Crew Dragon Endeavour

Summary

Endeavour
CCP SpaceX Demo-2 Dragon (3).jpg
Endeavour at Cape Canaveral in April 2020
TypeCrewed space capsule
ClassDragon 2
Named afterSpace Shuttle Endeavour
ManufacturerSpaceX
Construction numberC206
Flight history
First flightCrew Dragon Demo-2
30 May–2 August 2020
Launch siteKennedy LC-39A
Total hours1,535
ISS dockings2
StatusHard docked to ISS as of 09:10 UTC 24 April 2021

Crew Dragon Endeavour (Dragon capsule C206) is a Crew Dragon spacecraft manufactured and operated by SpaceX and used by NASA's Commercial Crew Program. It was launched into orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket on 30 May 2020 and successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS) on 31 May 2020 as part of the Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission; this was the first crewed flight test of a Dragon capsule, carrying Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. It is the spacecraft used in the first crewed orbital spaceflight from the United States since STS-135 in July 2011 and the first crewed orbital spaceflight by a private company. On 2 August 2020 it returned to Earth.[1] The spacecraft was named by Hurley and Behnken after the Space Shuttle Endeavour, aboard which they flew into space during the STS-127 and STS-123 missions, respectively. The name Endeavour is also shared by the command module of Apollo 15.

History

After the success of Crew Dragon Demo-1 using Crew Dragon C201, that spacecraft was originally planned to be used for the Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort Test. However, on 20 April 2019, Crew Dragon C201 was destroyed in an explosion during static fire testing at the Landing Zone 1 facility.[2][3] On the day of the anomaly, the initial testing of the Crew Dragon's Draco thrusters was successful, with the explosion occurring during the test of the SuperDraco abort system.[4] Crew Dragon C205, then slated to be used for the Demo-2 mission, was subsequently used for the in-flight abort test. Endeavour, then, was assigned to the Demo-2 mission, replacing Crew Dragon C205. On 17 April 2020, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the launch date of the crewed Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station to be on 27 May 2020.[5] According to SpaceX, Endeavour underwent electromagnetic interference testing and completed acoustic testing in February 2020.[6][7] In early April 2020, the spacecraft was in SpaceX's processing facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida to undergo final processing and testing in preparation for the Demo-2 launch.[8] It was then transported to Kennedy Space Center, arriving at the Launch Complex 39A on 15 May 2020. The spacecraft was then mated to a Falcon 9 rocket and was rolled out onto the launch pad on 21 May 2020, with static fire testing completed the next day.[9]

SpaceX's first reused Crew Dragon Endeavour, docks at International Space Station

Crew Dragon Endeavour, with its name still unannounced, was successfully launched on top of a Falcon 9 rocket on 30 May 2020 after the scrubbing of the first attempt due to poor weather conditions.[10][11] Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley crewed the Demo-2 mission, marking the first crewed launch to the International Space Station from the United States since STS-135 in July 2011. The mission was intended to complete the validation of crewed spaceflight operations using SpaceX hardware.[12] If successful, the demonstration flight would allow for human-rating certification of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, the Falcon 9 rocket, the crew transportation system, the launch pad, and SpaceX's capabilities. In a video tour of the spacecraft shortly after the launch, Behnken and Hurley revealed they named the capsule Endeavour after the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the spacecraft the both of them first flew on, on missions STS-127 and STS-123, respectively, to recognize the "incredible endeavor" that SpaceX and NASA have taken. Additionally, each crew member brought along a toy from their family, in this case an Apatosaurus dinosaur named "Tremor", a sequined plush dinosaur toy, and a Ty flippables plush toy, continuing the tradition for astronauts to bring a plush toy or trinket aboard their spacecraft to serve as a zero-gravity indicator when weightlessness kicks in during spaceflight.[13] Days after the successful launch, NASA gave SpaceX approval to reuse flight-proven spacecraft, indicating Endeavour may be potentially reused.[14]

Spending 19 hours in orbit approaching the ISS, Hurley demonstrated the ability to pilot the spacecraft via its touchscreen controls; upon reaching a distance of 220 metres (720 ft) from the ISS docking ports, he let the automated docking program take over. Endeavour docked with the ISS on 31 May 2020.[15][16][17] Hurley and Behnken joined the ISS Expedition 63 crew, which consisted of NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Ivan Vagner and Anatoli Ivanishin.[18] Behnken and Hurley launched to the ISS for an indeterminate time frame, which depended on Endeavour's solar array degradation, the status of Crew Dragon Resilience, and landing zone weather.[19]

Crew Dragon Endeavour landing in the Gulf of Mexico on 2 August 2020.

