Published: Mon, March 04, 2019
Research | By Wilma Wheeler

SpaceX is about to launch a critical test flight for NASA

SpaceX is about to launch a critical test flight for NASA

SpaceX is set to carry out the first test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft with Nasa on Saturday morning, as the U.S. looks to launch astronauts from its own rockets and spacecraft on American soil for the first time since 2011. NASA did not want to rely on just one single vehicle, in case of accidents.

This particular capsule is designed for a human crew, and the data collected from this launch will help SpaceX prove that Crew Dragon is ready for astronauts.

The human-sized dummy is covered head to toe in sensors that will tell SpaceX engineers about what the experience travelling to and from the ISS will be like for human astronauts.

SpaceX's 16-foot-tall (4.88-meter-) Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket was set for lift off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 2:49 a.m. (1049 GMT) local time.

"We are on the precipice of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil for the first time since the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a Twitter statement.

This article was originally published by Futurism.

NASA has selected a United States dollars 42 million mission that will help scientists understand and, ultimately, forecast the vast space weather system around our planet.

"I guarantee that not everything will work exactly right".

Early on Friday, Musk, who is also chief executive officer of electric carmaker Tesla Inc, tweeted a photo of the inside of Crew Dragon capsule with Ripley strapped inside.

"We instrumented the crap out of that vehicle", said Kathy Lueders, the manager of Nasa's Commercial Crew program.

A NASA audit released in April on the uncrewed commercial resupply services program found that "continued reliance on commercial operators to provide this vital service could play a major role in NASA's future plans as it searches for cheaper and more efficient methods to explore space". Moments later the Crew Dragon completely separated from the rocket and began making its own way to the ISS. Accordingly, this is an absolutely critical first step in moving towards returning the crewed launch capability back to the U.S., said William Gerstenmaier, the associate administrator with NASA Human Exploration and Operations. Instead of solar wings, solar cells are on the spacecraft itself.

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It pays Russian Federation to get its people up to the ISS orbiting research facility at a cost of US$82 million a head, for a round trip.

NASA is also working with Boeing on a test flight of its Starliner capsule, also without a crew, scheduled for this year.

"Every mission is important, but this is even more important", said Koenigsmann, the firm's vice-president for build and flight reliability.

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