Article image NASA greenlights SpaceX crew capsule test to ISS

NASA gives go-ahead for SpaceX commercial crew test flight

NASA to Work With Russia on Concerns Over Planned Crew Dragon Flight to ISS

After a flight readiness review Friday, NASA and SpaceX have made a decision to proceed with plans to conduct Demo-1, the first uncrewed test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS). But the capsule will still fly to the International Space Station, following its planned March 2 liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida. That mission, Demo-2, is scheduled for no earlier than July, a schedule that will depend on what work will be needed to respond to issues discovered during the Demo-1 test.

Gerstenmaier added, however, that the review yielded plans to look further at the Crew Dragon's software, specifically at how it functions while the capsule approaches the ISS.

"After a day of briefings and discussions, NASA and SpaceX proceed with plans to conduct the first test flight of the Dragon Crew without crew on the worldwide space station", NASA said in a statement.

There will be no crew for the Demo-1 flight of Crew Dragon.

Space X has been making space station shipments since 2012.

An artist’s impression of a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on final approach to the International Space Station
An artist’s impression of a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on final approach to the International Space Station

Demo-1 will be followed by a crewed test flight carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.

A Falcon 9 rocket will be used to launch Crew Dragon. "It's great that we're getting ready to go do this". "We expect to learn some things".

A Falcon 9 rocket from the private US-based SpaceX is scheduled to lift off, weather permitting, on March 2 to take the Crew Dragon test capsule to the ISS.

Assuming no major problems develop - and assuming an in-flight abort test goes well this spring - astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley hope to blast off in a Crew Dragon this summer to kick off the first launch of USA astronauts aboard an American-made rocket from US soil since the shuttle program ended in July 2011. The agreement with Russian Federation to fly crews on Soyuz will end in 2019.

The final now contracted U.S. Soyuz flight is scheduled for launch in July. Its first Starliner demo is in April. Given the ever-present possibility of unexpected problems with the commercial crew ships, NASA is studying an option of purchasing two additional Soyuz seats, one for use in the fall and the other next spring. Boeing won a $4.2 billion contract to build the CST-100.

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