Watch SpaceX's Crew Dragon Fire Its Abort Engines in Amazing Video Compilation

A fiery new SpaceX video brings all the "foom" that's been missing from your life.

In just 30 seconds, the space company showed off a selection of 700 tests of the SuperDraco engines designed for the abort system of its commercial crew vehicle, Crew Dragon. The first crewed mission will send NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station in the near future. 

Clips in the video show Crew Dragon in many separate uncrewed tests: rocketing off the launch pad, spewing rocket flames while tied down near the launch tower, hovering in mid-air — and working tirelessly both day and night. Close-up shots display the spacecraft's eight SuperDraco engines throttling up, flames jetting from their nozzles. 

Related: See SpaceX's Crew Dragon Parachutes in Action
SpaceX Crew Dragon SuperDraco Tests in Multiple Amazing Views

A SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft testing its SuperDraco thrusters.  (Image credit: SpaceX)

"Ahead of our in-flight abort test for @Commercial_Crew — which will demonstrate Crew Dragon's ability to safely carry astronauts away from the rocket in the unlikely event of an emergency — our team has completed over 700 tests of the spacecraft's SuperDraco engines," SpaceX officials said in a tweet accompanying the video.

"Fired together at full throttle, Crew Dragon's eight SuperDracos can move the spacecraft 0.5 miles [0.8 kilometers] — the length of over seven American football fields lined up end to end — in 7.5 seconds, reaching a peak velocity of 436 mph [702 km/hr]," SpaceX added.

The company is testing all aspects of the spaceflight system, including the Falcon 9 rocket that will heft Crew Dragon into space. On Aug. 29, the company did a static-fire test of Falcon 9 in McGregor, Texas.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon — along with Boeing's CST-100 Starliner — are both expected to bring astronauts to the ISS, under agreements signed with NASA in 2014. Russian Soyuz spacecraft have been the only capsules sending crews back and forth since July 2011, after NASA retired its space shuttle program.

The first Crew Dragon mission — without astronauts on board — visited the ISS successfully in March during a six-day mission called Demo-1. While observers predicted a crewed mission would happen quickly, the same Crew Dragon exploded in April during an abort test of its SuperDraco engines. SpaceX hasn't yet disclosed when Demo-2, carrying Hurley and Behnken, will take place. 

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: