SpaceX Dragon 2 Crew Capsule Target January 17, 2019 Launch

The SpaceX Dragon 2 Crew capsule was revealed.

SpaceX is targeting crewed Dragon flight prices of $160 million, or $20 million per seat if the maximum crew of 7 is aboard, and if NASA orders at least four DragonRider flights per year.

There is a planned uncrewed test launch on January 17, 2019

Dragon 2 includes the following features:

Reusability: partly reusable; can be flown multiple times, resulting in a significant cut in the cost of access to space. SpaceX anticipates that about ten flights are possible before significant vehicle refurbishing is needed.

Capacity: 3,307 kilograms (7,291 lb) Cargo Dragon 2; seven astronauts Crew Dragon 2

Landing: four main parachutes for water landing; possibility of developing propulsive landing using the SuperDraco engines.

Engines (crewed variant): eight side-mounted SuperDraco engines, clustered in redundant pairs in four engine pods, with each engine able to produce 71 kilonewtons (16,000 lbf) of thrust Each pod—called a “quad” by SpaceX—contains two SuperDraco engines plus four Draco thrusters. “Nominally, only two quads are used for on-orbit propulsion with the Dracos and two quads are reserved for propulsive landing using the SuperDracos.
Engines (cargo variant): four Draco thrusters per pod with four pods, used for orbital maneuvers.

A 3D-printed rocket engine: the SuperDraco Engine combustion chamber is printed of Inconel, an alloy of nickel and iron, using a process of direct metal laser sintering. Engines are contained in a protective nacelle to prevent fault propagation if an engine fails.

Docking: able to autonomously dock to space stations. Dragon V1 used berthing, a non-autonomous means to attach to the ISS that was completed by use of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Pilot ability to park the spacecraft using manual controls if needed

Propellant tanks: composite-carbon-overwrap titanium spherical tanks to hold the helium used to pressurize engines and also for the SuperDraco fuel and oxidizer

Thermal protection: SpaceX-developed SPAM backshell; updated third-generation PICA-X heat shield

Controls: tablet-like computer that swivels down for optional crew control by the pilot and co-pilot

19 thoughts on “SpaceX Dragon 2 Crew Capsule Target January 17, 2019 Launch”

  1. Even better, up to 15% of the money NASA paid SpaceX for the Commercial Crew launches comes right back to the U.S. Treasury as corporate tax payments from SpaceX, whereas none of the millions paid Roscosmos to fly Americans to the ISS aboard Soyuz comes back to the United States.

    Personal income tax from the SpaceX workers who worked on Commercial Crew goes to the U.S. Treasury as well.

    Definitely a much better deal!

  2. This is way more reasonable than the average of over $74.7 million per seat that the Russians charge to squeeze an astronaut into a Soyuz, and the cost/time to train in Russia for launches and landings in Kazakhstan. Thanks to You Elon and your SpaceX crew.

  3. Saw those in the original paper, lol… which is why I’m both disappointed it’s taken so long, and glad that we’re finally doing it.

    Part of the problem was, post Apollo, the emphasis was on taking care of our social ills. That got votes, not space.

    Ah, well. Hopefully we’ll stay up in space this time.

  4. Truth is, they never even addressed the how correctly.

    They expected a government jobs program to suddenly turn into an efficient enterprise providing launch service to anyone needing it, launching reusable shuttles hundreds of times per year, building space tugs, factories and stations with them.

    No, that was never the goal of the administrators of the program.

    The jobs were created, the budget was spent and it went to space. In that sense, it was a resounding success.

    But I can notice some parallels to Elon Musk’s sales pitch for his future reusable rockets. With talks about hundreds or thousands of launches per year.

    Nevertheless this time, it’s a company the one with the rockets, and the guy making the boasting is an entrepreneur with a stake on the matter, and eventually anyone could buy their services, just by having the need and coin.

  5. – Because it’s there (it = space).
    – Because we’ve been looking towards the sky since the dawn of humanity.
    – Because we’re literally star dust.
    – Because a species that remains on one planet is ultimately doomed in the long run.
    – And other reasons.

