Space-X - Crew Dragon
Dragon is a free-flying spacecraft designed to deliver both cargo and people to orbiting destinations. It is the only spacecraft currently flying that is capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth. Currently Dragon carries cargo to space, but it was designed from the beginning to carry humans. The Dragon spacecraft is capable of carrying up to 7 passengers to and from Earth orbit, and beyond. The pressurized section of the capsule is designed to carry both people and environmentally sensitive cargo. Towards the base of the capsule and contained within the nose cone are the Draco thrusters, which allow for orbital maneuvering. Dragon’s trunk not only carries unpressurized cargo but also supports the spacecraft during ascent. The trunk remains attached to Dragon until shortly before reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.
The first demonstration flight under NASA's Commercial Crew Program launched on March 2, 2019 at 2:49 a.m. ET. The Dragon spacecraft successfully docked with the space station ahead of schedule at 6:02 a.m. ET on March 3, 2019, becoming the first American spacecraft in history to autonomously dock with the International Space Station.
One of the best aspects of the return to inline rockets with capsules is the ability to abort off of a rocket in the unlikely event of an emergency on the ground or in flight. Like any capability, it is important to model and simulate, but a full demonstration helps to ensure the systems function as planned. SpaceX previously demonstrated its abort system in a pad abort test in 2015, when a Dragon test capsule performed an abort engine test from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. That test simulated a situation where the spacecraft was at rest at the pad and an emergency necessitated a quick escape. The test also included a verification that the parachutes would adequately deploy for a splashdown just off the coast.
The in-flight abort test is the final major test before astronauts board the spacecraft. The Crew Dragon from the Demo-1 flight will be re-used for the in-flight abort test. The in-flight abort test will be pursuing full demonstration at one of the harshest moments of launch: max Q, or maximum aerodynamic pressure.
As a rocket-and spacecraft ascend there is a combination of speed and air density, which adds up to the maximum pressure on the vehicle approximately one minute into flight. It is at this point that an abort would be the most difficult. At this instant during the test, SpaceX will intentionally send the abort command to the Crew Dragon and Falcon 9. Instantly, the rocket will begin to shut down its engines and the eight SuperDraco engines on the spacecraft will ignite to rapidly accelerate and fly the Crew Dragon away from the rocket. SpaceX will gain significant data from this test to validate their design and models.
Demo-2 is SpaceX’s final test flight, which will validate all aspects of its crew transportation system, including the launch pad (LC-39A), the rocket (Falcon 9), the spacecraft (Crew Dragon) and SpaceX’s operations capabilities. On this mission, two NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, would don the SpaceX spacesuits, ride out to the launch pad and strap into their next-generation spacecraft. Once that hatch is closed the launch abort system will actively monitor the rocket in the unlikely event of anomaly.
Launch and ascent were consistent with SpaceX’s Cargo Resupply Services launches with the notable exception of two astronauts sitting on top. Once in orbit, the crew would verify the vehicle flies as intended by testing, among other things, the environmental control system, the displays and controls system, and the maneuvering thrusters using manual control. After about a day, they will be in position to rendezvous and dock with the space station. The Crew Dragon is designed to do this autonomously, but the crew – aboard the spacecraft and the station - will be diligently monitoring the performance of the approach and docking.
After a successful docking, the crew was welcomed aboard the International Space Station, where they would stay for a relatively short period (5-30 days depending upon workload and orbital factors). They performed tests on the docked Crew Dragon to make sure it is capable of staying for as long as 210 days – which is what it is designed to be able to do. At the conclusion of their mission they would autonomously undock, fly away and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere heatshield first – providing the final validation of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to meet NASA’s needs. Upon splashdown just off Florida’s Atlantic Coast, they would be picked up by the SpaceX recovery ship and returned to the docks at Cape Canaveral in the final validation of an end-to-end test of their crew transportation system.
