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SpaceX's Crew Dragon returns to port, as NASA promises a successful launch debut

SpaceX & # 39; s Crew Dragon Spacecraft successfully returned to Port Canaveral aboard the Recycling Ship GO Searcher which involved an orbital launch debut that tracked through its milestones so flawlessly that Commercial Crew Program Deputy Steve Stich went so far as to say that the spacecraft "did better than [NASA] expected". The culmination of the better part of a decade of constant work and NASA support, the flawless success of SpaceX's DM-1 Crew Dragon Mission is a testament &#821 1; above all else – to the many hundreds of thousands or millions of hours of SpaceX employees have put into the spacecraft's design, production, operation and recovery. While only half of a critical pair of demonstrations, DM-1's success should be translated into extremely good odds for Crew Dragon's Demo Mission 2 (DM-2), where SpaceX will launch two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station on the company's first crew solution ever. "I can't believe how good the whole mission has gone. I believe in every aspect, everything has been strapped, all the way along, especially the last part. We were all very excited to see re-recording and parachute and drug deploy and main equipment, splashdown – everything just happened perfect, the right time we expected. It was beautiful. " – Benji Reed, Head of Crew Mission Management, SpaceX SpaceX Director of Crew Mission Management Benji Reed's Undetermined Assessment by Crew Dragon's debut is a perfect example of the attitude is almost universal throughout the company Mission's twilight is…

SpaceX & # 39; s Crew Dragon Spacecraft successfully returned to Port Canaveral aboard the Recycling Ship GO Searcher which involved an orbital launch debut that tracked through its milestones so flawlessly that Commercial Crew Program Deputy Steve Stich went so far as to say that the spacecraft “did better than [NASA] expected”.

The culmination of the better part of a decade of constant work and NASA support, the flawless success of SpaceX’s DM-1 Crew Dragon Mission is a testament &#821

1; above all else – to the many hundreds of thousands or millions of hours of SpaceX employees have put into the spacecraft’s design, production, operation and recovery. While only half of a critical pair of demonstrations, DM-1’s success should be translated into extremely good odds for Crew Dragon’s Demo Mission 2 (DM-2), where SpaceX will launch two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station on the company’s first crew solution ever.

“I can’t believe how good the whole mission has gone. I believe in every aspect, everything has been strapped, all the way along, especially the last part. We were all very excited to see re-recording and parachute and drug deploy and main equipment, splashdown – everything just happened perfect, the right time we expected. It was beautiful. “ – Benji Reed, Head of Crew Mission Management, SpaceX

SpaceX Director of Crew Mission Management Benji Reed’s Undetermined Assessment by Crew Dragon’s debut is a perfect example of the attitude is almost universal throughout the company Mission’s twilight is over. While sources indicate that there were more than a few hiccups during the mission, they were extremely mild and did not come as a surprise to what actually constituted the first shakeout mission for a brand new vehicle. According to CEO Elon Musk, Crew Dragon shares almost no hardware – apart from its Draco thrusters – with Cargo Dragon, the uncrowned orbital spacecraft SpaceX has now launched 17 balls in the last eight years.

For such a complex spacecraft, not to mention an almost pure sheet redesign, it is no less than extraordinary that the debut launch was so completely free of significant anomalies or unexpected behavior. Separately in the clear phases of launch, free flight, ISS docking / docking and recovery, Crew Dragon reportedly performed almost perfectly in any case, “right on time” according to Reed. NASA Vice Deputy Chief Steve Stich was equally enthusiastic and appreciated about spacecraft performance.


“On orbana, we got very good data about the vehicle in terms of thermal performance and performance. The vehicle really did better than we expected. Then it was rendezvous phenomenal when we came in and checked out these sensors. Today; on how these systems performed, which went smoothly. There is a very tight sequence between undocking and de-orbit burning, how the nose cone performed, how the interruption run was carried out, then the record was phenomenal. “

” I think not that we really saw anything in the mission so far – and we have to deal with the data management – it would exclude us from having the obsessed mission [DM-2] later this year. “

– Steve Stich, Deputy Head of CCP, NASA [19659014] Following the return of Crew Dragons 9/10 March to Port Canaveral, the spacecraft is expected to be immediately included in an analysis and data collection analysis, which quickly turns into renovation to prepare the canister’s second (albeit uborbital) launch, a critical in-flight abortion (IFA) test that can happen as early as April according to Elon Musk. While official planning plans are aimed at the IFA that occurs closer to June or through July, it is reasonable to assume that these official schedules are very conservative. If Crew Dragons significant waterproof and reuse upgrades make a big difference, it is far from unthinkable that the vehicle’s second interruption test may actually occur before the schedule, even if it is unlikely.

The in-flight break test will effectively be a repeat of SpaceX’s successful 2015 banana break demonstration, albeit with the stationary launch pad replaced with a full Falcon 9 rocket – the first and second stages – traveling at supersonic speeds. If Crew Dragon can safely interrupt under such challenging conditions, it is almost certain that it will be interrupted at any time during a Falcon 9 launch, all the way from the moment the fuel starts on the ground in orbital operations. In fact, President Elon Musk recently suggested that the same SuperDraco abortion thrusters that enable these safe flights can potentially be used to add another level of redundancy to landing, face parachute or failure to slow down the canister and minimize or prevent damage during splashdown.

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