Enlarge / It is nearly
time for crewed flights on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. (credit:
On Friday, key NASA officials gathered in a large meeting room
at Kennedy Space Center. Here, for decades, NASA managers reviewed
analyses about the next space shuttle mission and, more often than
not, cleared the vehicle for launch. But after 2011, there were no
more crew vehicles to review.
That changed this week when NASA convened a “flight readiness
review” for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft for its initial test
flight, without people on board. By Friday evening, the meeting was
over and, among the NASA and SpaceX officials, the verdict was
in—Dragon was ready for its demonstration mission as part of the
commercial crew program on March 2. Launch time for the Falcon 9
rocket is 2:48am ET (07:48 UTC), from Kennedy Space
Center. “I’m ready to fly,” NASA’s commercial crew program
manager, Kathy Lueders, said succinctly.
The mood was ebullient among NASA leadership as well as SpaceX’s
top official on the scene, Hans Koenigsmann, the company’s vice
president of build and flight reliability. He, too, had
participated in the flight readiness review in the storied room
where so many shuttle meetings had been held. “It was a really
big deal for SpaceX, and me personally,” he said.
Source: FS – All – Science – News
Dragon aces final NASA review, now set for test flight on March 2