NASA announced Aug. 14 that the first operational SpaceX commercial crew mission to the International Space Station will launch in late October, a delay to accommodate other spacecraft flying to the station.
The NASA astronauts who flew on the SpaceX Demo-2 commercial crew vehicle said they were pleasantly surprised at how well the Crew Dragon spacecraft performed.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico Aug. 2, successfully completing a test flight and crossing the finish line of the decade-long commercial crew program.
Members of a NASA safety panel expressed continued concern about quality issues with Boeing’s commercial crew spacecraft while cautiously supporting SpaceX’s plans to fly reused spacecraft on future crewed missions.
NASA confirmed July 17 that the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, with two astronauts on board, will return to Earth from the International Space Station in early August.
NASA is hoping to get as many as six spacewalks performed outside the International Space Station through late July to replace batteries in the station’s power system, taking advantage of the additional astronauts on the station during the Demo-2 commercial crew mission.
NASA will allow SpaceX to reuse Crew Dragon spacecraft and the Falcon 9 first stages for launching them as soon as next year.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is performing well enough on orbit to give NASA confidence that the mission can last until August, an agency official said June 9.
The successful launch of the first crewed orbital flight from the United States in nearly nine years has met with a mixed reaction from Russia, with formal congratulations from Russian leadership but skepticism from others.
The astronauts who will fly the first Crew Dragon mission say they understand and accept the risks of a new spacecraft, which they believe can’t be boiled down to a single number.
As NASA and SpaceX complete final preparations for the first crewed flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, the agency is already looking ahead to the spacecraft’s next mission.