Crew stars related to SpaceX space in spectacular photos before the flight [gallery]


SpaceX and NASA participate in an exceptional media blitz on the eve of Crew Dragon's orbital launch, sharing dozens of detailed photos and videos documenting the many years of advanced spacecraft development and its brief final journey to Launch Complex 39A (Pad 39A). .

Scheduled for its first launch at 2:48 EST (7:48 UTC) on March 2, CEO Elon Musk has already unveiled an important part of a spectacular and animated webcast that SpaceX has prepared for the launch, which is undoubtedly the most important The company will have taken the fundamental objective of "making humanity a multiplanetary species". A test dummy, Starwoman, is called Ripley, a close relative of the Starman character orbiting the sun in space.

After the February 21 launch of PSN-6 commsat SpaceX's SpaceX and Spaceflight's GTO-1 carpool ride, the contrast with the media presence behind the launch of Crew Dragon is striking. Regular SpaceX launches have become a routine distribution of official behind-the-scenes photos: a photo of Falcon 9 vertically on the platform after the rocket, a lively webcast with excellent live views of the mission, launch photos taken high quality by SpaceX or by contract photographers, and – less frequently – by one or two rare photos of the booster's landing. The NASA-led launches are a completely different story, followed by the US Air Force's missions to a distant second place.

Especially considering that NASA has funded between 99% and 100% of the costly development of Crew Dragon, SpaceX customers can generally reserve the right to request special views and even publish their own photos in contracts. launch or program. As a federal civilian agency, NASA is largely forced to share photos, as it generally complies with arms trafficking regulations, such as US ITAR. For a number of reasons, SpaceX has become significantly less inclined to share photos of milestones and more routine operations, regardless of whether or not a given topic is likely to cause ITAR's anger.

Although society still shares much more than it technically owes (ie. nothing), competitors like ULA tend to share a lot more, even for extremely conscientious launches of the National Recognition Office. Whatever the reasons for which the company has all the rights, the floodgates were opened during the two months that preceded the inaugural launch of Crew Dragon.

Together, NASA and SpaceX shared dozens of high-quality photos of Falcon 9, Crew Dragon and the behind-the-scenes work required for each launch (including this one) to take place. SpaceX also provided numerous insights into these processes, including the deployment of the rocket on the Pad 39A and a brief 60-second preview containing excerpts from most of Crew Dragon's development work in progress for over 5 years.

Forward and up

In simple terms, this mission is perhaps the most important launch since SpaceX went from Falcon 1 to Falcon 9 almost nine years ago. Founded by Elon Musk for the sole purpose of creating cost-effective and reusable rockets that could allow or at least motivate humans to reach a Mars day, the pursuit of the human spaceship has been a priority for Musk and SpaceX since the 2002 formation of the society. If Crew Dragon's orbital debut succeeds, SpaceX will have taken a decisive step toward these ambitious aspirations, largely thanks to the funding and expertise provided to the company through NASA's Commercial Crew Program. .

While SpaceX is technically owner and operator, Crew Dragon is a vehicle fundamentally owned by NASA with respect to the fundamental capabilities and limitations inherent in its design. However, the countless hundreds of hours of experience gained from the development of Crew Dragon will directly feed Starship, a spacecraft that will almost belong to SpaceX and SpaceX, from a blank sheet of paper until Mars (if fate permitting).

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