SpaceX Is Getting Ready For the First Uncrewed Crew Dragon Test Flight

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																	The ISS crew is about to send a bunch of experiments back to Earth					
								
			
	
		Mike Wehner			@Mike

Science The ISS crew is about to send a bunch of experiments back to Earth Mike Wehner @Mike

The engine will be tested out next month.

If the uncrewed test flight goes well, and an additional upcoming abort test is passed, SpaceX will have completed a significant milestone in preparing to shuttle astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). This will be dependent on how long the government remains partially shut down.

No official launch date has been set from NASA, as most of the space agency workers are on furlough right now. SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk seemed to confirm the delay on Twitter, stating that the test flight will take place in a month. NASA wants access to its own crew-capable vehicles, and it's asked both Boeing and SpaceX to make that a reality. The flight is a test run for the spaceship meant to bring people to Mars for colonization.

For NASA the launch would further confirm the success of its long-standing partnership with Musk, who spent much of 2018 facing one controversy after another. The spaceship is created to carry up to seven astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

"Risk is inherent to this business and it would be foolish not to acknowledge it".

The SpaceX Crew Dragon is atop a Falcon 9 rocket and the capsule and rocket are now vertical on the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Musk has acknowledged the difficulty of the task ahead, saying that work leading up to the mission has been "extremely intense". "Early flights are especially risky, as there's a lot of new hardware". NASA, which is now SpaceX's biggest customer, strongly encourages all contractors to have 1-in-230, or lower, probability of "loss of mission". NASA employees will be needed for such tests. It is planned for this June, when two NASA astronauts - Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, will be on board.

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