SpaceX test launch of Dragon capsule on 2 March

Ignacio Smith
March 4, 2019

NASA and SpaceX celebrated the successful launch Saturday of a new astronaut capsule on a week-long round trip to the International Space Station - a key step towards resuming manned space flights from United States soil after an eight-year break.

The Dragon capsule is scheduled for launch at 2.49 am EST (that's 1.19 pm IST) on Saturday, 2 March from Florida.

Both SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's Starliner were supposed to conduct their first test flights last August.

The Crew Dragon itself will remain docked to the ISS between March 3 and March 8, before it splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX Crew Dragon
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"Today's successful launch marks a new chapter in American excellence, getting us closer to once again flying American Astronauts on American rockets from American soil", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote Saturday morning.

No one is onboard the craft for the test flight with the exception of a test dummy named Ripley.

Though Demo-1 is astronaut-free, Crew Dragon is carrying one lifeless - but lifelike - passenger, a dummy outfitted with a variety of sensors so scientists can measure the forces exerted on the body during the mission. Some commercial space companies are also considering designs that could carry larger loads.

"I guarantee that not everything will work exactly right".

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SpaceX's new Dragon capsule.

They'll use the Crew Access Arm, which provides a bridge to the spacecraft from the crew access tower at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A.

NASA has referred to initial uncrewed test flights as "dress rehearsals for missions with astronauts aboard the vehicles".

"I really believe in the future of space and I think it's important that we be. out there among the stars". They will have the ability to act as a launch escape system in case the crew needs to abort before or after launch. "Where risk has been retired and markets develop, we want to be a customer".

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"This mission absolutely meets that standard with a creative and cost-effective mission to solve mysteries about Earth's upper atmosphere", said Hertz.

The capsule is created to dock and undock automatically with the space station. Planning has been delayed by around three years, with the first manned SpaceX flight still pencilled in for July, though officials frequently refer to the end of 2019 as a more realistic deadline. Reuters reported on February 21 that SpaceX and Boeing both must address significant design and safety concerns before they can fly humans. From there, the astronauts on board the space station will take over the receiving process.

Beyond technological advancements, the industry experts say the commercial nature of these vehicles indicates industry growth, as well as human spaceflight advancements.

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