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Home / Science / The SpaceX Crew Dragon could launch astronauts at the end of July, says the Russian source

The SpaceX Crew Dragon could launch astronauts at the end of July, says the Russian source



A source familiar with the Russian aerospace industry recently informed the RIA Novosti state newspaper that NASA has provided the Russian space agency Roscosmos with an updated planning plan for the operations of the International Space Station (ISS), including a preliminary target for the first Space Dragon launch of Crew Dragon with astronauts aboard.

According to the RIA, NASA's Roscosmos announced that the agency had tentatively planned the launch of SpaceX's Mission 2 (DM-2) demonstration on July 25, when the spacecraft left the ISS and re-entered the atmosphere. The Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley safely returned to Earth on the 5th of August. In a bizarre turn of events, the Russian news agency TASS published a separate article barely 1

2 hours later, in which another source from an anonymous space agency told the branch that "the launch of Crew Dragon [DM-2] is likely to be postponed." The reality is in the middle of nowhere.

It's hard Not to Conclusion The curiosity of two completely contradictory reports from similar sources in similar articles, which are only half a day apart, is just as likely that the nearly simultaneous publication of TASS and RIA stories is mainly a coincidence Both comments by the anonymous source (s) reveal the truth, while also providing a kind of best-case and worst-case scenario for the first crew of CrewX's Crew Dragon spaceship CrewX

RIA started the series on March 22 with a brief message lock with a key quote from the above-mentioned source of the space industry.

"The American side told the Russian side that the launch of the [first crewed launch of] Dragon-2 … to the ISS … is scheduled for July 25th. Docking at the station is planned [to occur around one day later]. The separation from the ISS and the return to Earth is expected on August 5, "said the agency's source.

In other words, NASA's Roscosmos announced that it had begun to loosely plan the launch of SpaceXs DM-2 just before (NET) in late July, similar to NASA and SpaceX have publicly announced that the launch debut of Crew Dragon was scheduled for DM-1 on January 17, early December 2018. The debut of DM-1 ended in the March 2. A delay of approximately six weeks The cause (s) of the discrepancy between NASA's first serious planning date and its actual launch is not yet known, but it is safe to say that the development took a little longer than expected even after Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 technically planned the launch 19659002] Although NASA and SpaceX now have the luxury of a huge cache of flight data and practical experience from the first and almost flawless Or Crew Dragon's mission and ISS rendezvous, Crew Dragon's DM-2 mission remains a completely different beast. Not only does DM-2 require a number of significant hardware changes, it also increases the pressure on the entrails of real human life. NASA is unable to launch its own orbital astronauts for the better part of eight years.

A "race" no more

The Starliner spaceship – a companion by Crew Dragon as part of NASA's commercial crew program – suffered several setbacks in 2019 and is said to have announced the launch of the vehicle from April through to NET August, a delay of at least four months. As a result, no fewer than serious anomalies during Crew Dragon's hardware preparation and / or NASA's ratings of DM-1 performance and DM-2 flight readiness could make SpaceX the first commercial company to do so manned spaceship builds, launches and operates in the history of space travel.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon DM-2 spacecraft readiness December 2018. [NASA]
The first crew-manned Crew Dragon will be deployed here in the late stages of assembly at SpaceX's Hawthorne factory. Seen in August. (Pauline Acalin.))

According to an update provided by NASA's Advisory Council in December 2018 during the quarterly meetings, the entire production and integration of Crew Dragon DM-2 may have already been completed, with the capsule likely to become available later this week the payload processing equipment of SpaceX in Florida. However, NAC's December 2018 deadlines did not report the upcoming delays in the introduction of DM-1, which plausibly impacted the completion of the DM-2 integration and pad delivery to ensure possible anomalies during the crew's test flight Dragon in Hawthorne could be fixed CA.

According to NASA and SpaceX, DM-2's Crew-Dragon must be retrofitted with thermal regulation hardware to prevent Draco's thruster from freezing in orbit under a handful of special conditions, as well as potential changes to the craft's parachute system and aboard Installation of four windows instead of two. SpaceX will also need to install Crew Dragon's first orbitalized display and control hardware. Finally, SpaceX opted for a Crew Dragon departure test during the flight to verify that the spacecraft can safely take astronauts to safety from the launch point to orbital placement. This test must be successfully completed and reviewed by NASA before SpaceX can proceed with DM-2.

Crew Dragon arrives at the ISS with an open nosone corner. (NASA)

All of the above-mentioned duties – including the entire official review of Crew Dragon's performance during its DM-1 debut – must be completed before SpaceX is allowed to launch astronauts on the ISS, all inherently adding some degree of uncertainty according to the practical start schedule of DM-2. If all the checks and changes are flawless, including a perfect crash test during flight already at the end of June, it is possible that SpaceX and NASA will be ready to restart Crew Dragon by the end of July.

In fact, it is extremely unlikely that everything is going perfectly, as evidenced by the lengthy process required for NASA and SpaceX to finally achieve flight readiness prior to DM-1. If there are a significant number of challenges in the coming months with numerous reviews and work, it is not out of the question that DM-2 will slip into Q4 2019 or Q1 2020. If you divide the difference, it would be safest to bet on Crew Dragon will take off with astronauts from August or September. Nevertheless, many exciting milestones will soon follow for SpaceX's first space program. Stay tuned while SpaceX prepares to ship Florida's second airworthy Crew Dragon (19459021).

In Teslarati's Newsletter you'll find the latest updates, on-site perspectives, and unique insights into SpaceX's rocket launch and recovery processes


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