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Elon Musk introduced the first civilian manned spacecraft: SpaceX's Dragon V2

According to him, the spacecraft, which will carry up to seven astronauts, can land at any point on Earth with the precision of a helicopter

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, unveils the Dragon V2 spacecraft, SpaceX's next-generation spacecraft designed to carry astronauts into space (Photo SpaceX).
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, unveils the Dragon V2 spacecraft, SpaceX's next-generation spacecraft designed to carry astronauts into space (SpaceX photo).

Tonight, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed for the first time the Dragon V2 (Version 2) manned spacecraft, which will be used to transport astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.

Musk unveiled the bubblegum-like spaceship at an event for the media and in front of company employees at the company's design and manufacturing facilities in Hawthorne, California. The billionaire CEO of SpaceX excitedly counted down the seconds and pulled back the curtain himself to reveal the Dragon V2 passenger spacecraft in a WEBCAST that took place at 22:00 PM EST (05:00 Friday Israel time).

The event looked like the opening of a Hollywood sci-fi movie with lights, cameras and 'action'. But this time it's about the real thing, which will return America to the stars.

"Dragon V2 is a spacecraft of the 21st century," said Musk. "We wanted to take a big leap in spacecraft technology. This is a huge step forward in technology and it takes it to the next level.”

according to him. "An important feature is the spacecraft's ability to land anywhere on land using engines. It can land anywhere on Earth with the precision of a helicopter." The spacecraft will carry seven astronauts and all its components will be reusable.

It also looks completely different from the current Dragon V1 cargo spaceship that has already filled the International Space Station's warehouse several times and, unlike previous cargo spaceships, also allowed the crew members to evacuate equipment and experiments and return them to Earth safely.

The Dragon spacecraft, built to a rating suitable for humans, is planned to restore the US's ability to access space from American soil by flying up to seven American astronauts to low orbit and possibly to Mars in the future, starting in 2017.

But Musk and SpaceX are not alone in the battle, two other aerospace manufacturers - Boeing and Sierra Nevada are competing with SpaceX to build the next generation of spaceships that will transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station by 2017, using start-up funds they received from the commercial manned space program. in partnership between the public and private sectors. In total, NASA provided SpaceX with about a billion dollars.

The spacecraft or more precisely the Boeing CST-100 space taxis and Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser will be funded in the next round of contracts that NASA will distribute at the end of summer this year.

Dragon version 2, is an upgrade adapted to the needs of manned launches of the spacecraft currently used for cargo launches to the space station, and which recently made a third cargo flight to the station and landed in the Pacific Ocean on May 18.

For the news (and more photos) on the Universe Today website

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24 תגובות

  1. for miracles

    I brought the idea of ​​launching from an airplane only because it is the only option today
    Use an air-breathing engine to launch rockets into space
    (compared to the first stage of a hypersonic surge that can really bring the
    the rocket to the brink of space but is not technically possible today)
    It is possible that in the case of using the plane the only alternative
    The launch will involve dropping the missile into the sea.
    In any case, this is an egg that was not laid
    So there is no reason to determine which side of the roof you will fall on.

  2. Benjamin May
    Ok. But, there is still a difficult problem here in canceling the mirror - how do you land with such a weight?
    I'm not saying it's not possible, but it's complicated. Not for nothing did the shuttle include a huge fuel tank, and two more boosters to lift the tank. It takes a lot of fuel to reach a lap (altitude + speed). It seems to me that it is quite easy to calculate how much energy it takes to bring one kg to a lap - and it doesn't seem to me that launching from an airplane saves who knows what energy. Let's assume that we want to reach a lap at an altitude of 200 km and at a speed of 7500 meters per second. Launching from an altitude of 10 km at a speed of 250 meters per second saves very little my estimation, less than 1%.

  3. for miracles
    You did not understand.
    I meant the abandoned plans for a plane that would consist of two C5A (Lockheed "Galaxy")
    Connected by a common wing with 6 engines (2 on each wing and 2 on the common wing)
    In order to carry out the shuttle's landing attempts before it was launched into space.

    From such a plane it was possible (maybe!..) to launch missiles into space.

    As we know, NASA preferred to carry out these experiments from the back of a 747.

  4. Benjamin May
    I don't think it's practical to launch a shuttle-like aircraft from the 747. Apart from the weight problem (the 747 shuttled without cargo and fuel, as far as I know), think about a launch cancellation situation. The weight of the 747 will probably be above the maximum landing weight. And if they separate the aircraft, the shuttle itself will not be able to land due to weight.

