SpaceX is getting closer to the first manned space flight. The company's president and chief operating officer - Gwynne Shotwell announced on Tuesday that this is possible in about two months. The work gained momentum.
Shotwell shared the news with journalists at the Satellite 2020 conference in Washington.
SpaceX and NASA flights will be in May 2020.
- “We shoot in May. We have work to do, NASA has work to do” said President of SpaceX.
His comment means that SpaceX still wants to be an American company that will be the first to send NASA astronauts into space for almost a decade. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX already mentioned in January that the company's first mission - Demo-2, will most likely take place in the second quarter of the year, between April and June. During this mission, two astronauts from NASA will visit the International Space Station.
Before SpaceX realizes its ambitious plan, the company faces several challenges. The Dragon Crew capsule must pass the certification process, and NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley must complete additional training. They have to go through them because the agency can allow them to stay on the International Space Station longer than originally thought. The length of the mission is still under consideration.
Reusing Dragon Crew
Shotwell also emphasized that SpaceX plans to reuse the Dragon Crew capsule. Earlier this was not entirely certain, because the leader of NASA's Commercial Crew program in 2018 said that SpaceX, when organizing a flight with NASA astronauts, would each time use a new capsule.
"I'm pretty sure NASA won't have a problem reusing [the capsule]," Shotwell said during the conference.
SpaceX has reused the capsules that were sent into space. We are talking about Cargo Dragon, which is used, among others, for supplying consumables to space stations.
They don’t have much time to start the journey if they really plan to do it in May. We all will see it together and share with you here.