Tesla products influencing the design of SpaceX’s Space Capsules

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SpaceX in competition with Russia for NASA’s business

Pavithra Mohan, Assistant Editor, Fast Company Digital, in her article, “Take a Look inside SpaceX’s Spiffy New Space Capsule” Fast Feed, September 11, 2015 shares some great photos of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon.  It includes two short videos.

Crew Dragon was designed from the outset to carry people and it shares a lot of DNA with Tesla Motors’ EVs. Its sparse black and white detailing is an example (see picture below):

SpaceX_Crew_Dragon_1_150913
Courtesy, SpaceX

Large monitoring displays remind us of the 17″ LCD display on the Tesla Model S:

SpaceX_Crew_Dragon_3_150913
Courtesy, SpaceX
SpaceX_Crew_Dragon_2_150913
Courtesy, SpaceX

NASA has been key to SpaceX’s success to date. NASA has funded the Crew Dragon (70-80%) and is SpaceX’s largest customer.

Value Innovations’ has generated strawman Value Curves for space capsules:

SpaceX_Crew_Dragon_VCs_150913
Source: Value Innovations, Inc. using Slalom(R) software

SpaceX is in competition with Russia’s Soyuz space capsules. The latest Soyuz, the MS, is expected to fly in 2016.  We have very limited understanding of the value that will be delivered by the MS, so please take the “Green Curve” as an estimate, nothing more.  In her article, “Inside the Dragon with Elon Musk,” Susan Karlin shared that SpaceX was delivering capsules to NASA at 33% the cost of the Soyuz, so we have some confidence in the values displayed for the MS and Crew Dragon “As Is” on price.

Upgrades incorporated in the Soyuz MS Space Capsule reported on Wikipedia:

According to Wikpedia, Soyuz MS is the final planned upgrade of the Soyuz spacecraft. Its maiden flight is expected to happen in 2016. Major upgrades include:

  1. More efficient solar panels
  2. Modified docking and attitude control engine positions for redundancy during docking and de-orbit burns
  3. New Kurs NA approach and docking system which is half the weight and consumes a third of the power of previous system
  4. New TsVM-101 computer, about one tenth the weight (8.3 kg vs. 70 kg) and much smaller than the previous Argon-16 computer
  5. Unified digital command/telemetry system to relay telemetry via satellite, and control spacecraft when out of sight of ground stations; also provides the crew with position data when out of ground tracking range
  6. GLONASS/GPS and Cospas-Sarsat satellite systems for more accurate location during search/rescue operations after landing

Want to learn more?

Pravithra Mohan, Fast Feed, “Take a look inside SpaceX’s Spiffy New Space Capsule”

Susan Karlin, Co.CREATE, “Inside the Dragon with Elon Musk.”

Soyuz Spacecraft – Wikipedia

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4 Responses

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