Debut Docking Has Been Conducted Successfully By Crew Dragon With The ISS

For the very first time, a docking and rendezvous to the International Space Station has been successfully conducted by the Crew Dragon of SpaceX, …

For the very first time, a docking and rendezvous to the International Space Station has been successfully conducted by the Crew Dragon of SpaceX, recently, after a successful launch. The docking took place on March 3 at 5:51 AM EST. Dragon was lofted to orbit by a Falcon 9 Block 5 missile from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Centre of NASA in Florida, which is more enormous and longer as compare to its Dragon 1 predecessor. Reportedly, 2 spacecrafts will arrive domestic crew launch capability to the US, one is the crew variant of Dragon 2 and the second is Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner.

A series of 4 test flights will be completed by SpaceX and NASA in order to check whether human can be carried by Crew Dragon or not. As per the sources, Demo-1 is the 2nd out of those 4 flights. To demonstrate nominal end to end performance of Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 is the main motto of Demo-1 after a positive pad abort trial occurred in the year 2015. This comprises signifying the on-orbit operations of communications, avionics, telemetry, electrical and propulsion systems, life support, navigation, guidance, control systems aboard both Dragon and Falcon 9.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX confirmed during a press conference that, the 1st two after-launch signs for Crew Dragon were effectively accomplished shortly separating from second stage of Falcon 9. To effort a self-sufficient docking in orbit, the first ever SpaceX vehicles was Dragon 2. Whereas, cargo resupply missions have been flying by Dragon 1 to the ISS since the year 2012, only manipulated close enough to be dealt by the robotic arm of the station. On the other hand, the robotic arm will not be used by Dragon 2, but the onboard Draco thrusters will rather be used to dock with the stations.

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SpaceX Moon Mission Launch Could Happen In June 2020, Thanks To NASA

The SpaceX Moon mission launch could happen sooner than expected as Elon Musk’s space company is said to be the frontrunner of NASA’s …

The SpaceX Moon mission launch could happen sooner than expected as Elon Musk’s space company is said to be the frontrunner of NASA’s planned Moon exploration.

According to CNBC, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a Senate committee that they are considering the use of commercial rockets for a lunar crew test flight instead of the agency’s SLS spacecraft. The mission is tentatively scheduled for June 2020 and if all goes to plan, SpaceX could potentially win the contract.

“I think we should launch around the moon in June of 2020, and I think it can be done. We need to consider as an agency all options to accomplish that objective. Some of those options would include launching the Orion crew capsule and the European service module on a commercial rocket,” Bridenstine said.

The NASA administrator mentioned that the space agency could consider using two heavy-lift rockets and hinted of the “amazing capability that exists right now” in the U.S. space industry. Bridenstine’s statement could mean two very possible contenders of the mission: United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX, which are currently the most active private space firms today. Both companies are part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Between the two, however, SpaceX seems to be the most likely choice. SpaceX is fresh from the success of its Crew Dragon capsule demo launch to the International Space Station (ISS) and the spacecraft’s recent return back to Earth without any problems.

SpaceX lead designer Musk’s vision of offering a more cost-effective option for space missions might also bode well for NASA. Currently, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket is priced at $150 million per launch. This is a big difference compared to Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket, which costs roughly $350 million per launch.

There is also the question on whether or not ULA could be ready to do a Moon mission to align with NASA’s 2020 timeline as the company needs at least two to three years to prepare for a launch. In comparison, SpaceX is capable of high volume launches.

“If speed is of the utmost importance, then they may be willing to pay more than SpaceX’s stated price. SpaceX is clearly the front-runner given this time frame,” Chad Anderson, CEO of investment firm Space Angels, said.


Musk and BridenstineElon Musk’s SpaceX could land contract to launch NASA’s moon mission. Pictured: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (L) speaks with SpaceX chief Elon Musk during a press conference after the launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 2, 2019.Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

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Helping out on Crew Dragon

SpaceX is one of several private companies partnering with NASA to get America back in space, which has created the kind of teamwork Smith …

Not everyone grows up to be a rocket scientist, but that’s exactly what Kenneth Smith, 29, of Streetsboro has done.

For several years, he’s worked for NASA and Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, earning a spot on Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” list in 2017.

Now, one of the projects that helped earn him a spot on that list has been celebrated as a milestone in space exploration, the March 2 launch of Crew Dragon, which connected autonomously with the International Space Station March 3 and successfully splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean, ending a successful mission.

