SpaceX completed another CCiCap milestone today with the successful Launchpad Abort Test of there Dragon 2 capsule. The capsules 8 SuperDraco engines propelled the vehicle away from the launchpad to a splashdown in the Atlantic ocean.
The purpose of the test was to verify the design of the launch escape system a critical element for manned space flight. The capsule carried 270 different sensors to allow NASA and SpaceX to determine the loads on the crew members during the test and many other pieces of information. They also had a test dummy in one of the seats and weights to simulate a fully crewed vehicle. Once the capsule has been retrieved from the ocean it will be inspected and prepared for the next test which is an in-flight abort test at Max-Q to verify they can escape then if needed.
Most current launch abort systems use a tower attached to the top of the capsule which is then ejected during the launch, SpaceX has opted to build the system into the actual capsule allowing them to provide escape scenarios throughout the flight.
The test came the day after the 54th anniversary of the Alan Shepherd’s Freedom 7 Mercury flight, the SuperDraco engines produced more thrust during the test than the engines on the Freedom 7 rocket.
Below are screenshots of the abort test