SpaceX no-load test is delayed

Katie Ramirez
February 9, 2019

The company completed a static fire test of its Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon capsule attached in late January at Kennedy Space Center's launch complex 39A.

In an updated schedule released Wednesday, NASA said it is now looking at March 2 for the launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon test flight. NASA and SpaceX said these first flights are "dress rehearsals" for future missions.

NASA said that work toward the commercial crew test launches continued during the month of January and was not affected by the record-setting shutdown of the federal government that lasted from December 22 to Jan. 25.

Specifically, this includes tasks like additional hardware testing, more reviews from NASA, and training flight controllers and mission managers. Though they're essentially practice runs, they're still big launches, as the Commercial Crew Program will eventually be used to take astronauts from the United States to the International Space Station.

SpaceX and Boeing each have contracts with NASA to ferry astronauts to and from the space station. President Trump made a passing reference to commercial crew missions in his State of the Union address February 5.

No one will be on board for the crew Dragon's inaugural test flight to the orbiting outpost.

With the Crew Dragon launch delayed, Boeing will have to move the launch of its Starliner to "no earlier than April".

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The Crew Dragon and Starliner spacecraft are the centerpieces of NASA's drive to resume launching USA astronauts aboard US rockets from US soil, ending the agency's sole reliance on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to ferry crew members to and from the International Space Station.

NASA announced Wednesday that the first uncrewed test launches of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship and Boeing's Starliner have been pushed back yet again.

SpaceX also completed a pad abort test in 2015.

"Commercial crew has continued working toward these historic missions throughout the month of January".

Both companies must prove they can perform the missions safely before being certified for NASA crew rotation missions to the International Space Station.

Now playing: Watch this: NASA taps SpaceX, Boeing to bring space travel back under. As with all human spaceflight vehicle development, learning from each test and adjusting as necessary to reduce risk to the crew may override planning dates.

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