At a press conference, NASA and SpaceX officials said SpaceX was approved to complete the first orbital launch of Crew Dragon.
The launch could come as early as March 2 and would be the last and most important obstacle to crossing before SpaceX can send actual human astronauts to the International Space Station.
Since the shuttle was retired in 2011, astronauts have had to make their way to the ISS via Russian Soyuz capsules. In order for SpaceX to take responsibility, it must prove that it can do the entire tour without driving, including sending astronauts to the ISS, docking, and bringing them safely back to Earth with a splash and boat recovery
. Looking at the company, it is already planned to pass the Demo-1
The DM-1 Crew Dragon launch is slated much Saturday morning will be identical to the DM-2 launch, except that it will have dummies on board instead of the actual astronauts.
If the DM-1 launch goes as planned, we could see the DM-2 launch in a few months.
NASA will live streaming much of the mission, including launching, docking and returning to Earth. The launch and docking will take place on Saturday and Sunday respectively, with departure scheduled for March 7th.