Thursday, 21 March, 2019

SpaceX, NASA Launch Crew Dragon on Crucial Test Flight to Space Station

The capsule is expected to reach the International Space Station on Sunday The capsule is expected to reach the International Space Station on Sunday
Cary Marshall | 03 March, 2019, 14:27

The excitement level was high because SpaceX and NASA understand the significance of this test for crew flights-success here will allow astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to launch into space later this year or early in 2020 on a Crew Dragon spacecraft. This test flight without crew on board the spacecraft is meant to demonstrate SpaceX's capabilities to safely and reliably fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

The rocket blasted off without incident at 2:49 am from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, lighting up Florida's coastline.

In 2014, NASA signed contracts with private companies SpaceX and Boeing to create a manned spacecraft and ensure the delivery of astronauts to the ISS. It's expected to parachute into the Atlantic Ocean, which will be a couple of hundred miles off Florida's coast.

The first-stage booster used Saturday landed on a floating platform in the Atlantic, following liftoff. Hitching a ride on a Russian Soyuz rocket costs roughly $80 million per seat, compared to the $51 million cost to fly on a SpaceX or Boeing vehicle.

Keeping its options open, the United States space agency in 2014 awarded contracts to both SpaceX and Boeing for them to take over this task.

"We're going to take it day by day", Bridenstine said of the timeline. Soyuz tickets have skyrocketed over the years; NASA now pays $82 million per seat.

Planning has been delayed by around three years, with the first manned SpaceX flight still penciled in for July, though officials frequently refer to the end of 2019 as a more realistic deadline.

All this particular mission is carrying is a test dummy and 90kg of supplies.

More news: Amazon reportedly plans to launch new grocery chain

The capsule won't carry humans in this test trip.

The capsule is now in orbit, while the Falcon 9 safely landed on one of the drone ships in the Atlantic.

The Falcon rocket is the same vehicle the company uses to loft cargo to the International Space Station and to put satellites in orbit. The agency's influence shapes various aspects of third-party planning, including design, safety, and funding, under its Commercial Crew Program.

For employees of SpaceX-who have worked to bring Crew Dragon to fruition for most of the last decade-Saturday morning's launch proved cathartic.

"Early on, our goal was human spaceflight", he said.

SpaceX's new Dragon capsule successfully docked on the International Space Station on Sunday, NASA and SpaceX confirmed during a live broadcast of the mission.

"We are ready to learn by flying".

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