SpaceX Test Fires New SuperDraco Rocket Engine

SpaceX DragonSpaceX posted a video from the testing of their new SuperDraco engines for the upcoming Dragon capsule. This is just the latest entry in the company’s publicity drive as they prepare to become the first privately owned space transportation provider.

The SuperDraco engine will not actually be used to launch a vessel into orbit. Instead, these new engines are designed for use as thrusters for the capsule itself. SpaceX claims that the new SuperDraco engine will make the Dragon capsule the safest and, potentially, most maneuverable spacecraft yet designed. In SpaceX’s latest press release, CEO and Chief Technology Officer Elon Musk says “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 SuperDraco engine is  the first rocket engine to be fueled by kerosene as opposed to today’s standard solid rocket fuel. Kerosene provides two major advantages: It burns cleaner and costs a good deal less. In addition, SpaceX states that the new engine will be reusable as opposed to the rocket engines of today.

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