It is known, Crew Dragon is part of NASA’s commercial crew program worth USD 8 billion, which is intended to restore the agency’s ability to launch humans to the International Space Station (ISS). For information, NASA suspended the space shuttle program in July 2011 and since then, they have always sent astronauts to the Russian spacecraft, Soyuz.
SpaceX Dragon Trial
There were no crew members on this Dragon trial flight. Instead the female mannequin became a ‘sacrifice’ in this mission as quoted from Business Insider, Saturday (03/02/2019). The doll is named after Ellen Ripley, the main character in the movie Alien.
Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX Vice President for Development and Development said in a press conference session that the doll was equipped with outerwear.
“It has many sensors. We call it a smart person and his name is Ripley,” Koenigsmann said.
The selection of mannequins in Crew Dragon test flights to the ISS is not without reason, SpaceX does not want to take a big risk by betting on someone’s life.
NASA said that Ripley is an Anthropomorphic Test Device (ATD) that allows it to monitor sudden changes in gravity. If the power is too strong, this astronaut from Crew Dragon can pass or even get hurt.
Ripley’s body also has sensors that can regulate temperature, listen to dangerous noise levels, and ensure the spacecraft crew doesn’t vibrate too much at any point in its mission.
“Just as you do car testing, it will measure all responses. Ideally, the entire environment will be very soft and easy, but we know that when you land under a parachute, landing can be difficult,” said Commercial Crew Program Manager Nasa Kathryn Lueders.
After returning to land on Earth, engineers will enter data recorded on Ripley’s sensors to model Crew Dragon’s condition in the later real mission.