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Tech & Science SpaceX saves mannequins from fireball. Next up, astronauts.

16:56  22 january  2020
16:56  22 january  2020 Source:   popsci.com

SpaceX, NASA finally set date for critical Crew Dragon launch-emergency test

  SpaceX, NASA finally set date for critical Crew Dragon launch-emergency test SpaceX must ace a practice capsule escape before it can ferry NASA astronauts to the ISS.NASA announced on Friday the long-awaited scheduling for the spacecraft's In-Flight Abort Test at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX and NASA had considered the possibility of launching the test before the end of the year, but dates like this have a way of slipping past projections.

Next up , astronauts . The company aced its last major uncrewed safety test. The in-flight abort system proved that should anything go wrong on the way to the International Space Station (ISS), the capsule will be able to bail the astronauts out—the spacecraft version of a test pilot’s ejection seat.

SpaceX completed the last big test of its crew capsule before launching astronauts in as little as Hurley and Behnken, the NASA astronauts assigned to the first SpaceX crew, monitored the flight Last month, meanwhile, Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule ended up in the wrong orbit on its first test

The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule survived a planned abort test on Sunday. © Jim Bridenstine/NASA/Twitter The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule survived a planned abort test on Sunday.

When the Falcon 9 rocket burst apart into a puff of flame and white smoke on Sunday, the Crew Dragon capsule soared unscathed above it. 

The explosion would have come as a setback during normal flight operations, but for this intentional safety test, events could not have played out more smoothly. “As far as we can tell thus far, it’s a picture-perfect mission,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX’s Chief Engineer and founder, in a press release. “It went as well as one can possibly expect.” Now that the capsule has proven itself capable of handling emergencies both in the air and on the ground, SpaceX expects to launch its first astronauts in the late spring or early summer.

SpaceX shares its vision for future Crew Dragon flights

  SpaceX shares its vision for future Crew Dragon flights SpaceX has had a busy year in 2019, but it's gearing up for even greater things in 2020. To give us all an idea of just what it’s cooking up, SpaceX produced a lovely little animated video that makes the entire process look downright convenient. Everything from arriving at the launch pad to returning back to Earth looks dead simple here. Of course, it’s a watered-down version of how all of this stuff will really play out, but it’s kinda neat anyway.

The International Space Station, often abbreviated to ISS, is a large space craft that orbits Earth and houses astronauts who go up there to complete scientific missions. Musk said the Dragon's escape system should work in principle even if the capsule is still attached when the rocket erupts in a fireball .

Sign Up . subscribe. Space . SpaceX saves mannequins from fireball . Next up , astronauts . Entertainment. The world’s most thrilling motorcycle race, in photos.

For this test, the rocket blasted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday morning, hoisting the Crew Dragon spacecraft aloft with two mannequins inside. About a minute and a half later—while flying faster than the speed of sound—the capsule automatically separated from its booster, as it would in the unlikely case of an in-air emergency. The capsule’s eight “SuperDraco” engines fired, carrying it clear of the rocket, which exploded about ten seconds after separation. (No need to feel bad for SpaceX though, this Falcon 9 rocket had already reached space three times on previous missions—a solid chunk of its theoretical 10-flight lifespan.)

The Crew Dragon capsule coasted to an altitude of more than 100,000 feet, about three times higher than commercial airplanes fly, before plummeting back to Earth. Four parachutes slowed its decent to a comparative crawl, and nine minutes after launch it splashed down gently in the Atlantic Ocean, about 20 miles off the coast of Florida for recovery. 

Why SpaceX is blowing up a Falcon 9 rocket

  Why SpaceX is blowing up a Falcon 9 rocket SpaceX launching its final unmanned test flight Saturday that it needs before it can send astronauts to the International Space Station. The in-flight abort test, scheduled for a Saturday morning launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is meant to try out the spacecraft Crew Dragon's "escape capabilities" or its ability for astronauts to jettison if there were an emergency during launch, according to a statement from NASA. © SpaceX via NASA The uncrewed in-flight abort demonstration is targeted for 8 a.m. EST on Jan. 18, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida. There is a four-hour test window.

