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It would seem like the space race has begun to produce results. This time, the term of “space race” doesn’t refer to a contest between space-ready countries, but between civilian agencies. SpaceX knocked down another record with Crew Dragon, Musk’s latest gadget.
To show the public that SpaceX means business, the space company just released the footage of their newest spacecraft, the Crew Dragon. According to the ship’s specs, the new prototype of spacecraft is capable of landing almost anywhere thanks to its SuperDraco hovering engine.
Yes, you heard it right! Now the astronauts can put the bird down almost anywhere, with the precision of a military helicopter. According to NASA’s and SpaceX’s estimates, the new type of spacecraft might be employed in manned space missions at the beginning of 2017.
The spacecraft will be mounted on top of the Falcon 9, SpaceX’s newest rocket engine. The goal of the mission is to bring a full complement of astronauts safe and sound aboard the International Space Station.
The first test of the novel spacecraft was conducted in McGregor back in November. Although no human crew was involved in the first phases of the test, SpaceX is confident that the results will show that the craft can safely transport astronauts.
According to SpaceX, when the craft will be launched into space, it will not make use of its SuperDraco hover engine. Instead, the spacecraft will rely on giant parachutes for landing procedures. The engine needs further research before it can be put to use.
NASA also stated that the engine will come in handy for the upcoming Mars mission. Parachutes and inflatable cushions (Boeing CST-100) are great when it comes to controlled landings on patches of water, but the hover engine is far superior when it comes to landing on planets with no waters, like Mars.
Crew Dragon, along with its novel SuperDraco hover engine will be able to transport up to seven people into space, and it is the second ship prototype designed and constructed entirely by a civilian agency.
The program has its roots back in 2010, when NASA began to exploit the possibility of civilian companies to be involved in the construction of feasible spacecraft. Although many companies applied for the contract, only two companies were selected to participate in the space program. SpaceX was among one of them, followed by Boeing, which is currently testing the CST-100, a spacecraft which is able to perform a safe landing using inflatable cushions.
SpaceX knocked down another record with Crew Dragon, a new spacecraft that is able to hover, thanks to its engine called the SuperDraco.