In ordinary times, the beaches and roads along Florida's Space Coast would be packed with people eager to witness the first astronaut launch from Florida in nine years. It will also be only the fifth time in US history that NASA astronauts will fly a new spacecraft for the first time. In the interim, NASA has had to pay the Russians tens of millions of dollars per seat to transport USA astronauts in Soyuz capsules. Boeing's hyped-up, unmanned test flight for its Starliner spacecraft in late December, however, infamously did not go as planned as the spacecraft never ended up making it to the ISS. Initially meant to last just one day, the FRR began on Thursday (May 21st), extended to the end of the business day, and continued into Friday (May 22nd).
The mission, NASA's first crewed launch from USA soil since 2011, will launch from Pad 39A of Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday (May 27) at 4:33 p.m. EDT (2033 GMT).
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken ahead of leaving for Kennedy Space Centre
For Demo-2, the successful FRR is a crucial pathfinding step to confirming launch, however not the last. This certification and regular operation of Crew Dragon will enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place onboard the station, which benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future exploration of the Moon and Mars starting with the agency's Artemis program, which will land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface in 2024. Reed went on to say that "there'll be constant vigilance and watching of the data and observations as we go through the mission".
As the final flight test for SpaceX, this mission will validate the company's crew transportation system, including the launch pad, rocket, spacecraft, and operational capabilities.
NASA astronauts are scheduled to fly on SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft on May 27, lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center complex at Cape Canaveral.
Jurczyk cited the example of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule's parachute system, which had to be reworked and retested to satisfy NASA's safety margin requirements.
The mission passed its Flight Readiness Review, the final major hurdle before lift-off, on Friday. (Gregg Newton/AFP via Getty Images) A Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy rocket lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla on February 6, 2018. The dry dress rehearsal will encompass every aspect of launch day, from putting on the spacesuits to climbing into the Crew Dragon capsule. It is expected to end just before propellant loading would begin in the countdown. The commercial crew program that supported development of Crew Dragon started in the administration of President Barack Obama, and built on the commercial cargo program started during the administration of President George W. Bush. (SpaceX via AP) The uncrewed SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, with its nose cone open to expose the docking mechanism, approaches the International Space Station's Harmony module on March 4, 2019.