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Saturday, March 17, 2012

The DRAGON is Getting Ready to Fly


SpaceX Prepares Dragon Spacecraft for Human Flight [PICS]

SpaceX is preparing a spacecraft to accommodate seven astronauts on its first flight. With the goal of 
sending a manned Dragon spacecraft first to the International Space Station, the company’s built a 
prototype of the capsule, including seven comfy seats for those lucky voyageurs.
SpaceX, a company run by PayPal cofounder and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, hopes to soon pick 
up where NASA’s 30-year shuttle program left off last July. With a little help from NASA, the company’s 
designing the spacecraft’s seating, lighting, storage spaces and environmental controls for the comfort 
and safety of its crew.


SpaceX Featured Videos


As you can see in the gallery below, this is not a tiny tin can where astronauts are crammed in like sardines — the company says Dragon’s big enough for seven adults that are up to 6’5″ tall and weigh 250 pounds. There’s enough room in the capsule for three others to stand and help the astronauts get comfortable in preparation for their mission.
Brags SpaceX on its website, “In fact, Dragon has so much interior volume, that we could place an entire three-person Russian Soyuz capsule descent module inside Dragon’s pressure vessel.”
How long will it be until this relatively large spacecraft — atop its mighty Falcon 9 booster rocket — makes it to the International Space Station? The company’s not ready for human spaceflight just yet — the first step is to send an unmanned cargo version of the Dragon spacecraft filled with supplies to the International Space Station, a mission that was originally scheduled for February 7 of this year.
The Dragon capsule being lowered onto its cargo ring
 Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in November 2011,
during pre-launch processing for its
 COTS 2 demonstration mission. 

The company announced Friday it is aiming for a April 30 launch with plans for docking with the space station 
on May 3, according Aero News. Although this upcoming mission will test maneuverability and docking, a first 
for a privately developed spacecraft. SpaceX has contracted two cargo missions for this year, the first of which 
is tentatively scheduled for July. In all, SpaceX has 16 flights on its manifest through 2015.
So far, SpaceX has successfully flown the Falcon 9 rocket with the SpaceX Dragon capsule on top, in a mission
 on December 8, 2010. The spacecraft orbited the earth at an altitude of around 190 miles for three hours, and the
 company was able to test its maneuverability before it splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Earlier this month,
 the Dragon spacecraft and its Falcon booster passed a crucial test, a dress rehearsal for its unmanned first
 voyage to the International Space Station.

Dragon (spacecraft)

Manned and cargo Dragon spacecraft.jpg
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from SpaceX Dragon)

SpaceX Dragon spacecraft
Artist's rendering of the cargo variant of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft (bottom) and the crewed variant (top right) both connected to the ISS.
Role:Commercial: various roles that put humans and cargo into LEO[1]
Government: supply theInternational Space Station after retirement of the Shuttle
Crew:Dragon Cargo: 0
Dragon Crew: 7
Carrier Rocket:Falcon 9
Height:2.9 m9.51 ft
Diameter:3.6 m11.8 ft
Sidewall angle:15 degrees
Pressurized Volume:[2]10 m3353 cu ft
Unpressurized Volume:[2]14 m3494 cu ft
Unpressurized Volume
(with additional trunk extended):[2]
34 m31,200 cu ft
Mass:[3]4,200 kg9,260 lb
Launch Payload:[2]6,000 kg13,228 lb
Return Payload:[2]3,000 kg6,614 lb
Endurance:1 week to 2 years[2]
Re-entry:3.5 g's[4]
The Dragon is a reusable spacecraft developed by SpaceX, a private space transportation 
company based in Hawthorne, California
During its uncrewed maiden flight in December 2010, it became the first commercially-built and 
operated spacecraft ever to be recovered successfully from orbit.[5]
The Dragon is contracted to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA's
Commercial Resupply Services program, and was initially planned to fly a test mission to the
 ISS in February 2012,[6] although this was later rescheduled.[7] Additionally, NASA awarded 
SpaceX a Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) astronaut-transportation contract in April 
2011. The Dragon is designed to carry up to seven astronauts, or a mixture of personnel 
and cargo, to and from low Earth orbit. The Dragon's heat shield is designed to withstand re-entry
velocities from potential lunar and Martian space flights, either automated or crewed missions.[8]

Do you think private space exploration will be as successful as NASA’s exploits?

Contributing Sources:

Has NASA even been successful lately?

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