SpaceX set for its first orbital test flight of Crew Dragon

Christopher Davidson
January 10, 2019

The Crew Dragon spacecraft, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A, is undergoing a series of tests and checks before blast off on its first orbital test flight, now set for January 17.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's first Crew Dragon spacecraft rolls out of its hangar at Launch Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 3, 2018.

Musk also tweeted a mock-up picture of the company's giant new rocket, formerly known as BFR.

The last time astronauts launched from USA soil was back in 2011 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

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The Crew Dragon's first test flight is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 17, but it might be delayed because of the ongoing partial government shutdown in the United States.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule gets ready ahead of an uncrewed test flight.

But for both SpaceX and NASA, the launch is critical. Dragon Cargo Ship model The new Crew Dragon spaceship is a crewed version of the company's robotic Dragon cargo ships we are all familiar with. If successful, the Crew Dragon will move on to a crewed test flight later this year, with NASA astronaut Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley onboard. It would also give the Agency another venue for launching its own astronauts into space as it continues to work on its prototype Space Launch System.

Under the Commercial Crew Program, NASA and industry partners prepare for the next generation of American spacecraft that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station from here, the Space Coast of Florida. The other company, Boeing has a crewed spaceship called the CST-100 Starliner. NASA employees will be needed for such tests. If all goes well, the space agency anticipates the first crewed mission to take place by summer this year.

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