Crew Dragon C204

Summary

Dragon C204
Crew Dragon at the ISS for Demo Mission 1 (cropped).jpg
C204 approaching the ISS
TypeSpace capsule
ClassDragon 2
ManufacturerSpaceX
Construction numberC204
Flight history
First flightCrew Dragon Demo-1
2 March–8 March 2019
Launch siteKennedy LC-39A
Total hours116
ISS dockings1
StatusDestroyed
← C203
C205 →

Crew Dragon C204 capsule was part of Crew Dragon flight vehicle SN 2-1 (sometimes incorrectly called C201) manufactured and operated by SpaceX and used by NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Used in the uncrewed Demo-1 mission, it was launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket on 2 March 2019, arriving at the International Space Station on 3 March 2019.[1][2] It was the first orbital test flight of the Dragon 2 spacecraft. The spacecraft was unexpectedly destroyed on 20 April 2019 during a separate test when firing the SuperDraco engines at Landing Zone 1.[3]

History

SpaceX was contracted by NASA to fly Demo-1 mission as part of the Commercial Crew Program. Initial plans had hoped to see flights as early as 2015.[4] Demo-1 was eventually slated for no earlier than December 2016, and then delayed several times throughout 2017.[5][6][7] The first exact date was published by NASA in November 2018 to be 17 January 2019,[8] but this got pushed into February 2019.[9] The static fire took place on 24 January 2019 and the launch date was set to 23 February 2019.[10] By the end of January 2019, the launch was delayed to no earlier than 2 March 2019 according to a FCC filing by SpaceX for Dragon 2 capsule telemetry, tracking, and command.[11]

Expedition 58 crew member Anne McClain poses with "Little Earth" inside C204; the capsule was docked to the ISS for five days.

Crew Dragon C204 was successfully launched uncrewed on top of a Falcon 9 rocket on 2 March 2019 from the historic LC 39A from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The flight was intended to certify the Crew Dragon to carry humans, demonstrating on-orbit operation of avionics, communications, telemetry, life support, electrical, and propulsion systems, as well as the guidance, navigation, control (GNC) systems. It docked to the International Space Station the next day on 3 March 2019.[12][13] It spent a total of five days docked to the ISS before it undocked from the ISS on 8 March 2019. The spacecraft performed entry into the Earth's atmosphere and splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 miles (320 km) off Florida's east coast.[14] The capsule was recovered using SpaceX's recovery ship, GO Searcher, and was returned to shore, where it was examined and the data collected by the on board sensors was analyzed.[15][16] Instead of carrying astronauts to the ISS, the spacecraft carried "Ripley," an mannequin wearing SpaceX's custom flight suit. Ripley is a named after Sigourney Weaver's character in the Alien movies franchise. The capsule was weighted similarly to missions with astronauts onboard and carried approximately 400 lb (180 kg) of supplies and equipment, including "Little Earth," a plush toy serving as zero-g indicator.[17][18][19][20]

On 20 April 2019, Crew Dragon C204 was destroyed in an explosion during static fire testing at the Landing Zone 1 facility.[21][22] On the day of the explosion, the initial testing of the Crew Dragon's Draco thrusters was successful, with the accident occurring during the test of the SuperDraco abort system.[23] Telemetry, high-speed camera footage, and analysis of recovered debris indicate the problem occurred when a small amount of dinitrogen tetroxide leaked into a helium line used to pressurize the propellant tanks. The leakage apparently occurred during pre-test processing. As a result, the pressurization of the system 100 ms before firing damaged a check valve and resulted in the explosion.[23][24] Since the destroyed capsule had been slated for use in the upcoming in-flight abort test, the explosion and investigation delayed that test and the subsequent crewed orbital test.[25]

Flights

Mission Patch Launch date (UTC) Crew Duration Remarks Outcome
SpX-DM1 2 March 2019, 07:49:03 N/A 4d 20h 41m First uncrewed flight test of Dragon 2 capsule: spent five days docked to ISS before undocking and landing on 8 March 2019. Success

