Wed. Jul 24th, 2019

SpaceX set for launching demo crew ‘Ripley’ in its dragon capsule to ISS

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SpaceX Dragon Capsule

The Elon Musk owned SpaceX will perform a demonstration of a new rocket and capsule system that's suppose to carry people. If the system works well, once approved it be able to fly its astronauts into space.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon crew capsule will lift off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 02:49 EST Saturday.

The launch will occur from the historic Pad 39A where Apollo left for the Moon and Atlantis began the very last shuttle ascent.

SpaceX Dragon Capsule Mannequin Ripley and an Earth shaped soft toy ready for lift off

It's a demonstration so there won't be any astronauts on board but there will be a space-suited mannequin. This test dummy, nicknamed Ripley after the Sigourney Weaver character in the Alien movies, will be covered in sensors.

These will record the forces and the environment experienced inside the capsule.

This is a key milestone for SpaceX, as it's specific intentions are to take people beyond earth.

The Falcon rocket is the same thing that's used to craft cargo to the International Space Station (ISS)  and to put satellites into orbit. The Falcon rocket has a great flight history.

The capsule is based on  ISS cargo freighter but incorporates life-support systems and more powerful thrusters to push the vessel to safety if something goes wrong with the rocket. It also has four parachutes instead of the freighter's three to control the descent to Earth.

SpaceX Dragon Capsule

How the launch plays out?

Once the rocket lifts off and after a couple of minutes it will perform a separation stage.

The lower Falcon segment comes back to Earth to land on a drone ship, and the upper-stage pushes on to orbit.

Eleven minutes into the flight, the Dragon is let go and must make its own way to the station.

The crew version of Dragon approach the station at the bow and dock automatically, using a new design of connection ring, unlike a robotic arm used to pull it into a berthing position for cargo missions.

ISS astronauts will be watching closely to see that the capsule behaves as it should.

The Dragon is expected to stay at the station until Friday. The current plan has it undocking, firing its thrusters to come out of orbit, and splashing down

Nasa is essentially now contracting out crew transport to private companies like SpaceX and Boeing.

In the next couple of months Nasa would test the capsule of Boeing called the Starliner.

How the launch plays out - SpaceX Falcon and the Dragon Capsule

UPDATE 15:40 IST

SpaceX and NASA successfully launched the capsule Crew Dragon into space. It's now on it's way into the international space station ISS.


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