NASA originally planned Demo-2 as a short test flight lasting about two weeks, but later chose to extend the mission to address the shortfall of crew in the ISS.[20] According to Ken Bowersox, acting administrator for NASA's human spaceflight program, the spacecraft was "doing very well" and NASA re-planned to bring the crew and Endeavour home in early August.[19] When Endeavour returned, it journeyed through a fast fiery descent of Earth's atmosphere and was slowed down by the capsule's drogue chute and suite of parachutes. It splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico, near Pensacola, FL, where a SpaceX recovery boat brought the crew and spacecraft back to shore.[15]

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley left a Demo-2 patch on the inside of Endeavour after their mission.[21] Shane Kimbrough said on Monday, March 1 that the Crew-2 astronauts will keep the "Endeavour" name for the spacecraft revealed by Hurley and Behnken shortly after their launch last May.[22]

Flights

Endeavour was flown in space on the Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission on 30 May 2020, and returned to Earth on 2 August. The spacecraft was rated to spend 119 days in orbit, as its solar panels had less capability than a full production Crew Dragon capable of staying in space for up to 210 days.[23] The seat of Bob Behnken in Endeavour during Demo-2 was used by his wife, K. Megan McArthur in the SpaceX Crew-2 mission.[24]

Mission Patch Launch date (UTC) Landing date (UTC) Crew Duration Remarks Outcome
Demo-2 Crew Dragon Demo-2 Patch.png 30 May 2020, 19:22:45 2 August 2020, 18:48:06[25] 63 days The first crewed test flight of a Crew Dragon capsule, first crewed orbital spaceflight from US soil since STS-135 in July 2011 (in which Doug Hurley was the pilot), and the first crewed orbital spaceflight by a private company. Flight extended from two weeks in order to allow the crew to bolster activity on the ISS ahead of Crew-1,[1] and ended up being over two months. Success
Crew-2 SpaceX Crew-2 logo.png 23 April 2021, 09:49:02[26] Less than a week after the maiden flight of Endeavour, NASA gave approval for SpaceX to launch humans in reused Dragons on reused Falcon 9 rockets starting with Crew-2.[27][28] Docked to the ISS

References

  1. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (9 June 2020). "NASA anticipates August return for Hurley and Behnken". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  2. ^ @JimBridenstine (20 April 2019). "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" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ @JimBridenstine (17 April 2020). "BREAKING: On May 27, @NASA will once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil! With our @SpaceX partners, @Astro_Doug and @AstroBehnken will launch to the @Space_Station on the #CrewDragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Let's #LaunchAmerica 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/RINb3mfRWI" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  6. ^ @SpaceX (11 February 2020). "The Crew Dragon spacecraft that will fly @NASA astronauts @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug to and from the @Space_Station undergoing electromagnetic interference testin" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  7. ^ @SpaceX (16 February 2020). "Crew Dragon completes acoustic testing in Florida" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  8. ^ https://images.nasa.gov/details-KSC-20200411-PH-SPX01_0003 This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  9. ^ Wall, Mike (21 May 2020). "SpaceX's 1st Dragon capsule for astronauts arrives at launch site for historic mission". space.com. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  10. ^ Thompson, Amy (30 May 2020). "Liftoff! SpaceX launches 1st astronauts for NASA on historic test flight". Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  11. ^ Roulette, Joey (30 May 2020). "NASA resumes human spaceflight from U.S. soil with historic SpaceX launch". Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  12. ^ Etherington, Darrell (1 May 2020). "SpaceX and NASA break down what their historic first astronaut mission will look like". TechCrunch. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  13. ^ Boyle, Alan (30 May 2020). "Crew Dragon's astronauts give their SpaceX spaceship a storied name: Endeavour". GeekWire. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  14. ^ Ralph, Eric (9 June 2020). "SpaceX wins NASA approval to launch astronauts on reused rockets and spacecraft". Teslarati. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  15. ^ a b Grush, Loren (30 May 2020). "SpaceX successfully launches first crew to orbit, ushering in new era of spaceflight". The Verge. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  16. ^ "NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station after Dragon capsule successfully docks". The Washington Post. Nash Holdings LLC. 31 May 2020. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  17. ^ Wattles, Jackie (31 May 2020). "Second hatch opens as Crew Dragon astronauts arrive at International Space Station". CNN. Warner Media, LLC. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  18. ^ "SpaceX and Nasa set to launch astronauts after weather all-clear". Express & Star. 30 May 2020.
  19. ^ a b Thompson, Amy (10 June 2020). "SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship to bring NASA astronauts home this summer". Teslarati. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  20. ^ Foust, Jeff (9 June 2020). "Crew Dragon likely to support extended space station stay". SpaceNews. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  21. ^ Welcome Home: NASA Astronauts Robert Behnken & Douglas Hurley Discuss Their Return To Earth
  22. ^ Clark, Stephen (5 March 2021). "Next Crew Dragon launch set for April 22". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  23. ^ Weitering, Hanneke (5 May 2020). "How long will the 1st astronauts to ride SpaceX's Crew Dragon be in space? No one knows exactly (yet)". Space.com. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  24. ^ "Megan to reuse Bob's demo-2 seat in crew-2 mission". aljazeera.com. 20 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Astronauts gear up for spacewalks amid planning for August Crew Dragon return". Spaceflight Now. 24 June 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  26. ^ "Off the Earth, for the Earth; Endeavour lifts off with international crew for six month mission". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  27. ^ "beta.SAM.gov". beta.sam.gov. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  28. ^ Foust, Jeff. "NASA plans for reusing the Demo-2 capsule for Crew-2". Twitter. Retrieved 24 July 2020.

External links

  • Media related to Crew Dragon Endeavour at Wikimedia Commons