The Crew Dragon Space launch happened on the 30th of May this year. It was a big milestone as it took the space industry to a whole new level. The launch of the Crew Dragon was the first time a privet company took people out into space.
The launch itself was scary as there have been many failed attempts before, but they succeeded in docking at the ISS, International Space Station. This was a collaborative mission done by SpaceX and NASA. The main reason behind the expedition was to check how far the craft would perform. They also completed many walks on space and also other scientific work and also maintenance.
After spending around 2 months in the space, far off from the Earth, the spacecraft is supposed to come back down from ISS on 2nd of August. This was Elon Musk’s main concern. He is the owner and the founder of a private-sector space company, SpaceX. Everything related to the mission gives goosebumps to everyone from head to toe because it’s the first mission conducted by a private company.
The vehicle is supposed to come on to the Atlantic Ocean. The astronauts coming down on to the earth will be from NASA, Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken. They started the process of undocking from the International Space Station the day before, which is on the 1st of august. They have spent exactly 64 days since the launch of the Crew Dragon. Even though the weather condition was not favourable, the re-entry was successful. Unlike taking off, Re-entering is very dangerous. The spacecraft should undergo intense temperature and velocities to enter the Earth’s atmosphere. It’s the biggest obstacle the professionals had to face. The angle that the vehicle should be when it enters the air layer is the start of all the risks. One thing gone wrong can end up destroying the craft along with the people inside it creating a major atmospheric breach.
If the craft’s angle was too stiff or too flimsy, the ship could face G-forces that are dealing with death or could be pushed back into the orbit of our planet respectively. So staying in the correct angle is extremely important to come back to Earth successfully. The vehicle will reach a speed of 27000 kilometres per hour and when compared, believe us, this speed surpasses the speed of sound by 20 times. It’s extremely fast when the vehicle enters the air layer of this planet and this speed will cause the air around the ship to heat up, exceeding 7000°c. The heat is caused by the waves of shocks, released by the velocities. Maintain the speed and temperature, are 2 other risk factors that the scientists and engineers have to manage. Our main source of light, the Sun, holds an external temperature of 5500°c and this spacecraft will reach 7000°c and I hope I don’t have to go into explaining the comparisons of these two. Basically, the ship will be hotter than the star full of lava.
When a metal is heated its starts to glow and at a point, the heat will melt up the metal. To prevent this from happening, there are layers of shields to protect heating and even with the shield, the vehicle goes up to 7000°c and the container will start to emit light like Sun. In the space industry that is called “incandescence”. SpaceX Company itself develops the heat shield they use for their vehicles. It was texted using ships they use for experiments and the shield succeeded in protecting the capsule, but when the ship was retrieved, the shield was fount burnt and discoloured due to high-temperature levels. But the experiments gave good results. This heat shield is named Pica-X.
Many missions lost connections with the ship and the communication centre when the capsule was heated up. Mars Pathfinder, Apollo, And Soyuz Rocket launch/2018 (this mission was a completely failed attempt) were some these missions. Each one of them lost the connection with the land in a span of a few minutes. This happens when molecules of air were shredded down into electrons which were positively charged. These electron particles can give out a nice light from the ship’s exterior. It’s a layer of plasma.
It’s nice for the eyes but just like how electricity is produced, when these electrons move here and there, a current will produced disturbing and cutting out all the radio connections from the control centre and the ship. If this happens, all remote access to the craft dies down shortly giving all the hopes on to the actions done by the space travellers inside the ship. During this mission, NASA is expecting a connection loss of 6 minutes, when the Crew Dragon ship is at its maximum heat level. Even though, it’s only a few minutes that could put everyone and everything into grave danger. Everyone is counting on the astronauts to do the right thing.
This ship will open up many parachutes as the final level of coming back to the planet and, will rest the top of the Atlantic. The company has done experiments on the landing for almost 30 times successfully, they are positive if everything goes well in the former phases, the landing will happen smoothly.
If the re-entering of the Crew Dragon spaceship went well, the SpaceX will receive a certification, certifying that the company is allowed to commence spaceships commercially with NASA’s intervention. This will also mark the start of using space ships that are reusable without disposing of every part after just one use. Intending to craft private stations in space for the first time in the world, SpaceX has now collaborated with Axiom Space. People are lining up to be citizens of the space city and after a big historical mark of re-entering, this dream of Elon Musk will come alive soon. Taking tourists to space will become a trend. Safety measures will be followed and regulations will be put to save the environment. They are going to let regular people have the chance to experience space walk options with zero gravity environments and the moon will be achieved by next year. This mission is done by SpaceX joined with Space Adventures. Shortly, people will be going to the moon, having vacations in space stations and even living there.