SpaceX performed a hot four test of Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon vehicle aboard Thursday prior to a scheduled test flight in February. The test took place at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX has a contract from NASA to fly US astronauts to ISS, a job currently outsourced to Russian Soyuz craft.
The short test was published by SpaceX via Twitter . Sources close to SpaceX indicate that the test flight is scheduled for February 23, but there is no confirmation from the company itself.
SpaceX and Boeing are working hard to get their vehicles ready for the critical test. Some NASA employees work without pay along with their commercial partnership colleagues because of the ongoing Trump led shutdown.
Static fire test complete targeting February launch from historic start complex 39A to Crew Dragon's first demonstration flight! pic.twitter.com/sJF24U3UOM
̵1; SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 25, 2019
NASA looks carefully over its commercial partners
Both Boeing and SpaceX have contracts with NASA to develop spacecraft suitable for crew missions. Boeing's CST-100 Starliner is also currently in testing phases. Both crafts will carry seven astronauts.
Crew Dragon will start with SpaceX's newly tested Falcon 9 rockets, while Starliner will use United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rockets.
The United States has not had a spacecraft suitable for occupied missions in operation since 2011 when the shuttle was retired.
SpaceX has not released any comment on whether their test yesterday was successful, although some observers believe the test might be too short and may need to be transformed.
NASA would have monitored the test, the US space agency recently completed a workplace and security audit on SpaceX and Boeing.
"Over the coming months, before the crew method of Crew Dragon and Starliner, NASA will conduct a cultural assessment in collaboration with our trading partners to ensure that businesses meet NASA's safety requirements for workplace safety, including compliance with a drug-free environment, "said the NASA statement at the time of the announcement.
SpaceX Determined to Continue to Make Space History
The rocket will now be moved back to SpaceX's horizontal integration facility on the company's Florida site. SpaceX has attended Dragon Crew's development journey from its original design iterations to its current test.
The Dragon iteration of Dragon made history in 2012 became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver goods to the international space station.
Pictures of the interior of the Crew Dragon were shared by SpaceX a year ago. SpaceX says the spacecraft is designed for an "enjoyable ride" and has four seats for its crew made of "high quality carbon fiber and Alcantara cloth."
The lucky crew will have views from the seats on Earth, the Moon and the wider solar system. & # 39;