NASA, SpaceX "GO" For Crew Dragon Test Launch To Space Station

Olive Hawkins
February 28, 2019

NASA recently performed a full test of the ship's systems known as a Flight Readiness Review and cleared the mission, known as Demo-1, to proceed. There will only be one "passenger" aboard this mission, a test dummy wearing a spacesuit and packed with sensors.

The organization has given SpaceX the green light to launch a test flight to the International Space Station for the first unmanned test of the Crew Dragon capsule. Officers gave the inexperienced mild after conducting a security assessment.

Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for NASA Human Exploration and Operations, stated that NASA fully expect to gather data and learn something from the demo launch of the spacecraft.

An exceptional quantity of labor has gone into guaranteeing the capsule doesn't endanger the area station and its three occupants because it pulls up and docks, Gerstenmaier stated. It will remain at the orbiting lab just under a week before aiming for a splashdown in the Atlantic off Florida. Radiation screens and providers are going up, and science samples and used gear are coming down.

"It's a really big deal for SpaceX", said Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of the company founded by billionaire Elon Musk. The agency is looking to expand its relationship with private companies to complete not only ISS refueling missions but other research projects too.

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Then in July, two NASA astronauts will board the SpaceX rocket module for the first manned flight into orbit. Officials stressed much work remains to be done, with problems possibly solved through redesign, before the capsule is qualified to carry humans.

It would be the first launch of NASA astronauts from USA soil in eight years, since NASA's shuttle program ended.

SpaceX is targeting summer to put humans on the crew dragon - the first time astronauts will launch from the USA since the end of the shuttle program in 2011. It costs NASA $80 million per seat to fly its astronauts to the ISS aboard Soyuz. The flight will launch on Saturday, March 2 at 2:48 a.m. ET (Friday, March 1, 11:48 p.m. PT). NASA does not want recycled boosters for these crew capsule missions. SpaceX plans to conduct a high-altitude launch abort in April, reusing this same capsule.

Boeing is also in the commercial race to transport space station astronauts.

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