SpaceX rolled the Crew Dragon and its Falcon 9 rocket out to the historic Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida Thursday (Jan. 3) for a test flight for NASA targeted for Jan. 17.
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. Musk's tweet indicates the new launch date is being pushed into February.More news: Man arrested after allegedly stealing his roommate's £8M lottery scratchcard
It has been eight years since Atlantis was launched on the last space shuttle from the same pad on July 8, 2011.
But for both SpaceX and NASA, the launch is critical. The Crew Dragon 2 launch will hold a rare burden though-the first time a Falcoln 9 rocket and a Crew Dragon 2 spacecraft are launched together in this configuration. "About a month away from the first orbital test flight of crew Dragon, "Musk wrote on Twitter Saturday (Jan. 5)". The agreement in place with Russian Federation will allow NASA to send crew on Soyuz flights in 2019, but the sooner SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's Starliner spacecrafts are ready for prime time, the better. If the test flights are successful, the first manned flight of the Starship will happen in mid-2020s. The capsule is a crewed updated version of the 2010 SpaceX Dragon cargo ships that have been used to send cargo to the International Space Station - one of them is up there.More news: Only I could have done Gully Boy, says Ranveer Singh
First flights of new space vehicles carry inherent risk.
Spaceflight giant Boeing was also contracted to ferry personnel to low-orbit.More news: Lenovo's Smart Clock is an adorably tiny display with Google Assistant
Aside from the flight schedule, Musk also revealed what the test Starship will look like. Speaking anonymously to Ars, NASA employees said that the sort of hype Musk is building up around even a hypothetical human launch is "not helpful". If all goes well, the space agency anticipates the first crewed mission to take place by summer this year.