SpaceX passes parachute tests, but Crew Dragon mission would be postponed until spring

Crew Dragon - ISS

Crew Dragon approaches the ISS during an uninhabited test in March 2019

SpaceX preparations for the first manned takeoff of its capsule continue as planned, but Elon Musk warns that safety audits could delay takeoff for several months.

Visiting SpaceX in Hawthorne on October 10, NASA director accompanied by Elon Musk said parachute tests in progress was an important step in authorizing the Crew Dragon capsule to fly with astronauts.

One parachute, two parachutes …

The creator of SpaceX then announced a series of 10 tests to come with a new “Mark 3 generation” of parachutes before the end of the year in collaboration with Airborne Systems, the company that produces them both for Crew Dragon capsules and for the CST-100 Starliner (from Boeing).

Bet successful since December 23, thanks to video published by SpaceX, which regularly documented its progress. ” SpaceX discoveries following their opening problem really helped the whole community Said Robert Sinclair, engineer in charge of the program for Airborne Systems.

Safety first

Should we expect to see Crew Dragon to take astronauts to the ISS in the coming weeks? After posting a new animation video to show the profile of the mission, Elon Musk responded to several questions from Internet users on Twitter. In particular, he expects to see the capsule completed and in final preparation at Cape Canaveral as early as February (which confirms several leaks from the previous weeks). But he warns: security audits and commissions will likely take several more months before NASA and its partners authorize the theft.

Repeated worries

A disguised way of complaining about “administrative” delays or putting pressure on the authorities concerned? This statement shows in any case that the SpaceX teams remain in battle order for the start of the year. A decisive argument will be given with the results of the “IFA” test (In-Flight Abort) expected in January, during which the Crew Dragon capsule will undergo an emergency ejection in flight, simulating a problem with its launcher (which it will probably destroy in the process).
However, NASA should take time to authorize astronauts to board the Starliner or Crew Dragon, given mistakes revealed during 2019: verifications will take time.

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Sources: Space News/Twitter

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