The Space-X Demo-2 mission could literally determine the future of the company. The company has invested all its resources into making space travel affordable.
Several reusable rocket booster tests have been carried out by the company in the past. But the team is taking a huge leap by carrying humans into outer space.
NASA awarded $3.1 billion to Space-X to come up with a new spacecraft design under a program named “Commercial Crew”. This mission marks the final test flight of Space-X’s Crew Dragon capsule.
If everything goes right, the launch would take place at 4:33 p.m, Wednesday. If the weather goes rough, the launch would get postponed to 3:22 p.m on Saturday or 3 p.m on Sunday.
Crew Dragon – The SpaceCraft
SpaceX refers to the spacecraft which would carry humans into outer space by the name “Crew Dragon”. This is a prognosis of their previous line-up named “Cargo Dragon”.
Cargo Dragon is an experienced, well-designed craft which has carried out more than 20 missions to the ISS and back. Not to forget that Cargo Dragon is the very first private spacecraft to have transported cargo over to the ISS.
If the SpaceX Demo -2 mission turns out to be successful, Crew Dragon would be the first private aircraft to carry humans into space. Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are the brave astronauts chosen to carry out the mission.
Considering the features it has, Crew Dragon has a relatively small body. It’s just 27 feet tall and has a width of 13 feet. There are several rocket engines placed all over its body to facilitate direction adjustments.
It has a huge trunk that carries most of its cargo. The entire trunk has a series of solar panels placed all over them.
Cost-Effective And Convenient
The SpaceX Demo-2 Mission is not just another way of putting humans in space. Instead, NASA estimates that it would have a significant effect on its cost as well.
NASA funded a similar project with Russia which had a price tag of $86 million per astronaut. Whereas SpaceX has an estimated cost of just $55 million.
The astronauts will be wearing custom suits that SpaceX has designed. Astronauts can perform all the operations using the touch screens provided.
The touch panels would continue to work even when the astronauts have their suits on. The suits would continue to protect the astronauts even in case of de-pressurization or any other hardware failure.
This is because they have a unique life-support feature that connects the suit with the spacecraft.
Falcon 9 – The Rocket
If not for the development of Falcon-9, none of this would have been possible. Space-X has been working on its rocket boosters for several years now.
The Falcon-9 can launch a payload of even 25 tons into space. The Crew Dragon Spacecraft will get its place over the top of the booster.
Once the spacecraft reaches space, the booster will re-enter our atmosphere. The Falcon-9 had several successful test flights before.
Plan Of Operation / Launch Agenda
The astronauts would get ready and tested four hours before the launch. A Tesla Model X would then escort the astronauts from their quarters to the site of the launch.
About 2 hours prior to the launch, the astronauts would get strapped to their seats in the Crew Dragon. All the systems in the spacecraft will get checked for maximum accuracy.
Once all the systems are online and ready, the doors for the hatch will get closed. About 35 minutes prior to the fixed launch time, the fueling procedure would begin.
Any final systems and comm check will get processed and approved. After launching the spacecraft into its low earth orbit, the booster would begin its journey towards the surface again.
A barge stationed in the Atlantic Ocean would act as a landing platform. If the control center detects any malfunction at any stage during the launch, the mission gets aborted.
The crew would trigger the emergency escape system which would get them back to safety. SpaceX says that it tested the escape system at the most intense portion of the sequence and it still seems to have functioned well.
Space-X Demo-2 Mission: The Major Objective
Even after launching the spacecraft into orbit, the mission has just begun. The major portion of the mission involves the craft docking with the ISS. Although the maneuvering process is so advanced, most of it is autonomous.
The docking process might seem simple to the general public. But the entire sequence would take place when the objects are moving at a speed of 1000s of miles per hour.
The prognosis of the Crew Dragon is not clear. But NASA states that the Spacecraft would be able to stay in space for over 200 days.
Once the mission reaches its final stages, the craft would get undocked from the ISS. It then starts travelling towards the surface of the earth. It is expected to splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.
The parachutes would help the spacecraft to slow down to a safe speed. The GO Navigator attached to the craft would help the crew to find the exact location of its landing.
The Space-X Demo-2 mission would certify that the company is capable of handling space missions. In the near future, NASA would team up with SpaceX in doing short trips to the ISS.
Whereas in the long term, it would help us break new boundaries in space travel. This Demo-2 mission is the final test which NASA has put forth to SpaceX.
The Company and all its employees have put in several extra hours of hard work and passion into making this a reality. Up until this moment, no one apart from NASA astronauts could do space trips.
But this week, SpaceX has begun to rewrite history. The company believes that it would make private space travel not just possible but also affordable.
If things go right, the companies have plans of putting common people in space as early as next year.
The COVID-19 situation doesn’t seem to be settling. Therefore, common people cannot gather in huge groups to witness the launch.