NASA and SpaceX seem ready to finally launch the Crew Dragon capsule to the ISS



The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule prepares before an unprepared test flight.

SpaceX

Delays and spaceflight are close companions. NASA pushed back the launch date several times already for the unprepared test flight of the Dragon Crew capsule for SpaceX Demo-1, but new details suggest that March 2 could finally be the time of departure.

NASA shared the details of the mission on Wednesday, including a launch goal at 11:48 am (Pacific time). "The non-equipped test flights will be the first time that a US-designed and commercially operated rocket and spacecraft will be used by the space station," the agency said.

The Crew Dragon capsule will take off with the help of a Falcon 9 rocket and will head to the International Space Station. It is expected to dock at the ISS on March 3 very early in the morning. Although there is no human on board, it will be stocked with 400 pounds of supplies and equipment for the crew.

SpaceX seems ready to undertake this mission for some time. the capsule and Falcon 9 are already in position on the launch pad of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX tweeted a spectacular static shot on Jan. 24, while it was still targeting a launch in February.

The dragon of the crew must spend five days at the ISS, then return to Earth with search samples. If all goes well, the capsule will return to the atmosphere of the Earth and land in the Atlantic Ocean for recovery.

NASA TV will cover pre-launch events starting February 22 and will follow the actual launch on March 2, when there is no more delay.

The launch of Crew Dragon will mark a milestone in NASA Commercial Crew Program, where SpaceX and Boeing are working to bring the launches back to US soil. NASA made trips with the astronaut in the ISS aboard the Russian spacecraft Soyuz.

If Dragon passes his unmanned flight tests, he could be allowed to transport astronauts into space as early as mid-2019 and begin a new era in US spaceflight.


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