Taxi to space. What does Crew Dragon’s success mean?

Taxi to space. What does Crew Dragon's success mean?

Photo: NASA

Crew Dragon flies to the ISS

This is SpaceX and NASA’s first long-term mission. The crew is due to return to the ground next April.

SpaceX’s crewed Crew Dragon successfully docked with the International Space Station on its first scheduled flight. There were four astronauts on board, who by this time had already transferred to the ISS.

This is the first long-term mission of the company Elon Musk and NASA, which marks the end of the dependence of Americans on Russia in space – since 2011, the astronauts have been delivered to the ISS by Russian Unions. Correspondent.net tells the details.

Anyone can buy a ticket for Crew Dragon

The crewed Crew Dragon spacecraft, developed by the private American company SpaceX, sailed to the International Space Station on November 15.

The Falcon 9 rocket took off with American astronauts Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Victor Glover, who went into space for the first time, as well as Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

The Crew Dragon automatically docked with the ISS 27 hours after its departure from the cosmodrome.

Soon, the passengers of the spacecraft joined Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov, as well as NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins, the crew of the 64th long-term expedition to the ISS. Hopkins, Walker, Glover and Noguchi will spend about six months at the station.

NASA had completed certification of the Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon for regular comic flights a few days earlier. This is Crew Dragon’s first scheduled flight as part of NASA’s commercial manned flight program.

NASA calls it the first “operational” mission of the rocket and space system, which was created for ten years. It ushers in a new era of commercially developed spacecraft, owned and operated by a private individual to send Americans into orbit.

SpaceX, along with the private American company Boeing, is participating in the NASA Commercial Crew Program, the goal of which is to deliver astronauts into space.

In December last year, the first unmanned dispatch of the Boeing ship Starliner took place. The launch took place in an abnormal mode: due to a malfunction, the spacecraft could not enter the docking orbit from the ISS, spent more fuel and returned to Earth. This is detailed in the material Replacing the Union.

Crew Dragon made its first uncrewed test flight to the ISS in March last year, and delivered NASA astronauts to the station in May. This was the first in nine years to send Americans into orbit on a ship of their own production.

Until 2011, the United States operated the Space Transportation System program, which used the reusable Shuttle space shuttle. The main reason for abandoning the program was its cost: $ 450 million per mission.

Under a contract signed in 2015, the cost of one seat on Russian spacecraft for astronauts was up to $ 90 million. NASA estimates one seat aboard the Crew Dragon at approximately $ 58 million.

Two more Crew Dragon manned flights to the ISS are planned for 2021. As part of one of them, the astronaut of the European Space Agency ESA, Frenchman Thomas Piquet, will go to the station. In addition, four unmanned flights will be carried out in the next 15 months to deliver the necessary cargo to the station.

This time with the astronauts flew a toy of baby Yoda from the popular TV series The Mandalorian. She was taken aboard to determine when the ship would enter orbit and reach microgravity. In a video filmed inside Crew Dragon, baby Yoda can be seen flying around the cockpit and occasionally bumping into the crew.

In the future, NASA astronauts and anyone with the money will be able to buy a ticket for a commercial flight on the Crew Dragon, the New York Times notes.

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