Early reports have revealed that NASA will announce that the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1 mission will slip to March. The slip has many questioning the likelihood of seeing a crewed launch in 2019 despite President Trump’s assurances during his State of the Nation address.
Early this morning, CNBC contributor, Michael Sheetz revealed on Twitter that NASA plans to announce that the SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1 mission will slip to March. The announcement is backed by FCC filings that requests an operation start date of March 2, 2019. The filings also reveal a requested operation period extending through much of the year to the beginning of September.
If the Demo-1 mission is launched at the beginning of March, SpaceX will likely need between 6 and 9 months to complete preparations for the first crewed mission. These preparations require SpaceX to not only receive the go-ahead from NASA to continue testing but also the successful completion of an inflight abort test. As a result, if there are any additional delays moving forward, it is likely that the first crewed mission will slip to 2020.
Despite the increasing probability that the first crewed flight will slip to next year, US President Donald Trump stated that the milestone would be achieved in 2019 during his State of the Nation address last night. “This year, American astronauts will go back to space in American rockets,” said President Tump.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1 mission will launch aboard a Falcon 9 from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.