SpaceX Delays Crew Dragon Spacecraft Test Flights
After the first rocket explosion last September, SpaceX has officially declared to delay its Crew Dragon vehicle - the capsule that the company has built to take NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
According to NASA blog, the original plan was to launch the first crewed flight on 2017. However, due to the unexpected accident that happened a month ago, the Crew Dragon with people on board is now slated to take place on Many of 2018.
For the meantime, the SpaceX will perform a demonstration mission on November 2017. This flight, however, won't include astronauts. According to Kathy Lueders who is the NASA commercial crew program manager, Nov. 14 meeting of the NASA Advisory Council's human exploration and operations committee are formally changed at quarterly review meetings with commercial crew companies.
"As this investigation has been conducted, our Commercial Crew team has continued to work in close collaboration with NASA and is completing all planned milestones for this period,'' SpaceX said.
SpaceX also added that they are carefully checking and assessing their designs, systems, and process to avoid such accidents to happen. Corrective actions will also be identified and implemented. The team's schedule reflects the additional time needed for this assessment and implementation.
According to Space Flight Insider, SpaceX has worked with NASA perform a detailed safety analysis of all potential hazards. The safety analysis includes fueling process and identifying various controls to mitigate those dangers.
The company officials recently met with Stafford and his committed to ensuring they will be provided with detailed information on the approach. SpaceX and NASA will continue the on-going assessment process while keeping the committee apprised of their progress.
The new schedule of the launching gives fewer margins to NASA for certifying SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner. The U.S space agency's contract with Russia for the Soyu flight will end on 2018, and NASA has currently no plans to extend it.