Tue. Oct 15th, 2019

NASA visits SpaceX HQ to get — and provides — updates on Crew Dragon progress

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine made a go to to the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Thursday to get a firsthand take a look at the progress on the Crew Dragon rocket and provides updates on the essential partnership between the area company and the corporate. 

Bridenstine livestreamed the press convention of his go to on his Twitter account, and gave updates to the press concerning the developments being made with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon business rocket. 

“NASA has loads below improvement proper now, and there’s a large distinction between improvement and operations,” Bridenstine mentioned. “What we’re doing now could be we’re creating brand-new issues now we have by no means operated earlier than, and business crew is one in all them.”

Bridenstine, who was joined by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, mentioned they’re in robust settlement that the very best precedence is to soundly launch American astronauts on American rockets into area. The go to comes after the New York Occasions reported that the connection between SpaceX and NASA is “typically fractious.” 

“Human area flight is the rationale SpaceX was created and we’re honored to companion with NASA to make this occur,” Musk mentioned. 

Each males talked concerning the failure of the Crew Dragon’s April take a look at, and about how far the rocket has come since then. 

“You do checks when you assume they may not be effective, and that’s why they’re known as checks — so you possibly can determine what the problems are, enhance the design, and retest,” Musk mentioned. 

The Crew Dragon’s explosion in April was resulting from a leaky valve, which allowed some propellant to leak into high-pressure helium tubes round 100 seconds earlier than the capsule’s thrusters have been resulting from ignite. Higher parachutes will permit the capsule to method its touchdown at a protected pace so it doesn’t hit the bottom or water the place it lands too arduous.

Musk mentioned throughout the press convention that the most recent design of the parachutes, which he known as Mark three parachutes, are 10 instances safer than Mark 2 parachutes and are twice as protected as Apollo’s parachutes. 

“Mark three parachutes are the most effective parachutes ever, by loads,” Musk mentioned. 

So far as a timeline of once we can anticipate the Crew Dragon to be absolutely able to take astronauts to the Worldwide Area Station (ISS), Musk mentioned he needs 10 profitable checks in a row earlier than human launches. Musk confirmed that in whole, varied Crew Dragon checks have gone as much as the ISS 19 instances.

“Through the first a part of subsequent yr, we needs to be able to launch American astronauts on an American rocket,” Bridenstine added. 

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