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  [Discuss] SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft
Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-03-2012 09:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Editor's note: In an effort to keep the topic SpaceX Crew Dragon (V2) crewed spacecraft focused on status updates, reader's feedback and opinions are directed to this thread.

Please use this topic to discuss Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) development of its Dragon spacecraft as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-29-2014 07:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Elon 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 Pearlman
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posted 05-28-2014 06:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CEO 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 spacex.com/webcast.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-29-2014 02:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You can watch and discuss tonight's Dragon V2 reveal here:

KSCartist
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posted 05-29-2014 09:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WOW, 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.

issman1
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posted 05-30-2014 03:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Solar 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_7
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posted 05-30-2014 08:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very 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.

Headshot
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posted 05-30-2014 09:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-30-2014 09:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The 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.

MarylandSpace
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posted 05-30-2014 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I 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.

mode1charlie
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posted 05-30-2014 03:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Impressive, indeed. Looking forward to the test launches.

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

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-30-2014 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not exactly sure what you are referring to by truncated sides, but perhaps you are seeing the fairings for the SuperDraco engines?

alanh_7
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posted 05-30-2014 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Curious about the type of heat shield that will be used. Ablative? If so how will the heat shield be reusable?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-30-2014 03:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To 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.

mode1charlie
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posted 05-30-2014 06:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
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.

GoesTo11
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posted 05-31-2014 07:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
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 Pearlman
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posted 06-01-2014 02:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spaceflight Now's Stephen Clark shot this video as he climbed into the Dragon V2:

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-10-2014 12:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX 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 Pearlman
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posted 06-11-2014 10:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Marcia Smith with SpacePolicyOnline.com 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.

SkyMan1958
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posted 06-23-2016 03:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'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 Pearlman
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posted 06-23-2016 03:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When 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.

astro-nut
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posted 12-12-2016 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When does SpaceX plan to launch astronauts to the ISS using their Dragon crew spacecraft? I have heard 2017, 2018 or even further pushed back?

Does any cS member have a realistic idea of when a manned spaceflight might be?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-12-2016 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The latest dates indicated by NASA have SpaceX flying its crewed test flight in early to mid-2018.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-13-2016 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Further to my reply yesterday, NASA has now confirmed SpaceX's slip of its first crewed test flight ("Demonstration Mission 2") to 2018:
The schedule below reflects a fourth quarter update from SpaceX...
  • SpaceX Demonstration Mission 1: November 2017
  • SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2: May 2018

issman1
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posted 12-14-2016 07:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is astonishing news. SpaceX, I felt, was the commercial provider that would significantly reduce the U.S. gap from the end of the shuttle missions. No earlier than mid-2018 is not what NASA commercial crew officials told the world several years ago.

SpaceX employees, Mr. Musk and NASA astronauts Behnken, Boe, Hurley and Williams may well hold their breath each time they test fire the engines of every Falcon 9 rocket, let alone launch it.

Obviously we have no insight into problems (if any) affecting Boeing, but the race to capture the flag is well and truly on.

ejectr
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posted 12-14-2016 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A disappointing delay, but with the record they've currently had, I'd rather see the delay than bad news.

328KF
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posted 12-14-2016 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Every day we get farther away from the last shuttle flight and closer to the last days of ISS. At what point will NASA decide they have reached the point of diminishing returns on one or both of these contracts?

Does 2-3 crew rotation flights per year total between 2018 (2019?) and 2024 justify the money paid to SpaceX over a eight or nine year span of time? This assumes, of course, that ISS operations actually do end in 2024. Are there penalties for these delays?

Some, it seems, find no problem with this as it gets justified as a new NASA mission to prop up commercial space operators. Which is fine, as long we have a viable destination for them to serve transportation to and from in a reasonable timeframe.

I don't put much credibility in this new delay estimate. Musk is getting nearly as bad as Branson with the over-promise, under-deliver business ethic.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-14-2016 10:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX is only paid when they meet milestones or provide services.

There have been recent mentions by the partners at looking at extending space station to 2028, but even if that doesn't happen and SpaceX only flies to the station between 2019 and 2024, that will be three more years than Gemini flew.

At the end of Gemini, that spacecraft was permanently retired. Whereas, Bigelow and Axiom Space are developing commercial orbiting platforms that will need crew launch services and SpaceX is planning other uses for Dragon (e.g. sending it to Mars).

issman1
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posted 12-15-2016 02:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
Musk is getting nearly as bad as Branson with the over-promise, under-deliver business ethic.
By the time SpaceX can even begin rotating ISS crews the entire NASA Astronaut Class of 2009 will have been the first in history who all flew on a non-U.S. spacecraft.

So in that respect commercial crew and Mr. Musk have failed, it grieves me to say.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-15-2016 05:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's somewhat of an odd metric to measure success, considering that there was never a requirement that SpaceX fly any member of the 2009 astronaut class.

issman1
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posted 12-15-2016 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well it may not be a measure of success or even failure but it is symbolic of how U.S. astronauts became more and more reliant on another nation to gain access to the ISS.

