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  • We want the exciting things that we see in Sci-Fi,

  • in like Sci-Fi movies and books, we want that to come true one day... 

  • T minus three, two, one, zero... Ignition!

  • In fact I think hardly anyone in the public knows that this is happening

  • Like how do we get this message across: "Hey, really cool stuff's happening, you know, tune in!"

  • Spacex is like no other rocket company.  

  • They're in an unglamorous building in the middle of nowhere, in kind of a industrial zone,  

  • But when you walk into the doors and all of a sudden you see they're making these pristine gorgeous rockets,

  • it feels like you've walked into a factory on another planet.

  • No one has ever really contemplated this in a serious way.

  • In the beginning we thought "This is so crazy, what are we doing trying to come up with something like this?" 

  • And then over time like "Yeah, it can definitely be done!"

  • and now we're just kind of  arguing over the details.

  • I went to Russia to look at buying a refurbished ICBM, which is a very trippy experience

  • it was very bizarre... And when I tell people that they're like: "What?"

  • Musk made three trips to Russia trying to buy an intercontinental ballistic missile called the Dnepr.

  • Turns out the Dnepr was so expensive his idea never flew, So Musk decided that the only way to

  • get an affordable rocket was to build it himself, And he started SpaceX.  

  • The odds of me coming into the rocket business, not knowing anything about rockets, not having ever built anything,

  • I mean I would have to be insane if I thought the odds were in my favor.

  • - How did you get the expertise to be the chief technology officer of a rocket ship company?  

  • - Uhm, well I do have a physics background, that's helpful as a foundation, uhm,

  • and then I read a lot of books and talked to a lot of, a lot of smart people...

  • - You're self-taught? - Yeah.

  • - Well, self-taught, yes, meaning um I didn't, I don't have an aerospace degree.

  • - So how did you go about acquiring the knowledge?

  • - Well uh, I read a lot of books, talked to a lot of people and had a great team.

  • Raw metal comes in and then we build the engines,

  • uh the airframe the electronics, and we integrate all of that together and that's all done more or less under one roof.    

  • - Metal comes in one end of this factory, - Yeah

  • - Spaceships come out the other. - Yes!

  • - You know, there are american heroes who don't like this idea.

  • Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan have both testified against commercial space flight in the way that you're developing it,

  • and I wonder what you think of that?

  • Now is the time to overrule this administration's pledge to mediocrity.

  • - I was very sad to see that, uhm because those guys are, yeah, you know, those guys are heroes of mine, so it's really tough.

  • - They inspired you to do this, didn't they? - Yes

  • - and to see them casting stones in your direction

  • - It's difficult...

  • - But you know like, creating a company is almost like having a child,

  • so it's sort of like, how do you say your child should not have food?

  • - So one once you have the company you have to feed it and announce it

  • - Yeah.

  • and take care of it even if it it ruins you... - Yeah.

  • In 2008 the rocket company is not going well, you've had three failures:  

  • - Right! - The car company is hemorrhaging money... - Yeah!

  • - ... and the american economy has tanked in the worst recession since the great depression. - Right!

  • - What was that year like for you?  

  • - And I'm getting divorced by the way, to add to that.... Uh, that was definitely the worst year of my life

  • But at the age of 37 he hit rock bottom. His first rockets failed to reach orbit, (...)

  • End of 2008: how did you get through that period of crisis? - Yeah...

  • - Can we just break for a second?

  • - I remember waking up the Sunday, uh, before Christmas, in 2008 and thinking to myself

  • that I never thought I was someone who could ever be capable of nervous breakdown uhm ...

  • But I I felt this was the closest I've ever come.

  • Because it seemed pretty, pretty dark. We were running on fumes at that point, we had virtually no money.

  • - So a fourth failure... - A fourth failure would have been absolutely game over...

  • - Done! - Done!

  • - SpaceX bankrupt, ... - Yeah it's bad enough to have three strikes,

  • having four strikes it's really "kaput"!

  • Flight four was flawless, in Musk's world it lit the darkness.

  • (stage separation)

  • The separation confirmed.

  • NASA called and told us that we'd won a one and a half billion dollar contract

  • and I couldn't even hold the phone it's like I just look I just blurted out: "I love you guys!"

  • - They saved you! - Yeah, they did.

  • Only four entities have launched a space capsule into orbit and successfully brought it back:

  • the United States, Russia, China and Elon Musk.

  • But when critics say you can't do this, your answer to them is:... - We've done it!

  • But the big prize is winning the NASA contract to build America's next manned spacecraft and Elon Musk is facing stiff competition.

  • SpaceX is also testing a rocket that can be reused, softly landing on a column of flame.

  • Another step on a longer journey.

  • Just a very tough, uh, engineering problem.

  • In the last 12 months or so I've come to the conclusion that it can be solved, um , and and I think SpaceX is going to try to do it.

  • Falcon 9 is essentially standing on the shoulders of titans, as they like to say in literature.

  • We've built upon a lot of those lessons, the things that NASA has learned... 

