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After testing on Thursday, SpaceX may be one month after launching the commercial crew



  A man in a hardhat is standing in front of a huge rocket in an even bigger hanger.
Enlarge / SpaceX Hotspot tested this Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday afternoon at 19659003 The Kennedy Space Center in Florida, SpaceX, has conducted a hot blast test of the Falcon 9 rocket, which has its first commercial crew Demonstration mission will start. This flight will not carry any crew but will test the launch system, the Crew Dragon spacecraft, and the company's ability to safely secure the vehicle to the International Space Station.

More than two hours after the 4 o'clock ET test ̵

1; The first stage engines of the rocket are fired for several seconds to simulate liftoff while the rocket is clamped. SpaceX still had to confirm that the test was successful. Earlier reports indicated that the test was not completely fired, which may or may not be a problem.

Thursday's rocket launch now being returned from the LaunchPad to SpaceX's Horizontal Integration The facility at the company's Florida site is still a major step forward for SpaceX and NASA.

Such a launch usually occurs until two weeks before the launch of a rocket. However, NASA and SpaceX have not yet confirmed a launch date for the mission. The current public date, which was not earlier than the flight, is February 16th. The sources pointed out to Ars, however, that the current NET date for internal planning is February 23.

Readying Dragon

Before an official When the launch date is set, officials from the company and the space agency need to give the mission the green light during a final review process. These checks will continue despite the partial shutdown of the government, as NASA personnel responsible for the commercial occupation program continue to work for free in support of the flight.

The rocket is of course a critical part of the commercial crew mission. In these flights, however, the aircraft was much changed, namely the spacecraft. A significantly improved version of the Dragon vehicle that SpaceX has used to power the space station since 2012.

In addition to life support systems that can provide support For seven astronauts, Crew Dragon has several major upgrades to test in space flight, such as solar panels that are not expanded by panels.

If this first demonstration mission proceeds as intended, SpaceX and NASA would do so Over the next few months, data on the performance of the rocket and the spacecraft was reviewed before a second demonstration flight with crew took place. It is conceivable that this mission could already take place in July, but NASA astronaut Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken's flight would probably take place sometime later in the summer or early fall.


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