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SpaceX shows the first finished Crew Dragon spacecraft with the new Falcon 9

New photos published from an official tour of SpaceX's Pad 39A launcher show that SpaceX has effectively completed integration and preflight preparation of the company's first airy Crew Dragon spacecraft and the new Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket that will be commissioned with launches the early next year. Currently focused on launch earlier than (NET) January 17th, this initial Crew Dragon launch – known as Demonstration Mission 1 (DM-1) – will be performed without a crew aboard to ensure the spacecraft's performance and features fits into design parameters, hopefully NASA provides the data needed to certify Crew Dragon to launch astronauts as early as June 201 9. omfg @spacex wrote some amazing pictures inside Pad 39A's hangar: hit it First finished Crew Dragon and its Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket (B1051) 😀 at the far left (second photo) you can also see what is probably B1047 it's in the middle of renovation. pic.twitter.com/NWULyAEhpQ – Eric Ralph (@ 13ericralph31) December 18, 2018 Aside from the wonderful fact that all (or almost all) hardware is needed for Crew Dragon launch debut can be seen in the four pictures published today, this is also the first time SpaceX has ever given a true photo of the next spacecraft base-based solar cells. A dramatic deviation from Cargo Dragon's more traditional duo of multi-panel sun rails, distributed from disposable coverings and waving like wings, SpaceX initially decided that Crew Dragon would take a very different setting. In a move that probably lowers the risk of…

New photos published from an official tour of SpaceX’s Pad 39A launcher show that SpaceX has effectively completed integration and preflight preparation of the company’s first airy Crew Dragon spacecraft and the new Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket that will be commissioned with launches the early next year.

Currently focused on launch earlier than (NET) January 17th, this initial Crew Dragon launch – known as Demonstration Mission 1 (DM-1) – will be performed without a crew aboard to ensure the spacecraft’s performance and features fits into design parameters, hopefully NASA provides the data needed to certify Crew Dragon to launch astronauts as early as June 201

9.

Aside from the wonderful fact that all (or almost all) hardware is needed for Crew Dragon launch debut can be seen in the four pictures published today, this is also the first time SpaceX has ever given a true photo of the next spacecraft base-based solar cells. A dramatic deviation from Cargo Dragon’s more traditional duo of multi-panel sun rails, distributed from disposable coverings and waving like wings, SpaceX initially decided that Crew Dragon would take a very different setting. In a move that probably lowers the risk of solar construction, Crew Dragon panels are firmly attached (ie bent to fit) to the disposable bottom of the disposable bottom.

Instead of using his arrays as wings, Crew Dragon will always have its solar cells that are ready and waiting to generate power, which simply requires the spacecraft to meet half of its luggage towards the sun. According to some individuals involved in the luggage space, it was no easy task to ensure food fitting between individual cells and sub-sections and avoid problems caused by different thermal expansion coefficients (shrinking and expanding when temperature changes) and led to many, many headaches in the last weeks of integration and testing. From a less objective point of view, Crew Dragon’s new, conformable sun set is absolutely stunning and it’s a pity to see every sculptural luggage moved to a destructive atmospheric reentry after each launch.

Pragmatically, it is extremely satisfying to see all hardware (both rocket and spacecraft) effectively under the same roof at the startup, they will soon be lifted off. Like Falcon Heavy, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) has been obsessed with the better part of two years of delays from initial launch targets 2017 for both Boeing and SpaceX. Since then, a combination of NASA bureaucracy and technical / programmatic barriers made by both companies has been conspired to almost delay the first troubled and crew stakes into circulation.

SpaceX was affected by catastrophic Falcon 9 failures in both 2015 and 2016, and has been working extensively to improve the technical and organizational shortcomings that made it possible for these anomalies, while convincing NASA that they are ready to protect the space agency’s astronauts. Since SpaceX’s latest known total vehicle failure in September 2016, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy have succeeded with an extraordinary 37 successful launches in a row in more than 24 months.

SpaceX is aimed at Crew Dragon’s first orbital launch in January 2019, with the launch date currently sitting on January 17, pending International Space Station (ISS) availability and NASA’s forward-looking view. Given the presence of Falcon 9 B1051 in 39A’s integration hangar and the fact that SpaceX technicians already appear to be integrated in the first and second stages, the company can be ready to perform a full reprehendition – with Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon Rolling out and going vertically on Pad 39A – before 2018 is out.


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