SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has shared a video simulation of what the corporate's Crew Dragon mission to the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) may seem like. Commercial crew flights are primarily meant to give the US a key strategic capability in the global space technology space, but they also open up a new, continuous revenue stream for the larger and more established companies in this ecosystem - Boeing and SpaceX for now, with the potential to open it up even further.
SpaceX is slated to launch its crewed missions from NASA's Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After completing their work aboard the ISS, the astronauts depart the station through SpaceX's capsule.
SpaceX saw one of its Crew Dragon capsules explode during a test on the ground earlier in the year.
Originally, the Crew Dragon's flight target was some time around November and December of 2019, but delays are not unusual for such major projects.
A rendering of a Crew Dragon readying for launch.
"Crew Dragon should be physically ready & at the Cape in Feb, but completing all safety reviews will probably take a few more months", he tweeted.
Before the ISS mission occurs, SpaceX has to first conduct a crewed mission to test out the flight abort system. Since 2011, the space agency has It was based on Russian crafts Soyuz to transport the crew to and from orbit. Crew Dragon finally appears primed to launch with humans aboard for the first time.
NASA astronauts, from left, Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins, assigned to fly on the first operational mission of SpaceX's Crew Dragon, are in front of the spacecraft at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston on August 2, 2018, ahead of the agency's announcement of their commercial crew assignment August 3.
Last month, Boeing, which had been working on a competing spacecraft called Starliner for the same NASA mission, flied an unmanned test that went off course midway due to a clock problem.