Updated Oct. 9, 2019 at 9:08 am PDT with paragraph summarizing some of the reasons for the schedule delays.
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
There’s been a lot of discussion over the last week or so about NASA’s delay plagued Commercial Crew Program, which is designed to restore the nation’s ability to launch astronauts into orbit from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011.
Prior to SpaceX CEO’s Elon Musk’s Sept. 28 webcast update on the Starship program, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine expressed frustration that the company wasn’t more focused on the Crew Dragon program that hasn’t flown astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) yet.
Asked about the delay by a CNN journalist after giving an update on Starship’s progress on Sept. 28, Musk questioned whether Bridenstine was asking about delays at with commercial crew or with NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). He laughed and mugged for the camera.
Musk’s rabid fans cheered it to be a sick burn against against a slow-moving space agency. The administrator diplomatically called it not helpful. He also revealed the cause of his pique.
WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will tour SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Thursday, Oct. 10, to see the progress the company is making to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station from American soil as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
Following the tour, SpaceX will host a media availability with Bridenstine, SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk, and NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley – the crew for the Demo-2 flight test to the space station.
The media availability will be streamed live on Bridenstine’s Twitter account:
SpaceX will carry NASA astronauts to the space station on the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, and help return the ability to fly American astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil. This is an important step toward sending the first woman and the next man to the Moon by 2024, as part of NASA’s Artemis program.
In March, SpaceX completed Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission, Demo-1, sending the uncrewed spacecraft to and from the International Space Station. NASA and SpaceX currently are preparing for an upcoming in-flight abort test of Crew Dragon’s launch escape system and the company’s second demonstration mission, Demo-2, which will send NASA astronauts to and from the station aboard Crew Dragon.
SpaceX may not be able to accommodate all who request accreditation, as space is very limited, and outlets may be asked to cap the number of representatives they request to send.
SpaceX will provide additional logistical details for credentialed media closer to the visit.
Video Caption: SpaceX Demo-1 Crew Dragon performed the 15-minute, 25-second deorbit burn on 8 March 2019, at 12:52 UTC (07:52 EST). The spacecraft splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean occurred at 13:45 UTC (08:45 EST). SpaceX’s recovery ship GO Searcher will recover it and return it to Port Canaveral, Florida to conclude its mission. Demo-1 was SpaceX’s first uncrewed test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft on a mission to the ISS.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — For the first time in history, a commercially-built and operated American crew spacecraft and rocket, which launched from American soil, is on its way to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off at 2:49 a.m. EST Saturday on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
MOSCOW, March 1, 2019 (Roscosmos PR) — The Roscosmos State Corporation and NASA reached a consensus on ensuring the safety of the crew and the International Space Station itself (ISS) during the automatic docking of the Dragon 2 spacecraft to the US station segment. The specialists of the Mission Control Center and the operational control group of the Russian segment of the ISS will also monitor the docking process according to the protocol, in which it is established that if the proximity mode deviates from the standard one, the docking attempt will be terminated.
Experts of Roscosmos and NASA, studying possible abnormal situations when docking American commercial ships directly to the ISS (bypassing the manipulator in the American segment), came to the conclusion that the implementation of some docking scenarios increases the risk for the station and crew. As a result of painstaking work, the specialists of Roscosmos and NASA have developed options for action to reduce this risk and agreed to conduct this type of docking.
At the same time, the parties also worked out the algorithm of actions during the automatic docking. So, four hatches in the American segment where the American ship will be docked will be closed. In the event of an emergency, the crew will switch first to the Russian segment of the ISS, and then to the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft—designed to fly astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil—is ready for its debut flight on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket. It is a first-of-its-kind test mission of a commercially-built and operated American spacecraft and rocket designed for humans.
The Demo-1 uncrewed flight test, targeted to launch March 2, will demonstrate the company’s ability to safely launch crew to the space station and return them home.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon attached, rolls out of the company’s hangar at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Jan. 3, 2019. The rocket will undergo checkouts prior to the liftoff of Demo-1, the inaugural flight of one of the spacecraft designed to take NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. NASA has worked with SpaceX and Boeing in developing Commercial Crew Program spacecraft to facilitate new human spaceflight systems launching from U.S. soil with the goal of safe, reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit destinations such as the space station.
At NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, the nine engines of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket roar to life in a brief static firing on Jan. 24, 2019. The test was part of checkouts prior to its liftoff for Demo-1, the inaugural flight of one of the spacecraft designed to take NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. NASA has worked with SpaceX and Boeing in developing Commercial Crew Program spacecraft to facilitate new human spaceflight systems launching from U.S. soil with the goal of safe, reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit destinations such as the space station.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX are continuing to work on the activities leading toward the Demo-1, uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station. NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than February for the launch of Demo-1 to complete hardware testing and joint reviews. NASA and SpaceX will confirm a new target date after coordination with the Eastern Range and the International Space Station Program.