SpaceX Astronaut Capsule Test Flight Delayed by One Week

09 February, 2019, 20:53 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • SpaceX Crew Dragon

"NASA's Commercial Crew Program will return human spaceflight launches to USA soil, providing safe, reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit and the space station", the agency said, "on systems that meet safety and performance requirements".

SpaceX, though, has been making progress, including rolling out the Crew Dragon spacecraft atop its Falcon 9 rocket to Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in early January for tests. NASA officials said SpaceX's Demo-2 launch with crew is now slated for July and Boeing's first crew flight test with astronauts is no earlier than August.

The uncrewed demonstration launch of Crew Dragon is now set for March 2 and Starliner will perform a similar launch no earlier than April.

While the schedule for the crewed test flights are little changed from previous schedules, there's an expectation in the industry that those dates, too, will slip depending on when the uncrewed test flights take place and their outcomes. NASA is giving itself just under a month to make sure everything is ready for SpaceX Demo-1 on March 2, so we'll see soon enough if these delays have provided enough time to ensure we're ready for launch.

The first two SpaceX flights will ultimately be "dress rehearsals" for future missions that feature astronauts aboard, according to officials.

"These adjustments allow for completion of necessary hardware testing, data verification, remaining NASA and provider reviews, as well as training of flight controllers and mission managers", they added.

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SpaceX and Boeing each have contracts with NASA to ferry astronauts to and from the space station.

"There still are many critical steps to complete before launch and while we eagerly are anticipating these launches, we will step through our test flight preparations and readiness reviews", said Lueders.

"We are excited about seeing the hardware we have followed through development, integration, and ground testing move into flight".

Astronauts haven't launched to orbit from American soil since July 2011, when NASA retired its space shuttle fleet. An "uncrewed" test is supposed to go down in April.

Now playing: Watch this: NASA taps SpaceX, Boeing to bring space travel back under. The space agency is hoping one or both of the crew capsules will be certified as safe to fly by the end of this year.

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