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SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule perched on pad ahead of first orbital flight

10 January 2019

The launch from Kennedy Space Center of Crew Dragon on a Falcon 9 from launchpad 39A was scheduled for January 17.

The test launch of SpaceX's capsule created to shuttle astronauts to and from the International Space Station is not happening this month, according to a tweet from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

On Thursday, Jan. 3, the private spaceflight company released photos of the spaceship on top of its rocket, the Falcon 9.

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"About a month left before the first orbital test flight of the manned Dragon", Musk wrote on Twitter.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's first Crew Dragon spacecraft rolls out of its hangar at Launch Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 3, 2018.

It is time for a new era of space exploration where astronauts once again launch into space from American soil. The agreement in place with Russian Federation will allow NASA to send crew on Soyuz flights in 2019, but the sooner SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's Starliner spacecrafts are ready for prime time, the better. NASA wants access to its own crew-capable vehicles, and it's asked both Boeing and SpaceX to make that a reality.

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SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship is a crewed version of the company's robotic Dragon cargo ships that have been flying since 2010, with NASA resupply missions beginning in 2012. Before the actual launch, SpaceX needs to conduct a ground test fire of the rocket's engines, among other tests.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon was developed as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program which aims to end the space agency's dependence on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft to transport astronauts to the ISS. NASA requires that the company perform numerous test flights, including crewed test flights, before it will pack astronauts into the ship for official missions.

CST-100 Starliner will also have a crewed test flight this year. NASA employees will be needed for such tests.

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SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule perched on pad ahead of first orbital flight