SpaceX's Dragon uses a nosecone to protect the docking port during ascent. The size of this nosecone can be seen in this image from today's launch, CRS-19.

The nosecone seems very large. 1/3 of the capsule's height large. And yet, it separates while the second stage engine is firing, which is pressing it into the capsule with a lot of force and (you'd think) would prevent such a thing.

We know SpaceX shun explosive separation systems, but what sort of hydraulic mechanisms are they using to overcome the force of the second stage and push the nosecone away? It can't be a simple pusher, as the Dragon would quickly accelerate into it and that would cause many problems. So what do they do?

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    $\begingroup$ 8th post here, but unsourced. forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45485.0 $\endgroup$ Dec 5, 2019 at 20:51
  • $\begingroup$ I have vague recollection of a piston being mentioned during a webcast but I'm not sure $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Dec 5, 2019 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ Would be very interested in an answer to this question. Anyone? $\endgroup$
    – user36480
    Jun 11, 2020 at 8:34


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