NASA and SpaceX officials are moving forward with preparations to launch the next commercial Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station next week after a Flight Readiness Review Thursday, pending a final evaluation of a discovery by SpaceX that it has potentially been loading slightly more propellant than expected into its Falcon 9 rockets.
SpaceX is rolling out a Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft to pad 39A Friday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, setting the stage for a static fire test Saturday and a crew countdown rehearsal Sunday. The four astronauts who will ride the capsule to the International Space Station are due to arrive at the Florida spaceport around 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) Friday to prepare for launch April 22.
SpaceX trucked its Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft — refurbished with a new heat shield and structural enhancements — across the Cape Canaveral spaceport this week for attachment to a Falcon 9 rocket ahead of a planned liftoff next Thursday with four astronauts heading to the International Space Station.
Blue Origin, the space company founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, took another step toward launching people to the edge of space Wednesday with a test flight of its New Shepard booster and crew capsule over West Texas. “It’s time,” Bezos wrote on Instagram after the flight, suggesting Blue Origin plans to move forward with suborbital launches carrying human passengers above the atmosphere.