SpaceX just took a giant leap forward in its quest to launch astronauts. The private spaceflight company intentionally destroyed one of its rockets on Sunday (Jan. 19) as part of a crucial test of its new Crew Dragon capsule’s launch escape system.
The uncrewed test, known as an in-flight abort (IFA) test, is the last major hurdle SpaceX needed to clear before Crew Dragon can begin to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS).
According to space.com The test resulted in a simulated rocket failure around 85 seconds into flight, then saw the Crew Dragon blasted free of its rocket ride less than 90 seconds after liftoff. deployed its drogue parachutes, and the four main chutes followed shortly thereafter.
The capsule splashed down softly about 20 miles (30 kilometers) off the Florida coast 9 minutes after launch.
While the booster tore itself apart in a fireball, the second stage falling 40km and crashing into the ocean at the speed of sound, making a huge explosion.