SpaceX says manned flight to space station will launch next year

James Marshall
August 17, 2018

The astronauts' presence augurs a significant point in the future of SpaceX, founded by Musk in 2002 with the goal of making space accessible to large numbers of people, and eventually colonising Mars.

"We are not going to fly until we are ready to fly safely".

The SpaceX spacesuit to be worn by NASA astronauts who will travel to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule is displayed during a media tour Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Now it will be American astronauts on American rockets launched from American soil.

The mockup model gives a good idea of what the completed spacecraft should look like by the end of the year.

The cockpit features an overhead control panel and four round windows for the astronauts to watch the Blue Planet shrink below them at a rapid pace.

The Q&A took place in front of the clean room containing the Crew Dragon that will carry Behnken and Hurley to and from orbit next year.

SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell, NASA Astronauts Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover, and Director of Crew Mission Management Benji Reed talk after addressing reporters in front of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, under construction in a clean room, during a media tour of SpaceX headquarters and rocket factory on August 13, 2018 in Hawthorne, California.

Mr Hurley said: "Being able to fly the first flight of a vehicle as a test pilot is a once-a-generational type of opportunity".

"But I would also say that we've got a lot of work left to do". In the background is the first SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket first stage ever to successfully land during an orbital mission.

"Normally the flight computers would initiate such a manoeuvre, but the prominence of the escape system handle underlines its importance".

The first test trip will be held in November but without a crew to receive the endorsement of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

"I'm overjoyed. This truly is a test pilot's dream and I'm excited about the whole thing", said NASA astronaut Victor Glover.

NASA launched program in 2010 to replace its (now-retired) space shuttle fleet with privately developed American spacecraft - and stop paying Russian Federation more and more money to fly astronauts to the International Space Station.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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