NASA Review Board Clears SpaceX Demo-1 Mission for March 2 Launch

SpaceX has received approval from a NASA Flight Readiness Review board for the launch of the company's Demo-1 Commercial Crew mission.
An artist’s rendering of the Drew Dragon spacecraft docking with the International Space Station | Image credit: SpaceX

A NASA Flight Readiness Review (FRR) board has cleared the SpaceX Demo-1 mission ahead of its March 2 launch date.

The Demo-1 FRR board was held on February 22 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was chaired by associate administrator of NASA Human Exploration and Operation, William Gerstenmaier. The rest of the review board was made up of representatives from the NASA Commercial Crew Program, Johnson Space Center Flight Operations, the International Space Station Program and SpaceX.

Following the completion of the review, NASA and SpaceX officials held a post-flight readiness review briefing confirming both the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon vehicles had been cleared for the Demo-1 mission. The review board’s approval is the last major milestone before the mission launch at 07:48 (02:48 EST) on Saturday, March 2.

“It’s exciting to have set the launch for March 2nd,” said board chair William Gerstenmaier during the post-flight readiness review briefing. “It’s great that we’re getting ready to go do this.”

Despite the Demo-1 mission receiving the review board’s go ahead, there are still hurdles for SpaceX to clear. One of the major points of contention was raised by NASA’s ISS partners, Roscosmos.

Unlike the previous iteration of the Dragon spacecraft that required the station’s robotic arm to complete the docking process, the Crew Dragon will dock unaided. Russian space agency officials have raised concerns around the potential of the Crew Dragon colliding with the station due to its lack of a dedicated backup computer. Both NASA and SpaceX officials will look to allay Roscosmos of their concerns in the coming week.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.