SpaceX’s Vehicle Dragon Heads To The ISS—Report

The Company SpaceX launched its autonomously attached vehicle Dragon, this Saturday. It falls under the latest series of tests that were conducted …

The Company SpaceX launched its autonomously attached vehicle Dragon, this Saturday. It falls under the latest series of tests that were conducted by NASA to transport people to Space. This mission is set to be carrying about 90 kg supplies and a test dummy. If the vehicle gains approval, astronauts are set to be flying out in Dragon as early as July.

This Capsule had encountered a contact with the International Space Station at around 10:51 GMT. The vehicle was flying over an ocean near New Zealand, after which a successful touchdown was confirmed. This vehicle had approached a height of 250 miles from the test station and used its computers as a self guiding system. Astronauts in the space station closely watched the entire mission on HD cameras to point out any faults in the system. The vehicle approached the space station guiding itself through a serious of predetermined way points. Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques, two astronauts present during the mission watched the entire flight through a window in the bay called the Cupola. They were given the autonomy to command the Dragon in every way possible during its flight, from launching to docking.

After a few sets of initial test runes the final approach was given a green signal. This attachment was made to a new type of Harmony Module from the ISS. This improvement involved a spring system that dampened the motion of the approaching vehicle. After this the vehicles is attached to a series of hooks eventually leading to a hard capture. This new technique of docking comes as a surprise from the SpaceX lab as the previous cargo ships had to pass through a series of robotic arm grappling before they could be actually placed in the right position.

The Dragon is estimated to lay in possession of ISS till Friday when it will eventually detach and begin its trip back to Earth. This phase of the mission is the most daunting according To Elon Musk.

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SpaceX’s Crew Dragon returns to port as NASA praises successful launch debut

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft successfully returned to Port Canaveral aboard … Benji Reed, Director of Crew Mission Management, SpaceX.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft successfully returned to Port Canaveral aboard recovery vessel GO Searcher, wrapping up an orbital launch debut that tracked through its milestones so flawlessly that Commercial Crew Program Deputy Manager Steve Stich went so far as to say that the spacecraft “did better than [NASA] expected.”

The culmination of the better part of a decade of constant work and NASA support, the flawless success of SpaceX’s DM-1 Crew Dragon mission is a testament – above all else – to the many hundreds of thousands or millions of hours SpaceX employees have put into the spacecraft’s design, production, operation, and recovery. While just one half of a critical pair of demonstrations, DM-1’s success should translate into extremely good odds for Crew Dragon’s Demo Mission 2 (DM-2), in which SpaceX will launch two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station on the company’s first crewed launch ever.

Go Searcher delivered Crew Dragon to Port Canaveral! #crewdragon#nasa#spacex#SpaceXFleetpic.twitter.com/FOM0txvKrP

— TomCross (@_TomCross_) March 10, 2019

“I can’t believe how well the whole mission has gone. I think on every point, everything’s been nailed, all the way along—particularly this last piece. We were all very excited to see re-entry and parachute and drogue deploy and main deploy, splashdown—everything happened just perfectly, right on time the way that we expected it to. It was beautiful.” – Benji Reed, Director of Crew Mission Management, SpaceX

SpaceX Director of Crew Mission Management Benji Reed’s unqualified appraisal of Crew Dragon’s debut serves as a perfect example of the attitude almost universal throughout the company in the twilight of the mission’s completion. While sources suggest that there were more than a few hiccups during the mission, they were extremely mild and came as no surprise for what effectively amounted to the first shakeout mission of a brand new vehicle. According to CEO Elon Musk, Crew Dragon shares almost no hardware – aside from its Draco thrusters – with Cargo Dragon, the uncrewed orbital spacecraft SpaceX has now launched into orbit 17 times in the last eight years.

