SpaceX Conducts First Drop Test of Dragon

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Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completed its first high-altitude drop test of the Dragon space capsule Aug. 12 off the coast of California, the company announced Aug. 20.

The test was intended to validate the Dragon’s parachute deployment systems and recovery operations in advance of the capsule’s Sept. 23 launch atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. A helicopter dropped the Dragon test article from a height of nearly 4,300 meters. SpaceX said Dragon’s three 35-meter-diameter parachutes deployed as planned and the test article splashed down “well within the targeted zone.”