NASA confirms new Dragon launch date


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Confirmed: NASA today announced a new launch date, March 2, for the first unmanned test flight of SpaceX’s manned Dragon capsule.

The agency now 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.

These adjustments allow for completion of necessary hardware testing, data verification, remaining NASA and provider reviews, as well as training of flight controllers and mission managers.

This is actually the first time that NASA itself has specified a launch date, which suggests to me that they finally have admitted that they cannot hold things up any longer. Based on this announcement and assuming the weather and everything else cooperates, the launch will likely happen then, which will also allow time for SpaceX to get the launchpad reconfigured for its Falcon Heavy launch a week later.

The announcement also listed the remaining test schedule for commercial crew, as it stands now:

  • 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

The manned flights have not been pushed back significantly from the dates that NASA announced in October, June for SpaceX and August for Boeing. I would expect that the delays now will force these dates to get delayed as well.

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2 comments

  • Wodun

    Trump mentioned this in the SOTU so maybe he wont be so tolerant of continued delays. But no President expends much time or effort on space stuff.

  • geoffc

    It will be interesting to see if the HIF at LC-39A which is supposed to be able to hold a 5 F-9 cores (we have seen 3 at least twice (First Falcon Heavy and 3 used cores in another shot) or a F-9 and a F-H, will be able to process a F-9 and a F-H functionally at the same time. That would be a useful ability for SpaceX.

    Of course, only one TEL, so as noted they have to remove the plugs for the side boosters exhausts and move the hold downs to F-H mode. Would love to see video of what that takes.

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