Dragon Cargo Capsule by SpaceX Has Reached The ISS

The Dragon Cargo Capsule has been sent out to carry supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). It had with it 2,312 kilograms of supplies, …
SpaceX
(Photo : SpaceX Imagery)

The Dragon Cargo Capsule has been sent out to carry supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). It had with it 2,312 kilograms of supplies, research investigations, and equipment for the plan six-person station expedition 60. The report of SpaceX said that the cargo capsule has finally reached the ISS and it is indeed a success.

“I want to congratulate all the members of the team across the world to has helped in making this expedition happen. Not only were they able to build a beautiful spacecraft, but they built one that is able to deliver much-needed supplies to the station where the practical aspect become an intricate contribution to what is necessary. The mission continues,” Hague said. He is the person in the transmission and the mission continues.

There are people assigned to function as ground controllers and they took charge of the robotic arm of the Dragon to ensure that it is able to maneuver towards the berthing port where it could technically land. The space station has a port called the Harmony module, where there are 16 bolts to drive the station still close to the research outpost that’s orbiting around.

The station has planned to work on opening their hatches on Sunday, which will lead them to the compartment where the supplies are. This newly arrived cargo freighter comes with a pressurized compartment so its opening is indeed another milestone. The people in the ISS are excited about the capsule that will help them figure out what he said I cannot do.

The Dragon has finally arrives at its destination since last Saturday. This is perhaps its third space expedition following the trips it took out into the orbit in 2015 and 2017.

This is the first time that the SpaceX was able to fly its space engines in the Dragon Capsule for three times.

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SpaceX finally reveals cause of April spacecraft explosion

SpaceX says it has figured out what caused one of its spacecraft to explode during a ground test in April. A valve accidentally leaked some of the …

SpaceX says it has figured out what caused one of its spacecraft to explode during a ground test in April. A valve accidentally leaked some of the vehicle’s propellant, starting a chain reaction that caused the spacecraft to burst apart. Now that the cause has been identified, SpaceX says it is replacing these parts in all future versions of the vehicle to make sure this explosive leak doesn’t happen again.

The spacecraft that SpaceX lost was a test version of the company’s Crew Dragon, a capsule that’s being built for NASA to take astronauts to and from the International Space Station. This particular capsule was the very first Crew Dragon that SpaceX had ever launched into space. In March, the vehicle — without a crew — successfully docked with the ISS and then returned back to Earth during a flawless test mission. But during routine tests on the vehicle on April 20th, the capsule violently broke apart and spewed orange gas into the sky.

SpaceX immediately formed an investigation team after the accident to figure out what caused the explosion, and the company has been working with NASA ever since. But up until six weeks ago, SpaceX still hadn’t narrowed down the exact cause. With the discovery of the leak, the company now says the investigation is about 80 percent complete. “It’s hard to tell… how much time we need to close this out,” Hans Koenigsman, vice president of build and flight reliability at SpaceX, said during a press conference. “But you want to make sure that the capsule — everything — you want to make sure that we find all the right corrective actions.”

The company believes that the problem originated with the Crew Dragon’s emergency abort system, which consists of a series of small thrusters embedded within the capsule. If all goes well during a mission, these tiny thrusters are never really meant to be used. But if there is some kind of failure during a future launch, the thrusters can ignite and carry the Crew Dragon safely away from a disintegrating rocket.

SpaceX says that a leaky valve caused the propellant needed for these thrusters to cross into another system — one of really high pressure. When this contamination occurred, the high forces slammed the liquid around, causing valuable components to fail and leading to the ultimate loss of the capsule.

Koenigsman said that this contamination definitely was not anticipated, though the kind of valve that leaked has been known to have some internal leakage problem. Ultimately, he acknowledged that, to some extent, this was a design issue. “It’s something that the components should not have done,” Koenigsman said. “But at the same time, we learned a very valuable lesson on something going forward, one that makes the Crew Dragon a safer vehicle.”

SpaceX will replace all of these types of valves with another component known as a burst disk, which is supposed to be much more reliable, according to Koenigsman. SpaceX claims it has many Crew Dragons in various stages of production at the company’s headquarters in California. However, it’s unclear when the Crew Dragon will fly again. Before the explosion, SpaceX had been planning to fly its first astronauts on the vehicle by the end of the summer. Now it’s looking increasingly likely that SpaceX won’t fly people until the beginning of next year — though Koenigsman isn’t ruling out a 2019 flight. “My emphasis is really on making sure this is safe,” he said. “So end of the year, I don’t think it’s impossible, but it’s getting increasingly difficult.”

