Spaceflight Insider

NASA confirms NET March 2 for 1st Crew Dragon flight

SpaceX engineers prepare to roll a Falcon 9 with Crew Dragon to Launch Complex 39A. Photo Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX engineers prepare to roll a Falcon 9 with Crew Dragon to Launch Complex 39A. Photo Credit: SpaceX

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — NASA announced Wednesday that SpaceX is targeting no earlier than March 2, 2019, for the first flight of the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The announcement also includes an updated date for the first test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. That flight is targeting no earlier than April.

“These adjustments allow for completion of necessary hardware testing, data verification, remaining NASA and provider reviews, as well as training of flight controllers and mission managers,” NASA said.

Should SpaceX attempt to launch on that day, the liftoff time for the Falcon 9 rocket with the unpiloted Crew Dragon would occur at about 2:45 a.m. EST (7:45 GMT) from Launch Complex 39A.

This matches the recent Federal Communications Commission Special Temporary Authority application applied for by SpaceX on Jan. 30. It referenced an operational start date between March 2 and Sept. 2, 2019.

SpaceX recently performed its customary pre-launch static fire test on the Falcon 9 set to fly the Demo-1 Crew Dragon mission into orbit. Normally, the evaluation is one of the last steps the company performs before conducting a launch.

When it does get off the ground, the Demo-1 mission will send the unpiloted spacecraft to the International Space Station where it will dock and remain attached to for about two weeks.

At the conclusion of its mission, the spacecraft should undock and perform a deorbit burn before descending to the ocean in a parachute-assisted splashdown.

An artist's rendering of Dragon approaching the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA

An artist’s rendering of Dragon approaching the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA

 

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Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a blog about the International Space Station, called Orbital Velocity. He met with members of the SpaceFlight Insider team during the flight of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS-4 satellite. Richardson joined our team shortly thereafter. His passion for space ignited when he watched Space Shuttle Discovery launch into space Oct. 29, 1998. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized his true calling was communicating to others about space. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has worked to increase the quality of our content, eventually becoming our managing editor. @TheSpaceWriter

Reader Comments

Was this caused by the shutdown or is NASA still scrambling keep up with the vendors? Seems like there too many roadblocks coming up

Sadly for Elon, I cannot really forsee Trump watching a launch at 0245 LOL

2HARI – YOU are a dufus……..

This is fantastic news! In a few months USA will again be launching it’s own astronauts via SpaceX and Boeing.

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