NASA VIDEO: SpaceX Dragon Mission Update

By  //  May 23, 2012


NASA VIDEO: Above, NASA Public Affairs Office commentator Pat Ryan talks with Brandon Moncla, Lead Operations Support Officer (OSO) for the SpaceX Dragon Demo Mission, about preparations for the Dragon berthing and hatch opening, and the role of the OSO team in International Space Station operations. 

Brevard County, and the nation, stands at the dawn of an exciting new era in space travel: one in which NASA and commercial companies work in partnership to provide rapid advances in space transportation.

“This SpaceX mission is a milestone in that transition, marking the first time in history that a commercial company will attempt to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station, something only a few governments have ever accomplished,” said SpaceX in their press information.

“This is a demonstration mission, a test flight primarily designed to provide NASA and SpaceX with valuable insight to ensure successful future missions.”

Mission Highlights

(Space X Image)

During the mission, Dragon must perform a series of complex tasks, each presenting significant technical challenges (timeline could change):

 Day 1/Launch Day: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches a Dragon spacecraft into orbit from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
 Day 2: Dragon orbits Earth as it travels toward the International Space Station.
 Day 3: Dragon’s sensors and flight systems are subject to a series of complicated tests to determine if the vehicle is ready to
berth with the space station; these tests include maneuvers and systems checks that see the vehicle come within 1.5 miles of
the station.
 Day 4: NASA decides if Dragon is allowed to attempt to berth with the station. If so, Dragon approaches; it is captured by
station’s robotic arm and attached to the station. This requires extreme precision even as both Dragon and station orbit the
Earth every 90 minutes.
 Day 5 – TBD: Astronauts open Dragon’s hatch, unload supplies and fill Dragon with return cargo.
 TBD: After approximately two weeks, Dragon is detached from the station and returns to Earth, landing in the Pacific, hundreds of miles west of Southern California.