This photo was given by SpaceX on February 6, 2019. It shows the Dragon crew capsule on the top of the Falcon 9 missile at the launch site at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where Saturn Vs.Space was launched. On February 22, 201
9, NASA and SpaceX announced the approval of an unmanned test flight for a new commercial capsule. NASA and SpaceX approved the first test flight next week for the new "Dragon" Commercial Capsule designed for the crew.
Nobody will be on board, only an instrumental mannequin in the SpaceX space suit. But the capsule will still fly to the International Space Station, after the planned take-off on March 2 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
Officials gave green light after a security check. Gerstenmeier called the upcoming test flight "an absolutely critical first step" in order to eventually put astronauts on board.
A phenomenal amount of work has been done to ensure that the capsule does not threaten the space station and its three passengers when it docked, Gerstenmeier said. It will remain in the orbital lab just a week before it goes to the Atlantic near Florida. Radiation monitors and supplies go up, and scientific samples and used equipment are falling.
"This is a very big deal for SpaceX," he told reporters.
Space X supplies space station supplies from 2012. If the upcoming demo is going well, NASA's two astronauts could grapple to the next test flight this summer. Officials stressed that a lot of work has to be done, and problems may have to be resolved through redesign before the capsule is qualified to carry people. They traveled on Russian missiles to get to and from the space station, costing NASA tens of millions of dollars per seat.
SpaceX Falcon 9, scheduled to take off at 2:48 AM EST on March 2, is completely new. NASA does not want to process accelerators for these missions for crew capsules. SpaceX plans to run at an altitude in April, re-using the same capsule.
Boeing is also in a commercial race for the space station cosmonauts. The first demonstration Starliner is designed for April, and the second – for astronauts not earlier than August.