SpaceX's unmanned Crew Dragon to launch on March 2 to ISS


NASA analyzed the Crew Dragon spacecraft and it decided that it's a "go" for Demo-1 (the first uncrewed test flight of the spacecraft).

Russia, NASA's main partner on the station, has raised concerns about this, noting that if this system goes out the spacecraft might drift and crash into the station. Although Lueders and the other NASA officials are comfortable with the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft for this test flight, there are still some issues they want to close out before astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken launch into space on an identical rocket and capsule.

Crew Dragon, also known as Dragon 2, is a reusable spacecraft designed as a successor to the Dragon space freighter.

"NASA has been working together with SpaceX and Boeing to make sure we are ready to conduct these test flights and get ready to learn critical information that will further help us to fly our crews safely".

This undated photo made available by SpaceX on Feb 6, 2019 shows the Dragon crew capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket at the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida where the Saturn Vs and space shuttles were launched.

Ovchinin and Hague suffered a dramatic Soyuz booster malfunction during their initial climb to space last October, but the capsule and crew landed safety about 250 miles from the launch site in Kazakhstan.

William Gerstenmaier, Nasa's associate administrator for human exploration, said agency officials will follow up with their Russian counterparts about the safeguards that are in place in case of a failure.

The station's crew - Russian commander Oleg Kononenko, Canadian physician-astronaut David Saint-Jacques and NASA flight engineer Anne McClain - will open hatches and inspect the new spacecraft a few hours after docking. Its launch will be called Demo-1, or DM-1.

SpaceX recovery crews stationed nearby will pull the capsule onto its recovery ship GO Searcher and haul it back to Port Canaveral for detailed post-flight inspections.

Both Boeing's Starliner and SpaceX's Dragon unmanned missions were earlier scheduled for 2018 launch, but were delayed due to lack of clearance by NASA.

SpaceX now holds NASA contracts valued at $3.04 billion for 20 space station resupply flights and another contract for an unspecified amount for at least six additional flights through 2024.

NASA has allocated SpaceX $2.6 billion, and rival Boeing about $4 billion for the establishment of a separate system of rockets and capsules for the delivery of American astronauts to the ISS.