However, a NASA representative said she is appreciative for the failure, especially since it occurred on the ground instead of during a flight. “We had the ability to find an issue with the hardware and be able to find the hardware and be able to assess the hardware,” Kathy Lueders, the program manager for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, said during the press conference. So it was a huge gift for us.”

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SpaceX blames Crew Dragon explosion on an oxidizer leak

Months after the incident, SpaceX has an explanation for why its Crew Dragon capsule was destroyed during a test. The private spaceflight firm has …

The reaction between the oxidizer and the titanium was “not expected,” SpaceX said, noting that titanium had been used on spacecraft for “many decades.”

The company has taken steps to reduce the chances of this happening again. It eliminated potential flow paths in the escape system that would let liquid propellant enter the pressurization system. It’s also replacing check valves in favor of burst disks that seal completely and should “mitigate the risk entirely.” Testing has started for these changes, SpaceX said, and should be ready for future flights.

There was no mention of just how this would affect the schedule for SpaceX, but it’s now using different capsules for subsequent missions. The Crew Dragon originally intended for the second demo mission to the International Space Station will now be used for the in-flight abort test, while the capsule meant for the full-fledged inaugural mission will be used for that second ISS demo. It will be a while before SpaceX is regularly ferrying astronauts to the ISS — not that the company or NASA will mind if if the adjustments lead to safer trips.

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SpaceX will move forward with Dragon tests using other capsules from its fleet after Crew module …

SpaceX is already working to revise the schedules for the tests of its abort system and subsequent demonstration as the investigation into the anomaly …

NASA has shared new details on a test anomaly that resulted in the destruction of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule last month.

In a briefing to the NASA Advisory Council, the space agency revealed it’s been in talks with SpaceX every day since the disaster as the two investigate what went wrong.

And, the latest information suggests the failure may not be as dire of a setback as it first appeared.

Documents shared on Twitter by NASA Spaceflight and NASA Watch reporters reveal SpaceX has other Dragon capsules in development that will be advanced to meet its planned demonstrations.

The update comes weeks after SpaceX finally confirmed that its crew capsule had been destroyed in the April 20 explosion.

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A cloud of orange smoke rises over nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as seen from Cocoa Beach, Fla., Saturday, April 20, 2019, after an 'anomaly' caused SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule to explode

A cloud of orange smoke rises over nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as seen from Cocoa Beach, Fla., Saturday, April 20, 2019, after an 'anomaly' caused SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule to explode

A cloud of orange smoke rises over nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as seen from Cocoa Beach, Fla., Saturday, April 20, 2019, after an ‘anomaly’ caused SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule to explode

SpaceX is already working to revise the schedules for the tests of its abort system and subsequent demonstration as the investigation into the anomaly continues.

‘SpaceX has multiple capsules in in build for the Dragon fleet and will advance assignments of capsules to specific missions,’ the document notes.

‘Capsule previously intended for Demo-2 will be used for IFA [in-flight abort] and the capsule intended for Crew-1 will be used for Demo-2, etc.

‘SpaceX is optimizing hardware configuration for each spacecraft based on intended use for those test flights.’

At the beginning of this month, officials involved the failed test of the Crew Dragon capsule confirmed for the first time that the vehicle was destroyed as the result of the yet-to-be-determined ‘anomaly.’

In a statement that aired on NASA TV, SpaceX Vice President of Mission Assurance Hans Koenigsmann said the investigation so far indicates that the failure occurred during activation of the SuperDraco propulsion system, though NASA and SpaceX are still ‘looking at all possible issues.’

The comments came amid mounting speculation in the weeks after the test, which sent plumes of dark orange smoke billowing into the air all around Florida’s Cape Canaveral launch site.

Documents shared on Twitter by NASA Spaceflight and NASA Watch reporters reveal SpaceX has other Dragon capsules in development that be advanced to meet its planned demonstrations

Documents shared on Twitter by NASA Spaceflight and NASA Watch reporters reveal SpaceX has other Dragon capsules in development that be advanced to meet its planned demonstrations

Documents shared on Twitter by NASA Spaceflight and NASA Watch reporters reveal SpaceX has other Dragon capsules in development that be advanced to meet its planned demonstrations

Ahead of the announcement, an internal email sent to employees of a major NASA contractor and obtained by the Orlando Sentinel appeared to finally confirm that the Crew Dragon capsule did, in fact, explode during the test.

‘Just keep in mind this is still very early in the investigating,’ Koenigsmann said, reading from a prepared statement.

‘The investigation is led by both SpaceX and NASA. Both teams are carefully reviewing the telemetry data and all of the data that was collected during that test.’

‘Priority of this moment is to allow the teams to conduct thorough analysis before we come to any conclusions,’ Koenigsmann added.

