SpaceX Will Have a Slightly Creepy 'Passenger' on Board This Weekend's Launch

02 March, 2019, 05:22 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • New NASA Mission To Study Space Weather From International Space Station

Ripley is similar to Starman, which blasted off previous year in the driver's seat of Musk's red Tesla convertible, on a test launch of the company's bigger Falcon Heavy rocket.

NASA has selected a Dollars 42 million mission that will help scientists understand and, ultimately, forecast the vast space weather system around our planet.

"We instrumented the crap out of this vehicle; it's got data, sensors everywhere", NASA's Commercial Crew Program manager Kathy Lueders added.

After sending the Dragon on its way to orbit, the Falcon 9's first-stage booster will attempt to fly itself down to an at-sea landing on a drone ship stationed hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic Ocean.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is rolled out to Launch Complex 39A for a dry run to prep for the upcoming Demo-1 flight test at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on January 3, 2019. It will not be tested until April, in a mission similar to SpaceX's.

The mission will be attached to the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station (ISS).

The launch: If you live in the USA and you want to watch the launch, you are going to have get up bright and early. Its crew demo will take place in mid-2019.

The insides of the spacecraft, while roomy, will look a bit different once NASA outfits it with whatever a crewed mission will require, but it's not hard to be impressed with the futuristic look sparkling clean aesthetic of Crew Dragon's cabin.

NASA hopes to end its reliance on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Assuming all proceeds according to plan, NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Canada's David Saint-Jacques will open the hatch, run tests and inspect the Dragon's interior after docking.

Crew Dragon and Starliner were commissioned to replace the Space Shuttle, which was retired in 2011.

We've seen SpaceX's Crew Dragon hurdle multiple delays and survive the scrutiny of a flight readiness review, and now we're finally ready to watch the capsule escape from this planet with the help of a Falcon 9 rocket.

If all goes well, SpaceX's Crew Dragon could be the first American spacecraft to ferry astronauts to space from USA soil since the last Space Shuttle mission in 2011 - and Ripley is getting a first taste of what that'll feel like.

After launching and separating from the rocket, Crew Dragon will travel to the space station, where it will dock and remain for five days. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will ride the Dragon, while the Starliner will carry NASA's Nicole Mann and Mike Fincke as well as Boeing test pilot Chris Ferguson (a former NASA space shuttle commander).

In less than a decade, SpaceX has become a key partner for NASA, in addition to dominating the market for private satellite launches. There may also need to be some design tweaks made in the Dragon's thruster system. SpaceX then aims to launch an in-flight abort test flight, also uncrewed, in the next few months. Because of those uncertainties, NASA has been talking with the Russians about buying additional Soyuz seats just to make sure USA astronauts have continued access to the space station if further delays arise.



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