Spaceflight Insider

SpaceX in-flight abort test moved from Vandenberg to KSC

SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 Dragon Pad Abort Test Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 photo credit Michael Seeley SpaceFlight Insider

Photo Credit: Michael Seeley / SpaceFlight Insider

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — NASA announced late in the day on Thursday, July 2, that SpaceX’s in-flight abort test would move from Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 4E in California to Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A in Florida. 

WKMG Local 6 has reported that it is not known at present when the in-flight abort test will be carried out. However, it will likely take place later than this fall when the test had been scheduled to take place.

Before the in-flight abort test takes place, SpaceX will launch an orbital test flight of the crew-rated dragon (without the crew). Once that mission has been completed and that Dragon has been recovered and restored, it will be used on the in-flight abort test.

Whereas the launch pad abort test on May 6, 2015, demonstrated the crew-rated Dragon’s ability to lift astronauts away from an accident at the launch site, the in-flight abort test will validate the craft’s ability to do the same – from a launch vehicle on ascent.

If everything goes according to plan, the Falcon 9 will lift off from LC-39A and, at about a minute-and-a-half into the flight, when the booster is passing through the period of the flight known as maximum dynamic pressure or “max-Q” – the abort system will be activated. The Dragon spacecraft will then pull away from the Falcon 9, deploy its parachutes and splash down in the Atlantic Ocean.



Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

Reader Comments

Gary Winkler

when you can’t build a shuttle mission control in California….issue.

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