Monday, June 07, 2010

SpaceX to vertical land the Dragon

I had heard on various blogs that Elon Musk mentioned the integration
of the launch escape system into the Dragon capsule again on the
teleconference. I had heard that he even mentioned that using those
same engines the Dragon could one day land like Soyuz does... on land.

But only today did I actually hear what he said myself, and I think
he said a lot more than was reported.

The Falcon 9 flight 1 teleconference [some weird echo at the beginning]

36m34s in:

"Really the significant development item is the launch escape system. I think we've got a very exciting architecture, a new architecture, that hasn't been done before for a launch escape system - which is to build the launch escape engines into the side wall of the capsule. So instead of having sort of this tractor tower that gets discarded about half way through launch, you have these built-in escape engines that are always with you all the way through orbit. And so you have launch escape for a much longer period of time. Through the entire flight as opposed to less than half the flight. You also don't have to worry about discarding the launch escape tower on every mission as you do, for example, in the Ares/Orion approach or historically with the Apollo program or the way the Russians and the Chinese do it. It's certainly a way to do it, but it requires a successful separation of the escape system on every flight, even a
flight that goes perfectly."

Ok, nothing we haven't heard before (there was an interview with CNBC where Musk said basically the same stuff.. ), but then the new stuff:

37m40s in:

"And the other advantage of having the engines built into the Dragon spacecraft is that we can in the future land propulsively using those same engines, on land - just as the Eagle landed on the Moon - and I think that's really the right way to land a spaceship, and that's what we intend to do."

as God and Robert Heinlein intended.. :)

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