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SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Receives Initial Approval From NASA Safety Review Panel

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:38 pm
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El Segundo CA – (SpaceX) – SpaceX has successfully completed the first of three phases of review required by NASA’s Safety Review Panel (SRP) to send its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). Over a series of meetings spanning four days at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, the team of SpaceX engineers developing the Dragon spacecraft presented their Phase I plans for sending the cargo version of Dragon to the $100 billion dollar orbiting space laboratory.

The review covered twenty-three specific hazards, with extra attention paid to the danger of collision – one of the most difficult hazards to mitigate. The issue of preventing a collision with the ISS was a primary topic of the safety review and is generally considered one of the more difficult visiting vehicle topics. According to the Safety Review Panel’s approval letter, the Phase I collision hazard report for Dragon was approved on the first attempt

“To date, no other group has passed the Hazard of Collision report the first time through or completed the overall review in such a short time,” said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. “The fact that we passed in under a week speaks well of our team’s capabilities.”

As part of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) competition, SpaceX intends to demonstrate its launch, maneuvering and docking abilities by 2009 – a year before NASA has scheduled the conclusion of Space Shuttle operations.

About SpaceX

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of both manned and unmanned space transportation ultimately by a factor of ten. With its Falcon line of launch vehicles, SpaceX is able to offer light (with the Falcon 1), medium and heavy lift capabilities (with the Falcon 9) to deliver spacecraft into any inclination and altitude, from low Earth orbit to geosynchronous orbit to planetary missions.

The Dragon spacecraft is designed to transport up to seven astronauts, as well as both pressurized and unpressurized cargo, to Earth orbit and back. Dragon’s universal docking adapter allows it to interface with all current ISS docking/berthing systems, as well as future systems under development.

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