Bad weather happened to be the reason for Elon Musk’s SpaceX to delay until Sunday a test in which it will destroy one of its own rockets in a trial of a crucial emergency abort system on an anonymous astronaut capsule.
Previously, the test was planned to take place on Saturday. Its company final milestone test before flying NASA astronauts from the U.S. soil.
SpaceX described on Twitter that it was standing down from the Crew Dragon capsule test because of the recovery area surrounded by high winds and rough seas.
Standing down from today’s in-flight Crew Dragon launch escape test attempt due to sustained winds and rough seas in the recovery area. Now targeting Sunday, January 19, with a six-hour test window opening at 8:00 a.m. EST, 13:00 UTC
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 18, 2020
It was now looking at conducting the test on Sunday, with a six-hour test window which will start at 8 a.m. ET (1300 GMT).
Not more than two minutes after liftoff from a launchpad in Florida, the Crew Dragon will fire onboard thrusters to eject itself off a Falcon 9 rocket mid-air, simulating an emergency abort scenario that will testify it can return astronauts with safety.
The test is crucial to best-fit SpaceX’s astronaut capsule to fly humans to the International Space Station, which the experts at National Aeronautics and Space Administration anticipate to come as soon as mid-2020.
The test follows years of development and pauses as the U.S. has sought to come around its human spaceflight program through private affiliations.
NASA awarded $2.5 billion to SpaceX and $4.2 billion to Boeing in 2014 to develop distinct capsule systems capable of taking astronauts to the space station from the U.S. soil for the very first time since its space shuttle program ended in 2011.
The American space agency has since relied on Russian spacecraft to snag rides to the space station.
In the test, Falcon 9 rocket’s boosters will shut down approximately 12 miles (19 km) above the ocean, a pretended failure that will prompt Crew Dragon’s so-called SuperDraco thrusters to jet itself away at the supersonic speeds of up to 1,500 miles per hour (2,400 kph).
The capsule will use three parachutes to slow its descent to water, taking aboard two human-shaped dummies dressed in motion sensors to accumulate valuable data on the jumbo g-force–the effect of acceleration on the body-imposed during an abort.
The booster will free-fall and toss back uncontrollably toward the ocean, said Benji Reed, SpaceX’s Crew Mission Management director.
“At some point, we anticipate that the Falcon will start to break up, Reed said, and added: “Our Falcon 9 recovery forces will be there by ready to go and recover as much of the Falcon as we can as safely as possible.”
The in-flight abort test was primarily scheduled to carry out during mid-2019, but the timeline was delayed by nine months after one of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsules shattered during April on a test stand just before firing its launch abort thrusters, causing a lengthy investigation.
SpaceX zeroed in on a previously unnamed explosive reaction between the capsule’s rocket fuel and a titanium valve. Benji Reed told Reuters that SpaceX had finalized the investigation within the last week.
Targeting T-0 of 9:00 a.m. EST. Teams are continuing to monitor weather; Falcon 9 and Dragon remain healthy for today’s test pic.twitter.com/lPWg9roQJh
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 19, 2020