NASA Says SpaceX Crew Capsule Could Get Fixed to Fly Astronauts by End of 2019

NASA says there’s a chance SpaceX can launch two astronauts aboard the company’s Crew Dragon capsule by the end of the year if SpaceX can make fixes that caused a catastrophic test failure.

On April 20, the Crew Dragon slated for the in-flight abort test exploded on a test stand at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station an instant before a planned static firing of the capsule’s eight Super Draco abort engines. No one was injured, but the Demo 1 capsule was destroyed.

Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s commercial crew program, said the capsule originally intended to carry the first astronauts will now be used for the in-flight abort test and another downstream capsule, originally planned for the first operational Crew Dragon flight to the ISS, will serve as the Demo 2 vehicle.