What does an ideal manned mission to the ISS look like? SpaceX shows it on video

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In 2020, SpaceX will begin the first crew rotations to the International Space Station. It will be a giant leap for the American company. In the meantime, she offers a video in synthetic images showing what it will look like.

It has become a habit: before each symbolic stage of its space adventure, SpaceX now offers a video in synthetic images which ideally shows how it should unfold. This is how the American company imagined the perfect flight of Falcon Heavy before the very first full-scale test, and that she presented his vision of a mission with the Starship.

Today, SpaceX offers a new virtual sequence. This Monday, December 30, Elon Musk, founder of the company, posted a video on Twitter that gives a little idea of ​​what a mission could have to transport astronauts between Earth and the International Space Station. SpaceX has been preparing for these operations for several years, like Boeing.

The perfect flight as SpaceX imagines

Of course, this simulation of this manned flight is nothing but communication. We see a crew of two astronauts boarding the Dragon V2 capsule, in the glow of a sweet morning, before carrying out the final manipulations before firing - all with very cinematic slow motion and music that is necessarily very inspiring. We note in passing that these are the space combinations of SpaceX which are represented in the image.

In space, the different phases are linked together in a reduced sequence: separation of the first stage then of the spacecraft, approach maneuver to the International Space Station and stowage. Then, after a few weeks, comes the time for the return trip. Once on board, the astronauts assist in the detachment of the capsule and its return to Earth, progressively braked by parachutes as well as by a series of rocket motors.

A giant step to take

SpaceX has already demonstrated for many years its ability to join the ISS. In fact, the American company has been participating in refueling operations at the station since 2012, with other service providers. Its deliveries include food, but also spare parts, instruments for conducting scientific experiments as well as various equipment according to the needs on board.

But transporting a crew is a different story. We can afford to lose a supply freighter. Not a transport vessel. Also the business is she working hard for several years to reach the thresholds set by the American space agency, whether it's the rocket that will carry the crew, rocket motors or evacuation systems, before the flight ou During the flight. In case.

SpaceX Nasa zipline astronauts
An example of an evacuation test if you have to leave the takeoff area urgently. // Source: SpaceX

This is all the more necessary since SpaceX experienced a serious incident in April: the company helplessly attended the complete destruction of its habitable capsule, because of a serious "anomaly". A preliminary inquiry conducted in July highlighted a " failure of a titanium component in a high pressure nitrogen peroxide environment ". This triggered the ignition of the check valve and then the explosion.

However, the past year has also had its share of success. A few weeks ago, SpaceX managed to send safely the Crew Dragon habitable capsule to the ISS and keep it there for a week. She was thus able be visited by the ISS crew, before come back to Earth. For safety, the capsule had not welcomed anyone on board. There was only one mannequin there.

2020 should however mark a turning point, because the company must in principle carry out a full-scale test with a capsule that is inhabited in the coming months. For NASA boss, it could even take place during the first trimester. Elon musk is however more careful : if the capsule is ready in February, he believes that it will still be necessary " some months To check all the control points.

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