Officially, the first non-scheduled flight to SpaceX's new Crew Dragon, will be released on March 2 outside Cape Canaveral, Florida. Both NASA and SpaceX have agreed to go ahead with the flights today after making a full day of reviews by finding that the car is ready to see space and travel to the International Space Station. If the capsule successfully reaches orbit, SpaceX will be an important step closer to placing the first people on board your spacecraft.
This flight, called Demonstration Mission 1 or DM-1, is a cornerstone of NASA's Crew Program, an initiative to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station for Private Cars. After shuttle shuttle, NASA relies on Russia to transfer its astronauts to and from the low Earth's orbit ̵
The program, both SpaceX and Boeing, is developing new capsules to transport NASA astronauts from low Earth orbit. NASA wants the two companies to send these vehicles first to an empty spot before putting people on board. The Boeing, CST-100 Starliner, is ready to fly raw for the first time this April. But SpaceX's Crew Dragon is on Cape Canaveral in December, ready to fly. SpaceX even tested the Falcon 9 rocket engines, which he plans to use to bring the capsule into orbit. The company just needed the approval of NASA to do it.
NASA has defined the second date of March a few weeks ago and now, after being given, SpaceX is just a week off the big flight. The capsule will fly at 2:48 am ET from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida – an early morning start dictated by the position of the International Space Station in orbit. If the Crew Dragon descends from the ground, it will remain in orbit until early Sunday morning and then attempt to arrive automatically with the space station. Then she will remain at the ISS for a week before she gets off early on Friday morning and returns to Earth to disperse in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida.
The flight is short compared to the monthly missions that can be expected from a crewed spacecraft. But we hope it will also provide NASA and SpaceX with critical data on how the crew dragon is behaving in space – and whether it is ready to carry passengers. "This car inside has many tools," said Katie Luders at a press conference at the Kennedy Space Center today. The capsule will be weighed, similar to how the crew will be dragon when there are astronauts on board, and will have a test dummy suitable for
NASA officials have stressed that they are still taking this test very seriously, although it is short. The crew dragon will arrive at the International Space Station, which currently has three people, and NASA wants to make sure that these crew members are not in danger when the capsule gets there. "This is a test flight, but it's more than a test flight," said Bill Gerstenmayer, an associate administrator of NASA's space flight program at a press conference. "It's a mission to the International Space Station."
Indeed, NASA's international partner Roscosmos expressed some concern about the Dragon crew's software, which he used when approaching the international space station. However, Gerstenmayer says he plans to follow Roscosmos this week to make sure they are on board the procedure. "I do not think this will be a problem after we look at the details of why it's safe, and we can explain the details of why we're moving forward," he said. that the flight still bears some risk as this will be the first launch of this particular car. "I hope we can learn something about this flight," he said. – I guarantee that everything will not work right and it's cool. That's exactly what we want to do. "
DM-1 will also provide NASA and SpaceX with the ability to evaluate some Crew Dragon systems that are not yet are fully ready to support passenger flights. One of these is the parachutes of the capsule that are used to gently lower the capsule into the water when it returns from space. SpaceX says it has done 17 parachute systems so far, but NASA is still in the process of hardware certification for future crew missions.
If DM-1 does not happen on March 2, NASA is able to fly either on 5th, 8th or 9th March. These days work best, as this will allow the Dragon crew to return to Earth during the day, giving NASA a better view of parachutes. If DM-1 somehow slows down after the 9th, then it will have to wait a little longer as there is an upcoming Russian Soyuz mission that will take precedence – the one that brings a new crew.
Once this test flight is completed, SpaceX is set to make another test flight with the Crew Dragon in April, which will test the emergency crash system. This safe function is intended to be used in case something goes wrong with the rocket during a flight and the crew dragon has to go to safety. During the test, the thrusters incorporated into the crew's Dragon Corps will shoot, carrying the capsule away from the rocket. This is a procedure similar to the Emergency Disarm System on the Russian Soyuz rocket that saved two astronauts during a failed flight in October.
If this test goes well, then it might be time for the first crew to get on to the dragon crew. When this crew flight is not yet resolved, a recent report by Reuters noted that there are still many technical things NASA needs to review before the agency allows astronauts to fly either on Boeing or SpaceX . , And NASA today admitted that the Crew Dragon, as it stands, is not yet ready for crew missions. "I'll tell you, I'm ready to fly now," said Luders.