  • We've taken that, but used kind of a clean sheet of paper that says:

  • "How can you build a rocket knowing that we want to do things that have not been done before?"

  • After years of designing and testing the Falcon 9,

  • in 2015, SpaceX set out to make history

  • by attempting the first ever landing of a first stage orbital rocket.

  • I've heard it described as you're standing on the top of the Empire State building

  • and you drop a pencil off and you have to land the pencil on its eraser on a postage stamp.

  • Okay, this is bad! This is bad!

  • - It's standing up! - It's standing up!

  • Look at this! Look, it's just sitting there!

  • Look at that! - What? Holy smokes, man!

  • Wow, this thing actually landed intact! Amazing! That was crazy

  • Heavy lift capability is the critical technology

  • needed to enable human missions to Mars  and a reusable heavy lift vehicle is the critical  

  • technology needed to settle Mars.

  • In the need for an urgent abort operator shall call "Hold! Hold! Hold!"

  • on the primary countdown net.

  • Come back secure for T zero 88.3 degrees .

  • Reminder: side booster engine startup is at T-minus seven seconds...

  • SpaceX: Falcon Heavy, go for launch!

  • Three, two, one!

  • Side boosters: MEKO

  • Successful separation!

  • Jesus Christ!

  • Yes, lighten, lighten!

  • Before SpaceX can launch crew, two major milestones must be completed without crew.

  • The first is the "Demonstration 1" mission or Demo 1, in which SpaceX must autonomously fly their crew dragon  

  • capsule to the International Space Station and  back.

  • The second test is called the launch escape test,

  • also known as the "in-flight abort test". If the rocket fails, the dragon capsule's emergency  

  • abort system is triggered ejecting the capsule safely  away from the rocket.

  • Then there is the third and final test called the "Demonstration 2" mission or "Demo 2",

  • which will launch NASA astronauts Bob and Doug to the Space Station.

  • "Demonstration 1" missionor the "Demo 1" mission is an uncrewed flight,

  • we're sending the Dragon autonomously to space station to dock and come home.

  • Today's launch marks the beginning of the crew Dragon Demo 1 mission.

  • This is one of SpaceX's most challenging milestones yet

  • A five-day uncrewed journey to the  International Space Station and back

  • Three, two, one, zero!

  • Ignition, lift-off!

  • You know, you're basically putting  enough energy into the spacecraft such like  

  • the equivalent of a meteor!

  • It's just like it's difficult for people to even comprehend.

  • the first one is going to be the main engine  cut off or MICO, that's when the nine Merlin 1D  

  • engines that you can see on your screen right nowuh, will cut off, shortly before a stage separation.  

  • For the first stage, it starts its engines back  up, it flips itself around and the whole first  

  • stage is re-entering the earth's atmosphere and  slowly making its way back down for a landing on a  

  • drone ship that is out in the Atlantic  ocean.

  • Landing lakes have deployed...

  • and Falcon 9 has landed!

  • After the first stage separation is complete,

  • the Crew Dragon capsule is propelled into orbit by the second stage

  • The second stage is lighting up its  engine and it's taking the Dragon spacecraft into orbit.

  • Once the second stage successfully gets  Dragon into the orbit that it is intended to go,

  • it separates Dragon and moves away.

  • This ispivotal moment, the separation of the second stage from the Dragon capsule is the final step of the launch sequence.

  • Dragon: separation confirmed!

  • It's amazing! This is a game changer!

  • The launch vehicle places it in orbit, that's low earth orbit, it's actually fairly below and behind the

  • International Space Station and it'll perform a number of burns or maneuvers where it'll catch up 

  • to the space station, it's got to match that speed,  

  • and eventually when it catches up to it, it's got  to slow down. Now if it goes too fast, it's going to  

  • go past the speeder, if it doesn't go fast enough  it'll eventually not be able to catch that speeder

  • So it's the same sort of process, this is a fairly  critical operation because this is the first time  

  • this vehicle has ever flown and we want to make  sure it does not collide with the space station.  

  • Ultimately the vehicle is fundamentally flying itself,  

  • but we also have ground control, who's monitoring  it and sending up a certain amount of commands.  

  • There's also a certain amount of access, that  people on the space station they can see what's  

  • happening on Dragon and are in contact  with the ground control at the same time

  • The Crew Dragon Spacecraft uses an automated  system that is able to sense the position of  

  • the space station relative to the capsule, and is  able to guide the capsule into dockless station.  

  • Orientation as expected, vehicles in the corridorperforming review.

  • We stop within about 20 meters of the docking port that's on the International Space Station.

  • 'Hold command' sent!

  • Happy home!

  • Dragon hold confirm!

  • And then the engineers at both NASA and SpaceX review the data from the spacecraft.

  • They talk, they make sure that everything is going according to plan and they're both happy.

  • This is the first time that a commercial vehicle will dock  

  • to the Space Station, it's also the first use  of the international docking adapter, which  

  • is the port on Space Station where commercial  vehicles are going to come up and dock.

  • And so we'll see both sides get used for the first time.

  • - Please command the docking lights are on! - Copy commanding, docking light on!