    No one, except the media, liked the launch process of the shuttle, and I'm sure that if it was possible a different takeoff shape would have been chosen.

  5. North, East

    What can be done with the technology that exists today is to use a dedicated jet plane
    (in the style of SpaceShipOne but much larger) that will serve as a first stage and a lift
    An air-breathing missile (sort of a variation on a jet launcher) that will be a second stage and a third stage at the top
    Propelled by a rocket engine. .

    There were plans for such a plane that could fly the space shuttle
    to test the ability to fly and land, but since NASA managed
    With a modified 747, such a plane was not built and does not exist today and no
    It seems to me that there is a body that will finance the construction of such a plane
    And especially the construction of suitable infrastructure (airport) for it.

  6. North, East.

    The problem is the final speed that the thruster motor should accumulate until it exits
    By the force of his momentum from the atmosphere to a height where he will no longer be able to breathe.
    There is no jet engine today that can reach such a speed (only rocket engines can),
    Therefore the arrangement you suggested will not be useful. The plane thrown from a Zeppelin will just keep going
    fly in the atmosphere.

  7. For Benjamin May, perhaps it is possible to gain a suitable height with the help of a balloon (helium-zeppelin) and start the flight from an advantageous point.

  8. Cheers and Is

    In the case of Magah Sylon, it is a chicken and an egg related to the paradox of the chicken and the egg...

    It is possible to propel a jet jet already at speeds of several hundred km/h, except then, as a first step
    The engine will not receive oxygen at the low speed of vertical takeoff but will have to carry
    the weight of the air intake assembly which is particularly large in the case of a stage
    A. In launching into space, as stage B, he may not fly at heights where he can still "breathe".

    Therefore, in the case of launching a heavy payload, it is better to mount such an engine on an aircraft that will gain speed
    In the atmosphere and not in a vertical launch, but then there is another problem.
    The plane cannot fly without oxygen, so it must gain high acceleration and speed in the lower layers
    relative to the atmosphere so that he can reach the edge of space by virtue of them, because he has to fly fast
    The very air he breathes in the air receiver during compression gets very hot.
    Because of the heating and expansion of the air (on the rim of the receiver) resulting from it, not enough enters
    Separated (molecules) oxygen from the engine to continue the combustion process is strong enough - and this is the limit
    of the use of a "breathing" engine to launch spaceships and hypersonic speed.
    Another limitation is, of course, the enormous heat on the entire fuselage in flight, which increases its weight
    The insulation and the need for heat-resistant materials

    At the time, there was a story on this website about a turbocharged engine that would include cooling for the collector (just like an "intercooler" in a car),
    I know of no progress since then.

    After all, I'm afraid we won't see an air-breathing plane that will take people to a space station
    (of course in combination with a second stage rocket) in the next decade, although the addition of a dedicated jet aircraft
    A small rocket to the edge of space (in the style of SpaceShipOne) has been shown to be possible and may be sent
    Rockets are a little bigger.

  9. Life
    Kuhn spoke about the progress of science. We are talking about engineering. I don't understand what you are repeating here. There are already today projects for taking off from a flight path into space. Musk uses the classic method. Why are you against him?

  10. Miracles
    I don't look down on anyone. All I'm trying to say is that you never know what the next breakthrough will be. I hope you have read Thomas Kuhn's book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions". An extremely important book in the philosophy and sociology of science.

  11. Life
    Definately not. The development of silent engines has been going on for years - there is no revolutionary idea here. Launching an aircraft from an inhabited area on a normal jet trajectory (10-12 thousand feet long) that could reach space is not practical today. The old space shuttle used the most economical takeoff method known 30 years ago. Even today we do not know a better method. Jet engines are not suitable for high altitude flight, but they are an order of magnitude quieter than rocket engines. Blower motors are not very quiet either. Therefore - to take off like an airplane and be able to climb without an atmosphere - you will need a pilot craft with several methods of starting. There are some, but they are heavy and certainly not quiet.

    I am a little surprised that you are so dismissive of those who understand what they are talking about…..

  12. to Benjamin May,
    In the end, beyond the interest in technology, it is a practical question of the cost of bringing a kg of cargo to LEO/GEO orbit.
    In the space shuttle, the cost was approximately $25000 per kg, the design goals of the various companies is around a tenth of that.
    There were many creative attempts, for example by Beal Aerospace, I happened to attend a lecture by one of their engineers. The company had many very creative and practical ideas to reduce overheads but eventually the company closed in 2000.
    As for a jet launcher, there are even today missiles that use this engine, such as the Russian Yakhont and others. It can also be started at speeds of Mach 2.5. Due to the way this engine works it is limited in its flight altitude. I really don't know why it is not used as a first or second stage in space missiles.

