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NASA, SpaceX Clear Dragon Crew for Critical Test March 2, Flight – Spaceflight Now



Dragon spacecraft crew and Falcon 9 rocket crew designed for a Demo-1 mission inside a SpaceX hangar on a pad 39A on December 18, 2018. Credit: SpaceX

NASA Managers conducted a flight readiness survey on Friday and cleared SpaceX to continue their work on the preparation of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon ferry merchant ship for the release of an unplanned flight to the International Space Station on March 2nd

The long-awaited mission is critical moment in the merchant team program Railroads NASA for 6.8 billion dollars destined to end only according to the agency by Russian ship "Soyuz" to transfer the US and partner astronauts to and from the station after the withdrawal of the space shuttle eight years ago.

Everything is going well, two NASA astronauts hope to board a crewed "Crew Dragon" on the first pilot test flight in July.

"It's more than a flight test, it's really a mission for the International at a space station, that's part of the commercial crew program that really prepares us for a crew flight that appears later," said Bill Gerstenmeier , director of space flights at NASA headquarters, for the unpilotted test flight

So this is an absolutely critical first step we do as we move towards eventual return of crew launch capability here back to the US "

Lifting from a historical pad 39A is directed and at 2:49:03 EST week on Saturday, roughly the moment Earth rotation takes the rocket into the plane of the space station orbit.This is the only way the current missiles can meet an orbital target driving The backup capabilities are available on March 5 and March 9, but then NASA will have to withdraw while the Russian Soyuz flight scheduled to be launched on March 1

4 to a ferry cosmonaut Alexei Ovcinin, NASA flight engineers Nick Hay and Kri Koch moved to the train station.

Ovcina and The Hague suffered a dramatic malfunction of Soyuz during their initial ascent in space last October, but the capsule and crew were unloaded at about 250 miles from the Kazakh Playground. The Russian space agency corrected the problem, reconsidered the launch plan, and Koch, already trained for a downstream flight, was added to the mission.

In any case, NASA managers who were present at FRR on Friday at the Kennedy Space Center have reviewed the launch and status of the remaining "open" items that either need to be resolved or canceled before the flight, and those , which may be postponed in the near future.

Among the topics being discussed were the crew parachute system and certification testing for use in the upcoming pilot mission related to temperature problems with the shunting engines of the capsule and the condition of the reconstructed helium high pressure tanks known as COPV, immersed in super-cool liquid oxygen inside the Falcon 9.

Problems with an earlier version of the tank were blamed for a spectacular explosion at the Falcon 9 site in 2016. The helium sealing system was also Kneading in the disintegration during flight in 2015 when a strut holding tank in place failed, triggering the destruction of the Dragon freighter.

The mission of the Crew Dragon mission is to understand the physics that led to the explosion and to make sure that the reconstructed reservoirs, known as COPV version 2.0, are not vulnerable to the same failure mode.

"One of the things the composite pressure tank has (are) fibers that are twisted together," said Gerstenmayer. "Because these pressures can break, and as they break, they can potentially generate heat, if they can generate enough heat in the oxygen environment, they can be a source of ignition." "Now we come back and we prove to ourselves that this demolition is so unlikely that it will not be a cause for concern."

One issue to be resolved in the near future includes Russian concerns about computer management systems and safety on board the crew to control the spacecraft's ultimate approach to the space station

Gerstenmayer said that European, Japanese, and Russian spacecraft that meet the station usually carry independent systems that can intercept this is the approach in the event of a mass computer failure that can leave a ship in a collision course, of course with the lab The crew's crew relies on redundancies in the main computer system

"One of the actions I assigned was to go see somewhat more severely to some of the discovery of mistakes and the answer to various failures to make sure computers do all the right things we do not get in a situation where the vehicle is actually dead or sleeping and then just goes on approach and with has collided with the station, "said Gerstenmayer.

"This is the main concern that the Russians point out, why not. Is there a separate system or a separate box to provide this backup option? We think we have sufficient reason to do so. "

Bill Gerstenmayer, head of NASA's Human Research and Operations Directorate, spoke with reporters on Friday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Report: NASA / Chris Swanson

Gerstenmeier said that such technical problems are not unusual in developing a spacecraft classified as human resource and entering the Demo 1 mission, "we have not defined the total package it can work for someone from the hardware. and how it can be used "during pilots."

"But we know the hardware is good enough to carry out this demonstration flight," he said. "In fact, we want to go on a flight to see if there is something else we have missed, and we expect to learn some things in this fight."

Assuming the demonstration 1 disappears on March 2, as planned, the Crew Dragon Spacecraft will hold an autonomous meeting, catching the space station the day after its release and moving to the laboratory port, the same thing that is used to visit spacecraft, about 6 am on March 3. 19659004] The crew of the station – Russian commander Oleg Koninkenko, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques and NASA flight engineer Anne McClellan – will open hatches and inspect the new spacecraft a few hours after docking.

The Flight Plan Demands Demonstration 1 The Dragon Crew will disengage on March 8 and return to the Atlantic Ocean some 230 miles east of Cape Canaveral. SpaceX Recovery crews located nearby will pull the capsule into a ship and download it back to Port Canaveral for detailed post-flight inspections.

Assuming there are no big problems – and assuming that the flight break test goes well this spring – astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley hope to break into the Crew Dragon this summer, to launch the first launch of American astronauts on a US rocket rocket after the shuttle program was completed in July 2011.

NASA also funded the development of the Boeing Capsule, known as CST-100 Starliner, which is scheduled for a non-spontaneous launch at the top of the US River KETA "Atlas 5" of United Launch later this spring. Starling's first piloted flight, carrying astronaut Boeing Christopher Ferguson and NASA crews Nicole Mann and Mike Finke, is scheduled for maturity.

If these flights are going well, the US rotation flight operations can begin before the end of the year.

US Soyuz's final contract is currently scheduled for release in July. Considering the uninterrupted opportunity for unexpected problems with merchant ships, NASA is exploring the option of purchasing two additional Soyuz seats, one for use in the autumn and the next in the next spring.

SpaceX currently holds NASA contracts worth $ 3.04. billion for 20 space station supplies and another contract for an indefinite amount for at least six additional flights by 2024

SpaceX has a NASA contract for $ 2.6 billion to build and release a pilot version of its Dragon Capsule. Boeing won a $ 4.2 billion contract to build the CST-100.


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