SpaceX Is About a Month Away From First Crew Dragon Demo Flight

first_img SpaceX is about a month away from launching its first commercial crew mission, according to Elon Musk.The company founder and CEO on Saturday announced the upcoming “first orbital test flight” of its Crew Dragon spacecraft.The ship—currently sitting pretty atop a Falcon 9 rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida—is strictly for demonstration purposes; there will be no humans aboard this voyage.Still, the mission will be “extremely intense,” Musk tweeted over the weekend. “Early flights are especially dangerous, as there’s a lot of new hardware.” ESA Satellite Avoids Potential Collision With SpaceX Starlink CraftSpaceX’s Starhopper Aces Final Test Flight in Texas Stay on targetcenter_img Sorry, to be clear, this pic is all real. Nothing rendered.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 6, 2019Partner NASA has been holding out hope for an early January launch. But technical issues (not to mention a partial government shutdown) are causing a delay of what many are calling a “critical” mission.Success would put SpaceX on track to becoming the first private aerospace firm to launch humans into space. And it would give NASA a leg up in sending astronauts to the International Space Station.“First flights of new space vehicles can carry inherent risk,” Wayne Hale, a consultant and member of NASA’s Advisory Council, told Ars Technica. “Test is better but has limitations, too.Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon (via SpaceX)“It is never possible to test the entire integrated system in the complete flight environment,” he continued. “Ground tests and partial environment tests provide some confidence, but there is no test like an actual flight.”SpaceX isn’t going in blind, though. Rockets from the Falcon 9 family have been launched nearly 70 times over nine years, boasting a 97 percent success rate. The rocket’s first-stage boosters have been recovered in 32 of 39 landing attempts.Just last month, the company sent its reusable Falcon 9 booster on its third flight to space.More on Completes First US National Security Space MissionNASA Administrator Publicly Admonishes Elon MuskDespite Deadly Prospects, Elon Musk Wants to Go to Marslast_img

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