(Mirror Daily, United States) – After several tests for the capsule, SpaceX tested the parachutes for the Crew Dragon that is meant to return astronauts safely from the International Space Station (ISS). The company has been performing several trials lately in preparing for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) have conducted the test high above the ground in Coolidge, Arizona. The four red and white parachutes were carried by a C-130 cargo aircraft with a mass simulator that mimicked the weight of the capsule and potential crew members. The purpose was to naturally assure the safe return of astronauts back onto Earth.
Initially, the landing is planned on slowly bringing the crew members with a gentle landing onto the oceans, for which they will use parachutes. However, SpaceX has shown that it’s not the true extent of their ambitions. In fact, the company has tested out the Crew Dragon’s eight SuperDraco engines for a smooth landing on ground.
The spacecraft past testing with flying colors, but will not be used until much later on due to the additional danger of attempting a landing directly on land. Arriving in the ocean would be a much safer course.
SpaceX has been conducting many tests recently, including those with the Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket that is meant to set astronauts into space. Its engineering teams are put to work to assure a quick and efficient progress that will be mirrored by Boeing. The latter is doing several tests on developing the CST-100 Starliner, set to be launched on the ULA’s Atlas V.
Both companies are making efforts to assure future blast offs to take place from American soil. It’s in the hopes of NASA that this will result in severe cost cutting solutions and will break their dependency from the Russian space agency. Until now, all astronauts were boarded on the Soyuz capsule, and just one seat could cost up to $81 million. By developing new spacecrafts, it could better aid the agency in saving funds and redirecting them toward future missions.
It’s estimated that a seat on the Crew Dragon or the CST-100 Starliner will cost around $58 million, which is a vast difference from the Soyuz. The two spacecrafts are also estimated to cost around $5 billion in total through the development process, with $1.2 billion to be invested in 2016.
Both SpaceX and Boeing will be guaranteed at least two missions each, with a maximum of six, even though the companies are working with NASA under separate contracts.
Image source: wired.co.uk