SpaceX launched Crew Dragon capsule which is designed to carry humans to ISS (International Space Station). The purpose of the mission was to demonstrate the ability of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon Vehicle to carry people safely to and from the ISS. Today’s mission was a test flight without any actual humans on board. However, they executed every step of the mission very carefully.
The Dragon they fly for their CRS missions already made 16 visits to the ISS. However, crew dragon made its journey for the first time.
After Falcon 9 lifted into orbit, the spacecraft would make its way to space station in approximately 27 hours. This mission allows ample time to conduct all the necessary testing and demos prior to SpaceX’s first docking of Crew Dragon with ISS.
After it arrives at space station it’s expected to stay for about 5 days. During that time it will undergo a series of many of the new systems as well as the ISS interfaces. At the end of that 5 day dock period, dragon will depart ISS for a splashdown in Atlantic Ocean. Thereafter, crew plans on transporting it back to their site at Cape Canaveral.
TAKE-OFF PROCEDURE of Crew Dragon
Falcon 9’s first stage fires its nine merlin engines to propel the vehicle to the edge of the space. Once its burned through most of its propellant, It separates to land on the drum ship. Simultaneously, the second stage fires its single high efficiency merlin vacuum engine to propel dragon to its target orbit. From there it continues with its journey to the ISS.
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Body Structure of the Crew Dragon
Crew Dragon consists of two main structures.
- The capsule: Where they fly pressurized cargo and soon astronauts, who cannot be exposed to vacuum of space.
- The Trunk: There they can carry a large unpressurized cargo.
The notable difference on the Crew Dragon vehicle is its eight super Draco thrusters. These super Draco’s will power the astronauts to safety and an unlikely event of an emergency. The trunk also features new body mounted solar arrays. They provide power to the space craft as it makes its way to the ISS. The Trunk also consists of new aerodynamics Fins which provides stability in the event of that emergency abort. It also provides more surface area for those solar arrays.
The Dragon lifted off with an anthropomorphic test device or in short an ATV. They gave it a nickname “Ripley”. Ripley’s job is to feel everything that an astronaut would feel when they fly on dragon. The device is essentially full of sensors across its body including the head, neck and spine. For this mission Ripley is going to use 10 out of its 30 sensors. Through this device, the information would be provided about the body loads and seat loads.
The goal of this mission is to make sure that crew are going to be safe, comfortable and enjoy the ride on the dragon.