SpaceX completed a crucial test of a key safety system of its Crew Dragon spacecraft today. The test involved launching its Crew Dragon using a Falcon 9, though without any actual crew on board. The launch was then intentionally cut short, with the In-Flight Abort (IFA) system triggered to separate the Crew Dragon from the rocket about about a minute and a half into the launch process.
The Falcon 9 rocket used her [sic] had flown on three previous missions, and was in fact the first booster produced as part of SpaceX’s run of human-rated variants of the Falcon 9 design. As intended, the Falcon 9 broke up once the Crew Dragon ejected, with the on-board fuel generating a pretty impressive explosion.
The best clip of the separation from SpaceX:
Crew Dragon separating from Falcon 9 during today’s test, which verified the spacecraft’s ability to carry astronauts to safety in the unlikely event of an emergency on ascent
Then the subsequent explosion of the booster, from Spaceflight Now:
This spectacular series of photos shows the Crew Dragon abort and the expected explosion of the Falcon 9 rocket during today’s launch escape test over Florida’s Space Coast (📷: Katie Darby).
RIP Falcon 9. We saw it clearly fall from the sky