The capsule, which was unmanned on its flight earlier this month, is designed to accommodate a crew of up to seven astronauts, according to Smith.

“The biggest thing is, it’s going to be the first American orbital space capsule since 2011,” he explained. “The United States hasn’t launched astronauts from American soil since 2011 when the space shuttle Atlantis closed out a 30-year program that folded under the weight of cost, political will and safety concerns.”

Since then, he said, the U.S. has been “hitching rides on a Russian system, Soyuz, operated in Kazakhstan in the middle of the desert, an expensive situation but necessary to keep the International Space Station staffed.”

SpaceX is one of several private companies partnering with NASA to get America back in space, which has created the kind of teamwork Smith believes will mark the future of the space program.

“Now the driving force is making space travel less expensive, and commercial companies are almost competing against each other,” he said, adding the private companies also have a greater tolerance for the kind of productive failure that helps spur development of spacecraft.

Since 2015, Smith said, he’s been working on the development of Crew Dragon, helping to test its flight-worthiness.

“I worked on the loads and dynamic analysis of the vehicle, looking at aerodynamic loads, aeroelastic effects, engine loads and how they would impact the performance and stability of the vehicle,” said Smith.

One of the tests Smith helped run were coupled load analyses, which measure the effect of various factors on the capsule when connected to the rockets, which perform predictably and serve as a control in the tests.

“You’re taking something that is known very well and coupling it with something that is not known,” in this case, the Crew Dragon capsule, said Smith.

In those analyses, the agency would try to replicate, as closely as possible, flight conditions in the capsule while measuring variables such as the weather.

“If you have an unstable mix of air or turbulence, there’s a threshold where we say it’s OK to launch and not OK to launch,” said Smith. Preparing for wind tests, Smith also said he had to design a scale model of the capsule so it could be properly tested.

“I had to take these complex structures and make them a smaller scale for the wind tunnel,” he said. “If I don’t do that model right, then our data could be off.”

Although he’s currently in Streetsboro, Smith said he’s planning to head to Russia in July.

“I will be there for a year working,” he said. “One of the requirements of being an astronaut is learning Russian. I got a fellowship that pays for the language training.”

The Alpha Fellowship includes about 13 people in mid-career from the U.S., Russia, Germany and England to travel and begin preparation to be astronauts.

Leaving in July, Smith said he’s planning to stay in Russia through about April 2020 when he hopes to move to Houston.

Reporter Bob Gaetjens can be reached at 330-541-9440, bgaetjens@recordpub.com or @bobgaetjens_rpc.

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Finding government waste in space funding

It also does not make much sense when there are more efficient alternatives, like SpaceX, than to rely on programs that have been plagued by delays …

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

When the federal government is struggling with debt in excess of $22 trillion and trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, it makes no sense for there to be wasteful contracting within the Department of Defense on space funding.

It also does not make much sense when there are more efficient alternatives, like SpaceX, than to rely on programs that have been plagued by delays and cost overruns. President Donald J. Trump has promised more space exploration and he should dump the worst programs and move forward with best players, especially in duplicative services.

The Orion space capsule was started 16-years-ago as part of the “Constellation Program.” Orion itself is a capsule that is supposed to take astronauts to the moon, Mars or asteroids for space exploration. But after six years of cost overruns and running years behind schedule, the program was cancelled. Yet, only in the Washington swamp could a part of this program come back to life and end up costing the taxpayers tens of billions of dollars more in waste. Though Constellation was cancelled in 2010, the new Lockheed Martin Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle program, was brought back to life in 2012 by lobbyists for the program.

Orion has been a disaster for the taxpayer, according to government reporting. The General Accounting Office (GAO) in May of 2018 reported, Orion is continuing to advance development of systems started under the Constellation program, which was cancelled in 2010. The report indicates “NASA expects the program to exceed its cost baseline and is at risk of future schedule delays” and the cost will exceed the “$11.28 billion baseline.” In total, taxpayers have already spent $1.6 billion on Orion ($1.8 billion if adjusted for inflation).

What makes this so remarkable is that, in 16 years, Orion has never test launched with an astronaut on board. And the GAO says it still won’t be ready to fly until 2023. Orion is essentially a device intended to do little more than the space capsule that took Neil Armstrong to the moon 50 years ago.