While NASA didn’t reveal much about the so-called anomaly itself, the space agency did note that the issue occurred during tests on the second set of thrusters, the SuperDraco system.

These thrusters will play a critical role in future launches with astronauts on board; they’re designed to safely steer the capsule away from the rocket in the case of an emergency.

The Dragon crew capsule that exploded was the same that flew to the International Space Station a month prior. Above, it is pictured during its approach to the ISS in March

The Dragon crew capsule that exploded was the same that flew to the International Space Station a month prior. Above, it is pictured during its approach to the ISS in March

The Dragon crew capsule that exploded was the same that flew to the International Space Station a month prior. Above, it is pictured during its approach to the ISS in March

The problems arose after a smooth static fire of the smaller Draco thrusters, which are also used on the original, cargo version of the Dragon capsule.

‘We powered up Dragon and it powered up as expected,’ Koenigsmann said.

‘We completed test with the Draco Thrusters. We fired them in two sets, each 4 to 5 seconds, and that went very well.

‘And then, just prior, before we went to fire the SuperDraco, there was an anomaly and the vehicle was destroyed.’

Koenigsmann confirmed there were no injuries, as previously reported, and noted that SpaceX had taken all of the proper safety measures ahead of the test.

It’s still ‘too early to determine any cause,’ he added, but said the investigation so far ‘indicates that the anomaly occurred during the activation of the Super Draco system.’

‘We are looking at all possible issues and the investigation is ongoing,’ Koenigsmann said.

‘We have no reason to believe that there is an issue with the SuperDraco themselves – those have been through about 600 tests at our test facility.

‘We continue to have high confidence in that particular thruster.’

An email sent to employees after the SpaceX footage leaked warned them not to record activity inside the Kennedy Space Center – if they do, they risk being fired

An email sent to employees after the SpaceX footage leaked warned them not to record activity inside the Kennedy Space Center – if they do, they risk being fired

An email sent to employees after the SpaceX footage leaked warned them not to record activity inside the Kennedy Space Center – if they do, they risk being fired

For nearly two weeks up until that point, both NASA and SpaceX have remained tight-lipped about the failed test, even as footage circulating the internet claimed to show the moment the Crew Dragon capsule exploded.

The leaked email sent to employees of the aerospace company Jacobs, who are working as contractors under NASA’s Test and Operations Support Contract, directly addressed the footage as it warned employees not to record activity inside the Kennedy Space Center – if they do, they risk being fired.

At the time of the initial incident, NASA said it’s too early to revise the target launch dates.

‘This is why we test,’ NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement the weekend of the test failure.

‘We will learn, make the necessary adjustments and safely move forward with our commercial crew program.’

WHAT IS SPACEX’ CREW DRAGON CAPSULE?

The March 2 test, the first launch of U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil in eight years, will inform the system design and operations (Artist's impression)

The March 2 test, the first launch of U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil in eight years, will inform the system design and operations (Artist's impression)

The March 2 test, the first launch of U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil in eight years, will inform the system design and operations (Artist’s impression)

The capsule measures about 20 feet tall by 12 feet in diameter, and will carry up to 7 astronauts at a time.

The Crew Dragon features an advanced emergency escape system (which was tested earlier this year) to swiftly carry astronauts to safety if something were to go wrong, experiencing about the same G-forces as a ride at Disneyland.

It also has an Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) that provides a comfortable and safe environment for crew members.

Crew Dragon’s displays will provide real-time information on the state of the spacecraft’s capabilities, showing everything from Dragon’s position in space, to possible destinations, to the environment on board.

Those CRS-2 Dragon missions will use ‘propulsive’ landings, where the capsule lands on a landing pad using its SuperDraco thrusters rather than splashing down in the ocean.

That will allow NASA faster access to the cargo returned by those spacecraft, and also build up experience for propulsive landings of crewed Dragon spacecraft.

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Want to see a reused Falcon 9 rocket booster from SpaceX? You’ll be able to this summer in Houston

A space shuttle replica held aloft by the original plane used to transport these vehicles across the country, oft times blots out the sun as you drive …
  • Pictured here is an artist's rendering of SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster on display at Space Center Houston, the museum side of Johnson Space Center. The rocket was donated by SpaceX and is one of only two Falcon 9 boosters on display. The booster will arrive this summer and will be the museum's first commercial exhibit. Photo: Credit: Space Center Houston
    Pictured here is an artist’s rendering of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster on display at Space Center Houston, the museum side of Johnson Space Center. The rocket was donated by SpaceX and is one of only two Falcon 9 boosters on display. The booster will arrive this summer and will be the museum’s first commercial exhibit. less
    Pictured here is an artist’s rendering of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster on display at Space Center Houston, the museum side of Johnson Space Center. The rocket was donated by SpaceX and is one of only two Falcon 9 … more

