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?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 8th post here, but unsourced. forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45485.0 $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Dec 5 '19 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 '19 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ Would be very interested in an answer to this question. Anyone? $\endgroup$ – Alex Jun 11 at 8:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.