SpaceX The company has confirmed that it has performed a static fire test of Crew Dragon's astronaut capsule launch escape system. This is a key step that he needed to take and which is under particularly high scrutiny because a static fire of his thrusters in April resulted in an explosion that destroyed the spaceship. After an investigation, SpaceX and NASA were confident that they identified and corrected the cause of this faulty test, which appears to have worked in their favor in today's engine fire.
Today's toothpick fire seems to have been much smoother, with SpaceX noting that it worked for the planned duration and that its own engineers, along with NASA teams, will now review the results of this test and the data provided. As long as what these teams find from these test results is within the expected limits and criteria for success, that means they can move on to a flight demonstration of the crew's space system – the next necessary step that will lead to the eventual Crew Dragon's manned flight with NASA astronauts on board.
The in-flight abortion test, which will be Crew Dragon's next key step, will demonstrate how the SuperDraco crew's escape system would behave in the unlikely event of a real emergency during a manned mission, albeit with a Crew Dragon spacecraft that actually There is no one aboard. NASA requires its crew business partners to demonstrate this system to ensure the safety of those on board, showing that they can quickly move the crew capsule to a safe distance from the spacecraft in an emergency. Elon Musk said he expects to perform an abortion in flight as early as mid-December, provided this static test shows that everything is behaving as expected.
If all goes as planned with this crucial demo, NASA and SpaceX are optimistic that a first crewed mission can fly as early as the first part of next year. Boeing's commercial crew co-hired is following a similar schedule with its own Starliner crew capsule program.