The Falcon 9 booster rocket with the Crew Dragon manned ship launched to the ISS on May 30. This was the first manned flight in nine years, carried out from the United States on an American spacecraft. The successful docking of Crew Dragon with the ISS took place on May 31. Crew Dragon-1 was SpaceX's first operational mission to the space station. Regular crewed flights to station are the realization of the final goal of the Commercial Crew Program: safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation of astronauts to low-Earth orbit on commercial spacecraft.
Roscosmos experts listed some of the shortcomings of the SpaceX manned spacecraft Crew Dragon manufactured by Ilona Mask. Among them: the inconvenience of the ship’s design, the placement of engines behind the cabin wall, follows from the material in the Russian Space journal of Roscosmos. "<...> the placement of liquid-propelled engines of tremendous thrust of the integrated propulsion system of the emergency rescue system directly behind the wall of the cabin is alarming," the article said.
A number of experts also questioned the safety of the "immediate vicinity of the crew and a couple of tons of toxic fuel components (nitrogen tetroxide and monomethylhydrazine - this is still not water or even hydrogen peroxide), which are supplied under pressure to the emergency rescue engines."
In addition, according to experts, the Crew Dragon cockpit is much more spacious than the Soyuz spacecraft, since it is designed for seven astronauts. “However, NASA has reduced the crew to four people - it’s no longer needed. It turns out that in order to solve its main task of delivering people to the ISS, the new ship still looks oversized,” the article said.
The material also indicates the absence of a normal toilet in the American ship. “Astronauts flying on the shuttle complained that the toilet area was separated from the rest of the cabin with a symbolic screen during each use. But if the shuttle’s sealed cabin had a volume of 74.5 cubic meters, then the new ship has only 10 cubic meters, and the toilet is still hidden behind curtain, "- says" Russian space ".
Two American astronauts who flew to the International Space Station in SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule returned to Earth 02 August 2020, ending their historic two-month mission. The space capsule carrying Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley splashed down into the Gulf of Mexico, following a 21-hour journey after departing the ISS. It was also the first water landing by U.S. astronauts since the final Apollo moon mission 45 years ago, and an accomplishment no private company has ever achieved.
The capsule started from orbital speed of 28-thousand kilometers an hour but slowed down to just 24 kilometers an hour at splash down. After splashing down, the capsule was hoisted aboard a recovery ship, and the two astronauts were checked by doctors before being flown ashore by helicopter. "This has been a quite an odyssey, the last five 5, 6, 7, 8 years. Five years since Bob and I started working on this program, and to be where we are now, the first crude flight of Dragon, is just unbelievable."
"I think we're both super, super proud, to have been just a small part of the team that accomplished bringing those space flights back to the Florida coast, and bringing that capability back to America." The successful end to the crew's mission cleared the path for the first operational-phase mission of the spacecraft, to take off as early as September 2020, and maybe even tourist flights from 2021. President Trump also congratulated NASA and SpaceX on the astronauts' safe return, calling the mission "very successful".
On 16 November 2020 the crewed spacecraft Crew Dragon of the American company SpaceX with four astronauts on board launched on Sunday to the International Space Station (ISS). The Falcon 9 launch vehicle was launched at 19:27 US East Coast time (03:27 GMT Monday) from the launch site at Cape Canaveral. The crew of Crew Dragon, dubbed Resilience, includes Americans Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi. Approximately nine minutes later, the first stage of the launch vehicle was automatically landed on the platform Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean. 12 minutes after launch, the spacecraft was placed into low-earth orbit.
“Congratulations to NASA and SpaceX on today's launch. This is a testament to the power of science and what we can achieve through innovation, ingenuity and faith in success,” Biden said. “I, along with all the Americans and the people of Japan, wish the astronauts the best in their journey". Earlier, the current American leader Donald Trump reacted to the launch of Crew Dragon. "A wonderful launch," he said. "NASA was close to ruin when we took power. And now it is once again the hottest, most advanced space agency in the world."
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|