Elon Musk says Crew Dragon may fly humans to space as soon as December

Elon Musk tweets SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft could fly its first humans to space as soon as December if safety tests go as planned

  • Elon Musk says the Crew Dragon craft may soon be ready for human passengers
  • The capsule, along with its Falcon 9 rocket, could be ready by December
  • Before it launches its first humans into space it has to pass a critical safety test
  • Crew Dragon notoriously burst into flames during tests earlier this year 

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft may be set to take its first human passengers to space before the end of the year according to CEO Elon musk.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Musk said that the both the Crew Dragon capsule and the Falcon 9 rocket that is designed to propel it into space are on pace to finish testing in the next 10 weeks.

‘For what it’s worth, the SpaceX schedule, which I’ve just reviewed in depth, shows Falcon & Dragon at the Cape & all testing done in ~10 weeks,’ wrote Musk in a tweet. 

While the prediction is an exciting one, it’s worth noting that Musk is known to over-inflate timelines – famously he claimed his company Tesla would develop fully autonomous cars by 2017.

The last hurtle before being approved for the major step will be a critical launch trial in which the Crew Dragon’s In-Flight Abort functions are tested. 

During this test, the craft is launched into high-altitude and is tasked with aborting the capsule during high-velocity, the most stressful point of the launch.  

The upcoming test will be particularly noteworthy considering the fact that others like have gone horribly awry this year.  

In April SpaceX was testing Dragon’s abort when an error resulted in the destruction of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, engulfing it in flames.

These thrusters will play a critical role in future launches with astronauts on board; they’re designed to safely steer the capsule away from the rocket in the case of an emergency. 

SpaceX is among the companies looking to pave the way for commercial space flight with its Crew Dragon capsule that can fit seven passengers 

The Crew Dragon features an advanced emergency escape system (which was tested earlier this year) to swiftly carry astronauts to safety if something were to go wrong, experiencing about the same G-forces as a ride at Disneyland. 

The capsule measures about 20 feet tall by 12 feet in diameter, and will carry up to 7 astronauts at a time. 

The capsule is designed to eventually shuttle both astronauts and commercial passengers into space and is poised to kickstart a space tourism industry.

WHAT IS SPACEX’ CREW DRAGON CAPSULE?

The March 2 test, the first launch of U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil in eight years, will inform the system design and operations (Artist’s impression)

The capsule measures about 20 feet tall by 12 feet in diameter, and will carry up to 7 astronauts at a time. 

The Crew Dragon features an advanced emergency escape system (which was tested earlier this year) to swiftly carry astronauts to safety if something were to go wrong, experiencing about the same G-forces as a ride at Disneyland. 

It also has an Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) that provides a comfortable and safe environment for crew members. 

Crew Dragon’s displays will provide real-time information on the state of the spacecraft’s capabilities, showing everything from Dragon’s position in space, to possible destinations, to the environment on board.  

Those CRS-2 Dragon missions will use ‘propulsive’ landings, where the capsule lands on a landing pad using its SuperDraco thrusters rather than splashing down in the ocean. 

 That will allow NASA faster access to the cargo returned by those spacecraft, and also build up experience for propulsive landings of crewed Dragon spacecraft.

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