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SpaceX tests the safety rockets for its manned space vehicles

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NASA's Commercial Crew Program is an initiative to get private companies to ferry personnel to-and-from the International Space Station. SpaceX is doing its very best to show that it can do the job, and has successfully tested one of the most important components its crewed vehicle needs: the escape engine. The company has test-fired a pair of its SuperDraco engines in Texas, demonstrating that the gear could ignite and throttle at the same time.

In the event of a launch-based catastrophe like the one that destroyed the (unmanned) Antares rocket, the SuperDracos are designed to push the crew capsule to safety. In addition, Elon Musk has promised that, when fitted to the Dragon V2, the engines will be able to land the vehicle and its passengers to safety without the use of a parachute. Now that SpaceX has shown that the 3D printed hardware is up to the task, a fuller abort test will be carried out at Cape Canaveral later this year. In the meantime, you can just kick back and watch this Vine of a SuperDraco as it begins to roar.

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