It takes some serious power to send a rocket from 0 to 100 mph in 1.2 seconds. Then come the challenges of making sure the rocket can sustain the blast long enough not only to dock at the International Space Station but help astronauts escape emergency situations.
Some of that power was on display in a video of SpaceX’s SuperDraco propulsion thrusters posted on ExtremeTech.com Friday. The 3-D-printed SuperDraco rockets, which completed development testing this week, are a souped-up version of the Draco thruster, which has been used for maneuvering and control on the Falcon 9 rocket. The SuperDraco will provide 200 times more power than its predecessor and is designed to help the crew aboard a Dragon spacecraft abort a mission and land safely.
The SuperDraco thrusters will be attached to the upper stage of the Dragon capsule. A manned capsule will be fitted with eight engines capable of producing 120,000 pounds of thrust.
The video comes after NASA announced Tuesday that after 27 test fires, the Crew Dragon propulsion system has finished system development testing. It was one in a series of milestones that SpaceX, along with Boeing, are required to complete before they’re authorized to use their equipment to send NASA astronauts into space.