A joint venture between SpaceX and NASA will inform the deployment of a crewed flight to the International Space Station. Initially, Demo-2, which hosted Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, revealed that SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft could deploy astronauts to the ISS. The two astronauts stayed at the ISS for two months and jetted back to Earth to prove the spacecraft’s efficiency. The next similar but real mission will deploy three cosmonauts from NASA and a JAXA astronaut who will stay there for half a year. SpaceX and NASA explained that the mission would look like the previous one that hosted the two veteran astronauts, although with a new crew. Kathy Leuders of NASA stated that this mission would be a success if it proceeds similarly that the previous one took place.
Kathy Leuders explained that the test mission that hosted the two veteran astronauts was essential in obtaining data for upgrading the spacecraft’s hardware and systems to sculpture the next mission. The significant changes for this mission by SpaceX include redesigning the heat shield and thermal management system according to the Demo-2 capsule’s nature.
The engineers identified dents in the Demo-2 booster and readjusted it to make it steady for the next mission. Nevertheless, the initial components survived the entire Demo-2 test mission and would require replacement with durable elements. SpaceX conducted rigorous tests on the replacements at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, and the leaders agreed that they are efficient. The changes made on the heat shield will help the payload capsule to evade overheating due to friction in the air.
Another change is on the pressure gauges that activate the parachutes. The engineers designed them to activate themselves and drag back the spacecraft when they approach water or land. Additionally, the team has agreed to hold back their stringent stand on weather measures to allow for more missions and splashdowns. NASA and SpaceX agreed with the US Coast Guard to clear the splashdown area during reentry missions to prevent accidents between the incoming spacecraft and the fishermen or boaters at sea.
NASA reported that it is calling off the International Space Station mission’s deployment to allow the station to get rid of the growing traffic. In conclusion, NASA hopes that this mission will create more opportunities for upcoming scientists to venture into space resources. Additionally, the mission will prove that the US is ready for more launches from its soil.