NASA says SpaceX crew dragon to launch in early February

The space agency confirmed the delay after Elon Musk posted a message that he had "stayed for about a month."

NASA, SpaceX, Crew Dragon, ISS, International Space Station
In this illustration, the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft is approaching the International Space Station for docking. | NASA / SpaceX
In this illustration, the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft is approaching the International Space Station for docking. | NASA / SpaceX

NASA has confirmed that the first test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, rated by SpaceX humans, will not take place in January, with it announced on Thursday that the launch would take place "no earlier than February." The space agency said it needed more time to "complete the hardware testing and joint review."

The unprotected test flight, called the Demo-1, was originally scheduled to launch on January 17, but SpaceX founder Elon Musk recently made a tweet that it would be withdrawn at least a few weeks later. The official date has not been updated.

"About a month away from the crew's first orbital test flight," Muskie said. Tweet On January 5th.

He added that the first flight would likely be a challenge. "Yes, it will be very intense," he said write. "Early flights are especially dangerous because there is a lot of new equipment."

This is the turning point of SpaceX, which in 2014 received $ 2.6 billion, which ended up in a commercial crew car. Boeing is also working on its own estimated spacecraft, the CST-100 Starliner, under a 2014 contract worth $ 4.2 billion. (Boeing has not yet released a test date for its spacecraft, but it will be close as NASA has already announced the first few crews of Boeing and SpaceX.)

Related: City on Mars: Elon Musk details SpaceX's plan to colonize Red Planet

NASA wants the U.S. spacecraft to be available as soon as possible to reduce its dependence on the Russian Soyuz – the only spacecraft that can now fly people to the International Space Station.

The flight of a Soyuz on a plane with two astronauts on board was suspended by a rocket on October 11 due to a deformed missile sensor, which helped the crew (safely) return to Earth. Russia soon solved the problem and later created the 58th crew of the expedition on December 3, but the incident reveals that the spacecraft must have an independent crew to bring the astronauts to the space station. Even if one type of spacecraft is grounded, the launch can continue.

Developing a new spacecraft is always difficult. Additional challenges will be considered when flying according to human estimates. Simply ask the people behind the spacecraft who are opposed to the system, which sprays re-input tiles after each flight.

Related: SpaceX and Boeing’s new ISS crew also serve ‘cargo ships’.

NASA's former chief historian Roger Launius told Seeker that there is no meter that can determine what a "man-rated" spacecraft is. The Federal Aviation Administration has an objective set of rules for aircraft, but the spacecraft is more complex as it is friendly to astronauts. Sometimes even space agencies are mistaken.

"NASA said they were going to protect the train from 'Four Nines,' or 99.99% of the time it would be safe, that's great," Lanius said. "It simply came to our notice then. They lost two planes in 135 flights. ”

The launch of the spacecraft Columbia began in April 1981. | NASA

The causes of the NASA shuttle disaster are complex – so complex that it took the agency about two years to launch the flights after the fatal disasters of 1986 and 2003. Investigative councils have indicated a number of technical factors or failures in shuttle systems. There were also human factors; Examples include quick launch dates, or managers have decided to “normalize the deviation” (meaning if a small failure is often enough without a problem, mission managers perceive this as the norm).

”[NASA] Also said at one point [the shuttle] It will be as safe as an airline that doesn't even come close, "Lounius said. "Two out of 100 planes would be unacceptable in a world of accidents."

An infinite amount of money to spend on the development of a spacecraft can help ensure human safety, but this is impossible. So space agencies and their space manufacturers need to make smart calculations: run statistics to see how often components fail to test as many individual components as possible, and implement extra systems, among many other measures.

NASA is working very closely with SpaceX to ensure that the contractor does its best to ensure the safety and reliability of astronauts in order to reliably transport astronauts from and to the International Space Station. Failure is not an option.

"One thing is the loss of a load that is not alive," Launius said, "but the loss of a human being is another matter."

While NASA and SpaceX have expressed hope that a manned crew flight may be launched in 2019, Launius said security checks may be able to take the crew back farther.

"I have seen this issue continue for a year or more," he said.