NASA and SpaceX decided to launch the Dragon spacecraft Crew-1 manned mission to the International Space Station on October 31st EST. Previously, SpaceX’s manned Dragon spacecraft was named Resilience. On May 30, the manned Dragon spacecraft sent NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station for the first time in a manned test flight. After entering the space station, the two announced that they would escort their Dragon spacecraft named Endeavour.
Following this naming tradition, the astronauts involved in this Crew-1 mission also chose a name for the spacecraft. NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins unveiled the name of the Dragon spacecraft on the Crew-1 mission at a NASA news conference on September 29, local time.
Hopkins explains that the name reflects the challenges of the year. Resilience is not only for the astronauts involved in the mission, but also for the SpaceX and NASA teams, as well as for the United States and the world.
“If you look at the definition of the word ‘toughness’, it means doing well or overcoming adversity when you’re under pressure. I think we all agree that 2020 is definitely a challenging year. Hopkins believes that “Toughness” is a good fit for the Dragon spacecraft, and he hopes the name inspires everyone.
The day before the news conference, NASA issued a statement saying it planned to launch the Dragon spacecraft’s first commercial manned mission, the Crew-1, at 2:40 a.m. EST on October 31. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi will travel from the SpaceX Manned Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station from The Falcon 9 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
From left to right are NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, who trained on the spaceX manned Dragon spacecraft on the ship’s equipment interface.
NASA and SpaceX have also incorporated lessons learned from the manned Dragon spacecraft’s first manned test mission into the spacecraft’s design, and made some adjustments to the hardware and procedures of the Crew-1 mission.
One of the improvements involves the spacecraft’s heat shield. At 14:48 EST on August 2, the Endeavour dragon spacecraft returned safely to Earth and landed in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida. When SpaceX engineers examined the capsule that returned to Earth, they found more severe wear and tear than expected in several specific areas of the shield.
However, Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX’s vice president of manufacturing and flight reliability, said the wear was confined to a very small area of the heat shield and did not put astronauts on the first manned test mission at risk.
The problem may be related to the airflow around the bolts that connect the capsule to the ship’s main crew. Hans Koenigsmann says the problem is also relatively easy to fix, as long as more corrosion-resistant materials are used in the area around the bolts.
Another improvement is to adjust the pressure sensor that triggers the parachute to open during the splash. On its return to Earth in August, the spacecraft’s parachute expanded at a slightly lower-than-expected altitude. The sensor adjustment will ensure that the crew of the Crew-1 mission will be able to open their parachutes earlier and higher on their return.
NASA and SpaceX have also contacted the U.S. Coast Guard to ask them to set up a 16-kilometer cordon around the planned spill zone when the astronauts are scheduled to arrive. Because in August, more than a million private ships gathered around the ship after it splashed, some very close to the ship.