Dragon ship is back, and why isn’t Musk “Musk” at all?

The white case, black rivets, comes back with a post-industrial punk-style SpaceX manned Dragon spacecraft. Two months ago, on May 30, Bob Benken and Douglas Hurley, two NASA astronauts, were in the spotlight. They took spacex’s manned Dragon spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center 39A and made a 19-hour trek to the International Space Station.

SpaceX’s manned Dragon spacecraft successfully splashed over the Gulf of Mexico. Nasa.

Astronauts Bob Benken and Douglas Hurley from NASA’s Commercial Crew. Nasa.

Benken and Hurley’s main responsibility is to conduct testing with the task code “Demo 2”. From launch to docking on the space station to returning to the return capsule, the two will monitor the SpaceX manned space system throughout.

Of course, they don’t just do relatively boring work. Benken also completed two spacewalks and replaced batteries outside the station.

Bob Benken, who is on a spacewalk. Nasa.

Hurley, in the station’s dome, uses a shutter to capture the blue Earth through six clear windows. From day to night, he uploaded the photo to Twitter and shared it with the world.

Photo of Earth taken by Douglas Hurley on the International Space Station. Nasa.

Two months of space drift is undoubtedly a long one. At 07:35 BST on August 2, Benken and Hurley were separated from the International Space Station.

The manned Dragon spacecraft launches a disengagement from the International Space Station. Nasa.

After leaving the space station, the Dragon spacecraft will remain in orbit for 18 hours. The safety of the spacecraft’s external heat shield was then severely tested by turning on the thruster and leaving orbit and into the Earth’s atmosphere, experiencing extreme temperatures of up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Set off for Earth. This is one of the most dangerous phase tasks in the test, taking an unknown journey of approximately 19 hours.

Assuming the weather conditions are not good, NASA and SpaceX will delay the derailment of the manned Dragon spacecraft. NASA staff say the supplies on the manned Dragon spacecraft can last up to three days.

Fortunately, the two astronauts’ Dragon spacecraft successfully entered the atmosphere and the parachute opened. The Dragon spacecraft successfully splashed off in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:48 p.m. Beijing time on August 3.

The manned Dragon spacecraft that successfully splashed in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Nasa.

Space, safety is more important than cool.

Unlike the stunning vertical landings during the SpaceX rocket booster recovery process, the Dragon spacecraft uses the most traditional and conservative return mode, the umbrella-style sea splash.

Why would Musk, who has always been “adventurous,” recycle the spacecraft in a conservative way that goes against his style?

You know, that’s not what Musk meant.

In the original design of the manned Dragon spacecraft, in addition to meeting the basic principles of reusable and recyclable, the use of booster soft landing return way, but also the spacecraft’s brightest standard design. This is basically equivalent to the technical principle and presentation of the falcon 9’s vertical landing.

The original design of the manned Dragon spacecraft was ignited by the SuperDraco engine for a vertical landing. This is a photo of the previous prototype test ignition. SpaceX.

However, when SpaceX handed NASA its proud design in 2017, it was met with strong resistance from the other side. Because of these new features of the manned Dragon spacecraft, if integrated, there are too many uncertainties.

Although the Dragon spacecraft did not experience any accidents during multiple tests, including propulsion suspension, launch abort, and vertical landing, none of them dispelled doubts at NASA’s decision-making levels.

The Space Shuttle Challenger, launched on January 28, 1986, exploded 73 seconds after liftoff. Nasa.

Like most people, they think technological innovation is clearly less important than the safety of manned spaceflight. After all, NASA was scared by two previous shuttle accidents and had to be a conservative.

Of course, SpaceX also values keeping astronauts safe. The booster landing was originally spaceX’s best way to land a manned spacecraft on Mars, but it needs to be guaranteed quality from a safety perspective. SpaceX eventually changed its mind, removing the Dragon spacecraft’s booster landing.

The final design of the manned Dragon spacecraft, Demo, cancels the design of the landing frame, but still retains the configuration of the SuperDraco engine for the implementation of the emergency escape function during launch. SpaceX.

The castrated manned Dragon spacecraft, while still retaining the booster, cut off the landing shelf. Instead, the landing plan is the sea parachute drop and the sea search and rescue that we see today.

The return process of the spacecraft’s parachute drop, although visually less than the launch scene, but it far exceeds the difficulty of launching into orbit. Because launching falcon rockets, both for carrying capacity and reliability, has been recognized in high-frequency launches over the past three years.

And the Dragon spacecraft’s manned recovery, or the first time. It tests not the rocket, but the ship itself.

First, when the manned dragon spacecraft enters the atmosphere, it rubs against the air to generate huge amounts of heat, up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a huge challenge for the spacecraft’s heat-proof system, and of course it’s one of the tests.

Second, the overload environment and vibration environment is also a test of the ship’s electrical control system, high temperature will cause communication between the spacecraft and the Earth will be interrupted, is expected to last about 6 minutes, so the spacecraft return module re-entry angle must be controlled.

Entering the atmosphere out of regulation, the Dragon spacecraft’s return capsule will rub its back with the air to generate huge amounts of heat, up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. SpaceX.