    Photo: Credit: Space Center Houston

Photo: Credit: Space Center Houston
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Pictured here is an artist’s rendering of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster on display at Space Center Houston, the museum side of Johnson Space Center. The rocket was donated by SpaceX and is one of only two Falcon 9 boosters on display. The booster will arrive this summer and will be the museum’s first commercial exhibit. less
Pictured here is an artist’s rendering of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster on display at Space Center Houston, the museum side of Johnson Space Center. The rocket was donated by SpaceX and is one of only two Falcon 9 … more

Photo: Credit: Space Center Houston

Want to see a reused Falcon 9 rocket booster from SpaceX? You’ll be able to this summer in Houston
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A space shuttle replica held aloft by the original plane used to transport these vehicles across the country, oft times blots out the sun as you drive through Space Center Houston’s parking lot.

It’s the first thing you see upon entering the complex — a mammoth piece of history welcoming you into the museum’s 250,000 square-foot building chock-full of spacey artifacts.

But this summer, a new piece of space history — albeit more recent — will be the first thing to greet museum visitors. A flown SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket booster, which stands five stories tall when vertical, will be laid out on its side along a grassy berm near the parking lot entrance.

It’s the only Falcon 9 on display anywhere in the country, with the exception of the one outside SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. The new exhibit was announced Thursday night at the museum’s Galaxy Gala in downtown Houston.

“SpaceX has been very busy building a company, so they haven’t placed a real emphasis on gifting hardware,” said William Harris, museum CEO. “We’re so honored and thrilled to be among the first to put their hardware on display.”

Harris admits that the placement of the Falcon 9 near the property entrance was, in large part, because it wouldn’t fit anywhere else. But it’s also indicative of the direction space exploration is headed.

“We want to emphasize what is going on in space exploration and where it is going,” he said. “A big part of that is working with commercial partners to transport goods and, eventually, people to the International Space Station.”

The focus on private sector involvement in space has been ramping up since NASA retired the space shuttles in 2011 after 30 years of flight. First, companies such as SpaceX and Orbital ATK began sending supplies, food and other cargo to the orbiting laboratory via uncrewed, commercial spacecraft.

Now, SpaceX and Boeing are working on commercial vehicles capable of transporting humans to the space station, and the Trump administration’s plans to put humans on the moon in five years calls for intense collaboration with commercial and international partners.

A very special booster

Conversations with SpaceX began about two years ago, as museum officials searched for a way to incorporate commercial space exploration into its artifact repertoire.

Officials reached out to several companies about acquiring pieces of hardware, preferably ones that were flown in space, but SpaceX was the first to latch on to the idea.

The company, founded by Elon Musk, agreed to donate the used Falcon 9 and for the past year, the two entities have been working together to determine the best way to preserve and display the rocket booster.

But its not just any booster.

It first was flown in June 2017, launching nearly 6,000 pounds of supplies and payloads, such as food and solar panels, to the space station. The mission was the eleventh that SpaceX had flown under its first contract with NASA to resupply the orbiting laboratory. The company has since entered its second contract with the space agency to send supplies to the station through 2024.

This same booster then was flown again in December 2017 — marking the first time a booster was reused for a NASA mission.

“It’s part of a historic achievement, designing a reuseable rocket to further space exploration and America’s commercial space industry,” Harris said.

It seems appropriate, then, that such a historic rocket booster mark such a historic milestone at the museum: the first commercial space exhibit on the grounds.

“The new exhibit is one way we’re interpreting the future of spaceflight,” Harris said. “We are deeply grateful to SpaceX for their contribution.”

Coming this summer

The used Falcon 9 will arrive at Space Center Houston this summer via a rail car or a flat bed truck.

Museum officials haven’t picked an exact date for the arrival, but they are collaborating with SpaceX to determine the best way to get it to Houston from its current location at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

For now, the booster will be displayed on its side, raised 12-feet off the ground so that museum visitors can walk underneath it. The Falcon 9 will be an extension of the museum’s current space station exhibit, Harris said, offering an even deeper glimpse at how space station operations work.

The booster is a permanent display at the museum, but Harris said officials have gotten the go ahead from SpaceX to eventually display it vertically. He’s not sure when that change would take place, but said they wanted the Falcon 9 on display as soon as possible.

People want to know more, Harris said, and having a Falcon 9 on site is a great teaching tool.

“The public is really curious about who are these other companies doing space exploration and what does it mean,” he said. “So we’re looking at those that work with NASA and we’re interpreting that for them.”

Alex Stuckey writes about NASA and science for the Houston Chronicle. You can reach her at alex.stuckey@chron.com or Twitter.com/alexdstuckey.

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