Wasn't that the rationale behind commercial crew? Moreover the ISS remains on its perilous single-string dependency upon Soyuz. Don't misunderstand me, Soyuz has been a saving grace since Columbia and after shuttle retirement. But one failure — which need not be fatal — and ISS faces premature abandonment.

Again this is why NASA chose Boeing and SpaceX who have both let them and the other space station partners down by delay after delay, irrespective of political meddling.

SpaceX is probably in the worse situation of the two providers with its rockets suffering two catastrophic failures within 18 months. That said NASA and its partners have no choice but to simply hope for the best. Who would have thought that in 2011?

In the meantime, as I understand, the last NASA crewmember officially rotating by Russia is on Soyuz MS-11 in November 2018. Though not officially named it will likely be the last American member of Group 20 to fly, Dr. Serena Anuon-Chancellor.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-15-2016 09:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA has said that astronauts will continue to fly on Soyuz in 2019 and beyond, but it will be under an agreement similar to how U.S. astronauts flew on Soyuz and cosmonauts flew on the space shuttle.

The original schedules put forth for commercial crew were based on a defined set of funding levels and technical requirements that changed in the interim years. While SpaceX (and Boeing) have run into technical challenges, the delays can also be attributed to lower than expected appropriations and NASA adding additional requirements to the contract.

No U.S. spacecraft in history has met its original development schedule. There is little, if no, basis to hold SpaceX (and Boeing) to a higher standard.

328KF
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posted 12-15-2016 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The one-for-one transport arrangement is entirely contingent on the US actually having a viable system flying.

According to this reporting, these delays, if they get any worse, may lead to a critical gap in being able to transport US and ESA crewmembers to ISS.

One top NASA manager, human spaceflight chief Bill Gerstenmaier, has said it may be too late to buy more Soyuz seats from Russia. Kirk Shireman, NASA's space station program manager at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, said the space agency faced a deadline by the end of the year to extend its crew transportation contract with Roscosmos.

Officials have said Russia needs at least two years of notice to manufacture enough Soyuz capsules to meet NASA's needs.

The U.S. space agency is paying Russia $82 million per astronaut seat on Soyuz launches in 2018, and a year’s worth of seats in 2019 would likely cost more than $500 million.

At this point, I would absolutely argue that Boeing and SpaceX need to be held to, well, not a higher standard, but A standard. We can't just continue to sit around saying "We'll pay you, regardless of when you get the job done." The US has been getting gouged by the Russians for years and that's only going to get worse, assuming they are even able to meet the demand for crew transport.

SpaceX, in particular, must be laser-focused on their NASA contract and not pie-in-the-sky Mars transporters.

We haven't heard the end of the argument over fueling with crew aboard. Tom Stafford has argued against that practice. SpaceX should not have to super-chill fuel and load it at the last minute to get the required performance out of their rocket. I expect this will continue to have an impact on their schedule projections.

mercsim
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posted 12-15-2016 11:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mercsim   Click Here to Email mercsim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
No U.S. spacecraft in history has met its original development schedule. There is little, if no, basis to hold SpaceX (and Boeing) to a higher standard.
Competition. No US spacecraft was ever competing against other flying craft, domestic or abroad.

Jim Behling
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posted 12-16-2016 08:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
Again this is why NASA chose Boeing and SpaceX who have both let them and the other space station partners down by delay after delay, irrespective of political meddling.
That is not NASA's, Boeing's or SpaceX's fault but the President's and Congress's for not providing the funding in time or in the proper amounts. And certainly, Boeing nor SpaceX did not let down anybody. Also, the partners still had access to the ISS, so they are not let down.

issman1
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posted 12-16-2016 09:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sorry but you cannot absolve the commercial providers of some blame. They bid in the hope of winning billions of dollars worth of federal contracts in the expectation of providing a reliable and timely service.

I already alluded to politics but this should not be used as an excuse either. Remember also that American astronauts are flying on Soyuz which could befall a mishap anytime between the next launch and the maiden flight of Crew Dragon and Starliner thereby jeopardizing ISS.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-16-2016 10:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The companies' bids were based on a set of parameters that were provided by NASA; a framework that changed after their selection by no doing of their own. Further, NASA accepted the bids based on a clear understanding that technical challenges would affect the schedule.

issman1
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posted 12-16-2016 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Then it appears that NASA has brought the situation on itself. If commercial crew officials are content with Boeing and SpaceX's we shall take as long we like approach then who am I to grumble.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-16-2016 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
...we shall take as long we like approach
I think you've missed an important detail: SpaceX does not get paid until they deliver, and a significant amount of their own funds are invested in the spacecraft, such that they have a strong motivation to deliver as quickly as is safely possible.

Jim Behling
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posted 12-16-2016 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The companies' bids were based on a set of parameters...
And a specific funding profile that Congress did not follow.
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
I'm sorry but you cannot absolve the commercial providers of some blame.
Most of it.


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