Thursday afternoon, SpaceX, Kennedy Space Center in Florida, conducted a hot test of the Falcon 9 rocket that will carry out its first crew demonstration mission. This flight will not carry crew members but will serve as a launch launch test, the Crew Dragon spacecraft, and the company's ability to safely attach the vehicle to the International Space Station.
More than two hours after the 1
The rocket launcher on Thursday, which will now be brought back from the launch site to the horizontal integration of the SpaceX Facility on the Florida website, is nevertheless a significant step forward for SpaceX and NASA.
Usually such shooting takes place one to two weeks before launching a missile. NASA and SpaceX have not yet confirmed the launch date of the mission. The current, public no earlier than the date of flight date is February 16, but the sources point out to Ars that in terms of internal planning, the current date of NET is 23 February.
The start date is determined, officials of the company and the space agency must give the mission a green light during the final review process. These reviews will continue despite the government's partial exclusion, as key NASA staff assigned to the merchant crew program continues to work unpaid in support of the flight.
The rocket, of course, is an important part of the mission of the commercial crew. However, for these flights, the substantially modified piece of hardware is the spacecraft, a significantly modernized version of the Dragon SpaceX vehicle used to supply the space station in 2012.
In addition to life support systems which can support seven astronauts, the Crew Dragon has several key enhancements that need to be tested on space flights such as solar panels embedded in the spacecraft rather than panels expanded by panels. over the next few months, reviewing missile and spacecraft data before moving to a second crew demonstration flight. This mission may well be in July, but it is more likely that NASA astronaut Doug Hurley and Bob Benken will be flying later in the summer or early autumn.