with the ISS. It was even able to safely land off of the Florida coast.  

In July, SpaceX tested the spacecraft’s parachutes at altitudes of 10,000 to 50,000 feet. The parachute recovery system was successfully tested 25 different times under different deployment conditions. 

Even thought an April test resulted in the Crew Dragon exploding due to a leaking valve, SpaceX is getting closer to perfecting its soon-to-be-manned capsule. 

“The Dragon spacecraft is capable of carrying up to 7 passengers to and from Earth orbit, and beyond. The pressurized section of the capsule is designed to carry both people and environmentally sensitive cargo,” SpaceX explains on its website. “Towards the base of the capsule and contained within the nose cone are the Draco thrusters, which allow for orbital maneuvering.”

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster launched the Crew Dragon capsule into orbit on July 25. The Dragon capsule contained 5,500 pounds worth of equipment for experiments and ongoing scientific research to supply the ISS. 

While it’s carried equipment up to the ISS, the goal is still to carry a crew of astronauts to the International Space Station for the Demo-2 mission with NASA, which according to Teslarati, will happen in 2020.

Digital Trends reached out to SpaceX for an exact launch date of the Crew Dragon capsule and we’ll update this story once we heard back.

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Allison Matyus
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Allison Matyus is a general news reporter at Digital Trends. She covers any and all tech news, including issues around social…
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