Friday, December 23, 2016

SpaceX Delays First Crewed Dragon Flight

SpaceX has delayed by several months a pair of test flights of its Crew Dragon spacecraft being developed for NASA’s commercial crew program, in part because of a Falcon 9 pad explosion in September.

A revised schedule released by NASA Dec. 12 stated that an uncrewed test flight of the spacecraft, previously scheduled for May 2017, is now planned for November 2017. A crewed test flight, carrying two NASA astronauts, has been delayed from August 2017 to May 2018.

The NASA statement did not give a reason for the revised schedule other than it reflected a “fourth quarter update” from SpaceX. Kathy Lueders, NASA commercial crew program manager, said at a Nov. 14 meeting of the NASA Advisory Council’s human exploration and operations committee that schedules are formally changed at quarterly review meetings with commercial crew companies, and that at the time the fourth quarter meeting with SpaceX, the first since the pad explosion, had not yet taken place.

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