  • Crew Dragon approaches the ISS during its orbital launch debut, March 3rd. (NASA)
  • Cargo Dragon is seen here attached to the ISS shortly before the completion of SpaceX’s CRS-16 resupply mission, January 7th. (NASA)
  • Crew Dragon was successfully recovered aboard GO Searcher on March 8th. (SpaceX)
  • Cargo Dragon completed its most recent mission, CRS-16, on January 13th. (SpaceX)

For such a complex spacecraft, not to mention an almost clean-sheet redesign, it’s nothing short of extraordinary that its debut launch was so utterly free of significant anomalies or unexpected behavior. Separated into the distinct phases of launch, free-flight, ISS docking/undocking, and recovery, Crew Dragon reportedly performed almost perfectly in all cases, “right on time” according to Mr. Reed. NASA’s CCP Deputy Manager Steve Stich was equally enthusiastic and elated about the spacecraft’s performance.


“On-orbit we got a lot of great data on the vehicle in terms of the thermal performance and power performance; the vehicle really did better than we expected. Then the rendezvous was phenomenal as we came in and checked out those sensors. Today; the undocking, watching how those systems performed, that went flawlessly. It’s a very tight sequence between undocking and de-orbit burn, how the nose cone performed, how the de-orbit burn was executed, then the entry was phenomenal.”

“I don’t think we saw really anything in the mission so far—and we’ve got to do to the data reviews—that would preclude us from having the crewed mission [DM-2] later this year.”

– Steve Stich, CCP Deputy Manager, NASA


Following Crew Dragon’s March 9/10 return to Port Canaveral, the spacecraft is expected to immediately enter into a post-flight analysis and data-gathering phase that will quickly transfer into refurbishment to prepare for the capsule’s second (albeit suborbital) launch, a critical in-flight abort (IFA) test that could happen as early as April according to Elon Musk. While official planning schedules point towards the IFA occurring closer to June or even July, it’s reasonable to assume that those official schedules are highly conservative. If Crew Dragon’s significantly waterproofing and reusability upgrades make a major difference, it’s far from inconceivable that the vehicle’s second abort test could actually occur ahead of schedule, although it’s unlikely.

The in-flight abort test will effectively be a repeat of SpaceX’s successful 2015 pad abort demonstration, albeit with the stationary launch pad replaced with a full Falcon 9 rocket – first and second stage – traveling at supersonic speeds. If Crew Dragon can safely abort in such challenging conditions, it’s almost guaranteed that it will be able to safely abort at any time during a Falcon 9 launch, all the way from the moment fueling begins on the ground into orbital operations. In fact, CEO Elon Musk recently suggested that the same SuperDraco abort thrusters that enable those safe escapes could potentially be used to add yet another level of redundancy during landing, standing in for parachute damage or failures to slow the capsule down and minimize or prevent injuries during splashdown.

Most likely, but this is contingent upon NASA review & approval

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2019

Check out Teslarati’s newsletters for prompt updates, on-the-ground perspectives, and unique glimpses of SpaceX’s rocket launch and recovery processes

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Roscosmos Chief, Elon Musk Exchange Courtesies After SpaceX Capsule Landing

SpaceX founder Elon Musk and Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, had a warm exchange on Twitter following the …

SpaceX founder Elon Musk and Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, had a warm exchange on Twitter following the successful test flight of the American company’s new aircraft.

“Thank you on behalf of SpaceX! We have always admired your rocket/spacecraft technology,” Musk tweeted on Friday.

Rogozin congratulated the billionaire inventor and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on the landing of Crew Dragon, also known as Dragon 2, which embarked on its first unmanned test mission to the International Space Station last week.

The Roscosmos director also said that alternative space transportation systems guarantee the stability and security of the international teams working at the ISS.

Earlier this week, Musk hailed Russia’s “excellent” rocket engineering and “best [rocket] engine” currently flying, in a reference to the RD-180 liquid-fuelled engine.

