SpaceX Plans New Engine System

Hawthorne-based Space Exploration Technologies, the commercial rocket firm headed by technology mogul Elon Musk, reported today that it has successfully test fired a new engine, the SuperDraco, which it says is an advanced version of its existing Draco engines. The engines are used by the SpaceX Dragon to maneuver during orbit, and also for reentry and for its launch escape system. The firm said the reusable engines have been undergoing testing at its facility in McGregor, Texas. The spacecraft developer did not say when it intends to start using the new engines in the Dragon spacecraft. SpaceX is currently in the midst of rescheduling a launch of its cargo flight to the International Space Station with NASA, and is now expecting to fly the mission in either March or April. The flight had initially been scheduled for this month, but was delayed due to issues detected during testing and simulation.