Spaceflight Insider

SpaceX Demo Flight 1 could slip to March

SpaceX has applied for an FCC license that suggests the first, unmanned flight of SpaceX's crew-rated Dragon spacecraft will not launch until March. Image Credit: NASA

SpaceX has applied for an FCC license that suggests the first, unmanned flight of SpaceX’s crew-rated Dragon spacecraft will not launch until March. Image Credit: NASA

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — The world is on the edge of its seat waiting for the first flight of a crew-rated Dragon spacecraft. It appears it will have to wait a little longer.

An FCC for Special Temporary Authority (STA) which was applied for on Wednesday Jan. 30, 2019, suggests that SpaceX will attempt the maiden flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft (in an uncrewed capacity) no earlier than March 2.

The Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket selected for this mission was erected at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in January. This does not mean a launch date is set in stone. In fact, Demonstration Mission 1 has had no fewer than 14 postponements. An array of factors can come in play to see a flight delayed. 

The request states the following:

“This STA is necessary for Dragon2 capsule telemetry, tracking, and command, for the upcoming SpaceX Commercial Crew vehicle demonstration mission to the International Space Station. The launch and re-entry licensing authority is the FAA. Launch is also to be coordinated with the Eastern Range. On-orbit rendezvous with the ISS is to be coordinated with the NASA.

“The reason for the application of this document is listed as follows: STA is required for capsule communications for SpaceX Commercial Crew vehicle demonstration mission to the ISS.”

The operation start date is listed as being March 2, 2019, and it closes on the same day in September. This latest revision to the launch date was also noted on

SpaceX checked out the nine Merlin 1D engines located in the rocket’s first stage on Thursday, Jan. 24 during a static fire test. This is one of the final milestones that SpaceX conducts before a flight.

SpaceFlight Insider has reached out to SpaceX for confirmation of a launch delay from the previous date of Feb. 23 to NET March 2. As of this posting we have not received a response. Should one be provided, we will update the article accordingly.




Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

Reader Comments

Why; did the spaceX Crew Dragon delayed ?? WHY??? i AM ANGRY!!!! I DON’T WANT TO DELAYED ENOUGH!!!!

For an example of the level of understanding average SpaceX fans have of how complicated actual space exploration is please review the comment above.

Bob is just expressing his frustration at the delays. We cannot infer his own knowledge of engineering research, never mind extrapolate to the understanding of an average SpaceX fan.

Soyuz MS-12 launches 3 new crew to ISS on February 28, so it’s not really rocket science Bob.

I have just learned that MS-12 may also slip into mid-March. So may be Bob has a point LOL

Why is the FCC/FAA (whoever it is) delaying it? The documentation or statement doesn’t seem to clarify why. Was the shutdown so bad on the bureaucracy they need time to reboot themselves? That delay could be fatal, due to the re-shutdown possibly coming.

Bob sounds like a cavemen expressing his knowledge on a subject he heard about 5 minutes ago. In other words, the average SpaceX fan. I can infer whatever I want. SpaceX fans act like a pack of rabid attack dogs. They shouldn’t expect a lot of sympathy when they sound like morons (especially when they post a comment on the internet). Given what we’ve seen from the SpaceX crowd chiding me for calling one of them on it is hypocritical. I doubt you’d have done the same if the roles were reversed and the subject was some other space company experiencing a delay.

SpaceX fans are awful. We’ve all seen it but, according to you, we can’t say anything about it? If they can’t take it they shouldn’t be dishing it out. Now that we’ve established that you’re condescending arrogant and wrong go back and consider what you’ve done.

Suddenly the FAA files an STA at this stage? This should have been done month’s ago when SpaceX was approved for the Demo1 launch by by NASA. This looks like a “deep state” move to delay and postpone Space X. The exploration of space used to be the exclusive purview of government. There is resentment to upstart private companies outshining the government. Boing is part of the “military industrial complex” and is scheduled to teat the Starliner later this year. If Space X goes first , they get all the glory. So…….delay the test launch until Boing launches Starliner.

Albert Tennyson

Read Bob’s posts about this story on Facebook. This isn’t someone expressing his frustration this guy is a mental patient.

Why encourage trolls and nitwits by reacting to their posts?

Albert Tennyson

I came here after I saw Bobs CAPS rant. I wanted to see what the fuss was. You’re right, I shoulda just ignored him but they were just so bizarre.

I also was wondering if SpaceX Crew Dragon delays were in any way instituted to give Boeing time to catch up or maybe even go first?

SpaceX was ready to fly last December. NASA had to tip the scales in favor of Boeing via bureaucracy. Legacy space systems providers are accustomed too and dependent upon such actions.

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