  • Then Dragon is allowed at that point to autonomously  

  • move forward with the approach and docking to  the space station.

  • Dragon is resuming approach.

  • Mission copy!

  • The Crew Dragon spacecraft uses its  16 Draco thrusters to maneuver into  

  • contact with the space station docking adapter.

  • You've got a dock with the space station and if something goes wrong

  • you're just in the void of space, and you're in a vacuum with nothing...

  • We've got the spacesuits, we've gotlot of backup systems, but it's still...  

  • It's a dicey situation...

  • - Range is decreasing, vehicle is centered. - Copy!

  • The capsule inches in towards the station.

  • - Vehicle's in the corridor, orientation as expected. - Copy!

  • Crew Dragon has a variety of safeties  in place so that should anything  

  • go off nominal the capsule will automatically  retreat and keep the station safe.  

  • All video and overlays, uh, look nominal, all  status fields are showing expected status.  

  • The station crew is ready for docking!

  • This is the first time that a commercial vehicle has autonomously docked to the space station

  • Vehicle mode is approached to docking port.

  • Primary range is decreasing.... Vehicle is centered!

  • Soft capture confirmed!

  • Watching Demo 1 vehicle docked with the space  station was amazing, it was kind of terrifying  

  • and it should be, this is the first time you do  something, you should be pretty worried about how  

  • it's going to go, and it was amazing!

  • Proceeding to open hatch!

  • On behalf of Ripley, little earth, myself and our crew:

  • "Welcome to the Crew Dragon!" Welcome to the new era in space life!  

  • Dragon's stayed docked with the  space station for five days.

  • It takes about six hours for Dragon once  it leaves the space station to come home  

  • and splash down into the Atlantic Ocean.

  • The 16 Draco thrusters are responsible for orienting the vehicle in the correct direction, they fire to slow the vehicle  

  • down to the point that it will come out of  orbit and begin to re-enter the atmosphere.

  • Re-entry is one of the most dangerous points in  the mission, there is no way to stop re-entry once it starts

  • Traveling at about 17 000 miles per  hour, when Dragon hits the atmosphere, its heat  

  • shield will be put to the test as the vehicle  is enveloped in a giant hypersonic fireball.

  • The atmosphere does the majority of the work to slow the vehicle down to a few hundred miles per hour.  

  • Now that the heat shield has passed  its test and Dragon has safely slowed  

  • to below the speed of sound, it's ready to deploy  its parachutes, which is the final step of re-entry.

  • Key NASA and SpaceX officials have gathered in  firing room four, also known as launch control,  

  • at the Kennedy Space Center. They will oversee  today's critical in-flight abort test.

  • If this test fails, the Crew Dragon program will suffer  a major design setback.

  • Now as a reminder, the ground is not commanding this abort it's up to the onboard computers to determine when to trigger the  

  • launch escape and do all the functions afterwardOnce Dragon does trigger the launch escape, the  

  • first event will be commanding Falcon 9 to shut  down its nine Merlin engines.

  • Now as Marie and I mentioned earlier, Dragon will then separate from the Falcon using its eight super Draco engines  

  • firing for about eight seconds, that carries Dragon  capsule with the trunk up and away from Falcon.  

  • Now once they finish firing the Super Dracos  we coast, we jettison the trunk at apogee,

  • we reorient the capsule to come back for entry  into the earth's atmosphere,

  • we deploy about two minutes after apogee the drogue chutes and aboutminute after that the four main parachutes will be released.

  • Dragon will then splash down softly into  the Atlantic Ocean, about 35 kilometers offshore.

  • Parachutes are way hotter than they look, if you  go back and look at the Apollo program they had  

  • people quitting over how hard the parachutes  were.

  • Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two

  • one! - Green lights, green lights, green lights!

  • We almost had people quit at SpaceX  over how hard the parachutes were.

  • Touchdown!

  • Take a quick look now at Crew Dragon, it stands  almost 27 feet tall from the bottom of the trunk  

  • to the top of the nose cone, and Crew Dragon is  composed of two main elements:

  • the capsule, that top portion is designed to hold crew and pressurized cargo and it has an unpressurized section known  

  • as the trunk, that's down below. For today's test  much of the exciting work is going to be done by  

  • the Dragons eight Super Draco engines we talked  about built directly into the capsule.  

  • Falcon 9 is in startup, Dragon is in countdown! FTS is armed, go for launch!

  • Three, two, one, zero. Ignition: Lift off!

  • When you watch a launch  abort test you're wondering  

  • has everything been done to get this vehicle  ready for an end-to-end test in one of the  

  • most stressful and dynamic scenarios you  can imagine for spaceflight?

  • Approximately 10 seconds after the  abort was triggered by ground control,  

  • the Crew Dragon capsule jettisoned away. The  force of the ejection made the rocket unstable  

  • and it exploded,

  • but the Dragon  capsule was already safely a mile away.

  • Our parachutes are triggered and deployed  when the capsule reaches the correct altitude,  

  • and so at high altitude it will deploy the drogue parachutes,