Tuesday, February 28th
2:00 PM

A Perspective on the Design and Development of the SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Heatshield

Daniel J. Rasky, NASA Ames Research Center

2:00 PM

In December, 2010, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully orbited, re-entered and recovered their Dragon spacecraft, on an almost “picture perfect” first full mission. Earlier in 2009, SpaceX, announced the passing of a significant technical milestone with the successful arc jet testing of a their new high performance heat shield material, called PICA-X, which provided the primary (forebody) thermal protection for Dragon.

In 2008 and 2009, Dr. Rasky worked closely with SpaceX on the Dragon heatshield design and also developing the ability to manufacture PICA-X. The “X” stands for the SpaceX-developed variants that have several improved properties and greater ease of manufacture than the original PICA used on Stardust. Dr. Rasky will discuss and describe a number of his perspectives and observations from his experience working with SpaceX, including some of the stark contrasts from his 20 years working at NASA.