Compare that to the capsule SpaceX designed, built and launched in just six years from start to finish for a tiny percentage of Lockheed Martin’s multi-billion-dollar price tag. The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule just launched on March 2, successfully docked with the International Space Station and returned to Earth without a hiccup last week. They plan to launch again — carrying two NASA astronauts — in July. Orion won’t launch until year 20 of its development — maybe.

It has not gone unnoticed that the Orion program only enriches lobbyists and Lockheed Martin. Mark Whittington wrote in the Washington Examiner on Jan. 4, 2019, “the lunar gateway is really a holdover from the Barack Obama administration, when NASA was attempting an asteroid retrieval mission that was subsequently canceled. Why the space agency is clinging to a plan that would take a decade and many billions of dollars before the first people return to the moon is open to conjecture. The more cynical might suggest that it provides a lot of fat contracts for aerospace companies.” This program should have stayed cancelled and the administration could have found lest costly alternatives to this bungled mess of a project.

SpaceX is doing what the Orion project should have done a decade ago at a fraction of the cost. In comparison, Orion is a waste of taxpayer dollars. In addition, there is the whiff of cronyism and there are obvious conflicts of interest in this project. Taken as a whole, this project has been a bad investment for the taxpayer, because the taxpayers have spent money with nothing to show for it.

Lockheed Martin is now coming back to the Defense Department and Congress for even more tax money for Orion. Lockheed Martin is slated to get hundreds of millions of more taxpayer dollars in next year’s budget, even though it’s clear this project will eventually be replaced by the SpaceX Dragon capsule. It makes no sense to pour billions of taxpayer cash down the drain on Orion when it will never be the vehicle used to go to the moon or Mars. Taxpayers have already spent far too much on waste, fraud and abuse.

It’s time for this administration and Congress to save some money by abandoning the Orion project.

• Bryan Crabtree is a radio host in Atlanta and the publisher of Talk40.com. His new book is “The Trump In You: Acting Like Trump Is Actually A Good Thing.”

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‘We’re just humans on a single spaceship,’ says Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques from ISS

The International Space Station welcomed the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, the first privately-built space capsule capable of carrying humans.

There’s no other place in the universe like it.

And Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques — who has the rare experience of inhabiting the International Space Station — says the view from there is the true definition of the word “awesome.”

Global News had the chance to speak to Saint-Jacques on what is his 100th day in space.

He admits to being homesick, and missing his wife and three kids. But he knows he’s going home, and that gives him solace.

The trip, he says, has given him a new perspective on what home means and how precious our human existence is on Earth.

WATCH: David Saint-Jacques on life in space (December 2018)


“Planet Earth is a beautiful gem. It’s kind of glowing blue, gracefully spinning, you can see the cloud patterns constantly evolving, the seasons, the day and night cycles and the moon orbiting. And it is so obvious it is the only planet around that’s alive, that supports life. And it makes me feel really so lucky, so blessed to have this incredible home in the cosmos.

“It makes one feel more responsible for Mother Earth. And it’s a lesson in humility that none of this belongs to us. We belong to it.”

READ MORE: Astronaut David Saint-Jacques fields children’s questions on Santa, climate change

He and the rest of the astronauts on the space station are pushing the boundaries of space travel every day. And they witnessed a milestone recently.

The International Space Station welcomed the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, the first privately-built space capsule capable of carrying humans. It docked at the space station on a test mission.

And it further pushed open the door to commercial space flight.

Saint-Jacques says he sees a bright future.

WATCH: David Saint-Jacques on his 100 days in space

“If I let my imagination run wild, I think space travel will be very common — just as common as taking a plane,” said Saint-Jacques. “It will never be easy, but that’s the nature of technology. We get used to doing incredible things like driving cars or using a cellphone. They become part of our lives, thanks to technology. Welcoming commercial entities into space flight, I think will help drive the prices down, and will help smooth out the technological aspects.”

READ MORE: David St-Jacques overwhelmed with first glimpses of planet Earth

He believes that space will do three important things for humans.

“It will help us take better care of Earth. And it will help us in our quest to understand the universe better.”

And the third part is just as important on Earth as it is in space.

“Space exploration is by nature an international endeavour. And I think it really helps bring humans together with a single focus. Because up here, it is obvious there are no boundaries.

“We’re just humans on a single spaceship — Spaceship Earth.”

WATCH: Can anyone just travel to space? (September 2018)

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