Skip to comments.SpaceX proposes to conduct Dragon splashdowns in Gulf of Mexico
Posted on 04/10/2018 8:31:56 AM PDT by Elderberry
SpaceX is seeking permission to perform splashdowns of its Dragon spacecraft in the Gulf of Mexico, part of a shift in spacecraft recovery operations from the Pacific Ocean.
In a draft environmental assessment prepared by the Federal Aviation Administration, SpaceX proposes to conduct up to six Dragon landings a year in waters off the Gulf coast, between Texas and Florida. The assessment, completed in March, was published in the Federal Register April 5.
According to the report, the Gulf of Mexico would serve as a contingency landing site for both cargo and crewed Dragon missions should the primary landing zone be unavailable. SpaceX currently lands Dragon spacecraft in the Pacific Ocean and has approval to carry out future splashdowns in the Atlantic.
The need for the backup landing zone, the report states, is to ensure the future crewed Dragon spacecraft can return to Earth should there be a problem with the primary landing site. With the introduction of the [commercial crew program], the ability to return crew to Earth in a safe and timely manner is extremely important, particularly in cases where human life or health may be in jeopardy, the report states, adding that the proposal ensures that a secondary splashdown option is available to missions planned to splashdown in either the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans.
The landing site is in waters between 28 and 260 kilometers offshore from the Gulf coast, in waters that are within the U.S. economic exclusion zone, but doesnt specify preferred regions within that area. The site would support missions launched from Florida as well as the launch site SpaceX is developing near Brownsville, Texas.
For those splashdowns, the planned recovery fleet includes one ship, nearly 50 meters long, and several smaller rigid-hulled inflatable boats.
(Excerpt) Read more at spacenews.com ...
The GoM also has the advantage of being a much calmer body of
water than either the Atlantic or Pacific, except, of course during hurricane transit. Of course the same applies to the Atlantic and Pacific.
They have very bright minds and likely a lot of computing power at their disposal, but a re-entry burn executed at the wrong time could send the capsule into west central Florida instead of the GoM.
1st Crewed Dragon is supposed to launch this year.
Well my aerospace loving 13 year old is excited, since we live 5 miles from the Gulf.
There are 175 oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico....
Better look out for oil and gas rigs and deep sea fishing charters..................and the occasional cruise ship..............
GMTA!.......................does that include the Mexican rigs?....................
Cruise ships could offer splashdown viewing tours!
I would think Eglin AFB and Tyndall AFB would put up a big fight over this decision................
What do you mean?
The AF uses huge tracts of the Gulf for testing and training.
They don’t like unnecessary distractions in their areas.
They would definitely not like this one...........
Sometimes the AF gets a little too protective of their areas.
The Santa Rosa County wanted to open up a pass to the Gulf of Mexico from Navarre’s Santa Rosa Sound. It would involve dredging an old pass that used to be there and slowly filled in over the decades. It would be about 100 yards or so long and allow people direct access to the Gulf of Mexico from Navarre and surrounding areas. Otherwise they have to go 20 miles to either east or west ends of Santa Rosa Island to get to the Gulf. It would have been a huge boon to tourism and property values. It would have also provided a flushing out of the dead sound waters with clean Gulf waters.
BUT, since the AF owned the property adjacent to the proposed pass, they objected using their tired excuse, “It would interfere with our mission.” so it was effectively nixed, permanently.
Now, maybe the next hurricane will open it up naturally, as it was a hurricane that created it, and they can’t say a damn thing....................
Yeah, they can fly through or over them, but I think even the USAF would find it will lose an argument with a hurricane!
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