NASA announced the SpaceX Demo-2 flight test date and additional details on how they’ll be running a world’s first since the final “space shuttle” mission on July 8, 2011. This will be the “return of human spaceflight launch capabilities to the United States” in full effect. It’ll also be the first launch of American astronauts aboard an American rocket and spacecraft since that 2011 date, the date of NASA’s final space shuttle mission.
This big launch will take place with a “no earlier than mid-to-late May” launch date. That’s about as specific as it gets, this far out from a launch with NASA. It is of vital importance that all conditions be optimal with a space launch of this magnitude, as evidenced by ESA and Roscosmos delay of their ExoMars mission to 2022.
Today the NASA SpaceX Demo-2 flight test was opened to media accreditation. That’s a serious step toward actual event launch – and it’ll be in effect in the next few weeks. While media accreditation may change due to COVID-19, for now, international media without U.S. citizenship must apply by 4PM EDT on Friday, April 17, 2020. U.S. media must apply by 4PM on Friday, April 24, 2020.
The event will take place in the latter half of May, more than likely – or later. It’ll be then that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will launch Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, NASA astronauts, aboard Crew Dragon. They’ll be launched from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
This will be the second demonstration mission of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, part of the SpaceX human spaceflight system. That’ll include launch, docking, splashdown, and recovery operations. This is the final flight test of the full system in which SpaceX will eventually be “certified to carry out operational crew flights to and from the space station for NASA.”