See also

References

  1. ^ "Space Exploration Technologies Corp. WF9XGI 0068-EX-ST-2019 FCC Experimental License". fcc.report. Retrieved 5 February 2019. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "February 6, 2019 – Commercial Crew Program". blogs.nasa.gov. Retrieved 6 February 2019. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ Berger, Eric (22 April 2019). "Here's what we know, and what we don't, about the Crew Dragon accident". Ars Technica. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  4. ^ Richardson, Derek (5 January 2019). "Falcon 9 with Crew Dragon vertical at Launch Complex 39A". SpaceFlight Insider. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  5. ^ "First SpaceX commercial crew test flight could slip to 2019". SpaceNews.com. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  6. ^ "SpaceX delays commercial crew test flights to latter half of 2018". SpaceNews.com. 11 January 2018. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Report warns of additional commercial crew delays". SpaceNews.com. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  8. ^ "NASA Invites Media to SpaceX Demo-1 Launch" (Press release). NASA. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2019. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  9. ^ "SpaceX Demo-1 Launch Update". NASA Commercial Crew Program Blog. 10 January 2019. Retrieved 11 January 2019. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  10. ^ Clark, Stephen. "Falcon 9 rocket fires engines in key test ahead of Crew Dragon demo flight – Spaceflight Now". Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Space Exploration Technologies Corp. WF9XGI 0068-EX-ST-2019 FCC Experimental License". fcc.report. Retrieved 5 February 2019. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  12. ^ Burghardt, Thomas (3 March 2019). "Crew Dragon successfully conducts debut docking with the ISS – NASASpaceFlight.com". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Demo-1 Underway: Crew Dragon Launches on Debut Flight – Commercial Crew Program". blogs.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2 March 2019. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  14. ^ "Crew Dragon's inaugural flight to Station concludes with splashdown – NASASpaceFlight.com". Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  15. ^ Mission SpX-DM1 accomplished: the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft has come back to Earth. Massimo Luciani, Tachyon Beam. March 8, 2019.
  16. ^ "Crew Dragon Lifted Onto Recovery Ship – Commercial Crew Program". blogs.nasa.gov. Retrieved 12 April 2019. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  17. ^ Grush, Loren (22 February 2019). "NASA gives SpaceX the okay to launch new passenger spacecraft on uncrewed test flight". The Verge. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  18. ^ Boyle, Alan. "NASA, SpaceX and a test dummy are ready for Dragon 2's first trip to space station". GeekWire. GeekWire, LLC. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  19. ^ Bartels, Meghan. "Meet Ripley, SpaceX's Dummy Astronaut Riding on Crew Dragon Test Flight". Space.com. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  20. ^ "NASA, SpaceX Launch First Flight Test of Space System Designed for Crew". Nasa.gov. NASA. Retrieved 2 March 2019. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  21. ^ Bridenstine, Jim. "NASA has been notified about the results of the @SpaceX Static Fire Test and the anomaly that occurred during the final test. We will work closely to ensure we safely move forward with our Commercial Crew Program". Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  22. ^ Mosher, Dave. "SpaceX confirmed that its Crew Dragon spaceship for NASA was 'destroyed' by a recent test. Here's what we learned about the explosive failure". Business Insider. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  23. ^ a b Shanklin, Emily (15 July 2019). "UPDATE: IN-FLIGHT ABORT STATIC FIRE TEST ANOMALY INVESTIGATION". SpaceX. Archived from the original on 18 July 2019. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
  24. ^ "Explosion that destroyed SpaceX Crew Dragon is blamed on leaking valve". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  25. ^ "NASA boss says no doubt SpaceX explosion delays flight program". 18 June 2019. Retrieved 18 June 2019.

External links

  • Media related to Crew Dragon C201 at Wikimedia Commons