Brand new Falcon 9 B1061, and will be used in Crew-1, the first mission of NASA’s manned commercial program. Departure date depends on the safe return of the Demo-2 crew
The Falcon 9 rocket that will be used in the next SpaceX International Space Station (ISS) manned mission arrived on Thursday (14) Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida, after three days of travel en route from the company’s factory in McGregor, Texas.
The mission, called Crew-1, will be the first in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Its departure date depends on the success of the current mission, Demo-2. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, currently on board the ISS, are expected to return Earth in early August.
NASA and SpaceX claim that after the return, they will need “a few weeks” to analyze the data, inspect the Crew Dragon capsule and qualify it for regular operation. If everything goes as scheduled, Crew-1 will be able to take off in early September.
SpaceX is known for its ability to reuse rockets for multiple missions, but the Falcon 9 B1061 will be used on the “brand new” Crew-1 at NASA’s request. However, the agency has granted company authorization to reuse Crew Dragon rockets and capsules from Crew-2, which will reduce launch costs.
In addition to SpaceX, Boeing also participates in the commercial manned missions program with its Starliner capsule. However, the spacecraft had problems with its test flight, and has not yet completed its first mission with astronauts on board.
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