SpaceX Fires Up Dragon Crew Capsule in Hover Check

Crew capsules like SpaceX’s Dragon might not all the time return to earth beneath a parachute cover: As an alternative, highly effective engines might sluggish its descent and let it come to tender, helicopter-like touchdown.

The business spaceflight firm’s newest check exhibits the capsule hovering as it’d simply earlier than touchdown, utilizing eight excessive-powered "SuperDraco" engines.

The Dragon is hooked up to a tether, however in case you look intently (it is simpler within the sluggish-movement repeat) you possibly can see that the cable is slack whereas the engines are firing, and there is virtually no vertical or lateral motion — a really profitable hover maneuver.

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This check was carried out in November and solely simply now’s the video being proven, however do not anticipate to see the primary business crewed missions use this experimental method. Till it has been perfected and examined to the satisfaction of everybody concerned, from NASA to SpaceX and everybody in between, parachutes will nonetheless be the descent technique of selection.