The uncrewed mission of the Crew Dragon capsule, built by SpaceX with NASA’s help, docked at the ISS over the weekend and successfully splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast on Friday. The test flight marked the first time a spacecraft reached the orbital station from US soil, since NASA shut the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

Since then, NASA has been using Russia’s Soyuz rockets to get its astronauts into space, but the agency now says that the success of Crew Dragon paves the way for crewed missions to be ferried to the ISS from US territory.

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‘We always admired your tech!’ Elon Musk & Roscosmos chief trade praise over CrewDragon …

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, whose CrewDragon capsule splashed down near Florida, and Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin, lauded each other in a …

CrewDragon, a SpaceX-built commercial astronaut capsule, carried out a test flight which ended with a safe splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean. The mission apparently impressed Dmitry Rogozin, who took to Twitter to reach out to Elon Musk and NASA chief Jim Bridenstine.

“Dear colleagues… On behalf of Roscosmos I congratulate you on the first successful test flight of a new spacecraft,” he wrote.

Генеральный директор Роскосмоса Дмитрий Рогозин (@Rogozin):

«Дорогие коллеги, @JimBridenstine и @elonmusk! От имени Роскосмоса поздравляю вас с успешным завершением первого тестового полёта нового космического корабля…

— РОСКОСМОС (@roscosmos) March 8, 2019

To Rogozin, building alternative space engines that will ferry cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) ensures that it’s safe and stable in orbit. The Roscosmos messages sounded a bit formal, but it didn’t stop the SpaceX CEO from returning the favor. “Thank you on behalf of SpaceX! We have always admired your rocket/spacecraft technology,” Musk replied.

Thank you on behalf of SpaceX! We have always admired your rocket/spacecraft technology.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2019

The entrepreneur, who frequently reflects on building colonies on Mars, went on to hail Russia’s NK-33 and RD 170/180 rocket engines, calling them “exceptional.”The SpaceX-built Dragon vehicle detached from the ISS on Friday after being docked there for the past week. It safely re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and landed in the Atlantic 450km from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Successful splashdown of the #CrewDragon right on time at 8:45 a.m. ET. pic.twitter.com/0qHhHzD4Js

— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) March 8, 2019

The mission, which had no humans on board, was a success not only for Musk, but NASA as well. Since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011, American astronauts have been sent into orbit on the Soyuz spacecraft, taking off from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

Also on rt.com‘Hard to argue with Elon’: Roscosmos head taunts Musk’s praise of Russian rockets

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Astronaut competition makes flying into orbit a reality, for those who have what it takes

Enterprising startups such as Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and SpaceX are bringing the idea of commercial space travel tantalisingly close.

Ever since Yuri Gagarin strapped himself in and blasted off on a Vostok rocket in 1961 to bravely go where no man had gone before, millions have dreamed of following in his exhaust trail.

But few have had the opportunity. Just 536 to be precise.

Enterprising startups such as Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and SpaceX are bringing the idea of commercial space travel tantalisingly close.

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But since Nasa ended its manned space programme in 2011, the dream of becoming an astronaut has largely been the preserve of the uber-rich. Just look at the founders of those three companies: Jeff Bezos, Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk.

While being a billionaire is not a prerequisite for wannabe astronauts, it’s fair to say that space flight it likely to remain an elite activity for some time. A sub-orbital flight with Virgin Galactic will likely cost around £200,000, for example.

But one US company is attempting to change that with a five-year training programme for those who think they have what it takes to hurtle into orbit.

ShapeCreated with Sketch.SpaceX Dragon successfully docks with International Space Station

Show all 14
leftCreated with Sketch.rightCreated with Sketch.

