NASA launches the SpaceX crew cartridge test at the ISS


NASA on Friday gave SpaceX the green light to test a new crew's capsule by first sending an unmanned craft with a life-size mannequin to the International Space Station.

"We go for launch, we go to the quay," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA's Human Exploration and Operations partner.

A Falcon 9 from US-based PrivateX SpaceX is scheduled to take off, allowing weather conditions, on March 2 to take the Draw Crew Dragon Capsule into the ISS.

NASA signed contracts in 2014 with SpaceX and Boeing for companies to transport US astronauts to the ISS.

This will be the first time the US space agency allows a private company to transport astronauts.

NASA completed its space shuttle program in 2011 and has since relied on the purchase of Russian Russian Soyuz signs to send astronauts from the US to the ISS track.

"This is an absolutely crucial first step we take as we move towards returning the launch capability to the crew back to the US," said Gerstenmaier, speaking at a press conference in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The March 2 flight will be similar to a flight that will take two astronauts to the ISS later in the year, possibly in July.

The Crew Dragon Capsule has seven positions. It should be docked with the ISS on March 3, then disconnected and returned to Earth on March 8.

"I guarantee that everything will not work properly and that's cool, that's what we want to do," said Gerstenmaier.

"We want to maximize our learning so that … we are ready to do a real mission and it will be the right security for our crews."

SpaceX has already carried out over a dozen unmanned excursions since 2012, transporting supplies to the ISS with Dragon Cargo Load.

However, the security criteria for manned flights are higher and NASA said the Dragon Crew still has some problems, including its parachutes.

"It's a big deal for SpaceX," said Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of the company founded by billionaire Elon Musk.


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