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NASA, SpaceX Set First Dragon Launch To ISS

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Old May 5th 12, 04:28 AM posted to sci.physics,sci.astro,sci.space.policy,sci.space.history
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Default NASA, SpaceX Set First Dragon Launch To ISS

Robert Clark explained on 5/4/2012 :
On Friday, January 20, 2012 1:54:56 PM UTC-5, Robert Clark wrote:
On Dec 10 2011, 8:24 pm, wrote:
"SpaceX will attempt the first commercial link-up with the
International Space Station (ISS) on Feb. 7, which could
be a major milestone on the way to the low-Earth-orbit
economy NASA is trying to create."

The Feb. 7th flight has been postponed:
1st Private Rocket Launch to Space Station Delayed.
by Denise Chow, SPACE.com Staff Writer
Date: 16 January 2012 Time: 01:51 PM ET
The Russians and some members of NASA were uncertain about SpaceX's
ability to perform the linkup with the ISS successfully. For a $100
billion asset, that is an understandable concern.
A couple of suggestions. First hire away from the Russians some top
guys involved with the Progress cargo vehicle to the ISS and from the
Europeans some top guys involved with the ESA's Automated Transfer
Vehicle(ATV). For the billion dollar cargo supply contract SpaceX has
with NASA, it can afford to do that.
Secondly, prior to the ISS docking mission do some rendezvous
missions in space with the Dragon spacecraft. Ideally it would be with
a vehicle that it could actually dock with. The Progress M-13M cargo
vehicle for instance is scheduled to undock from the ISS in a few
days. According to the Wikipedia page the undocking is scheduled for
the 25th:
Progress M-13M.
while on this NASA release it's listed as on the 23rd:
NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 19 January 2012.
Source: NASA HQ
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012
The release of a small Russian satellite from the Progress and the de-
orbit burn for the Progress is scheduled to occur a day later. Could
the undocking or least the de-orbit burn be postponed for enough time
for SpaceX to launch the Dragon to be able link up with the Progress
In any case, the current plan is not for Dragon to perform the final
link-up with ISS under its own power and navigation capabilities but
just to get close enough for the robot arm to grapple it and pull it
to the station to dock with it. So for this, all the Dragon has to do
is demonstrate the ability to get close enough to some orbiting
satellite without colliding with it to within a similar distance is it
would be to the ISS. It might be able to do this several times with
different satellites to further demonstrate this capability.

SpaceX launch to station faces delay.
05/01/2012 11:18 PM Filed in: Space News | Commercial Space |
International Space Station
CBS News
"KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL--The long-awaited launch of a commercial
cargo ship bound for the International Space Station almost certainly
will be delayed from May 7 to at least May 10 and possibly longer,
sources said late Tuesday, to give company engineers additional time
to complete pre-flight tests and checkout..."

I really, really wish SpaceX had considered doing a "rendezvous" with,
for example, a Progress cargo vehicle before going directly to the
ISS. This would have allowed them to work out the kinks out of any
software and hardware beforehand, before risking, in some peoples
minds, a $100 billion asset in the ISS.

I thought they weren't going to ISS until they had complete Milestone
2, where they demonstrate that command & control are working reasonably
well. They did combine flights, so that Milestone 3 (prox ops, etc)
can occur soon after Milestone 2, but it I'm remembering the plan
correctly, there is plenty of check-out before the opportunity to be
piped aboard.


Who, me? And what lacuna?


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