1/14

SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured about 20 meters (66 feet) away from the International Space Station
Nasa/AP

2/14

Astronauts aboard the Space Station preparing to open hatchet to the SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying a instrumented dummy after it successfully docked with Space Station
Nasa TV/EPA

3/14

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifts off
Reuters

4/14

A dummy(L) named Ripley onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard after the opening of the hatch during the Demo-1 missioN
Nasa TV/AP

5/14

The SpaceX team watches as the SpaceX Crew Dragon docks with the International Space Station
Nasa/AP

6/14

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket docked with the International Space Station during the Demo-1 mission
Nasa/AFP/Getty

7/14

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques taking a look inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying a instrumented dummy
Nasa TV/EPA

8/14

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft lifts off on an uncrewed test flight
Reuters

9/14

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a demo Crew Dragon spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight
AP

10/14

SpaceX’s new crew capsule approaches just before docking
Nasa TV/AP

11/14

Astronaut Eric Boe, assistant to the chief of the astronaut office for commercial crew, left, and Norm Knight, deputy director of flight operations at Nasa’s Johnson Space Center watch the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft
Nasa/AP

12/14

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft
Reuters

13/14

SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk(L), with Nasa astronauts Victor Glover, Doug Hurley, Bob Behnken, Nasa Administrator Jim Bridenstine, and Nasa astronaut Mike Hopkins seen inside the crew access arm with the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft visible behind them
Nasa/AFP/Getty

14/14

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifts off on an uncrewed test flight
Reuters

1/14

SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured about 20 meters (66 feet) away from the International Space Station
Nasa/AP

2/14

Astronauts aboard the Space Station preparing to open hatchet to the SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying a instrumented dummy after it successfully docked with Space Station
Nasa TV/EPA

3/14

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifts off
Reuters

4/14

A dummy(L) named Ripley onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard after the opening of the hatch during the Demo-1 missioN
Nasa TV/AP

5/14

The SpaceX team watches as the SpaceX Crew Dragon docks with the International Space Station
Nasa/AP

6/14

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket docked with the International Space Station during the Demo-1 mission
Nasa/AFP/Getty

7/14

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques taking a look inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying a instrumented dummy
Nasa TV/EPA

8/14

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft lifts off on an uncrewed test flight
Reuters

9/14

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a demo Crew Dragon spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight
AP

10/14

SpaceX’s new crew capsule approaches just before docking
Nasa TV/AP

11/14

Astronaut Eric Boe, assistant to the chief of the astronaut office for commercial crew, left, and Norm Knight, deputy director of flight operations at Nasa’s Johnson Space Center watch the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft
Nasa/AP

12/14

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft
Reuters

13/14

SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk(L), with Nasa astronauts Victor Glover, Doug Hurley, Bob Behnken, Nasa Administrator Jim Bridenstine, and Nasa astronaut Mike Hopkins seen inside the crew access arm with the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft visible behind them
Nasa/AFP/Getty

14/14

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifts off on an uncrewed test flight
Reuters

AdvancingX is running a global Career Astronauts competition which is free to enter. Successful candidates will be put through their paces in a range of tasks designed to create the perfect space team. Hundreds of candidates will be whittled down over five years to just 40. Eventually, four lucky winners will get the chance to fly into space.

Dr Mindy Howard, one of the trainers on the course, knows a thing or two about the demands of space travel, having made the grade as one of NASA’s ‘Highly Qualified Astronaut Candidates’.

While undergoing her own astronaut training she flew in parabolic flights which ascend at a steep angle before reducing altitude to give passengers a weightless experience. She’s also tested herself in an high-g centrifuge which spins you round to mimic the intense physical pressures of a rocket launch.

Scuba diving with submersible craft is part of the training (AdvancingX)

While Dr Howard has not yet made it into space she is now passing on the skills she has learnt to train the next generation of potential astronauts.

Dr Howard will teach candidates on the Career Astronaut programme about the mental toughness needed to travel into space, using techniques developed for her company Inner Space Training.

AdvancingX will also take the astronauts-to-be Scuba diving, using submersible craft to prepare them for carrying out tasks in a low-gravity environment.

AdvancingX’s chief executive Dr Eduardo Diaz says he plans to use biosensor technology to mitigate health risks of space travel and increase the success of teams in a “new era” of the career astronaut.

