SpaceX is likely to land the first stage of the The Falcon 9 rocket set for launch April 30 is a drone ship just off the coast of Cape Canaveral, not originally planned at the company's onshore recovery site, after a ground test of the company's Crew Dragon capsule at the landing pad, ended in a spate Saturday
Workers were examining the wreckage from the Crew Dragon's spacecraft at Landing Zone 1, the site where Falcon 9 boosters return to Cape Canaveral, prompting the company to apply for authority from the Federal Communications Commission to land the first stage of the next week's mission SpaceX's drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, featuring a brand new first stage, is set for liftoff at 4:22 am. EDT (0822 GMT) April 30 from Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad.
Industry officials confirmed Tuesday that SpaceX will likely attempt to land a drone in the next week's mission to "ensure the integrity of the ship"
According to a SpaceX license application dated Monday, the drone ship will be positioned roughly 17 miles (28 kilometers) southwest of the pad 40, or due east from the easternmost point of Cape Canaveral. Weather permitting, the rocket's predawn return to Earth should be visible from land.
The landing will allow SpaceX to refurbish and re-fly the booster for a future mission. Falcon 9 launches with Dragon cargo carrierers for the first stage to reverse the course and return to Cape Canaveral, rather than land on SpaceX's drone ship.
A NASA spokesperson said that the dragon cargo mission was scheduled for launch on April 30th. It will be the SpaceX's 17th resupply mission to the station from 2012 under a NASA contract valued at more. Over $ 3 billion.
A shutdown of the Falcon 9's Merlin's main engines at the pad 40 is scheduled for Thursday.
SpaceX and NASA officials in the coming days are expected to review any potential impact on the resupply mission
The Crew Dragon spacecraft, also known as Dragon 2, is a much different spacecraft than SpaceX's first-generation Dragon capsule.
Saturday's accident occurred during a hotfire test of the Crew Dragon's SuperDraco abort thrusters, according to SpaceX and NASA officials. The SuperDraco thrusters, which would have been activated to save the astronaut from a failing rocket, do not fly on the Dragon variant set for launch next week.
The spacecraft that exploded on the test stand Saturday was the same vehicle that completed a six- day test flight to the International Space Station last month. SpaceX was conducting ground tests on the capsule in preparation for its re-use in an in-flight abortion demonstration in the next few months, a test designed to verify SuperDraco thrusters can safely propel the spacecraft away from a rocket Falcon 9 under extreme aerodynamic pressures.
SpaceX and NASA have said little about Saturday's accident, but the mishap is expected to delay Crew Dragon program by months. A test will be used for the in-flight abort test, which was scheduled to be one of the final milestones before NASA approves the spacecraft to carry astronauts to the space station.
With the Demo-1 kapsule no
The unpiloted Crew Dragon test flight to the space station in March's early March, designated Demo-1 , achieved all of its major objectives, including the first automatic docking of the US spacecraft to the station. But NASA officials said at the time that engineers needed to complete further testing and analysis of Crew Dragon's thrusters and parachutes, along with pressurant tanks on the spacecraft and the Falcon 9 rocket, before pretending that the kapsule was ready for human occupants.
NASA's astronaut Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are assigned to the Crew Dragon's first pilot mission, named Demo-2.
The most recent schedule indicated that Demo-2 was scheduled for no earlier than July 25 from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon is one of two commercial spaceships funded by NASA to ferry astronauts to and from the site.
The Crew Dragon is one of two commercial spaceships funded by NASA to ferry astronauts to and from the space station
SpaceX has won a series of NASA contracts totaling more than $ 3.1 billion since 2010 to develop a human-made Crew Dragon spacecraft. The crew contracts are separate from SpaceX's multibillion-dollar cargo-handling deal with NASA.
A similar set of contracts was awarded to Boeing worth more than $ 4.8 billion to support the design and development of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.
The Crew Dragon is designed to launch the SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket from pad 39A at Kennedy, while the Starliner capsule will lift off the United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5 rocket from nearby pad 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
SpaceX's crew capsule returns to Earth with a splashdown in the sea under four parachutes.
Both vehicles use liquid-fueled "pusher" escape systems to quickly boost the capsules away from a launch emergency. Other crew capsules, such as Russia's Soyuz, NASA's 1960s-era Apollo and the future Orion spacecraft, use a "tractor" abort system based on top-mounted towers with solid-fueled rocket motors to "pull" the vehicle away from its launch vehicle.
Once the rocket is out of the atmosphere, abort towers are jettisoned because they are no longer needed. The Crew Dragon's SuperDraco thrusters, which SpaceX originally designed to support propulsive pinpoint landdowns, stay with the spacecraft from liftoff through landing.
SpaceX did away with the propulsive landing plan in 2017, electing to return Crew Dragon capsules to Earth with more Conventional Ocean Landings.
The Crew Dragon's thrusters consume hygergolic hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide propellants, which chemically ignite when mixed together. The ship's Draco thrusters are used for in-orbit maneuvers and pointing, while eight larger SuperDraco thrusters are packaged in pairs into four propulsion modules – used for launch abortion.
Each SuperDraco engine has a 3D-printed chamber and can produce up
Boeing has also run into trouble during abortion testing.
During a hotfire of the Starliner's engine abortion, last year, the stuck valve in the craft's propulsion system led to A fuel spill is a test stand in New Mexico.
Each CST-100 service module carries four launch engine abortions built by Aerojet Rocketdyne. The engines would only fire in flight in the event of a launch emergency, igniting with 40,000 pounds of thrust each for a few seconds to propel the kapsule away from its rocket.
Like the Crew Dragon's SuperDraco engines, Starliner abort engines burn a mixture of toxic hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide propellants, and are designed to almost instantly ramp up to full thrust and fire for only a few seconds. Boeing officials said the fuel leak did not damage the test article, but the unsuccessful engineers forced the minor design changes into part of the boat. Starliner's propulsion system, including hardware and software modifications.
Earlier this month, Boeing said that the new valves were being installed in Starliner's abort engines for another hotfire test, followed by pad pad test to prove the system's ability to safely propel the kapsule
SpaceX has successfully completed the pad abort test in May 2015 using a boilerplate version of the Crew Dragon. When the agency negotiated commercial crew contracts, NASA did not require either company to complete a flight abort demonstration, and Boeing decided to discontinue such a test.
Boeing now plans the Starliner's first orbital test of combat without astronauts in mid-August, followed by the capsule's first test flight with astronaut in November. Both demo missions will dock with the space station.
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