One of NASA's industry partners, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), completed a full-duration, full-thrust firing of its new SuperDraco engine prototype at the company’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas. The firing was in preparation for the ninth milestone to be completed under SpaceX's funded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP).
“SpaceX and all our industry partners are being extremely innovative in their approaches to developing commercial transportation capabilities,” said Commercial Crew Program Manager Ed Mango. “We are happy that our investment in SpaceX was met with success in the firing of its new engine.”
Nine months after CCP awarded SpaceX $75 million to design and test its Dragon spacecraft with a launch abort system, the company test fired its SuperDraco development engine to demonstrate its capabilities of keeping an astronaut crew safe during launch and ascent. The engine produced full thrust within approximately 100 milliseconds of the ignition command. It also fired for 5 seconds, which is the same amount of time the engines would burn during an emergency abort.