SpaceX intends to lift off the Red Dragon for unmanned mission to Mars in 2018. The spacecraft will be launched at the Falcon Heavy (FH) space launch.
The mission – a collaboration of SpaceX and NASA – is expected to provide information regarding the general structural composition of Mars.
Elon Musk, SpaceX Chief Executive Officer last week tweeted that they “wouldn’t recommend transporting astronauts” in the Red Dragon’s trip.
Detailed revelation is expected from Musk during the International Astronautical Conference scheduled to take place this summer in Mexico. The CEO however points out that the internal volume of the spacecraft is the size of an SUV.
SpaceX recently carried out tests on the propulsive landing system of Dragon the Super Dracoat the company’s facility in McGregor, Texas with reports indicating that the experiment was a massive success.
Falcon Heavy tests to follow
SpaceX has said that the inaugural launch at the FH is planned for at the end of this year. The first takeoff at Falcon Heavy has been postponed time and again. It was originally scheduled for 2013 before being rescheduled for 2015 and carried over again to April-May 2016. The vehicle’s launch is now not expected to happen earlier than November.
SpaceX will cater for the funding of the mission. However, NASA will provide technical support like the use of Deep Space Network communications.
According to NASA spokesperson Tabatha Thompson, the collaboration is expected to provide precious entry, descending as well as landing information to NASA for journeys to Mars, and at the same time provide support to the American astronomical industry.
NASA has plans to send human beings to Mars in the 2030s and could be acing itself for the commercialization of manned space trips. Private companies have developed impressive manned space capabilities that are currently hard for NASA to replicate, according to Mike Jude, program manager at Frost & Sullivan.