The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is determined to launch crewed spaceflights to the International Space Station from the U.S and for this reason, NASA has been looking for private commercial space launch companies to take over the launch of crewed spaceflights. NASA has contracted both Boeing and SpaceX to pursue the crewed spaceflight launch in 2014. Later this year both SpaceX and Boeing are expected to conduct a test flight for their crewed spacecrafts.
Although NASA has not set clear dates on when both space commercial companies are scheduled to carry on flight test on their crewed spaceflight, SpaceX is making a remarkable progress on attaining its commercial crew goals. SpaceX is targeting to run their first uncrewed test on their Dragon Capsule, this test flight will be known as Demo mission 1 (DM-1).
Demo Mission 1 will be followed by an in-flight abort test, where the crewed spacecraft (Dragon) will be mounted on top of the Falcon 9 rocket with an abort triggered by Dragon’s onboard computers when the spacecraft reaches its moment of maximum stress during ascent. After the two test flights are complete, SpaceX aims to conduct a crew test flight of Dragon Capsule, which will be the second face of getting the Dragon ready for its mission, this second phase will be known as Demo Mission 2 (DM-2). Both the Demo Mission 1 and 2 serves as the SpaceX’s certification missions for the commercial crew program, this leads to the 6months standard duration crew rotation in the International Space Station.
SpaceX is also conducting other activities like installing Dragon’s radiators and intermediate radiator build up, end to end communication system testing, integrated suit testing. All this is to make sure that the system inside the Dragon Capsule is perfectly working. Also, the C2v2 crypto communication radio for the spacecraft is under test to make sure the water landing effects on the crypto communication are working and the water landing will not have the impact on the communication system.
There is a huge possibility that the NASA crewed flight tests later this year might turn out to be the actual crewed spaceflight launch and SpaceX is making its Dragon Capsule ready for the task. After the Dragon has undergone all the tests its set for the NASA commercial crew debut that is poised to happy later this year.