Roundup Reads
twitter facebook instagram pintrest reddit snapchat tumbler

Everything You Need to Know About SpaceX DM-1


|
March 1, 2019

On Sat. March 2, at 1:49 a.m. CT the first demonstration mission of NASA's Commercial Crew Program will launch to the International Space Station. SpaceX DM-1 is an uncrewed mission that will test the rocket and spacecraft that SpaceX will use to launch astronauts from US soil in missions targeted for later this year.

Catch all the excitement of the launch—and activities leading up to it—on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

A new spacecraft comes with plenty of systems and procedures that must be tested, so we sat down with Scott Stover, the lead NASA Flight Director for SpaceX Demo-1 to learn more about the mission and what will take place.

NASA: What is the high level purpose of DM-1?

SCOTT STOVER: At a high level, Demo-1 is testing the performance of the Crew Dragon vehicle.  SpaceX and NASA will be looking at the various vehicle systems’ performance on-orbit.  The joint operations and engineering teams will be walking Dragon through its configurations for ascent, on-orbit operations, rendezvous and docking with the ISS, undocking, entry, and landing.

What milestones will take place during the DM-1 mission?

Of course, this is the first flight of Crew Dragon, exercising many new systems onboard.  This will be the first docking to the International Docking Adaptor on ISS Node 2 Forward.  Additionally, this is the first use of the Pressurized Mating Adaptor-2’s hatch since the last Space Shuttle docking.

What demonstrations will take place on the way to orbit and the ISS?

Dragon will perform multiple demonstrations of its Guidance, Navigation, and Control systems prior to docking to the ISS.  This will ensure Dragon is safe to approach ISS.  Additionally, we will demonstrate the capability for the ISS crew to send commands to Dragon and Dragon to send video to ISS through the Common Communications for Visiting Vehicle (C2V2) radios. 

How will those demonstrations prove readiness for a crewed mission?

Of course, the main goals of the future crewed missions will be to safely transport crewmembers to the ISS and bring them home safely.  These demonstrations provide confidence in the various Dragon and ISS systems needed for these missions.

What involvement will the crew on board the ISS have with dynamic activities for the flight?

The ISS crew will monitor Dragon’s approach to ISS starting at a distance of ~1000m.  They will use multiple data tools to monitor Dragon’s relative distance, approach velocity, and location.  Starting at 20m, the ISS crew will monitor video provided by Dragon to ensure alignment for docking.  All along, the ISS crew will be standing by to potentially send commands to Dragon to cause it to hold or stop approaching, retreat or back away from ISS, or abort its rendezvous if something off-nominal happens.

What will take place once the capsule has docked to the ISS?

The ISS crew plans to ingress Dragon to transfer cargo items being delivered to ISS and returned on Dragon, and to photograph Dragon’s post ascent/pre entry interior configuration.  Ground teams will demonstrate the capability to use SSRMS and SPDM to survey Dragon’s exterior for MMOD damage prior to undocking.

Are there any additional demonstrations after undocking?

Following undock, the main demonstrations will be of Dragon reentry and parachute assisted splash down.

Will the mission be controlled from MCC-H or MCC-X?

MCC-H and MCC-X will work closely throughout the entire mission.  The Dragon capsule will be controlled by SpaceX flight controllers from MCC-X.  ISS configurations for the mission will be handled by MCC-H, POIC, and our international partners.  45 minutes prior to Dragon’s Approach Initiation burn, MCC-H assume overall mission authority for Dragon to ensure ISS safety.

How will NASA measure whether this mission was successful?

The biggest priority is the successful launch and recovery of the Dragon capsule.  Checking out Dragon’s various systems and successful docking/undocking with ISS will provide large amounts of data and confidence in our joint operations, putting us well on the path toward the first crewed flight of Dragon.

SpaceX DM-1 is scheduled to launch on Sat, Mar. 2 at 2:48 a.m. ET.  A live broadcast of the launch will appear on NASA TV, stay tuned to Roundup for broadcast details. The capsule is scheduled to splash down on Earth on Mar. 8.

Photographic Coverage of Expedition 56 flight controllers on console with Flight Director Scott Stover during rendezvous and docking of the Expedition 56-57 Crew (Prokopyev, Aunon-Chancellor, Gerst) on Soyuz MS-09 to the Rassvet Module
Photographic Coverage of Expedition 56 flight controllers on console with Flight Director Scott Stover during rendezvous and docking of the Expedition 56-57 Crew (Prokopyev, Aunon-Chancellor, Gerst) on Soyuz MS-09 to the Rassvet Module. Credit:NASA/Josh Valcarcel
Boeing and SpaceX are preparing to launch American Astronauts from American soil. Credit: NASA
Boeing and SpaceX are preparing to launch American Astronauts from American soil. Credit: NASA
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon attached, rolls out of the company’s hangar at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Jan. 3, 2019
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon attached, rolls out of the company’s hangar at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Jan. 3, 2019. Credit: SpaceX
 Illustration of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft launching atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credits: SpaceX
Illustration of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft launching atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: SpaceX
At NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, the nine engines of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket roar to life in a brief static firing on Jan. 24, 2019. The test was part of checkouts prior to its liftoff for Demo-1, the inaugural flight of one of the spacecraft designed to take NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Credit: SpaceX
At NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, the nine engines of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket roar to life in a brief static firing on Jan. 24, 2019. The test was part of checkouts prior to its liftoff for Demo-1, the inaugural flight of one of the spacecraft designed to take NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Credit: SpaceX