The space shuttle had many scenarios with combinations of SSMEs or SRB failures where there was no planned survivable abort available because of a variety of factors (aerodynamics, energy, g forces, etc.). Does Dragon have any of these limitations?

I'm referring mainly to something wrong with Falcon like engine failures.

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    $\begingroup$ I think you need to further specify the question to make it answerable. The Dragon capsule does, of course, have limitations in providing a survivable environment for the occupants. Those are partly different from those of the shuttle because of the difference in design but no vehicle is perfectly survivable. If all the parachutes fail the capsule is nothing more than an uncomfortable coffin. $\endgroup$
    – GittingGud
    Jan 25, 2020 at 9:53
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    $\begingroup$ @GittingGud: I think the intent of the question is to ask whether there are parts of a mission where there is no plan for a survivable abort, not whether such a planned abort might be attempted and fail. That was certainly the case for the shuttle. $\endgroup$
    – user21103
    Jan 25, 2020 at 12:38
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    $\begingroup$ I doubt if a "non-survivable abort" could be called as "abort". Maybe "controlled self-destruction" would be a better terminology for that. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Jan 25, 2020 at 18:14
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    $\begingroup$ @tfb This makes a lot more sense, thanks for the clarification I just got the question wrong. But I think the question should be edited nonetheless for clarification. $\endgroup$
    – GittingGud
    Jan 25, 2020 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ Unsourced speculation: a possible case where a launch escape may be hampered is if the Falcon 9’s engines were stuck at full-throttle at the end of their burn. Based on the in-flight abort footage, it looks like the Dragon might have only a little bit more acceleration available during a launch abort than the Falcon 9 at full thrust, so it might not be able to get far enough away from a problematic booster during the final portion of the booster burn. $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2020 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


No. One of NASA's requirements for Crew Dragon and Starliner is that they are able to provide a full envelope abort window for the launch. The CCTS shall provide abort capability from the launch pad until orbit insertion to protect for the following ascent failure scenarios (minimum list):

a. Complete loss of ascent thrust/propulsion.

b. Loss of attitude or flight path control.

c. Catastrophic event on pad or in flight

From NASA's Commercial Crew Transportation System Certification Requirements


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