The unmanned test flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule has been postponed to sometime in January next year. This first flight without astronauts has already been postponed several times. Manned flights probably do not follow until the second half of April 2019.
The NASA announces that the first unmanned test flight for the Crew Dragon capsule will take place in January 2019, given the possibilities to use the capsule. can link to the International Space Station. SpaceX is working with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to have the hardware and other supplies ready in December at least.
Hans Koenigsmann, a vice president at SpaceX, recently told Spacenews that the hardware is probably already it will be ready by the end of this year, but that some paperwork may still have to be completed for the necessary certification. According to him, it was because of that whether it was still possible to launch the Crew Dragon this year.
The first unmanned flight of Boeing’s competing Starliner capsule, which is also part of the Commercial Crew Program, is again postponed. This flight is now scheduled for March 2019, while the launch date was earlier on at the end of 2018 .
According to the original plans, the Crew Dragon had already been flying: the first unmanned test flight was planned for August, after which the first manned test flight should have followed in December
Both the Starliner and the Crew Dragon will fly to the ISS on their first unmanned test flight after the launch, link with the space station, and then disconnect and return to the Earth. This must demonstrate that the systems are ready to eventually transport astronauts to the ISS. The NASA now depends on Russian Soyuz capsules.