SpaceX’s Dragon capsule to visit ISS in February

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  • #3148

    #3149


    …aaaaaaand they’ve got it.

    #3150

    #3151

    Mission success!

    #3120

    The station astronauts say that Dragon has a “new car smell.”

    There’s probably one of those little air freshener things hanging over the dashboard.

    #3152

    Some absolutely dazzling photos showed up today in ISS astronaut André Kuipers’ Flickr album [LINK]. I grabbed a few to add to the thread here, but you really owe it to yourself to go stare at them full-size, on a decent-sized screen and not on a phone or tablet. They’re awesome, as is some of his commentary (a couple of my favorites are quoted below)…

    Like this it looks a bit like a model from a 70’s sci-fi film.

    Two thoughts occur:

    1. This sounds like something Steve W says occasionally – “It looks like CGI!”

    2. Every NASA public relations flunkie who’s spent his entire professional life debunking the “moon landing hoax” people just slapped his forehead hard enough to leave an impact crater. “Shit! No! Don’t say THAT!”

    Inside of the Dragon module. Beautiful. Spacious, Modern. Blue LEDs. Feels a bit like a sci-fi filmset. Of course it is from Los Angeles.

    😆 See #2 above. Rinse and repeat. But it does point up the painful truth: the station was a design signed off on by the Reagan administration, modified by the Bush (Sr.) administration, and both the design and modifications were constrained by the fact that it would be delivered and constructed by a vehicle signed off on during the Nixon administration. Dragon, on the other hand? I’m pretty sure that capsule – meaning the very one that’s latched onto the ISS right now – was constructed in the past three years.

    Go check the rest out at the link above, these were just a few of my favorites.

    #3153
    ubikuberalles
    ubikuberalles
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    Splashdown! Dragon mission is all done. Good show! From the new reports I read, they are going to do another launch soon (November?).

    I still wish Obama hadn’t cancel the Orion program. That was a piece of real good engineering that was. Yep. Uh-huh.

    #3154

    I say… it looks a bit… charbroiled, doesn’t it? On the one hand, I wonder if it came back through the atmosphere at the correct angle with that kind of charring. On the other hand… it still came back through the atmosphere.

    We don’t have a horse race until someone else steps up to bat to try to outdo SpaceX. Who’s next?

    #3155

    SpaceX has gotten the go-ahead to begin participating in the routine unmanned cargo flights to the ISS, beginning with a launch in October. [LINK]

    Bolden announced Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has completed its Space Act Agreement with NASA for Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS). SpaceX is scheduled to launch the first of its 12 contracted cargo flights to the space station from Cape Canaveral in October, under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services Program.

    “We’re working to open a new frontier for commercial opportunities in space and create job opportunities right here in Florida and across the United States,” Bolden said. “And we’re working to in-source the work that is currently being done elsewhere and bring it right back here to the U.S. where it belongs.”

    Bolden also announced NASA partner Sierra Nevada Corp. has conducted its first milestone under the agency’s recently announced Commercial Crew integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative. The milestone, a program implementation plan review, marks an important first step in Sierra Nevada’s efforts to develop a crew transportation system with its Dream Chaser spacecraft.

    You’ve never heard of the Dream Chaser either? Here’s a fact sheet on it courtesy of Space.com [LINK]:

    #3156
    ubikuberalles
    ubikuberalles
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    Basically, what you got there is a drop ship. In the future it may look something like this:

    #3157
    Steve W
    Steve W
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    The Dream Chaser ship looks to be a bit cramped with that many passengers. But if you make it smaller, just a one-man vessel… it’d look like the Farscape Module. So I give it a ‘thumbs up’. Bring us back some blue and gray women!

    #3158

    I seem to remember very scratchy spy photos of the Russians fishing a scale model of this design, something like 3/4 scale, out of the sea (presumably it parachuted to splashdown, a la an American capsule, rather than their typically bone-jarring Soyuz landings) around 1987 or so. Oh wait – earlier than that. It’s in the October 1986 National Geographic article on the Soviet space program.

    The cone thing at the top apparently deployed the chutes and was a pickup transponder.

    #3159

    NASA and SpaceX have announced a target date of October 7th for the next ISS Dragon resupply flight, and the first to be flown under contract rather than as a proving flight.

    #3160

    And another Dragon is in orbit! In case you hadn’t heard, one of the Falcon 9 booster’s engines failed, so it got to demonstrate one of its long-promised capabilities on the fly: the onboard computer registered the fault and automatically calculated a new trajectory on the fly, which it was able to achieve with the eight remaining engines. Now, to be sure, this wasn’t unique – two Saturn Vs achieved the same feat (with manned spacecraft sitting on top of them no less!), and the shuttle could do it too at the right altitude (I wrote a blog entry about that recently, in fact). But the point is: the Falcon 9 worked, the Dragon’s up there, and everything’s cool. I love it when a plan comes together.

    #3161
    Steve W
    Steve W
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    Oooooh, it’s got the processing power to calculate a new trajectory! It amuses me how far technology has come. The Apollo missions had a computer onboard that a calculator bought today at any dollar store could run rings around. I’d love to go back in time to the 1960s and show some of those NASA guys an iPad. Then I’d politely try not to notice that they were peeing their pants.

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