Crew Dragon News

Bob and Doug have left the building (first photo from NASA, rest SpaceX)

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NASA's media audio feed. It's the best ongoing information source. Includes much of the communications between the ground and orbit. Lots of details about what the astronauts are doing.

They just told the astronauts that they are activating an air circulation fan, and explained that the astronauts are very aware of all the noises in the capsule and like to know what any changes in the noises are. Then they had a conversation about an upcoming TV thing they are going to be doing for the public. Doug said that after showing the displays, they are willing to do whatever the ground wants them to do. The ground suggested showing views out the windows, if they are on the sunlit side of the Earth. Hurley said that that will be cool.

First, they are doing another "close co-elliptic burn", one of several designed to match orbits with the space station. Counting down. The astronauts didn't say anything, but ground indications show the burn has begun...
Fitting that a sequined dinosaur is floating around in a 21st-century spacecraft , to unintentionally denote not only that technological transition (comparison-wise) but the shift from vehicles owned by government to those retained and managed by commercial company. "My son likes apatosaurus."

"Another reason behind the stuffed dinosaur [besides zero-g indicator] could have possibly come from Hurley's astronaut wife, Karen Nyberg. In 2013, Nyberg sewed a stuffed dinosaur for her son while aboard the ISS and sent him home photos of the floating toy."

Elon Musk and SpaceX pull off another feat few thought possible (excerpt): Initially, Musk only gave SpaceX a 10 percent chance of succeeding as a company. And as for the people who doubted SpaceX, Musk said he thought their “probability assessment was correct. Fortunately, fate smiled upon us and brought us to this day.”  The goal now is to make human spaceflight routine. Saturday’s mission was a test flight, the first flight of the Dragon spacecraft with humans on board. And SpaceX will focus on Sunday’s docking with the space station, and then eventually ensuring Behnken and Hurley come back safely. It’s hoping to fly another mission with astronauts to the station by Aug. 30, though officials have said that date is tentative and will likely change.
Oh, I thought it was a stuffed dragon.

Almost done. How exciting. I bet Yazata is tearing up.  Wink
Approach and docking at the Space Station successful. Hard capture just announced and the Crew Dragon is clamped to the docking port. Now they are pressurizing the 'vestibule' (the area between the Dragon and the Station) and equalizing pressures between the Dragon and the Station. The computer and comm lines are connecting to the Station systems.

Approach photo of the brightly illuminated Station taken from Dragon

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Photos of Dragon approaching taken from the Station

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Inside the Space Station preparing for hatch opening

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Left is inside Dragon, right is Station side

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12:02 PM CDT Hatch is open. Left is inside Dragon, right is Station side

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Here's some big news hidden inside a mass of exceedingly obscure bureaucratic gibberish:

"NASA plans to issue task orders for post certification missions (PCM) to and from ISS that include ground, launch, lifeboat, on-orbit, return and recovery operations... Mod 78: The purpose of this bilateral modification is to extend the demo-2 flight test from two weeks to up to 119 days and add the requirement for 45th operations group detachment 3 (det-3) joint test training for PCM-1 through PCM-6 in exchange for allowing reuse of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and crew dragon spacecraft beginning with PCM-2."

This is huge. Previously NASA was only willing to fly Commercial Crew flights on new boosters and new Crew Dragons. Now they are allowing flights following Crew-1 (expected around the end of August or in September) to be flown on previously flown vehicles. This doesn't just impact the Commercial Crew flights. If SpaceX plans to sell rides to orbit to other customers besides NASA, it will help tremendously if NASA shows willingness to fly its own astronauts on used vehicles.

Each Crew Dragon costs about $100 million and is more expensive than a Falcon booster. So re-flying them is a major part of making the whole thing economical.
(Jun 4, 2020 04:00 AM)Yazata Wrote: [...] This doesn't just impact the Commercial Crew flights. If SpaceX plans to sell rides to orbit to other customers besides NASA, it will help tremendously if NASA shows willingness to fly its own astronauts on used vehicles.

Each Crew Dragon costs about $100 million and is more expensive than a Falcon booster. So re-flying them is a major part of making the whole thing economical.

NASA introduced the first reusable spacecraft, so they ought to be more immune to the risk or gung-ho than anyone else. But their being so prudish and prim about things in general makes it easy for us to forget. Especially since the two(?) space shuttle disasters were probably a major reason for bureaucratically retrograding them to the Victorian Era.
NASA photo taken by Chris Cassidy during his and Bob Behnken's recent very successful spacewalk (replacing batteries, what else?) Photo taken from way out on the space station truss, where the solar panels are attached. It shows the Crew Dragon plugged in at the right. The huge copper and black cylinder below is the recently arrived Japanese cargo vehicle. It looks like it has more internal volume than a space station module, but isn't capable of reentering the atmosphere like Dragons can. So after they empty it of the abundant cargo it carries (the newest batteries came up on it) they use it as a garbage can, filling it with refuse that will burn up on reentry. (That Japanese cargo capsule is just too beautiful for such a mundane fate. The Japanese have a really great sense of design.)

Regarding the battery swapping, you can see the robot arm holding new lithium ion batteries with places on the left to put the old tired outmoded batteries that are swapped out.

The robot arm is Canadian made. I bet that Canadian Space Agency specifications required that it can pop open a beer and shoot a hockey puck! (Otherwise it wouldn't be a Canadian arm, eh?) There have actually been 10 of these Canadian arms (they call them Canadarms). Each of the old Space Shuttles had one (the 5 original Canadarm 1 models), 3 additional Orbiter Boom Sensor Arms that post Challenger shuttles used to check their underside tiles, the space station currently has this larger Canadarm 2 version plus a smaller Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator called Dextre, and they are talking about installing a new Canadarm 3 on NASA's planned Lunar Gateway space station intended for orbit around the Moon.

If you look closely, you will see that everything on the outside of the space station is covered with gold colored hand rails that look like bathroom towel racks. These are for spacewalking astronauts in space suits to grab onto. EVA suits are also equipped with small cold gas thrusters in their life support backpacks to propel them back in case they accidently drift away.

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They are out doing another spacewalk. One thing I learned watching the NASA live-feed was that each one of the gold handrails has a number! It's a little white sticker on each one. There is a ground controller (another astronaut) that talks them through each movement, telling them to move from this handrail to that one. "Translate to 3258" etc. There's supposed to always be one within reach. They also have short safety tethers from their suits that they clip to the rails.

They have finished the new batteries for this spacewalk. Then they reeled out a long ethernet cable and tied it down to various stanchions. They decided not to remove a filter from a camera that was an optional task for the end of the spacewalk, and are headed in.

Every step of getting into the airlock is choreographed. Commands like "Your green hook to the forward external d-ring extender." The astronauts are supposed to repeat every command back and verify it's been done. The ground wanted to make sure that the green hook was locked and they had to say that it was. They keep their tools in bags and the ground always wants to always know which astronaut has which bag and is asking for inventories of what is in each bag. (No tool left behind.) "Switch power to SCU, expect a warning tone." Astronauts reply power switched to SCU, green leds are lit. Ground wants to know voltage, astronauts read it off.

Every procedure has a number. "Going to 1-240 step 2" (I think that I heard that when they opened the airlock hatch after repressurization.

Nothing is left to chance. I'm sure that everything is recorded.

There are eight "power channels", sets of batteries that need swapping for new lithium ion batteries. This spacewalk completes seven of them, only one set of batteries left to go. I did hear them say that there was one fitting that they were supposed to remove that they couldn't loosen, so the ground will have to ponder that and design a new procedure.

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