    Not everything has to be driven purely by economics. But if you want economical reasons, we currently have multiple billions worth of space assets in orbit, providing actual economic value. There’s room for servicing and refueling these assets, once the launch cost gets low enough. That’ll require tugs, and fuel depots, and space mining, and space construction. Not all at once, but the more we add, the more need for more other stuff.

    “The bureaucracy expands to fill the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.” Same goes for infrastructure, starting from today’s satellites.

    Once the infrastructure is in place, people will follow (not the other way around). We have a natural tendency to expand to every available niche. There’s no reason that should stop at the edge of the atmosphere.

    Then there’s the environmental angle. People are worried about overpopulation, pollution, resource scarcity. Space offers solutions. And just by learning to live in space, we may learn to take better care of the Earth.

  6. The problem with the visionaries is they never addressed the issue of WHY there should be a space culture. There must be an economic or military reason, essentially. The military got us to the moon – it has yet to be seen if an economic reason will be proven.

  7. I have been checking some old magazines about futurism from the 70s on , and it’s disheartening to contrast the expectations from early visionaries like Gerard K. O’Neill, and the high expectations for the future of American space launchers (namely the Shuttle), with the dawning realization as the 80s arrived, that such dreams would never come to pass.

    It’s watching the world morph from an age of optimism into our cynical present worldview.

    Curiously the 70s were a time of a lot of environmental and societal pessimism, but which was also uncharacteristically optimist about space travel and settlement.

    Nowadays we are again in an age of disbelief about space, and we will have to re-learn that some great things are actually possible.

    But it’s all fine. It’s better not to expect much and then get more than you expected, than to have high expectations and be deeply disappointed.


  8. Commercial flights not paid by NASA can have the full 7 passengers capacity, to make them more profitable.

    I fully expect these capsules to become the workhorses of the manned space market for a few years. With some flights paid by private customers in the short term.

    Until BFR/Spaceship arrives and gets man-rated by the mid 2020s, of course. Suddenly they could put 100+ people in space in a single launch.

    When you can take several hundreds or thousands of people per year to space, you really need some better places to take them than the ISS.

    Thankfully a super heavy launcher can also launch the new space stations where people could go do business or tourism. Legit private ones where anyone with the coin can pay to go or even lease some space.

  9. Good news America will have manned space capabilities again.

    Bad news it’s still really expensive. Far less expensive than the Shuttle, true, but no “let’s go on vacations to space” cheap yet (unless you are a crazy billionaire).

    But it’s definitely progress, and I expect human space capabilities to never disappear from America again.

    Concerning the 7 persons crew, it’s not gonna happen on any of the first NASA’s missions. I think they are targeting 2-3 persons per mission tops. But this may change as they gain confidence on the capsules.

    If they allowed 7 and had 4 launches a year, that would move 28 persons into space and back per annum (without counting Boeing’s an Russia’s capsules). Not a bad number, but it will put the venerable ISS under some stress.

    The obvious solution is to make more places to go. Some nice inflatable Bigelow habitats would fix that.

  10. All our eggs are in one basket and the feathered serpent is coming to gobble us up. We need to learn how to flight if we are to survive.

  11. Yeah, we want to see a thousand switches and relays on a big honking 2 tons panel made of steel.

    That’s how it was done in the past and we were thankful, and specially we weren’t whinning about ergonomics and similar touchy feely millenial stuff.

    Now get off my lawn.

  12. So “Crew Dragon 2” is the official name? What happened to the first “Crew Dragon” – maybe that was for that abort test. I still pine for the original Dragon 2 design with soft propulsive precision ground landing (parachute backup) … maybe in the future if Starship does not work out. Interesting that SX is only offering brand new vehicle trips to NASA for the ISS. As this is reusable there will be a interesting market in pre-flown Crew Dragon 2’s for other users. On top of 10 reuse first stage I can see the actual cost to fly 5 to LEO for a day at maybe $40M … although SX would surely charge more.

  13. I’d like it fine, because and iPad is small and light enough it’s easy to have a spare. Do it the old way, you need a whole spare capsule.

    I believe you can think, but you generally choose not to in favor of indulging your fetish for pathological skepticism.

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