SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon on the launchpad

A beautiful photo! SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon, which will carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) is on the launchpad with the new astronaut walkway ahead of the first major test flight.

SpaceX Crew Dragon on the Launchpad
A view like a scene from a science-fiction movie: SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon, which will carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) is on the launchpad with the new astronaut walkway ahead of the first major test flight.

NASA retired its space shuttle program in 2011 and has relied on Russian Soyuz vehicles since then to go to the ISS.

The first test flight will be unmanned. The first crewed flight of Dragon 2 crew capsule is planned for January 27, 2019, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The spacecraft is designed to carry up to seven astronauts to and from the low Earth orbit (LEO). It will launch on the company’s reliable Falcon 9 rocket, like the uncrewed Dragon cargo ship. It will use parachutes to splash down in the ocean, also like the uncrewed Dragon.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter about the photo that: “Sorry, to be clear, this pic is all real. Nothing rendered.” He also replied a question asking if there will be cameras on the walkway by saying, “Yes, will be extremely intense. Early flights are especially dangerous, as there’s a lot of new hardware.”

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship is a crewed version of the company’s robotic Dragon cargo ships that have been flying since 2010. NASA is using it for resupply missions to the ISS since 2012.

For missions beyond low Earth orbit, NASA is building the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion (spacecraft), and SpaceX is building the “Starship” (formerly known as the BFS) and a giant rocket called the Super Heavy (formerly known as the BFR).

On January 4, 2019, private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company SpaceX published photos of the Crew Dragon spacecraft ahead of its first test flight.

Sources

  • “Behold! SpaceX’s 1st Crew Dragon Spaceship Is On the Launchpad” on Space.com
  • Space Shuttle Program on Wikipedia
  • “SpaceX Crew Dragon preps for ‘extremely intense’ first test flight” on CNet

M. Özgür Nevres

I am a software developer, an ex-road racing cyclist, and a science enthusiast. Also an animal lover! I write about the planet Earth and science on this website, ourplnt.com. You can check out my social media profiles by clicking on their icons.

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