California-based SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transportation service provider, has successfully launched its Crew Dragon spacecraft, on last Saturday, in order to test a key safety system of the flight. Falcon 9 has been used to test the Crew Dragon without any actual personnel on board. Intentionally the flight was cut short with the help of In-Flight Abort (IFA) system which has been equipped to separate the rocket and Crew Dragon within one and a half minute (approx.) into the launch process.
The Crew Dragon capsule is equipped with eight Super Draco engines in order to take the capsule away from the rocket quickly to ensure the safety of the on-board crew, in case of any sudden failure of the rocket, during the mission. These eight engines can drive the capsule half a mile away within 7.5 seconds. During this driven force of the engines, the acceleration can exert 4 times of the gravitational force of the Earth (4Gs) on the crew on-board.
After the successful completion of the test, SpaceX along with NASA has hosted a press conference to discuss about the mission and their next steps into it, on Sunday. During the conference, one of the media persons has raised a question related to the timeline of the mission with actual crew on-board for which Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX has answered by disclosing a rough schedule of events.
Elon stated, “The hardware necessary for the first crewed launch, we believe will be ready by the end of February. However, there’s still a lot of work once the hardware is ready to just cross-check everything, triple-check, quadruple-check, go over everything everything again until every every stone has been turned over three or four times. And then there’s also the schedule for getting to the Space Station, because the Space Station has a lot of lot of things going to it, so what’s the right timing because, and the collective wisdom at this point is that we think that hardware will be ready in q1, most likely in February, but no later than March, and that we think it appears probable that the first crewed launch would occur in the second quarter.”