— SpaceX completed the last big test of its crew capsule before launching astronauts in the next few “It’s just going to be wonderful to get astronauts back into orbit from American soil after almost a The importance of launch escape was demonstrated in 2017 when two astronauts , an American

SpaceX completed the last big test of its crew capsule before launching astronauts in the next few months, mimicking an emergency escape shortly after. NASA hired SpaceX and Boeing a decade ago to transport astronauts to and from the space station for Write CSS OR LESS and hit save .

The in-flight abort system proved that should anything go wrong on the way to the International Space Station (ISS), the capsule will be able to bail the astronauts out—the spacecraft version of a test pilot’s ejection seat. “For this test, Falcon 9’s ascent trajectory will mimic a Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station to best match the physical environments the rocket and spacecraft will encounter during a normal ascent,” SpaceX wrote in a pre-flight statement.

Last March the company demonstrated the Crew Dragon capsule’s ability to reach the ISS with the Crew Demo-1 mission, and planned to follow it up with an in-flight abort test over the summer. But the capsule blew up on the launchpad during a firing test of its engines in April, which pushed back the timeline. Now with the in-flight abort test complete, no major hurdles stand in the way of the long awaited Crew Demo-2 mission, which will bring veteran astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the ISS. Musk expects to have the capsule ready for launch by the end of March, and that it might fly—depending on NASA’s schedule—sometime between April and June. In the meantime, SpaceX plans to carry out further tests of its newest parachute design, which have suffered some recent failures.

SpaceX to simulate astronaut ejection in final test

  SpaceX to simulate astronaut ejection in final test SpaceX will on Sunday simulate its emergency abort system on an unmanned spacecraft, the last major test before it plans to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. The space company of entrepreneur Elon Musk, under contract with NASA, will launch its Crew Dragon capsule from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida between 8:00 am (1300 GMT) and 2:00 pm.This test will check the capsule's ability to reliably carry crew to safety in the event of an emergency on ascent.

SpaceX completed the last big test of its crew capsule before launching astronauts in as little as two Powerful thrusters on the capsule propelled it up and out of harm’s way, as the rocket engines Hurley and Behnken, the NASA astronauts assigned to the first SpaceX crew, monitored the flight

SpaceX 's priority is to get humans into space . Eventually, some of those people will end up on Mars. Since then, US astronauts have hitched rides on Russian rockets. Meanwhile, SpaceX , Boeing and NASA are reviving US space flight with the Commercial Crew Program.

Crew Demo-2 can’t come soon enough for NASA, which has been relying on Russia’s space agency to launch American astronauts in its Soyuz spacecraft ever since the space shuttle program ended in 2011. The space agency has funded the development of two private alternatives, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner, but both timelines have slipped repeatedly. NASA once hoped to be flying astronauts again by 2015.

NASA’s final seat on Russia’s Soyuz leaves Earth in April, although the agency could potentially buy additional rides if needed. Those seats have historically cost the US about $86 million a pop, and NASA’s Office of Inspector General has calculated that seats on Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon will each cost roughly $90 million and $55 million respectively. Both companies say that those numbers will come down after accounting for cargo and full seven-astronaut capacity. Once the commercial crew capsules are operational, NASA and Russia will share rides without exchanging money, according to Spaceflight Now.

Spaceflight is unpredictable and no one knows for sure when each capsule will be ready, but for now NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine expressed satisfaction with Sunday’s step forward. “This critical flight test puts us on the cusp of returning the capability to launch astronauts in American spacecraft on American rockets from American soil,” he said. “We are thrilled with the progress NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is making and look forward to the next milestone for Crew Dragon.”

SpaceX announces partnership to send 4 tourists into deep orbit .
SpaceX announced a new partnership Monday to send four tourists deeper into orbit than any private citizen in history has gone, without disclosing the date or price tag. The company signed a deal with Space Adventures, which is based in Washington and has served as an intermediary to send eight space tourists to the International Space Station via Russian Soyuz rockets.The first of these was Dennis Tito, who paid $20 million for an eight hour stay on the ISS back in 2001. The last to go was Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, in 2009.

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