Musk’s SpaceX and NASA target February for key demo-1 flight

James Marshall
January 13, 2019

NASA and SpaceX are continuing to work on the activities leading toward the Demo-1, uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station. Musk shared a photograph of the Falcon 9 on launch pad 39A with the Crew Dragon and a brand-new walkway that astronauts will walk down to board the craft in future crewed launches.

Crew Dragon was previously set to head to orbit on January 7, but that date was reset for January 17. "We are grateful for everything they have accomplished and their commitment to SpaceX's mission".

In just about a month, SpaceX's first Crew Dragon spacecraft might launch for the first time on an uncrewed orbital test flight to the International Space Station, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stated on Jan 5 on Twitter. NASA did not specify a new target date, but it says SpaceX and NASA are still completing hardware testing and joint reviews.

After sharing the approximate launch window on Twitter, Musk added in a later tweet that the Crew Dragon's first flights will be "especially unsafe, as there's a lot of new hardware". While not explicitly stated, the ongoing partial government shutdown, which has furloughed about 95 percent of NASA's civil servant workforce since December 22, likely also played a role because personnel needed for reviews and other mission support are not working.

SpaceX has a number of major launches coming this year, too, including two of its mega Falcon Heavy rockets and the launch of its own satellites, Starlink, which are meant to provide high-speed broadband Internet across the globe.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon is one of the spacecraft that NASA will eventually use to ferry astronauts into space, but it's not quite there yet. DM-2 is scheduled for launch in June according to schedules most recently updated in November, prior to the latest delays in DM-1. That will be followed by a flight carrying NASA astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu Mann, and Boeing test pilot Chris Ferguson, in August 2019.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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