Last Thursday, a glitzy new space rocket SpaceX Falcon 9 sat at the top of NASA's historic Pad 39A, at the Florida Kennedy Space Center, waiting to release its engines. The exercise was part of a routine test before the start. What was not routine was the presence of the Crew Dragon Cap on the tip of the slippery black and white falcon. The domed capsule, which can accommodate up to seven passengers, represents the next major step in SpaceX's evolution and NASA's dependence on the commercial industry. around the starting playground. The test simulates all events from the real start, even though the rocket is attached to the pad. The static fire test usually occurs one to two weeks before the scheduled take-off. Although it is simply practice, it is becoming more and more cautious as it signals the forthcoming return of the space launch to America. And that means new hardware: the starter pad has a black and white astronaut trail called a crew access handrail that was installed last summer. A few hours after the test fire, SpaceX says it was successful.
A SpaceX missile tested on Thursday may be released as soon as next month's test flight called Demo Mission-1 or DM-1 , who will see a modernized version of the Dragon ship (called the Crew Dragon) that flies and arrives at the space station. When SpaceX first designed its Dragon Capsules, it is the intention of them to make people. To date, however, each SpaceX space capsule has carried only cargo to and from the International Space Station. The DM-1's upgraded version will include new crew life systems, seats, control panels and a propulsion system that can be used to maintain crew safety during the launch. Despite these improvements, the DM-1 will also not carry people; its purpose is to prove that the spacecraft is ready to transport NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station, the first private company, and the first flight of a US-made crew to the crew from the last space shuttle Atlantis eight
In the years after the end of the US-based shuttle program in 2011, NASA chose two companies to secure their future space taxis: SpaceX and Boeing. Companies have spent the last five years in developing vehicles capable of carrying 6.8 billion US dollars of contract crew. Their vehicles – SpaceX's Crew Dragon and CST-100 Starliner – will be the main tool of the agency to transport astronauts into space. (Currently, NASA and others worldwide depend on Russian missiles to send the crew to and from the ISS). This is not a cheap deal, as each seat costs NASA about $ 80 million. This year both SpaceX and Boeing are hoping to finally release people.
This estimated release date for DM-1 is February 23, but additional reviews can be made by the end of the month or later. An element of special interest for NASA is the way SpaceX launches its rockets. Every time Falcon flies, SpaceX quickly drives the car with a super cool propeller about 30 minutes before the launch, and the payload is already attached to the rocket. This process is called refueling and fueling and saves time for SpaceX between runs, while boosting performance. (When the fuel is maintained at a lower temperature, more of it can fit in the tanks, resulting in increased lifting capacity.) Many industry experts have criticized it as dangerous, arguing that refueling should be completed before the astronauts board the ship. But NASA reviewed SpaceX's procedures and considered that the practice was safe, with a warning. NASA wants a "further check and demonstration" of the fueling procedure, which means that SpaceX will have to fly seven falcons and demonstrate that it can safely charge a propeller every time before SpaceX can fly people. To date, SpaceX has flown four of these missions.
After the test on Thursday, the mission has to undergo a final review process from SpaceX and NASA. When the flight begins to fly, the Crew Dragon will arrive autonomously with the space station – another for SpaceX, as the version of the cargo is attached by a robotic arm controlled by an astronaut on the station. Upon returning to Earth, the ship will burst into the Atlantic Ocean. Assuming everything is on track, two astronauts could fly to the space station right after that summer.