(Mindy Howard)

Dr Diaz wants to select those who can work well enough in a team to one day occupy a lunar base, or even one further afield.

“The employment opportunities are enormous,” he says.

“Imagine an entirely new society that will need every kind of human resource necessary to survive.

“There’s a need for farmers, medical personnel, and mechanical engineers just to name a few.”

Candidates will even construct habitats in Icelandic lava tunnels which aim to mimic the desolate environment one might find on the moon or a distant planet.

ShapeCreated with Sketch.NASA at 60: Amazing photos of space exploration released from archives

Show all 21
leftCreated with Sketch.rightCreated with Sketch.

1/21

Ed White photographed by Gemini 4 Commander Jim McDivitt. During the first of 66 orbits, they made an unsuccessful attempt to rendezvous with the spent upper stage of their Titan launch vehicle. On McDivitt’s advice, White waited one more orbit to recover from the effort of the failed rendezvous, and then exited the Gemini for his historic spacewalk on June 3, 1965.
Courtesy of NASA

2/21

Apollo 9 CM pilot Dave Scott emerges from the hatch, testing some of the spacesuit systems that will be used for lunar operations. The photo was taken from the hatch of the docked LM by Rusty Schweickart in March 1969.
Courtesy of NASA

3/21

Mothership “Balls Three” overflies an X-15 in 1961. Three operational X-15s were constructed andflown for 199 test flights between them, as they pushed at the “envelopes” of speed and altitude, and reached the very edges of space.
Courtesy of NASA

4/21

The Mercury Control Center (MCC) at Cape Canaveral supervised seven human spaceflights between May 1961 and March 1965, into the beginning of the Gemini era. Meanwhile the more advanced control complex in Houston was taking shape ahead of Apollo.
Courtesy of NASA

5/21

Robert McCall’s mid-1970s prediction of NASA’s space shuttle building a modular space station is close to what finally happened, except that the real shuttles only flew one at a time.
Courtesy of NASA

6/21

Technicians working at the base of Alan Shepard’s Mercury-Redstone 3 launch vehicle are swathed in vapour from vented excess oxidiser gas on May 5, 1961. Subsequent rockets could not be so closely approached when fueling.
Courtesy of NASA

7/21

The Rendezvous Docking Simulator at Langley prepared Gemini astronauts for the strange physics of orbital flight.
Courtesy of NASA

8/21

Ahead of Gemini 10, Commander John Young explains to the media how copilot Michael Collins will inspect the Agena Target Docking Vehicle during his spacewalk, 1966.
Courtesy of NASA

9/21

Navy divers prepare to retrieve the Gemini 6A crew on December 16, 1965. Green dye was released by spacecraft on splashdown, making it easier to spot from the air.
Courtesy of NASA

10/21

The U.S. geological Survey’s map of the area around Tycho Crater, famous as the site of a mysterious alien monolith in the 1968 science fiction film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” In real life, this chaotic and rugged terrain would have been too difficult for an Apollo mission to access.
Courtesy of NASA

11/21

Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Michael Collins inspects NASA’s Lunar Receiving Laboratory at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, where rock samples collected by Apollo were analysed. Nitrogen gas protected the rocks from accidental corrosion in Earth’s oxygen-rich atmosphere.
Courtesy of NASA

12/21

NASA scientists are confident that Buzz Aldrin’s boot prints from Apollo 11 are still as sharp and distinct today as when they were first stamped down in 1969, because the Moon has no air or rain to erode them.
Courtesy of NASA

13/21

NASA’s Anechoic Chambers are among the quietest places anywhere on earth. Walls absorb almost all stray echoes, whether sound or radio. This 1972 model of a shuttle, being tested for radio characteristics, has thruster pods on the wingtips.
Courtesy of NASA

14/21

Lightning strikes the launchpad of Space Shuttle Challenger on August 30, 1983 prior to STS-8, the first pre-dawn launch of the space shuttle program. Launchpads are surrounded by tall lightning towers and other conductive systems.These create a giant “Faraday Cage,” diverting the electric charge of strike well away from the spacecraft.
Courtesy of NASA

