SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule perched on pad ahead of first orbital flight

James Marshall
January 8, 2019

If the uncrewed test flight goes well, and an additional upcoming abort test is passed, SpaceX will have completed a significant milestone in preparing to shuttle astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

The Crew Dragon and its Falcon 9 rocket were rolled out to the historic Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida Thursday, January 3 for a first uncrewed test flight which is scheduled for January 17, hopefully. That schedule, however, may be delayed due to the ongoing partial government shutdown that has shuttered much of the USA space agency.

Indeed, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk hinted that the Crew Dragon test flight, called Demo-1, could fly later than that January 17 target. The first unmanned orbital test flight, however, is "about a month away", according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. That timeline could potentially place the Crew Dragon demonstration flight in early February, though no official schedule change has been announced. That flight was previously scheduled for June of this year.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule gets ready ahead of an uncrewed test flight. "Falcon 9 on launch pad with Crew Dragon & new astronaut walkway", Musk wrote on Sunday. All eyes will be on both companies in 2019 as they inch their way towards their goals, and SpaceX just teased that they're nearly ready to hit a big milestone.

Both companies have fallen behind their original schedules, forcing NASA to continue to rely on Russia's Roscosmos space group in order to keep a steady stream of astronauts on missions to the International Space Station.

SpaceX and Boeing are both behind schedule in their independent efforts to create crewed launch systems that will allow NASA to send astronauts to space from US soil.

SpaceX shared a particularly gorgeous shot of the Falcon 9 against a backdrop of rosy clouds.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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