Space X unveiled Dragon V2 Capsule to take Astronauts to Low-Earth Orbit

May 31, 2014 18:28 IST

The private space travel firm Space X on 30 May 2014 unveiled its new manned Dragon V2 Capsule to take astronauts into Low-Earth orbit and beyond. SpaceX stands for Short for Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

Characteristic Features of the Dragon V2

•    It has revolutionary launch escape system, the first of its kind, will provide escape capability from the time the crew enters the vehicle all the way to orbit.
•    It comprises of eight SuperDraco engines which will produce up to 120000 pounds of axial thrust to carry astronauts to safety should an emergency occur during launch.
•    It can land propulsively on Earth or another planet with the precision of a helicopter, making possible inter-planetary trips that would otherwise be constrained by ocean landings.

•    It holds seats for 7 passengers, and includes an Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) that provides a comfortable environment for crewmembers.
•    It has minimal number of stage separations with all-liquid rocket engines that can be throttled and turned off in an emergency and launch escape capability all the way to orbit.
•    It also includes a SpaceX-designed and built ISS docking adapter, impact attenuating landing legs, and a more advanced version of the PICA-X (Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator-X) heat shield for improved durability and performance.
•    Its robust thermal protection system is capable of lunar missions, in addition to flights to and from Earth orbit.

Background

The Dragon V2 was shown for the first time at a press conference in Hawthorne, California. SpaceX's Dragon capsule in 2012 became the first private spacecraft to carry supplies to the ISS and back. The Dragon spacecraft currently resupplies the space station under a 1.6 billion dollars Cargo Resupply Services contract with NASA.

SpaceX is competing with other companies like Boeing, Sierra Nevada and Blue Origin, to be the first commercial outfit to take astronauts to space, possibly as early as 2017.

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