‘SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to be postponed to March at the earliest’ – update

The first test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule is being delayed until sometime in March at the earliest. At least that is what the Teslarati website reports based on several sources.

Teslarati reports that multiple sources familiar with the matter have indicated that the Crew Dragon capsule launch debut will take place sometime in March at the earliest. This first unmanned test flight has been postponed more than once. The launch was supposed to take place at the end of January, which was later postponed to February 23. The complexity of the launch and the long shutdown of the US government are probably to blame for the possible delay.

After the launch, which will take place with a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX, the unmanned Crew Dragon spacecraft should automatically dock with the International Space Station. The intention is that six months after this first test flight, astronauts will also join the flight. The question is whether a launch moment in March is feasible, since the second launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket is also to take place in March. Both launches take place from the same Launch Complex 39A, part of Cape Canaveral in Florida.

In addition to SpaceX, Boeing also participates in the so-called Commercial Crew Program. This program should ensure that from the end of this year the US will no longer be dependent on Russian Soyuz flights to bring astronauts to the ISS. To this end, Boeing has developed the alternative Starliner; the first unmanned test flight of this capsule is also to take place in March, with an Atlas V rocket to bring the Starliner to the ISS.

Update: NASA says it is now targeting March 2 as the launch date for the Crew Dragon. The test flight of Boeing’s Starliner will follow in April at the earliest.