Used Dragon Cargo Spacecraft Will Fly Again

With the exception of the Space Shuttles (which required $100M's of maintenance), real-life space craft are single-use vehicles. SpaceX is going to relaunch one of its Dragon cargo spacecraft next month.

Now, the company is set to try to recover another key component of its space hardware—a Dragon cargo spacecraft. The launch window for the supply mission opens on Thursday, June 1, at 5:55pm ET (10:55pm BST).

This particular Dragon spacecraft was sent to the International Space Station in September 2014, and it delivered nearly 2.5 tons of cargo to the orbiting laboratory. The Dragon returned to Earth about a month later, splashing down into the ocean. It is not clear how much processing SpaceX has had to undertake to ready the spacecraft for its second flight to the station, nor has the company released a cost estimate. It also had to manufacture a new "trunk," the unpressurized rear section of the vehicle, and solar panels.

Most science fiction spacecraft are multiple-use vehicles. But, in his 1941 classic Methuselah's Children, Robert Heinlein brings up a situation in which a used spacecraft - taken from a lunar used spacecraft lot - is reused, landing back on Earth and then taking off again:

Entering the stratosphere and circling two-thirds of the globe took no longer than he had estimated. He used part of the hour's leeway he had allowed himself by being very stingy in his maneuvers in order to spare the worn, obsolescent injection meters. Then he was down in the troposphere and making his approach, with skin temperatures high but not dangerously so...

Somewhere a pattern controlman was shouting at him; he switched it off and gave all his attention to his approach radar and the ghostly images in the infra-red rectifier while comparing what they told him with his inertial tracker...

Then the thought was cut short by a squeal from his board; the ship had picked up the pilot beam.

He wheeled her in, cut his last jet as she scraped, and slapped a series of switches; the great cargo ports rumbled open and rain beat in...

And then the take-off.

Two cargo ports were already closed; stragglers were moving through the other two. Barstow hurried the last of them inside with curses and followed them, slammed pell-mell to the control room. "Raise ship!" he shouted to Lazarus. "Fast!" "What's all the shoutin' fer?" asked Lazarus, but he was already closing and sealing the ports. He tripped the acceleration screamer, waited a scant ten seconds... and gave her power. "Well," he said conversationally six minutes later, "I hope everybody was lying down. If not, we've got some broken bones on our hands...

LAZARUS HAD his hands full to jockey the Chili into just the right position against the side of the New Frontiers; the overstrained meters made the smaller craft skittish as a young horse. But he did it. The magnetic anchors clanged home; the gas-tight seals slapped into place; and their ears popped as the pressure in the Chili adjusted to that in the giant ship.

Via Arstechnica; thanks to Jonathan Jeckell and Winchell Chung for retweeting this item.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/8/2017)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Spacecraft ")

Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.

Used Dragon Cargo Spacecraft Will Fly Again
'the overstrained meters made the smaller craft skittish as a young horse...' - Robert Heinlein

Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon... for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...'- Niven/Pournelle, 1974.

SKYLON Space Plane Gets Boost
'They were more airplane than spaceship...'- Robert Heinlein, 1951.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.

Mindar The Robot Buddhist Priest Offers A Blessing
'Not working is the hardest work of all.'

Does Your Company Need A 'Chief Dreamer'?
As far as the future is concerned 'they're the only experts we have'.

Helios Modular Touch Screen Wall Lights
'The walls and ceiling bore an irregular spacing of illuminum tiles...'

Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'

Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

Capitalist Big Brother Co-Opts Regular Big Brother
'It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.'

A Floating Cosmodrome
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.'

First Artificial Memory Formed In Animals
'Is an extra-factual memory that convincing?' Quail asked.

Maintain Your Megastructure
Megastructures have repair robots, which have repair robots, ad infinitum.

Venezuelans Teaching Your Self-Driving Car
‘She wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew...’

Robothread Robotic Worms Crawling Through Your Brain
Perfect for clot-busting in the human brain. No Raquel Welch and no lasers, though.

Vantablack BMW X6 Is Douglas Adams Approved
'It's so... black!' said Ford Prefect.

Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
'It is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature...'

Animatronic Robotic Baby Exposed
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.