Posts Tagged ‘Dragon’

Falcon 9 launches as Dragon sets off on its second cargo supply mission

March 2, 2013

SpaceX has launched CRS-2 — its second  mission to the International Space Station. The Dragon capsule aboard the Falcon 9 rocket will dock with the ISS today, delivering 677 kg of cargo to the astronauts currently there, and will return in about 2 weeks.

Initial thruster problems threatened the mission but these seem to have been solved.

But vexing trouble with the capsule’s rocket thrusters quickly turned the $133 million flight into a high-tech cliff hanger. Six-and-a-half hours after launch, follwoing extensive troubleshooting and analysis, it appeared company engineers had resolved the problem, bringing all four sets of thrusters on line and setting the stage for a delayed rendezvous with the space station.

From Space X press release: 

Hawthorne, Calif. – Today, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to orbit for SpaceX’s second mission under its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. Falcon 9 completed its job perfectly, continuing its 100 percent success rate.

“Falcon 9 was designed to be the world’s most reliable rocket, and today’s launch validated this by adding to Falcon 9’s perfect track record with our fifth success in a row,” said Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX.

After Dragon separated from Falcon 9’s second stage approximately nine minutes after launch, a minor issue with some of Dragon’s oxidation tanks was detected. Within a few hours, SpaceX engineers had identified and corrected the issue, normalizing the oxidation pressure and returning operations to normal. Dragon recomputed its ascent profile as it was designed to and is now on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) with possible arrival on Sunday, just one day past the original timeline.

Dragon is the only spacecraft in the world today capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth. Dragon will stay on station for a three-week visit, during which astronauts will unload approximately 1,200 pounds of cargo and fill the capsule with return cargo, for return to Earth. Dragon is filled with supplies for the ISS, including critical materials to support science investigations. Later this month, Dragon will return a payload that includes research results, education experiments and space station hardware.

Updates on the CRS-2 mission can be found at www.spacex.com/webcast. Broadcast quality video may be downloaded at vimeo.com/spacexlaunch and high-resolution photos are posted at spacexlaunch.zenfolio.com.

About SpaceX

SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches the world’s most advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk to revolutionize space transportation, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. Today, SpaceX is advancing the boundaries of space technology through its Falcon launch vehicles and Dragon spacecraft. SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Valor Equity Partners. The company has more than 3,000 employees in California, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Florida. For more information, visit SpaceX.com.

The Dragon docks

May 26, 2012

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) made history when its Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial vehicle in history to successfully attach to the International Space Station.  Previously only four governments – the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency – had achieved this challenging technical feat.

  • May 22/Launch Day: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched the Dragon spacecraft into orbit from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
  • May 23: Dragon orbited Earth as it traveled toward the International Space Station.
  • May 24: Dragon’s sensors and flight systems were subjected to a series of complicated tests to determine if the vehicle was ready to berth with the space station; these tests included maneuvers and systems checks in which the vehicle came within 1.5 miles of the station.
  • May 25: NASA gave Dragon the GO to attempt berthing with the station.  Dragon approached. It was captured by station’s robotic arm and attached to the station

The next steps:

  • May 25 – 31: Astronauts open Dragon’s hatch, unload supplies and fill Dragon with return cargo.
  • May 31: Dragon is detached from the station and returns to Earth, landing in the Pacific, hundreds of miles west of Southern California.

Live coverage of the hatch opening, including some of the first video from inside Dragon, will begin Saturday at approximately 3:00 AM PT/ 6:00 AM ET on www.spacex.com .

First private space flight to the ISS in November?

August 16, 2011

California-based rocket maker SpaceX said that it will make a test flight in late November to the International Space Station, now that NASA has retired its space shuttle program.The Dragon space capsule to be launched by a Falcon Heavy rocket has been given a November 30th launch date by NASA.

The Space X news release is here.

Space X Dragon capsule: image spacetourismnow.com

PhysOrg

“SpaceX has been hard at work preparing for our next flight — a mission designed to demonstrate that a privately-developed space transportation system can deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS),” the company, also called Space Exploration Technologies, said in a statement.

The mission is the second to be carried out by SpaceX, one of a handful of firms competing to make a spaceship to replace the now-defunct US shuttle, which had been used to carry supplies and equipment to the orbiting outpost.

“NASA has given us a November 30, 2011 launch date, which should be followed nine days later by Dragon berthing at the ISS,” the company said.

It said the arrival of the vessel at the space station would herald “the beginning of a new era in space travel.”

“Together, government and the private sector can simultaneously increase the reliability, safety and frequency of space travel, while greatly reducing the costs,” SpaceX said.

The company won $75 million in new seed money earlier this year, after it became the first to successfully send its own space capsule, the gumdrop-shaped Dragon, into orbit and back in December 2010.


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