SpaceX Rocket With Unmanned US Capsule Blasts Off For Space
SpaceX Rocket With Unmanned US Capsule Blasts Off For Space
Dragon roars: SpaceX's first crew test flight goes well so far
06 March, 2019, 13:53
The test dummy - or Smarty as SpaceX likes to call it, given all the instrumentation - is named Ripley after the lead character in the science-fiction "Alien" films.
Furthermore, the crew variant of Dragon 2 is one of two spacecraft that will return domestic crew launch capability to the United States, the other being Boeing's CST-100 Starliner.
Once at the ISS, Ripley will remain in the cargo hold while astronauts on board the space station check the capsule.
Following the retirement of American shuttles, NASA paid companies such as SpaceX and Boeing about $8 billion to build and operate crew capsules to carry astronauts to and from the space station.
They opened the hatch to Crew Dragon following standard leak checks and pressurization since the spacecraft completed its hard dock to the station at 6:02 a.m., the first autonomous docking of any US spacecraft to the International Space Station.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine marked Saturday's launch with a tweet, writing that the moment marked "a new chapter in American excellence".
International Space Station approach zones Two zones dictate how vehicles approach the International Space Station: the approach ellipsoid, which is 4-by-2 kilometers wide, and a smaller keep out sphere, which is 200 meters wide.
The station astronauts offered congratulations to SpaceX, as they got ready to open the hatches and collect the supplies stashed aboard Dragon.
"The first day of a new era for the next generation of space explorers". The version designed for humans is slightly bigger and safer.
In 2014, the United States space agency awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing for them to take over this task.
"We're going to learn a ton from this mission", said NASA's commercial crew program manager, Kathy Lueders. This will have its equivalent demo flight in the next couple of months. The more immediate goal is to avoid harming the space station and its three occupants: an American, Canadian and Russian.
This includes demonstrating the on-orbit operation of avionics, communications, telemetry, life support, electrical, and propulsion systems, as well as the guidance, navigation, control (GNC) systems aboard both Falcon 9 and Dragon.
At Saturday's post-launch news conference, Musk said he'd be happy to fly on the revamped Dragon. SpaceX's new crew capsule arrived at the station on Sunday in a remarkable moment for commercial space exploration. SpaceX plans to recycle the newly flying capsule for a high-altitude abort test this spring, along with a booster launched and retrieved a week ago.
He is outfitted with sensors to measure the impact of the ride for its eventual first flyers. "That would be pretty cool", he said.
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