At Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, SpaceX is extensively preparing for its Starship S20 and Super Heavy B4 booster spacecraft for its first orbital flight, but it is also continuing to expand its proven Dragon cargo and manned spacecraft program.
Sarah Walker, Dragon director at SpaceX, revealed in brief that NASA’s upcoming Crew 3 mission (scheduled for launch October 30) will fly a new Crew Dragon spacecraft (possibly Dragon 2 Capsule #10 (C210)). It will be carried into space by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle with a second flight (or as they say in SpaceX “flight test”) first stage B1067.
Booster B1067 took off for the first time on June 3, 2021 with the cargo ship Cargo Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS) and then landed on the SpaceX “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) floating spacecraft. NASA initially ordered a new aircraft carrier Falcon 9 for manned flights, but this is no longer the case. The Crew-3 mission will be the second expedition that begins with a “tried and tested” first stage.
SpaceX delivered NASA astronauts using the Falcon 9 B1062 booster for the first time in April 2021 during a second manned mission to ISS Crew-2. (We’re not counting the Crew Dragon’s first test flight.) Given that SpaceX made its first launch of a spaceship with astronauts on board less than a year and a half ago, its manned flights into orbit have gained a decent tempo.
At the same time, we must not forget about the first fully private space mission in September with four amateur astronauts – space tourists – Inspiration 4. Also in this case, the tested Falcon 9 booster No. B1062.3 was used, which had previously flown twice.
So Crew-3 will continue the trend of launching professional astronauts from NASA and foreign space agencies through reusable SpaceX rockets.
However, SpaceX is also building a fleet of reusable orbital spacecraft. The Dragon 2 Capsule #10 (C210), which will likely be piloted by the Crew-3 crew, will be the third manned spacecraft in SpaceX’s fleet. The park will expand to include the Dragon C206 (Endeavour) and C207 (Resilience) spacecraft.
Sarah Walker has confirmed that the Crew-4 mission should fly to the International Space Station in April 2022 in the new Crew Dragon, which will expand SpaceX’s manned fleet of ships to four spacecraft.
With each Crew Dragon certified for at least five NASA missions, these four spacecraft should meet the demand for manned flights into orbit over the next few years.
It all depends on the number of SpaceX commercial cruise flights (the closest tourists will fly a Crew Dragon sponsored by Space Adventures on an unspecified date in December 2021, or in the early months of 2022) and the addition of a Boeing Starliner to the game. After technical issues thwarted an unmanned test flight to the International Space Station at the end of August, the Starliner is expected to be included in manned flights for 2023.
However, SpaceX regularly flies to the International Space Station with the Cargo Dragon cargo ships. At the same time, they are the only ones capable of transporting cargo from the International Space Station to Earth. In December 2021 and May 2022, two new cargo ships, the Cargo Dragon 2, will fly to the International Space Station on the CRS-24 and CRS-25 missions.
This will expand the Dragons cargo fleet to four ships. With the current frequency of two flights per year, SpaceX can continue to supply the International Space Station until the end of its estimated life in 2030. However, it is likely that the SpaceX spacecraft will soon be expanded to include a Starship that can fly not only to the ISS but also for a month.
Elon Musk plays it in space activities in style and on multiple chessboards at the same time – from the Starlink satellite web to the Artemis lunar program – and the success of this simultaneous fruit is paying off.
SpaceX recently won a contract to launch the Italian COSMO-SkyMed 2nd Gen satellite. (CSG-2), which was scheduled to launch in the second half of 2020 on the Vega-C rocket from Arianespace. Due to problems in the development of the Vega-C missile and the Vega missile accident, the start was first postponed to 2021, and finally in early September, the Italian agency ASI concluded a contract to transport the cargo via SpaceX.
The successes were also reflected in the growth of the company’s market value, which has exceeded at the present time CNBC worth $100 billion. SpaceX’s values have tripled in the past two years, up 33% from February 2021 to currently $100.3 billion. Thus, SpaceX became the second most valuable private company in the world (its shares are not publicly traded) after the Chinese company. AttentionThe company behind TikTok was valued at $425 billion in June.
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