America has had no access to space for humans on American vehicles since 2011. That space gap is about to stop, not thanks to a space-military-industrial complex goliath, but thanks to a private industry David–SpaceX.
Before NASA will let SpaceX fly humans in its Dragon V2 capsule, the space agency requires that SpaceX test its “launch abort system,” the system that will carry astronauts to safety if their launch rocket blows up. That abort test is scheduled for May 6th. On that day, SpaceX will take a giant step toward putting America’s space gap behind us. It will also take a big leap in technology.
The eight Draco engines that carry the Dragon capsule to safety if there’s trouble, or that land the Dragon on a pinpoint target after a voyage in space are produced in a way that’s radically new for the space industry. They are turned out by a 3-D printer.
Space.com has a series of photos on the upcoming SpaceX abort test. You can see more photos and read the story here at Space.com. (Photo Space.com)