Thursday, 21 March, 2019

SpaceX Launches Unmanned Capsule To International Space Station

LIFT OFF California's SpaceX firm has carried out a demonstration of a new rocket LIFT OFF California's SpaceX firm has carried out a demonstration of a new rocket
Cary Marshall | 02 March, 2019, 22:24

After opening its nose cone for navigational purposes, Dragon is now spending about 24 hours performing a series of phasing maneuvers to bring it toward the International Space Station, where it will dock at around 6am ET Sunday.

The excitement level was high because SpaceX and NASA understand the significance of this test for crew flights-success here will allow astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to launch into space later this year or early in 2020 on a Crew Dragon spacecraft.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen as it is rolled out of the horizontal integration facility at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-1 mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, February 28, 2019.

The excitement was palpable Friday at Cape Canaveral, where a day earlier the rocket was wheeled out of its hangar and staged in a vertical position on the legendary launch pad where the Apollo Moon missions took off. That's the main reason he founded SpaceX in 2002, the billionaire entrepreneur has said repeatedly over the years - to help humanity become a multiplanet species.

It pays Russian Federation to get its people up to the orbiting research facility at a cost of $82 million a head, for a round trip.

But the program has suffered delays as safety requirements are much more stringent for manned flights than for unmanned missions to deploy satellites. "It's different", said Mark Geyer, director of the Johnson Space Center, where U.S. astronauts are based.

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In 2014, the United States space agency awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing for them to take over this task.

NASA did not want to rely on just one single vehicle, in case of accidents. Then comes the real test.

With NASA falling significantly behind schedule, because of technological difficulties and budget cuts, the Obama administration was left with a choice of whether to boost funds for NASA or change direction. NASA is providing eight billion USA dollars for SpaceX and Boeing to build and operate these new systems.

If all goes according to plan, it would splash down in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday. So, that is certainly going to be something new that we haven't done before.

In addition to substantially affecting human spaceflight, SpaceX has also launched payloads for countries including Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and, most recently, Israel. "Human spaceflight is a core value of business of SpaceX".

While NASA has struggled to develop its Space Launch System, an analysis from NASA's Ames Research Center found that the dramatically lower launch costs SpaceX made possible offered "greatly expanded opportunities to exploit space" for many users including NASA. Around 11 minutes later, the Falcon 9 boosters and capsule detached from one another successfully.

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