In the past, almost all ships landed on land. The reason the Dragon spacecraft did not land was that SpaceX considered the large deviation of the landing point due to measurement deviations such as weather wind farms. Landing at sea clearly does not have to worry about the safety of personnel on the ground.

Space can’t always go after cool. While the engine push-back vertical landing provides excellent drop-point accuracy, the price is high for the reliability of the back-push engine, which can be imagined if something goes wrong.

The last test.

In fact, the mission performed by Demo 2 is not a single test, but rather a look at the overall performance of the manned Dragon spacecraft from launch to recovery. Although the spacecraft’s perfect liftoff has been officially approved by NASA, there are many risks on its way back to Earth from space.

Before splashing down, the Dragon spacecraft will use a parachute to counter the earth’s gravity in order to achieve a smooth landing.

It has two cone parachutes that expand at an altitude of 18,000 feet at a speed of about 350 miles per hour. When the spacecraft is at an altitude of about 6,000 feet, it can fly at speeds of up to 119 miles per hour, and then all four main parachutes are deployed to slow down for the spacecraft’s landing.

Given the possible shift of the spacecraft’s landing angle, the official landing sites are pensacola, Tampa, Tallahassee, Panama City, Cape Canaveral, Daytona and Jacksonville, near the seven Florida coasts.

Six hours before the Dragon spacecraft separated from the International Space Station, SpaceX and NASA together decided that the preferred splash zone was Pensacra.

The rescue ship “Go Navigator” sailed early into the waters that could have been spilled. Nasa.

SpaceX crews have previously arrived at the seven landing sites and sent two rescue ships, Go Searcher and The Navigator, to search the Gulf and Atlantic waters off the Florida coast.

The two ships have more than 40 spacecraft engineers from SpaceX and NASA, water recovery experts, medical professionals, crew, NASA cargo experts and others assisting in the recovery effort.

Eventually, the Dragon spacecraft splattered into the Gulf of Mexico at 2:48 p.m. Beijing time on August 3. The two pilots said it was “very good at the moment.”

The Dragon ship’s return capsule was salvaged to the deck of the rescue ship. Nasa.

Two rescue ships carrying SpaceX personnel were immediately evacuated from the main recovery vessel after the spill. The first ship was primarily responsible for checking the integrity of the capsule and testing the area around the Dragon spacecraft for the presence of self-igniting propellant vapor. Once the clean-up was complete, the ship’s crew began to prepare for the salvage ship. The second clipper was responsible for recovering the parachutethat that had been removed from the capsule and was in the water.

At this point, the main recovery vessel can enter and begin to hoist the crew module of the Dragon ship to the main deck. Once the return module enters the main recovery vessel, it is first moved to a stable position to open the hatch, wait for medical personnel to conduct a preliminary examination and assist Benken and Hurley to leave the ship.

The crew opened the hatch and carefully removed the two astronauts from the return module. Nasa.

The whole process lasted more than an hour from the spacecraft spilled into the astronaut’s capsule. At 4 a.m. Beijing time on August 3, the doors of the Dragon spacecraft opened and the two astronauts were out of the capsule.

After leaving the Dragon capsule, Benken and Hurley will be taken to the recovery ship’s medical area for a preliminary assessment. The procedure is similar to the way soyuz astronauts return to Earth.

After initial medical examinations, Benken and Hurley will be flown by helicopter to Kennedy Space Center Hospital for a full medical treatment before returning to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Astronauts Benken and Hurley smiled and gave a thumbs-up to the camera after the door of the Dragon spacecraft Endeavour opened. Nasa.

Meanwhile, the Dragon spacecraft will be sent back to SpaceX’s Dragon Lair, Florida, for inspection and disposal. SpaceX’s team will evaluate the data and functional performance of the Dragon spacecraft during this test flight to complete the certification of the mission’s flight systems by NASA Commercial Crew and the International Space Station project.

At this point, the full mission of the Dragon Ship Demo-1 has come to an end.

Dragon spacecraft moored on the International Space Station. Nasa.

SpaceX has demonstrated to NASA that the manned dragon spacecraft is fully capable as a regular means of transport to and from Earth to and from the International Space Station.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket-first booster for the Crew-1 mission arrived at the Kennedy Space Center on July 14, 2020. SpaceX.

Next, SpaceX will prepare for the upcoming official mission, Crew-1. SpaceX needs to be officially certified by NASA before a specific mission can be carried out.

If successful, the next official mission will be made up of Commander Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, mission specialist Shannon Walker, three NASA astronauts, and mission specialist Noguchi from JAXA, The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The official mission, codenamed Crew-1, will still depart from launch pad 39A at kennedy space center, with the four crew members expected to stay on the International Space Station for six months.

Officials have not given an exact time for the next launch, as certification will take about six weeks and initial estimates are expected to be at least until the end of September.

But for now, NASA and SpaceX staff should open a bottle of champagne and dry it.

Fifty-one years ago today, Apollo 11 sputtered and successfully returned from the moon. Forty-five years ago today, the Apollo-Soyuz test project’s spacecraft splashed, the last flight of the Apollo series.

Forty-five years later, the manned spacecraft returned to the U.S. mainland. Nasa.

History continues to be made.