15/21

The ISS has been continuously occupied since November 2000. Its habitable volume is equivalent to a Boeing 747’s. An international crew of six people live and work while traveling at five miles (8 km) per second, orbiting Earth once every 90 minutes. This is the single most complex and ambitious engineering effort in history, even when compared to Apollo.
Courtesy of NASA

16/21

The Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) is a hybrid of parachute and balloon technology. A new generation of flexible heat shield materials could enable a huge shield to be deployed from a small storage canister just before a spaceraft hits the atmosphere of its target planet. In July 2012 a HIAD survived a trip through Earth’s atmosphere at 7,600 mph.
Courtesy of NASA

17/21

In April 2016, ocean scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, analysing data from Landsat 8, found mysterious lines crisscrossing the vegetation in the shallow waters of the North Caspian Sea.The cause turned out to be ice gouging at the seafloor in winter, before melting in the spring, and leaving just these clues.
Courtesy of NASA

18/21

Curiosity made this self-portrait on August 5, 2015, by maneuvering the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the end of a seven-foot-long robotic arm. Multiple overlapping frames were acquired, then digitally stitched together by image analysts at JPL. The arm moved into a new position for each frame but the camera always pointed toward a specific“vanishing point” to minimize parallax distortions.
Courtesy of NASA

19/21

Jupiter’s moon Io is dwarfed by the planet it orbits, as seen by the Cassini spacecraft en route to Saturn. Cassini’s 13-year tour of the ringed planet changed the course of planetary exploration.
Courtesy of NASA

20/21

A technician prepares to unlatch a small door built into the guide vanes of the Transonic Wind Tunnel at Langley Research Center in 2010. The vanes prevent turbulent eddies from interfering with the tests.
Courtesy of NASA

21/21

Courtesy of NASA

1/21

Ed White photographed by Gemini 4 Commander Jim McDivitt. During the first of 66 orbits, they made an unsuccessful attempt to rendezvous with the spent upper stage of their Titan launch vehicle. On McDivitt’s advice, White waited one more orbit to recover from the effort of the failed rendezvous, and then exited the Gemini for his historic spacewalk on June 3, 1965.
Courtesy of NASA

2/21

Apollo 9 CM pilot Dave Scott emerges from the hatch, testing some of the spacesuit systems that will be used for lunar operations. The photo was taken from the hatch of the docked LM by Rusty Schweickart in March 1969.
Courtesy of NASA

3/21

Mothership “Balls Three” overflies an X-15 in 1961. Three operational X-15s were constructed andflown for 199 test flights between them, as they pushed at the “envelopes” of speed and altitude, and reached the very edges of space.
Courtesy of NASA

4/21

The Mercury Control Center (MCC) at Cape Canaveral supervised seven human spaceflights between May 1961 and March 1965, into the beginning of the Gemini era. Meanwhile the more advanced control complex in Houston was taking shape ahead of Apollo.
Courtesy of NASA

5/21

Robert McCall’s mid-1970s prediction of NASA’s space shuttle building a modular space station is close to what finally happened, except that the real shuttles only flew one at a time.
Courtesy of NASA

6/21

Technicians working at the base of Alan Shepard’s Mercury-Redstone 3 launch vehicle are swathed in vapour from vented excess oxidiser gas on May 5, 1961. Subsequent rockets could not be so closely approached when fueling.
Courtesy of NASA

7/21

The Rendezvous Docking Simulator at Langley prepared Gemini astronauts for the strange physics of orbital flight.
Courtesy of NASA

8/21

Ahead of Gemini 10, Commander John Young explains to the media how copilot Michael Collins will inspect the Agena Target Docking Vehicle during his spacewalk, 1966.
Courtesy of NASA

