NASA astronauts Doug Hurley took over handbook management of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on Saturday, shortly after the car’s historic first launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Crew Dragon is designed to fly completely autonomous all through the total length of its missions, together with automated docking, de-orbit and touchdown procedures, nevertheless it has handbook management methods in case something ought to go mistaken and the astronauts need to take over. This check is the primary time the handbook controls have been utilized in house, and is a key a part of certifying Crew Dragon for repeatedly operational human flight.
Astronaut Bob Behnken and Hurley eliminated their trendy SpaceX house fits simply earlier than Hurley accomplished the handbook maneuvers, which can also be a part of the plan. They’re in a position to go with out the fits within the pressurized cabin throughout its transit to the ISS, solely needing to place them again on for house station docking, and the inside of Crew Dragon truly gives them a good quantity of room to maneuver round in. This additionally makes it simpler for them to function the spacecraft controls.
The handbook maneuver testing together with Hurley going by means of the method of utilizing the spacecraft’s touchscreen controls to place the capsule into what’s known as LVLH (native vertical native horizontal ) angle, utilizing Earth as a reference navigation level. That principally means placing Dragon in the identical orientation as an airplane flying over Earth, with the planet positioned ‘beneath’ the Dragon because it flies. The check includes notifying the flight pc to not take over as Hurley conducts the maneuvers, however doesn’t contain truly finalizing the management orders by sending them to the flight pc, since it will likely be the one truly finishing the automated flight and docking course of.
Hurley will conduct two exams through the mission, the one he simply did known as a “far-field” flight check as a result of it’s distant from the ISS, and one known as the “near-field” check which will likely be performed once they’re nearer to the station.
You can truly check out the handbook management system that Behnken and Hurley used your self – no spaceship required. All you want is a browser, and this ISS Docking Simulator created and launched by SpaceX. It’s a bit tough, however not as exhausting as you would possibly assume due to an intuitive management interface design.