SpaceX Tests Draco Thruster
[Satellite Today 04-27-09] Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completed qualification testing of its Draco spacecraft thruster and Draco propulsion tank, the launch company announced April 24.
The Draco thruster test series included 42 firings with more than 4,600 pulses of varying lengths and was performed in a vacuum test chamber to simulate the space environment, resulting in a total firing time of over 50 minutes on a single thruster.
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, which was selected by NASA as part of the Commercial Resupply Services contract to carry cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and return cargo to Earth, uses 18 Draco thrusters to provide control in orbit and while approaching the ISS.
The Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to make its first flight in 2009.