SpaceX Aims For Reusability With Crew Dragon; Plans To Catch Spaceship In A Net


SpaceX Crew Dragon recently completed the emergency abort system test. Now there's a possibility that Crew Dragon might not end its mission with an ocean splash. Instead, SpaceX might catch the Crew Dragon spacecraft with net-equipped boats, namely Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief.

Will SpaceX Succeed In Catching Crew Dragon In A Net?


Crew Dragon In Net-Equipped Boats

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced the new proposition to catch the spacecraft in net-equipped boats at a news conference after the in-flight abort test. The two boats Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief have been set up to catch falling rocket payload fairings, which is the protective nose cones that surround the satellites during launch.

"This requires ongoing discussions with NASA, but I think it would be quite cool to use the boats that we are using to catch the fairing, once that is really well-established, to catch Dragon as it's coming in from orbit," Musk said.

SpaceX Aims For Reusability With Crew Dragon

The idea here is reusability. The SpaceX payload fairings, which fall back to Earth in two pieces, are worth about $6 million. If the company could begin reusing the fairings, the goal would be easier to achieve if the hardware doesn't slash in the corrosive seawater. Similar reusability is what SpaceX wants to apply to Crew Dragon.

If this is successful, it would alleviate the constraints around the water landing. Till now, the boats have succeeded a couple of times, but most of the targets have ended up with an ocean splash. Ms. Tree (which was formerly called Mr. Steven) and Ms. Chief are important parts for the overall mission.


SpaceX has been developing Crew Dragon under the agency's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). Both SpaceX and Boeing are important for NASA's project of taking astronauts to and from the International Space Station. So far, Russian Soyuz spacecraft were deployed for these missions, which retired in July 2011.

Currently, the space agency plans to fly a new Crew Dragon spaceship on every NASA astronaut-carrying mission to ISS. At the same time, it plans to reuse the capsule for crewed missions, which might be a more feasible or attractive option for the future - if the refurbishment process is eased.

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