NASA Says SpaceX Test 'Crucial Step' Towards Proving Safety

Weather Space plasmas Physical sciences Applied sciences Outer space Spaceflight English-language films Discovery and exploration of the Solar System Heliophysics Science Division Heliophysics NASA science

Weather Space plasmas Physical sciences Applied sciences Outer space Spaceflight English-language films Discovery and exploration of the Solar System Heliophysics Science Division Heliophysics NASA science

Because the Dragon is being launched to the space station, there's no room for delay: If liftoff doesn't occur right on time, due to weather or a technical glitch, the launch will have to be reset for a backup opportunity on the night of March 4-5.

SpaceX said the spacesuit for Ripley, apparently a reference to the protagonist in the science fiction movie "Alien", has been embedded with sensors around its head, neck, and spine to monitor how a flight would feel for a human astronaut.

NASA doesn't expect this crucial shakedown cruise to go perfectly.

"Giant leaps are made by a series of consistent smaller steps".

Boeing is also in the race to end NASA's eight-year drought of launching USA astronauts on US rockets from USA soil.

Because this is just a demonstration, there are no astronauts aboard - but there will be a space-suited mannequin. Reuters reported on February 21 that SpaceX and Boeing both must address significant design and safety concerns before they can fly humans. I guarantee you everything will not work exactly right.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the first privately developed spacecraft created to ferry USA astronauts to orbit since NASA's shuttle was retired eight years ago is on track for blastoff on an unpiloted test flight early Saturday. But now there are four seats, three windows, computer touch screens, and life-support systems. And eight engines are built into the capsule walls for use in an emergency; these abort engines could shoot the capsule off a malfunctioning rocket anytime during the launch.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 stands on Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center with the Crew Dragon spaceship on top.

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For SpaceX, which was founded in 2002 by billionaire Elon Musk in the pursuit of private space travel and trips to Mars, Crew Dragon's Demo-1 mission (as it's called) is a big milestone.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen after being raised into a vertical position on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A February 28, 2019. The capsule can accommodate up to seven astronauts.

In addition to Ripley, the craft will be carrying 400 pounds of supplies and equipment for the station. "They're very happy that it's covered, and we're trying to keep the mosquitoes out".

"We instrumented the crap out of this vehicle; it's got data, sensors everywhere", NASA's Commercial Crew Program manager Kathy Lueders added.

SpaceX is ready for Saturday's inaugural test flight of the Crew Dragon, the next step in a mission to carry astronauts to the International Space Station. Liftoff is set for 2:49 a.m. EST (0749 GMT) from Pad 39A - the exact same site used by NASA's Apollo moon shots and where, almost eight years ago, the agency launched its final space shuttle mission.

On Sunday, the module will autonomously dock with the International Space Station for the first time.

Space weather is important because it can have profound impacts - affecting technology and astronauts in space, disrupting radio communications and, at its most severe, overwhelming power grids.

Boeing's unmanned Orbital Flight Test is targeted for launch no earlier than April, according to NASA. Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX's vice president of build and flight reliability, shied away from calling the test device a dummy. The first uncrewed flight is an important step in returning human launches on American rockets and spacecraft to the space station from USA soil since 2011. They'll be on the first Crew Dragon to fly an operational mission to the space station. Hurley will ride the Dragon and Ferguson the Starliner.

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