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Forum:Commercial Space - Military Space
Topic:[Discuss] SpaceX's crewed Dragon spacecraft
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Robert PearlmanElon Musk announced on Twitter today (April 29) that the "cover will drop" on the crewed version of Dragon on May 29.
Actual flight design hardware of crew Dragon, not a mockup.
No other details were released.
Robert PearlmanCEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk will introduce SpaceX's new Dragon V2 spacecraft, a next generation spacecraft designed to carry astronauts into space, during an invite-only event at the company's Hawthorne facilities on Thursday (May 29) beginning at 7:00 p.m. PDT (0200 GMT May 30).

This event will be webcast LIVE at

Robert PearlmanYou can watch and discuss tonight's Dragon V2 reveal here:

KSCartistWOW, WOW, WOW!!

Elon Musk is a combination of Wernher von Braun and Max Faget. You want reusability? You got it. You want redundancy in systems? You got it! You want a cool American 21st Century spaceship? You got it!

Congratulations Space X!! Sorry Putin your monopoly is ending.

issman1Solar panels integrated into the trunk and propulsive land landings are the clever touch. Not to mention the interior of Dragon V2 — makes Soyuz look like a Lada compared to a Tesla.
alanh_7Very Impressive. One thing I did think about when I saw it had soft landing ability. I think I heard Mr. Musk say they could lose two engines on landing and still land safely. Not unlike the lunar module when landing on the moon, there is going to be a 'dead man's curve.' That point where loss of engine power could be catastrophic if they were to lose more than two engines. Something that would not occur with a parachute system.

It is a very impressive spacecraft.

HeadshotI'll be impressed when I see it actually work. I've seen too many flashy show-and-tells in the past that have evaporated to get excited yet.
Robert PearlmanThe tests are scheduled to begin later this year.

SpaceX will fly two abort tests with the V2 and has introduced a vehicle called the DragonFly, that much like the Grasshopper did for tests of the Falcon 9 first stage's recovery, will allow the company to qualify the capsule's propulsive landing modes.

MarylandSpaceI heard Elon Musk speak at a Buzz Aldrin initiative at the Reagan Center in DC about six years ago with several cS friends. I thought "Wow."

Later I saw the Dragon V1 at SpaceX at Cocoa Beach, FL and knew Elon Musk meant business.

I give Dragon V2 an even bigger "WOW"!

Just wonder what it would be like to work with the incredible talent in his company.

mode1charlieImpressive, indeed. Looking forward to the test launches.

One question. Anyone know why Dragon V2 has truncated sides along the Y axis?

Robert PearlmanNot exactly sure what you are referring to by truncated sides, but perhaps you are seeing the fairings for the SuperDraco engines?
alanh_7Curious about the type of heat shield that will be used. Ablative? If so how will the heat shield be reusable?
Robert PearlmanTo quote Elon Musk from last night's event:
It has an improved version of our PICA heat shield... It ablates less as it enters and we're able to get more flights.
To expand upon that, all versions of the Dragon have used a variant of NASA's Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA) as a heat shield (SpaceX's is a proprietary variant, which it refers to as PICA-X). Dragon V2 features a third gen PICA-X, or PICA-X 3.

Musk has likened PICA-X 3 to a brake pad. It is wears down over repeated use but doesn't need to be replaced between every reentry.

Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Not exactly sure what you are referring to by truncated sides, but perhaps you are seeing the fairings for the SuperDraco engines?

Ah - that's what it is. The photos I saw were taken in low light, so it wasn't obvious that there are fairings on the sides along the Y axis. Makes sense. Thanks, Robert.

Originally posted by Headshot:
I'll be impressed when I see it actually work. I've seen too many flashy show-and-tells in the past that have evaporated to get excited yet.
I'd say SpaceX are well past the "all show, no go" threshold.
Robert PearlmanSpaceflight Now's Stephen Clark shot this video as he climbed into the Dragon V2:

Robert PearlmanSpaceX is hosting an invite-only event to preview its Dragon V2 crewed spacecraft at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. tonight (June 10).

For those in the DC-area, the capsule will be available for public viewing for one day only on Wednesday (June 11) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT.

The spacecraft will be located on Pennsylvania Avenue, directly outside of the Pulitzer Prize gallery at the Newseum. Visitors do not have to purchase a Newseum admission ticket to view Dragon 2; however they will be required to go through security screening.
Robert PearlmanMarcia Smith with shares a few details about the Dragon V2 from last night's event at the Newseum.

About the first crew and first crewed flight:

Musk said tonight that SpaceX has no astronauts and the first crewed flight would be with NASA astronauts only. When asked when the first crewed flight would take place, therefore, Musk said that was NASA's call since it is the customer. He said little training is needed to fly aboard Dragon since it is entirely automated, including docking.
On the location of the first landing(s):
Unlike the cargo version of Dragon, which splashes down in the ocean, the Dragon V2 will return to land using parachutes and propulsive landing systems. The goal is to land at Cape Canaveral, FL, but Musk said initial landings may be at White Sands, NM until they are certain of the spacecraft's landing precision.
SkyMan1958I've heard that Boeing's CST capsule is designed to be useable/reusable ten times. Does anyone know how many times the Dragon 2 is designed to be used/reused?
Robert PearlmanWhen it was first announced, Elon Musk said that the Crew Dragon was designed to be reused about 10 times before it would need significant work to be used again.

At the time though, the plan was to land Dragon propulsively, using its Super Draco thrusters, on land. SpaceX still intends to do that, but initially the crewed flights will be returning to the ocean (like the current cargo Dragons). That may add more work or limit the number of re-flights.

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