SpaceX set for its first orbital test flight of Crew Dragon

Behold! SpaceX's 1st Crew Dragon Spaceship Is On the Launchpad

No astronauts will be on board for this demonstration mission, but this is the first launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon, a spacecraft that will soon transport astronauts to the International Space Station. SpaceX's capsule is now in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on the Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

"About a month away from the first orbital test flight of crew Dragon", said SpaceX leader Elon Musk Saturday on Twitter.

According to Space.com, Musk confirmed that the SpaceX test flight will happen this coming February or March as he factors in the snags that could happen during the preparation. That schedule, however, may be delayed due to the ongoing partial government shutdown that has shuttered much of the USA space agency. The other company, Boeing has a crewed spaceship called the CST-100 Starliner.

Photos of the Crew Dragon have been mediatized showing the capsule attached to the rocket and ready to be launched.

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NASA's Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39A is where the last space shuttle launched eight years ago.

The Crew Dragon is the crewed version of SpaceX's robotic Dragon cargo ships that have been carrying out resupply missions for NASA since 2012. The space agency selected SpaceX and Boeing to design, build and launch spacecraft to carry USA astronauts back and forth to the space station as a replacement for the space shuttle. NASA requires that the company perform numerous test flights, including crewed test flights, before it will pack astronauts into the ship for official missions.

SpaceX shared a particularly gorgeous shot of the Falcon 9 against a backdrop of rosy clouds. NASA will be able to send astronauts to the International Space Station.

The upcoming uncrewed orbital test flight, called Demo-1, is meant to test the spaceship's capabilities. It will use parachutes to splash down in the ocean, also like the uncrewed Dragon.

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