Science 2 min read

SpaceX's Crew Dragon Capsule Test Receives Approval from NASA

In a landmark moment for the reinvigoration of American space flight, NASA has approved SpaceX's crew Dragon Capsule for a test launch next month.

The interior of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule | SpaceX/Flickr.com

The interior of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule | SpaceX/Flickr.com

On Friday, NASA finally gave SpaceX the green light to test its newly developed Crew Dragon capsule for manned missions to the International Space Station.

The test will occur two months after SpaceX missed the initial testing schedule last January. According to reports, the delay was due to the completion of hardware testing and other reviews of the spacecraft.

Last Friday, the flight readiness review was finally completed. NASA and SpaceX officials said that the investigation is crucial to ensure that the craft can safely rendezvous, dock and undock without posing any danger to the ISS.

“We need to make sure that [Crew Dragon] can safely go rendezvous and dock with the space station, and undock safely, and not pose a hazard to the International Space Station.”

Kathy Lueders, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Manager

The Crew Dragon Capsule

The first Crew Dragon capsule will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center on March 2 at around 2:48 AM EST.

SpaceX originally began the development of the dragon capsule in 2014 under a NASA contract worth $2.6 billion. The U.S. space agency also has a similar deal with famed international aviation company Boeing worth $4.2 billion.

Both projects aim to restore the United States’ capability to launch crewed orbital missions into space. To date, NASA astronauts rely on Russia’s Soyuz rockets to go to ISS as the U.S. space agency retired its space shuttle fleet back in 2011.

The Crew Dragon capsule design is based on SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsules used by NASA on its resupply missions to the ISS since 2012. However, the new Dragon capsule is specially made to ferry humans with its seats, life-support system, and touchscreen console for astronauts to use.

The demo next month will test the capsule’s many systems end-to-end, starting from launch to the capsule’s parachute-assisted landing on the Atlantic Ocean after six days.

“I fully expect we’re going to learn something on this flight. I guarantee that everything will not work exactly right, and that’s cool — that’s exactly what we want to do.”

Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Associate Administrator

Read More: NASA And ESA Conduct World’s First Space Defense Test

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Rechelle is an SEO content producer, technical writer, researcher, social media manager, and visual artist. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with family and friends.

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