SpaceX tests capsule engines

Feb. 2, 2012 at 3:19 PM
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MCGREGOR, Texas, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- SpaceX says it has successfully test fired its SuperDraco engine, which will provide its Dragon spacecraft with maneuvering and escape capabilities.

The private spacecraft company has been conducting further tests since it and NASA announced a delay in the Dragon's intended historic docking with the International Space Station, Forbes reported Thursday.

The SuperDraco rocket engine is intended to allow for powerful but pinpoint control for precision flight maneuvers and also provide the ability for astronauts to jettison anytime from a launch rocket in the event of an emergency, the company said.

"SuperDraco engines represent the best of cutting edge technology," Elon Musk, SpaceX chief executive and technology officer, said in a statement.

"These engines will power a revolutionary launch escape system that will make Dragon the safest spacecraft in history and enable it to land propulsively on Earth or another planet with pinpoint accuracy."

The engines are also reusable, moving the Dragon a step closer to a completely reusable spacecraft, he said.

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