Elon Musk’s SpaceX has made major headway towards making space travel more accessible and efficient thanks to reusable rockets, but until now its focus has been on unmanned flights. Then last month, Musk said the company was planning for a launch sometime in Q2 of the year. Ars Technica’s Eric Berger reports that first crewed flight could take off on May 7th. Though, due to “a number of variables not hardware related” the launch could happen in late April or later in May. We don’t know yet how long the flight will be.
Working date for SpaceX's Demo-2 launch is May 7. Dragon is in good shape.
Launch date is fluid and mission may move into late April, or push later into May depending on a number of variables not hardware related. No final decision yet on duration.
— Eric Berger (@SciGuySpace) February 10, 2020
Berger clarifies that SpaceX does not know the duration of the mission yet because NASA wants to minimize the time of three ISS crew members and there are plenty of moving parts. But after the successful uncrewed test of Crew Dragon capsule’s in-flight launch escape capabilities, things are looking good.
In January, SpaceX completed Crew Dragon’s in-flight launch escape test, which proved that the capsule can break away from the Falcon 9 rocket and splash down in the Atlantic if necessary during launch. SpaceX has also successfully completed a round of engine tests without any explosions.
When the flight does occur, it could look something like this simulated two-minute video clip that Musk tweeted late last year.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 30, 2019