With the beginning of October in 2019 lately, SpaceX CEO “Elon Musk” had announced in an event organized at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California grabbing the attention of media and fans saying that –
“the Mark 3 parachute system would need at least 10 successful tests in a row before the company would feel confident about using it for actual crewed flights.”
And recently, on December 4, SpaceX annouced that they have completed the 7th consecutive tests in a row, and are just three more successful multi-chute drop tests behind reaching the safety milestone for crewed flights.
This week SpaceX completed the 7th successful system test of Crew Dragon’s upgraded Mark 3 parachutes, which will provide a safe landing back on Earth for astronauts returning from the @space_station pic.twitter.com/FdBXdvqmf4
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 5, 2019
Additionally, the company is terminating the year with an achievement for driving the astronauts on board with one of its spacecraft at the beginning of 2020. The company has now completed its 10th test in a row for its extensive drop test campaign achieving a vital safety milestone ready for use with NASA astronauts on board.
Elon Musk and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine had already set the goals of completing the campaign before the end of the year.
“We could see as many as 10 drop tests between now and the end of the year, and depending on how the next 10 drop tests go, we will know how many more drops tests we are going to add.”
– said Jim Bridenstine
After the successful 7th test landing, within cramped three weeks, the company is successful in completing the 10 tests in a row accomplishing the goals set by the CEO and NASA Administrator.
Yesterday the team completed the 10th successful multi-chute test in a row of Crew Dragon’s upgraded Mark 3 parachute design – one step closer to safely launching and landing @NASA astronauts pic.twitter.com/nfFjnKygB4
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 23, 2019
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As Bridenstine indicated, this does not necessarily guarantee that NASA, SpaceX, or both entities won’t choose to perform additional tests. Still, a full 20 successful parachute tests in a row are an undeniable sign that Crew Dragon’s latest upgrades are bearing fruit. In simpler terms, SpaceX and Crew Dragon should be closer than ever to achieving the requirements, NASA has laid out to certify spacecraft for human spaceflight.
With a successful orbital launch and recovery (including parachutes) already under its belt, Crew Dragon’s next milestone – scheduled to launch no earlier than (NET) January 11th – is a suborbital In-Flight Abort (IFA) test that will technically serve as the second full-system recovery test. If that launch, abort, and Atlantic Ocean contingency splashdown go as planned, there is an excellent chance that NASA will finally close out SpaceX’s parachute systems for Crew Dragon’s first crewed launch.