  13. Life
    For some reason, I don't think Elon Musk can be accused of square thinking....

  14. Miracles
    You didn't understand the parable. I bring the story about the high-speed train as an example of why statements in the style of those who say that high train speeds will not be possible. What he said was based on the knowledge that existed in his time. In addition, future aircraft engines may not make any noise at all. You remember what Lord Calvin said that there is nothing more to discover in physics because everything is already known. The sequel is known.
    Conclusion - thinking outside the box can lead to breakthroughs. Please do not underestimate.

  15. Life
    One of the reasons for the Concorde's failure was noise. Do you really think that a much louder pilot would be able to take off from a normal airport?

  16. Benjamin May
    You yourself say "the technologies that exist today are simply not advanced enough". On this point you are right. Someone can definitely come and it can be anyone, even you, with a different line of thought that will lead to a technological breakthrough and the whole picture changes completely. When the first trains were developed, there was someone who said that no vehicle could travel faster than 40 km/h because the air would be sucked out of it. Well, and where are we today in all that is happening in transportation for the issue... don't be so judgmental. There were things never before.

  17. It does seem that there is less danger of radiation, and a relatively rapid decay of radioactive materials than normal atomic decay. But even in the process of melting hydrogen there is dangerous radiation.

  18. The whole thing with hydrogen fusion, or at least a large part of it, is that there is no pollution. At the end of the process you are basically left with a lot of energy and some helium. What's so crazy about that? I assume that when the technology comes, it will not be immediately applicable in every application, but with the technological development, there is no reason why it cannot be used for space travel, and I was not talking about a series of explosions, when you have a small sun inside the spacecraft, you can shoot particles at speeds close to the speed of light and get an impulse from a small amount of Material, am I wrong?

  19. I believe that the use of nuclear propulsion comes into play only from the moment the spacecraft leaves the atmosphere. And the nuclear array should be sufficiently protected. So that even with a crash there was no nuclear contamination. And there is no need for these nuclear fusions in a series of controlled explosions. Similar to the shark's teeth replacement mechanism.

  20. Gilgamesh

    The use of a fuel-oxidizer combination is indeed problematic, but nuclear fusion for spacecraft
    Taking off from the Earth or orbiting it, means a small nuclear bomb
    above our heads. This is real madness.

    for life

    A plane that takes off into space and lands on a landing pad
    It means huge expenses on fuel and maintenance
    After all, such a plane would have to be built
    Strong - and ultimately much heavier
    A simple spacecraft because of the forces acting on it
    And that's why the landing.
    Building such an airplane, which will all leave the ground
    And it will land back, without switching phases (like in a rocket
    intended for space flights) makes it heavy
    And even bigger and eventually without
    The technologies that exist today simply do not exist
    advanced enough, at least as long as
    Jet planes will not be built to fly
    at speeds above 5 and will be able to launch a spaceship/
    A rocket plane (like the late space shuttle)
    will draw air from the atmosphere and leave
    the need to carry oxygen. only
    So it will be possible (maybe!..) to give up
    on the usual launch platforms.

  21. According to my poor understanding, the glass ceiling is in the field of energy, no matter how genius the design and mechanics are, the spaceship will need an amount of fuel that can bring it to a speed of 11,000 km/h, which will weigh down the spaceship and actually increase the need for fuel as well. In my opinion, the physicists and order makers would do well The budgetary priorities to be pursued tirelessly and with a huge investment in nuclear fusion technologies, it seems crazy absurd to me that with all the pollution and greenhouse gases and fuel costs and dependence on dictatorial countries rich in oil, that the F35 project was budgeted for 200 billion dollars and the Iter project was budgeted for 20 billion. This was supposed to be the project in "the" news of the beginning of the 21st century, in order of global priority with an investment a hundred times that of the Manhattan Project, both in capital investment and in recruiting the brains, to remind you, the Manhattan Project included the dream team of the science of those days with scientists like Niels Bohr and Enrico Fermi
    And it was to build an atomic bomb
    Is it not possible to make an effort in this style to save humanity?

  22. It's time to develop a new concept of launching spacecraft from any airport as well as landing. We are in the 21st century. We urgently need a number of astronomy freaks to start thinking along the lines. If they don't do it, what does it look like? To that person who would say we have a work horse named Dakota, what do we need jet planes for?. Only those crazy people are able to think of breakthrough technologies. Who among the space engineers in Israel is ready to pick up the gauntlet? At least on a conceptual level

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