SpaceX was fully refueled for a trip to the International Space Station later this month, and the Crowdragon spacecraft transported “resilience” Thursday to a hangar near Platform 39A at the Kennedy Space Center for attachment to the Falcon 9 launcher.
A commercial crew ship arrived at SpaceX hangar near 39A’s Southern Ocean on Thursday. Inside the building, SpaceX technicians will attach a Crew Dragon to a Falcon 9 missile before rolling the fully assembled launch pad on the ramp to Platform 39A this weekend.
The commercial crew capsule is scheduled to launch on November 14 at 7:49 pm EST (0049 GMT on November 15) with four astronauts on board. The mission, known as Crew-1, will be SpaceX’s Crew Dragon vehicle’s first operational flight after a 64-day test flight to the space station earlier this year with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Crew-1 mission is called “Resilience,” a name that Commander Mike Hopkins said he hopes to “inspire everyone about what’s possible when we work together.”
“When you look at the definition of resilience, it means doing well in times of stress or overcoming negative events, so I think we all agree that 2020 has definitely been a challenging year – global pandemic, economic hardship, civil unrest, isolation – and despite All of that, SpaceX (and) NASA kept the production line and finished this amazing spacecraft preparing to go on its maiden flight to the International Space Station, “Hopkins said.
“In our patch, you’ll notice that at the border, there are names, there are no flags, and it was by design because this patch doesn’t really represent the four of us, but it really represents the countless people who contributed,” Hopkins said at a September press conference, ” The car and our preparation for this mission. “
“The same theme applies to this car’s name, flexibility,” Hopkins said. “It’s not just a connection for the four of us, but we really feel it’s a connection to all of you, to everyone.” “Hopefully it brings a smile to your face. We hope it brings something positive in your life, and quite frankly, it’s an inspiration – it shows when you work together that there is no limit to what you can achieve.”
In an interview with Spaceflight Now, Hopkins said he expects the Resilience name to remain with the Crew Dragon spaceship – also known as SpaceX as Dragon C207 – on future flights of the reusable capsule. Hurley and Henkin chose the name Endeavor for the Crew Dragon spacecraft on their test flight, known as Demo-2.
The Crew Dragon Endeavor capsule is being refurbished for another trip to the space station on the Crew-2 mission in the first half of 2021. The Crew-2 astronauts will replace the Crew-1 on the space station after half a year in orbit.
Hopkins said the Crew-2 astronauts have no intention of renaming the Crew Dragon Endeavor.
Hopkins said, “So (name) will stay with that car, and I would expect the same on our car.” Sometimes vehicles are renamed like ships when they are transferred from one owner to another, but in this particular case, it is staying in the family, it is staying with the company, so I would be surprised if they were renamed, but apparently people might decide that way. ”
Dragon’s move to the hangar signals the start of the final phase of the launch campaign
The Crew Dragon Resilience was transported by road from a refueling facility at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to Platform 39A. Before moving to the launch pad, the spacecraft was filled with hyperjole hydrazine and the quaternary fuel for the capsule launch escape engines and orbital maneuver propellers.
The ship’s Falcon 9 launcher was already located inside the hangar in the Southern Ocean of the launch pad, the same coastal complex where the Apollo moon missions and space shuttles left Earth.
Once SpaceX technicians have confirmed the mechanical and electrical connection between the spacecraft and the missile, the 215-foot (65 meters) vehicle will be fully rolled to Panel 39A and raised vertically for a test launch of Falcon 9 Merlin flagship engines Monday evening.
The successful launch of another Falcon 9 missile from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Thursday night was a major milestone prior to the Crew-1 mission. The Falcon 9 successfully deployed a GPS navigation satellite for the US Space Force, confirming that the engineers had apparently resolved an issue with the Merlin engines that delayed the GPS mission and Crew-1 flight.
Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, mission specialist Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soishi Noguchi are scheduled to arrive at the Kennedy Space Center via NASA’s Gulfstream plane on Sunday afternoon at around 2 PM EST (1900 GMT).
A flight readiness review by senior NASA officials is also scheduled for Monday to discuss unresolved technical issues, review the status of launch preparations, and give formal approval to teams to proceed with the Crew-1 mission.
Hopkins and colleagues will wear their SpaceX compression suits on Wednesday for a “dry dress rehearsal” for their launch day activities. The four astronauts will ride in two Tesla Model X cars from the crew quarters at Kennedy Space Center to Panel 39A, where they will ascend Crew Dragon Resilience.
Once the rehearsal is complete, the crew will exit the spacecraft and return to the crew quarters.
SpaceX plans to conduct a launch readiness review on Thursday, another checkpoint for the formal signing of the Crew-1 mission launch scheduled for next Saturday, November 14th.
Assuming to launch on time at 7:49 PM EST on November 14, Crew Dragon Resilience is slated to dock independently with the International Space Station around eight and a half hours at exactly 4:20 a.m. EST (0920) GMT)) on November 15th.
After a few hours of docking, Hopkins and his colleagues will open the gates to join Russian Commander Sergey Ryzhikov, flight engineer Sergei Kod Svirchkov, and NASA astronaut Kate Robins at the station – raising the long-term lab crew to complement up to seven people for the flight. First time.
Although Crew Dragon’s Demo-2 test flight with Hurley and Behnken demonstrated that the built SpaceX capsule can safely transport astronauts to the space station and back to Earth, Hopkins said the Crew-1 mission would have its first mission.
“I think one of the differences between Demo-2 and our mission is that they were part of the development and illustration, and we’re really more operational,” Hopkins told Spaceflight Now in a pre-flight interview. “So we’re going to put the car into its operational steps.
“What that means is that we understand how four people are going to live and work on board during this free-flight phase, but we’re also providing longer life and things like that,” Hopkins said. “ So even though the first mission was a test mission, this one has some of that flavor as well because we’re going to be there for four months or longer for longer than Bob (Behnken) and Doug (Hurley), so we’ll closely watch how the car handles the Space environment for that time period.
“Overall, I think it’s more about an operational check than a development test,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins, 51, is a colonel in the United States Air Force and worked as a flight test engineer before being selected as an astronaut at NASA in 2009. He completed a 166-day expedition at the Space Station in 2013 and 2014 before NASA appointed him to lead the first operational Crew Dragon mission on 2018.
He said the Crew-1 flight plan does not include any manual pilot tests like the demos that Doug Hurley made on the Demo-2 mission. If all goes according to plan, Crew Dragon Resilience will be linked to the space station in autopilot mode.
“We were definitely trained in the manual trial phase, but that is if there was any kind of emergency or any failures on board that would force us to go for manual trial,” Hopkins said.
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