9/21

Navy divers prepare to retrieve the Gemini 6A crew on December 16, 1965. Green dye was released by spacecraft on splashdown, making it easier to spot from the air.
Courtesy of NASA

10/21

The U.S. geological Survey’s map of the area around Tycho Crater, famous as the site of a mysterious alien monolith in the 1968 science fiction film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” In real life, this chaotic and rugged terrain would have been too difficult for an Apollo mission to access.
Courtesy of NASA

11/21

Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Michael Collins inspects NASA’s Lunar Receiving Laboratory at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, where rock samples collected by Apollo were analysed. Nitrogen gas protected the rocks from accidental corrosion in Earth’s oxygen-rich atmosphere.
Courtesy of NASA

12/21

NASA scientists are confident that Buzz Aldrin’s boot prints from Apollo 11 are still as sharp and distinct today as when they were first stamped down in 1969, because the Moon has no air or rain to erode them.
Courtesy of NASA

13/21

NASA’s Anechoic Chambers are among the quietest places anywhere on earth. Walls absorb almost all stray echoes, whether sound or radio. This 1972 model of a shuttle, being tested for radio characteristics, has thruster pods on the wingtips.
Courtesy of NASA

14/21

Lightning strikes the launchpad of Space Shuttle Challenger on August 30, 1983 prior to STS-8, the first pre-dawn launch of the space shuttle program. Launchpads are surrounded by tall lightning towers and other conductive systems.These create a giant “Faraday Cage,” diverting the electric charge of strike well away from the spacecraft.
Courtesy of NASA

15/21

The ISS has been continuously occupied since November 2000. Its habitable volume is equivalent to a Boeing 747’s. An international crew of six people live and work while traveling at five miles (8 km) per second, orbiting Earth once every 90 minutes. This is the single most complex and ambitious engineering effort in history, even when compared to Apollo.
Courtesy of NASA

16/21

The Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) is a hybrid of parachute and balloon technology. A new generation of flexible heat shield materials could enable a huge shield to be deployed from a small storage canister just before a spaceraft hits the atmosphere of its target planet. In July 2012 a HIAD survived a trip through Earth’s atmosphere at 7,600 mph.
Courtesy of NASA

17/21

In April 2016, ocean scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, analysing data from Landsat 8, found mysterious lines crisscrossing the vegetation in the shallow waters of the North Caspian Sea.The cause turned out to be ice gouging at the seafloor in winter, before melting in the spring, and leaving just these clues.
Courtesy of NASA

18/21

Curiosity made this self-portrait on August 5, 2015, by maneuvering the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the end of a seven-foot-long robotic arm. Multiple overlapping frames were acquired, then digitally stitched together by image analysts at JPL. The arm moved into a new position for each frame but the camera always pointed toward a specific“vanishing point” to minimize parallax distortions.
Courtesy of NASA

19/21

Jupiter’s moon Io is dwarfed by the planet it orbits, as seen by the Cassini spacecraft en route to Saturn. Cassini’s 13-year tour of the ringed planet changed the course of planetary exploration.
Courtesy of NASA

20/21

A technician prepares to unlatch a small door built into the guide vanes of the Transonic Wind Tunnel at Langley Research Center in 2010. The vanes prevent turbulent eddies from interfering with the tests.
Courtesy of NASA

21/21

Courtesy of NASA

Is it far-fetched to believe that commercial astronauts will land on the moon any time soon?

Elon Musk, the boss of SpaceX doesn’t think so. His pioneering company recently docked a craft at the International Space Station. He plans a manned mission there as soon as July and lunar flights are firmly within his sights.

“We should have a base on the moon, like a permanently occupied human base on the moon, and then send people to Mars,” Mr Musk said at a recent press event.

Those who want to apply for AdvancingX’s programme need to take a 20-minute behavioural assessment online. Successful candidates will then be assessed through a number of tests designed to find the best team players.

AdvancingX aims to fund the course through company sponsorships in order to ensure that space flight remains an achievable dream for those of us who don’t have millions of dollars to burn.


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