SpaceX no-load test is delayed

Federico Mansilla
Febrero 9, 2019

SpaceX test fired the engines of a Falcon 9 rocket last month at the Kennedy Space Center's historic pad 39A to clear the way for the first test flight of the company's Crew Dragon astronaut ferry ship. The way things look right now, if the demonstration flight goes well, officials say two NASA astronauts will take a test flight in July aboard the SpaceX capsule, according to the Associated Press.

Boeing's first uncrewed test flight of its CST-100 Starliner vehicle, previously scheduled for March, is now expected no earlier than April.

- A milestone SpaceX test flight could be just a month away.

In a statement, NASA said that the initial uncrewed test flight by SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, previously scheduled for no earlier February 23, was now scheduled for no earlier than March 2.

The uncrewed test flights will be the first time commercially-built and operated American spacecraft designed for humans will dock to the space station.

The agency on Wednesday selected March 2 as the date for the first unmanned test flight, and an undisclosed date in July for when USA spacemen finally get shot back into orbit from American soil.

"There still are many critical steps to complete before launch and while we eagerly are anticipating these launches, we will step through our test flight preparations and readiness reviews", said Lueders.

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NASA said in a statement: "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".

"We are excited about seeing the hardware we have followed through development, integration, and ground testing move into flight".

NASA also hopes to send astronauts into space using capsules made by Boeing.

Astronauts haven't launched to orbit from American soil since July 2011, when NASA retired its space shuttle fleet. Once they are completed, the Starliner will be certified by NASA for regular flights to the ISS. The first unpiloted flight of Boeing's Starliner capsule is now targeted for the April timeframe.

NASA's commercial crew program has been delayed repeatedly over the years, forcing a lengthy, expensive reliance on Russian rockets.

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