Nasa gives a go ahead to SpaceX to test new crew capsule

Nasa gives a go ahead to SpaceX to test new crew capsule

NASA and SpaceX officials completed the flight readiness review ahead of the planned launch of an unmanned SpaceX capsule to the International Space Station.

The flight, called Demonstration Mission-1 or DM-1, will be launched at 2.48 a.m. on March 2 from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. The capsule, designed for crew, will have no one aboard except a SpaceX dummy.

Officials gave the green light after conducting a safety review.

"We're go for launch, we're go for docking", said William Gerstenmaier, the associate administrator with NASA Human Exploration and Operations.

"I guarantee everything will not work exactly right, and that's cool, that's exactly what we want to do", said Gerstenmaier. It will remain at the orbiting lab just under a week before aiming for a splashdown in the Atlantic off Florida.

The approval cleared a key hurdle for SpaceX in its quest to help NASA revive America's human spaceflight program, stalled since space shuttle missions came to an end in 2011. That arrangement was costing NASA tens of millions of dollars per seat, according to the Associated Press. Radiation monitors and supplies are going up, and science samples and used equipment are coming down.

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The test flight will provide valuable data that NASA will review as part of the process to certify SpaceX's crew transportation system is as safe as possible for carrying astronauts to and from the space station, the space agency said.

This will be the first time the U.S. space agency lets a private-sector company transport their astronauts.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket scheduled to soar at 2:48 a.m. EST on March 2 is brand new.

During the same press briefing, William Gerstenmaier, the NASA associate administrator, explained that Russia's concerns were related to the U.S. agency's lack of a backup computer system to prevent Crew Dragon from colliding with the ISS if the vehicle goes dead.

Boeing is also in the commercial race to transport space station astronauts.

SpaceX crewed mission Demo-2 is now slated for July 2019 and Boeing's Starliner mission for August 2019.

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