SpaceX and NASA are completing preparations before launching their first manned space flight mission – Demo-2, which is technically still a demonstration mission required to validate SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to transport humans on regular flights. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will board the historic flight, which will see SpaceX’s vehicles fly them to the International Space Station for the very first time.
A preparatory step for that launch took place on April 3, with a full review of the emergency exit system that will be in place during the Demo-2 launch day to ensure that astronauts and ground crews can all quickly and safely emerge from the launch pad if something goes wrong. It is highly unlikely that the system will actually be used, but security is the name of the game in human spaceflight, and so NASA and SpaceX conducted a full demonstration with crew and support staff at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to prove that everything works as intended.
As you can see in the video above, the system essentially includes loading the crew from the takeoff tower into what corresponds to a biplane system, with baskets they ride in to reach armored vehicles at ground level. They are loaded into what are technically called Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (explosion resistant, of course), and then they take them to a safe distance.
Part of the demonstration exercise included simulation of crew injuries among support staff, where other team members had to locate them and carry them to the baskets for evacuation. Everything seems to have been planned, which means that the May window for this groundbreaking SpaceX mission looks more solid than ever.