In the video of the fireball that swept the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday, a small capsule is visible, which has remained intact and has fallen, and this was a reminder that you can survive the explosion of a rocket.
An important and painful lesson learned by NASA after losing two space shuttles and 14 astronauts. Therefore, a rescue system is being developed in the next generation of ships that will carry people on board.
The Dragon capsule, which was aboard the ill-fated Falcon rocket on Sunday, is similar to that developed by SpaceX to evacuate people. However, Crew Dragon will have a spare system that will allow the capsule to fly out of an exploding rocket and land with a special parachute.
Last month, SpaceX at the launch site demonstrated how the system will work in an emergency. During the test, which lasted less than two minutes, the Dragon capsule turned off its eight engines and catapulted from the Falcon 9 simulator, it flew into the sky over the Atlantic Ocean at a peak speed of 345 miles per hour.
A more ambitious test, scheduled for next year, will take place on board the Falcon rocket at about the same flight point where the crash occurred on Sunday.
Rocket Falcon 9 was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 10:21 am. The mission of this ship was the delivery of payloads to the International Space Station.
The rocket passed the moment of maximum aerodynamic force when the Earth lost communication with the amplifier - according to Max-Q. It exploded about 2 minutes and 20 seconds after launch, creating an avalanche of garbage that fell into the ocean northeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the SpaceX space center. The controllers were the first to receive several signals from the Dragon after the destruction of the rocket, which showed that the capsule remained intact. So told the journalists after the accident, the president of SpaceX Gwynn Shotwell.
During the interruption flight test, SpaceX plans to simulate a crash in the air, and the Dragon capsule will automatically fire off all eight engines located around the circumference of the capsule and fly away.
Boeing, which is building a second space taxi for NASA, is planning a similar test in 2017 for its CST-100 interruption system.
Eric Stallmer, president of the Federation of Commercial Space Flight, said that the accident that occurred Sunday should not affect the current NASA Crew commercial program, which aims to destroy Russia's monopoly on cargo delivery to the space station before the end of 2017.
“My concerns are just a natural reflex reaction,” Stallmer wrote in his e-mail to Discovery News.
SpaceX pays special attention to the problem with the top stage of the Falcon rocket engine as the probable cause of the accident on Sunday.
Shotwell said that parts of the Falcon ship must be assembled within a few months while the investigation is underway.