View Full Version : SpaceX: Dragon bombshell

Dr Mordrid
16th July 2010, 16:05
Today on SpaceFlightNow (http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/002/100716firststage/) Elon Must started a major topic of conversation on the space sites. It's known that their Dragon spacecraft is to initially fly cargo, and that it was also designed to fly crews to LEO (Low Earth Orbit), but the bombshell came in this part of the interview;

The Dragon's heat shield will also be put to the test during re-entry. The capsule's blunt end is coated with phenolic impregnated carbon ablator, a resistant insulator used by NASA's Stardust mission that returned comet samples to Earth.

The ablator, called PICA-X for short, was tested inside an arc jet laboratory at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.

"It's actually the most powerful stuff known to man. Dragon is capable of re-entering from a lunar velocity, or even a Mars velocity with the heat shield that it has," Musk said.I guess that ends speculation about SpaceX's ultimate intentions :p

Of course the main subject of the article is that Falcon 9 flt 2 stages have started to arrive at the Cape.


Second Falcon 9 rocket begins arriving at the Cape

Six weeks after the first Falcon 9 rocketed into orbit, pieces of the second launcher have begun arriving at Cape Canaveral for a shakedown flight of SpaceX's Dragon capsule in September, according to the company's top executive.

The Falcon 9 first stage pulled into Cape Canaveral Thursday after a truck ride from SpaceX's test site in central Texas.
Engineers plan more testing over the next several weeks to make sure the stage and its nine Merlin engines are ready for flight.

The Falcon 9 upper stage should arrive in Florida by August, according to Elon Musk, SpaceX's founder and CEO.
The Dragon should be shipped to Cape Canaveral sometime in August, but Musk cautioned it is difficult to predict exactly when it will be ready.