Astronomy and Space News - Astro Watch: SpaceX Gets Green Light for Demo-1 Flight Test to ISS

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Monday, February 25, 2019

SpaceX Gets Green Light for Demo-1 Flight Test to ISS

This illustration depicts SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credits: SpaceX

SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft remains on track for her maiden flight to the International Space Station (ISS) in March, known as Demo-1, following a green light from the key Flight Readiness Review (FRR) on Friday. The Agency Level FRR meeting was the final review stage from all relevant elements involving SpaceX, NASA Commercial Crew and the ISS program, with the milestones now progressing towards a SpaceX Launch Readiness Review (LRR) a few days prior to the March 2 target.

“SpaceX, International Space Station Program, and Commercial Crew Program managers reviewed the work their teams have done to be ready for the Demo-1 launch. They went through snapshots of various items reviewed and closed to meet requirements for the flight test,” noted NASA.

“The board had a good discussion with the SpaceX, Commercial Crew and Station engineering communities regarding the flight plan and redundancies built into the spacecraft systems and procedures. They additionally discussed how the data from this flight test that will be important for the next flight of Crew Dragon with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley aboard.”

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 2:48 a.m. EST Saturday, March 2, for the launch of the company’s uncrewed Demo-1 flight, which will be the first time a commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft designed for humans will launch to the space station. The launch, as well as other activities leading up to the launch, will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock to the space station at approximately 5:55 a.m. Sunday, March 3.

This will be the first uncrewed flight test of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and will provide data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking and landing operations. 

The flight test also will provide valuable data toward NASA certifying SpaceX’s crew transportation system for carrying astronauts to and from the space station. SpaceX’s Demo-2 test flight, which will fly NASA astronauts to the space station, is targeted to launch in July.

Following each flight, NASA will review performance data to ensure each upcoming mission is as safe as possible. After completion of all test flights, NASA will continue its review of the systems and flight data for certification ahead of the start of regular crewed flights to the space station.

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