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What is the SpaceX Crew Dragon?

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

What is the SpaceX Crew Dragon?

Context:

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley onboard splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020.

What is it?

In May 2020, the Crew Dragon became the first space vehicle to launch humans from American soil in nine years.

Built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, it’s part of Nasa’s plan to hand over space station flights to private companies.

  • In particular, SpaceX was given funding through NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which started in 2010 to foster public-private partnerships for space exploration.

Background:

Crew Dragon evolved from an earlier design, called Dragon 1, which launched 20 times on missions to deliver cargo to the ISS between May 2012 and March 2020.

crew_dragon

Importance of the mission:

  • It was the first time that astronauts used a spaceship built and launched by a private company, and the event is being widely seen as the beginning of a new era in space exploration.
  • The rocket, named Falcon 9, which carried the spaceship into the orbit, was also built by SpaceX.
  • The mission was called Demo-2, in keeping with the fact that it was only a ‘test flight’, which if successful, would lead to more missions in the coming months.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. NASA’s Commercial crew program- participants.
  2. Space shuttle program.
  3. Demo 1 vs 2 missions.
  4. What is ISS?
  5. Space stations so far.

Sources: the Hindu.