As SpaceX NASA trains astronauts to fly on the Dragon capsule

The first passenger SpaceX team collected, date of flight scheduled, and now is the time to prepare her for the journey into space. On Monday, the President of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell showed the first four NASA astronauts who will travel into space on a brand new passenger spacecraft, the company itself Crew Dragon built for the program of commercial manned space flight NASA. The company also told what tools will be used by astronauts to prepare for these flights.

Now, when the carriages formed officially in the coming months and years they will have to work with SpaceX in preparing for the flights. Crew Dragon is a spacecraft SpaceX (not NASA), so SpaceX will be to ensure that astronauts needed to prepare uniforms. It includes two sets of model equipment which will acquaint the astronauts with the bowels of the capsule.

When the astronauts will fly on SpaceX?

The first kit for the commander and pilot. It consists of two Central seats, which will be inside the capsule and push-button interface and touch screen, with which the astronauts will interact during the flight. All performed in the trademark style of SpaceX, smooth and streamlined. There are only a few dozen physical buttons, which the astronauts can press, most of which can only be used during emergency scenarios. For example, astronauts should press a real button to turn on the sprinkler system.

 

All other interactions must occur on three touch screens the capsule, which will react to the touch of your crew in the gloves of the suit. The main purpose of screens is to provide tracking of orbital flight. Astronauts will be able to configure the displays to change the types of the Earth, showing exactly where their capsule on the way to orbit. They also have the ability to switch orientation control on these screens that will allow them to manually manage the crew Crew Dragon in space. A simple click starts the engine of the device, slightly altering his course. However, this is not required, as the Crew Dragon is designed to automatically dock with the space station. Option just in case.

However, there is a key part of the interface, which is neither button nor team touchscreen. This is the large knob in the center console with the word EJECT (ejection). It is hoped that the astronauts will never have to touch it. But if the rocket carrying Crew Dragon will get damage or break during the flight, the astronauts will have to rotate and pull the handle, igniting the engines aboard the capsule, which will carry them away from danger. This lever is designed for last line of defence of the astronauts. SpaceX programmed the onboard computer of the apparatus to detect any anomalies that would require an early escape, in the hope to save astronauts from having to intervene.

In fact, it seems that the purpose of Crew Dragon, almost full automation. If during the flight, astronauts will most of the time to sit back and enjoy the ride. However, space flight requires training to the most obscure scenarios, and this will help the other important instrument of SpaceX: the simulator, which essentially recreates all inside the capsule, from seats to Windows. Inside, astronauts are trained in all situations of space flight, from the usual flight to the unusual and extreme. SpaceX puts the astronauts in a variety of scenarios of failures and equipment failures, like depressurization, and people will have to contact ground control to see whether they need something to fix in the capsule. There is even a solar simulator light — the light which shines through the window, mimicking the Sun during the flight.

The only thing that can simulator is to convey what the astronauts will be in space. Ride on the Falcon 9 that will carry the capsule with the crew into space, will not the softest astronauts would be subjected to overload and exposure to powerful vibration. To simulate this, the astronauts have to sit on a huge platform that makes the device vibrate.

NASA selected four astronauts in 2015, with first flights under the program Commercial Cres. However, the question is, what machine astronauts will fly remained open. Boeing and SpaceX has developed a capsule for this program, the CST-100 and Crew Dragon Cockpit, respectively. This month NASA announced the appointment of the crew for each of the satellites along with new target dates when they will be released into orbit.

A team of SpaceX astronauts include three pilots, a veteran and one a rookie. The first manned test flight of the company, during which the Crew Dragon will travel to the International space station in two-week flight will be under the command of Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, two former members of the crew of the space Shuttle, good friends. The flight is scheduled for April 2019 and will become an important step in the beginning of the regular missions Crew Dragon to ISS and back. Once Crew Dragon will be certified, the first operational flights will carry a crew of four people to the ISS, where they will remain for many months. This team will include NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, who flew on the Russian Soyuz, and Victor Glover, which will be released into space for the first time.

Official preparation for the missions has already begun in the last couple of months. The Behnken and Hurley, which have become part of the Commercial Crew Program in 2015, spent many weeks at the headquarters of SpaceX and will hold more closer to the flight date.

As for whether observed last scheduled date of the flight, Shotwell says that sometimes there are reasons to change. To predict the exact launch date is meaningless. The highest priority, she said, is safety.

“We don’t fly until you are sure that the guys will be safe,” says Shotwell. “This mission will be like any other mission because we want each rocket and each capsule was reliable, but this time the system will monitor an additional 7,000 additional eyes”.

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