The National Aeronautics And Space Administration (NASA) will determine in the following weeks whether to continue a crewed SpaceX test flight to the International Space Station. This decision could assist mitigate a crew time test on the station.
A prosperous in-flight abort analysis of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon shuttle January 19 performs it frequently likely that that the spacecraft will be available for a crewed test flight, known as Demo-2 in this spring. At a post-test press conference, SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk announced that it was feasible that the flight will take place in the second quarter of this year.
On the Demo-2 flight, NASA explorers Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will travel on the Crew Dragon to the ISS. That was created as a short-term mission, on the order of a couple of weeks, but NASA is leaving the door open to continuing that mission by an indefinite amount.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine stated, “Do we want that first crew to be short duration or do we want it to be a longer duration?” If NASA chose to continue the Demo-2 mission, he stated, the astronauts would need further training for ISS operations, which would push back the launch.
The modern plan, he stated later, is to put Demo-2 a short-duration mission. But expanding the mission, he stated, would guarantee NASA can get the highest amount of inclination out of the station. He added, “We will be able to keep a larger presence of astronauts on the space station for longer periods of time.”
There are presently six people on the station, but with planned crew rotations and a previously designed reduction in Soyuz flights, there will only be three people that includes NASA’s astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Nikolai Tikhonov and Andrei Babkin. This will define the time possible for analysis and also reduce any spacewalks to necessary repairs.
Bridenstine explicitly stated spacewalks in his remarks at the press conference. “It is always better to have more crew on board for those activities than less; we want to make sure we give us the best chance of success.”
A determination on expanding Demo-2, Bridenstine stated, would occur in the near future. “Those are choices we are going to be making in the coming weeks,” he stated.
The planetary experts at the agency earlier executed a choice to extend the crewed flight search for the other commercial crew transport in development, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner. The exact flight duration, NASA announced then, would be determined at a later date, but all three astronauts have been doing training for ISS works alongside that for the Starliner test flight itself.
NASA did not basically examine an extension of SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission for technical reasons. “When we made this arrangement with Boeing at that time, the vehicle that SpaceX was going to fly for Demo-2 was not especially proficient in doing it,” Kirk Shireman, NASA ISS program manager, stated at an October briefing.