SpaceX and Boeing Have New Commercial Crew Launch Date Targets

NASA is targeting March 2 for launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon on its uncrewed Demo-1 test flight. Boeing’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test is targeted for launch no earlier than April.

Extra time was needed to complete hardware testing, data verification, remaining NASA and provider reviews, and training of flight controllers and mission managers.

In January, SpaceX successfully completed a static fire test of its Falcon 9 with Crew Dragon atop the rocket at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida, in preparation for Demo-1.

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner continues to undergo testing in preparation for its Orbital Flight Test, and United Launch Alliance is conducting final processing of the Atlas V rocket that will launch Starliner from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

New Flight Planning Dates

SpaceX Demo-1 (uncrewed): March 2, 2019
Boeing Orbital Flight Test (uncrewed): NET April 2019
Boeing Pad Abort Test: NET May 2019
SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test: June 2019
SpaceX Demo-2 (crewed): July 2019
Boeing Crew Flight Test (crewed): NET August 2019

Dragon 2 Features

The SpaceX Dragon 2 will be partly reusable. SpaceX expects ten flights are possible before significant vehicle refurbishing is needed.

It will have a payload capacity of 3,307 kilograms (7,291 lb) Cargo Dragon 2. It will be able to carry seven astronauts.

It will use four main parachutes for water landing when returning from space.

SpaceX could develop propulsive landing using the SuperDraco engines. However, propulsive landing capability has not been funded and there is no current plan to use rockets on the return.

The Dragon 2 has a SpaceX-developed SPAM backshell and an updated third-generation PICA-X heat shield.

Prior Success With a Static Fire


Written By Brian Wang. Nextbigfuture