Qiao Hui, Tencent Technology
At about 17:50 Beijing time on April 23, 2021, SpaceX launched the company's first manned launch in 2021, which is located at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The destination is the international space station. Four astronauts will stay there for six months to carry out many scientific experiments.
This is the third manned launch of SpaceX and the second official commercial manned launch. The launch was originally planned for April 22, Beijing time, but due to weather reasons, it was delayed for 24 hours to 23.
Used rockets and used spaceships
Caption: endeavor dragon spacecraft.
Where are the four astronauts from?
Caption: astronauts on this mission. From left to right are: MacArthur, pesquet, xingchu Zhangyan and jinbro.
Photo caption: MacArthur was involved in the last human maintenance of the Hubble telescope.
Caption: couple of astronauts. MacArthur, left; Benken (right).
Hoshide Akihiko, born in 1968, is a Japanese engineer and a JAXA astronaut. On August 30, 2012, Akihiko xingchu became the third Japanese astronaut to walk in space. He has been on two space missions. On May 31, 2008, he took the US space shuttle Discovery to the international space station to help install the Japanese experimental module. In July 2012, xingchu Zhangyan flew into space on a Russian spacecraft, and carried out three spacewalk missions during this period, which lasted for 21 hours and 23 minutes.
What do these four astronauts do when they go to the space station?
The four astronauts will stay on the international space station for six months and plan to carry out hundreds of experiments. It includes:
1. Tissue microarray culture in microgravity environment in space. Tissue microarray is an important branch of biochip technology, which is to arrange many different tissue samples on the same carrier in the form of regular array for in situ histological study of the same index. Medical experts are looking forward to the results of this experiment.
3. Delivering new solar panels for the international space station. At present, the international space station is powered by eight solar panels. However, with the increasing demand for power, it has been unable to meet the demand and needs to add six additional solar panels. It is reported that the launch will bring two sailboards for the space station and fold them into the non pressurized storage module of the Dragon spacecraft. Each new sail is 18 meters long and 6 meters wide, and can generate 20 kilowatts of electricity. Each sail needs two spacewalks to install.
4. There is also a study called machine (describing human immunodeficiency in microgravity) to observe the response of the human immune system to microgravity.
Generally speaking, these works and experiments can help people better understand our earth, better understand the adaptation of human body to microgravity environment, and better help people overcome various diseases. Space activities, which seem to be far away from our life, are actually closely related to people's production, life and health.
Characteristics of SpaceX manned dragon spacecraft
The manned dragon spaceship is the second generation dragon spaceship (Dragon 2) developed by SpaceX, which has the ability of reusing. The second generation of dragon spaceship can be divided into manned dragon spaceship and cargo dragon spaceship. Its predecessor is dragon 1. The new spacecraft can automatically dock with the space station, unlike the first generation spacecraft, which needs the help of the manipulator on the space station. Of course, the manned dragon spacecraft also retains the option of manual docking.
The manned dragon spacecraft used this time, with a diameter of 4 meters and a height of 8.1 meters, can carry up to seven astronauts, which is the same as the number of astronauts carried by the space shuttle, but so far it has carried only four astronauts at most. The first launch carried two astronauts, the first commercial launch carried four astronauts, and this launch also carried four astronauts.
The top of the manned dragon spaceship is a head cone cover that can be opened to protect the spaceship and docking mechanism during launch and return. When the spacecraft docking with the space station, the head cone cover will open, exposing the docking mechanism. When the spacecraft leaving the space station, the cover will close, ready to return to the ground.
In addition, there are solar cells pasted on the outside of the service cabin, just like wearing a skirt with solar panels, which gets rid of the traditional shape of solar wings. There is also wing structure outside the service module, which can provide aerodynamic stability for the spacecraft in the escape process.
What if something goes wrong during the launch?
At present, the main rocket of SpaceX is Falcon 9 (block 5). This launch is the 57th launch of this type of rocket. So far, the success rate is 100%. But after all, it's a manned launch, and small probability events should also be considered. What if something goes wrong during the launch?
Friends who are familiar with manned spaceflight may notice that there is an escape tower at the top of the Apollo lunar landing rocket and China's Long March 2F manned launch vehicle.
The function of escape tower is to start the escape tower rocket in the initial stage of rocket launch. In case of an accident, the escape tower rocket can be started to take the spacecraft to a safe height and then land. If everything goes well, when the rocket reaches a certain height, the escape tower will separate and then be discarded. The manned version of the Dragon spaceship is equivalent to integrating the escape tower into the ship. What's the advantage of this?