Officials at both NASA and SpaceX made an official announcement on Monday during a joint media conference that SpaceX has been given the approval to perform the first test flight of its Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS).
The launch of the test flight is scheduled for 2 March, Saturday at 2:48am EST from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. The test launch would prove be the most important obstacle to pass before Elon Musk’s company can send second Crew Dragon capsule with real human astronauts to the ISS.
Presently, astronauts have been travelling to the ISS with help of Russian Soyuz capsules, since the time the space shuttle fleet was retired in the year 2011. Therefore, this mission holds a lot of value and is extremely crucial for SpaceX. To pass the test, the first Crew Dragon test flight needs to make a complete round trip with no glitches and bring back the docked dummy astronauts back to Earth safely. If everything falls into place then we can expect the launch of the second Crew Dragon test flight in the month of July.
Much of the Crew Dragon mission will be live streamed by NASA, including the launch of the spacecraft on 2 March, the docking of dummy astronauts as well as the return of the capsule back to Earth which is scheduled for 7 March.