SpaceX can reuse the Falcon 9 and Dragon Crew to deliver people to the ISS

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2020-06-05 17:20:11

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SpaceX can reuse the Falcon 9 and Dragon Crew to deliver people to the ISS

SpaceX to launch astronauts on the same vehicle

May 30, 2020, SpaceX made its first manned flight into space — and it so happened that he also became the first space launch for the United States from its own territory for almost 10 years. Once the Crew ship Dragon successfully delivered the astronauts to the ISS, the US can produce such runs independently and is much cheaper — if SpaceX can reuse the first stage of the rocket and Crew Dragon himself, this is actually the whole point of this large-scale experiment. Now the company Elon musk officially received permission to do so.

the New launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon

If the original contract NASA and SpaceX have not mentioned the reuse of the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule Crew, but now the American space Agency made the appropriate changes. Apparently, NASA waited, than will end — if the ship, for example, was unable to dock to the ISS, SpaceX contact with would be frozen for an indefinite period.

In the future, they will be required to leave the space station because the Crew Dragon will return to Earth at the end of this term. Of course, nothing prevents NASA again to amend the contract with SpaceX, but it is unlikely that the astronauts themselves would want to stay there for so long. Given that Crew Dragon no one has ever returned from space to Earth.

After American officials turned the Space Shuttle program because of too high (and unjustified) cost of each flight, NASA began to send American astronauts into space using Russian rockets and Soyuz spacecraft. Now, when it became clear that SpaceX can transport cargo and people to the ISS, or space Agency to send astronauts on two ships — Russian and American, just at different times. However, this is unlikely to be economically profitable.

Developed stage of Falcon 9, which will launch back into space.

How much is the launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon

Even without reuse of the rocket the cost of launching the Falcon 9 is equal to 61,2 million dollars, including fuel and all associated costs. With up to 10 percent of the cost of the launch vehicle, the Falcon 9 has on the nose thermal protection. For comparison, for each flight, one astronaut there and back on the "Union" NASA is paying $ 20 million more. The heavy rocket, the Falcon Heavy able to bring in low earth orbit up to 53,000 kilograms of cargo, and in geosynchronous orbit to 21 200 pounds. The launch of such missiles would cost half as much and will cost $ 90 million.

Reusable rocket could significantly lower the costs of running valuable cargo and people into space — about 30 percent — what will make space travel more attractive and acceptable. Compared to how much USA spent on each flight, "space Shuttle" is a real gift for the country's budget. That was the basic gist of the launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon: if such flights cost the same as the program "space Shuttle" (or only slightly cheaper), they just would not make sense. Easier then to continue to send American astronauts on Soyuz.

If that NASA will allow SpaceX to reuse the first stage of Falcon 9, almost no doubt (the company repeatedly ), but with Crew Dragon is not so clear. In fact, SpaceX will be able to "catch" the vehicle after the astronauts return to Earth (for security purposes, the planting is carried out in the ocean next to the SpaceX employees that are placed on the ship), a little to update it, and then again to send to the ISS — with a different crew. Or to make a cargo run in order not to risk the lives of astronauts. Share your thoughts about it .

the Dragon Capsule Crew after the first flight to the ISS.

the SpaceX Crew Dragon Spacecraft

The Crew Dragon has a very interesting history. This ship was developed over almost 20 years, but only after the arrival of Elon musk and support NASA in 2014, Dragon got a chance to first flight. The ship is equipped with 16 power plants Draco for maneuvering and 8 SuperDraco engines — in case the crew needed an emergency rescue. In fact, these engines turn the machine in "mini missile", which might not able to get the ship into space, but to make it completely manageable.

Crew Dragon with 8 running SuperDraco engines

Also recently, SpaceX announced its plans for the trial launch of the cargo version of the Crew Dragon is designed to carry up to six tons of cargo. Presumably the flight will take place in the fall of 2020.

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