SPACEX: Draco thruster completes qualification testing

by | Apr 23, 2009 | Seradata News | 3 comments

SpaceX press release
Precision rocket engine to control Dragon spacecraft on approach to International Space Station

McGregor, Texas (March XX, 2009) – Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully completed a rigorous qualification of its new Draco spacecraft thruster and Draco propulsion tank at the SpaceX Test Facility in McGregor, Texas

The Draco thruster test series included 42 firings with over 4,600 pulses of varying lengths and was performed in a vacuum test chamber to simulate the space environment.  The series resulted in a total firing time of over 50 minutes on a single thruster.

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, recently selected by NASA as part of their Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract to carry cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and return cargo to Earth, utilizes 18 Draco thrusters to provide precision control in orbit and while approaching the ISS. 

“The Draco thrusters allow Dragon to maneuver in close proximity to the ISS in preparation for berthing or docking,” said Tom Mueller VP Propulsion, SpaceX. “Maximum control during these procedures is critical for the safety of the station and its inhabitants.”

Draco thrusters generate approximately 90 pounds of thrust using storable propellants with long on-orbit lifetimes. The use of these propellants provides the option for a crew-carrying Dragon spacecraft to remain berthed at the ISS for up to a year.

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to make its first flight in 2009 as part of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. Under COTS, SpaceX will demonstrate the Falcon 9 / Dragon system’s ability to approach, berth, and transport cargo to and from the ISS. Following the demonstration of these capabilities, SpaceX will fly twelve cargo flights to the ISS for NASA’s CRS contract. 

Falcon 9, SpaceX’s medium lift rocket, is scheduled for its inaugural flight later this year from SpaceX’s launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

About Rob Coppinger

Rob Coppinger is a recovering powerpoint user and engineer who mistakenly thought journalism was more glamorous than production engineering. He Read more

T+1 as Hyperbola launches itself far, far above the blogosphere

All things spaceflight industry get linked too and commented on in Hyperbola, the new blog from Flight's technical reporter Rob Read more

On-orbit propellant fever!!

Hyperbola is a technology orientated spaceflight blog from Flight technical reporter Rob Coppinger.

NASA gives public a new Dawn

Hyperbola is a technology orientated blog by flight technical reporter Rob Coppinger

While you’re waiting for that next Shuttle launch…

Hyperbola is a technology orientated spaceflight blog by Flight's technical reporter Rob Coppinger

Romania in space

Hyperbola is a technology orientated spaceflight blog by Flight technical reporter Rob Coppinger

Sputnik week’s first few news bites

Hyperbola is a technology orientated spaceflight blog by Flight technical reporter Rob Coppinger

Fifty years after Sputnik is space access for everyone still a distant dream?

Hyperbola is a technology orientated spaceflight blog by Flight's technical reporter Rob Coppinger

Categories

Archives