SpaceX test-fired a Falcon 9 rocket Tuesday at Cape Canaveral for the company’s next launch, which is set for takeoff Monday at around 9:56 a.m. EST (1456 GMT). The rocket will launch with the next batch of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband satellites, the company’s first launch since early August. There is an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for launch Monday.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine visited SpaceX’s California rocket factory Thursday, toured the sprawling facility with founder Elon Musk and told reporters he is optimistic the company will be ready to launch the first piloted test flight of its Crew Dragon spaceship in the first quarter of next year.
Images taken inside SpaceX facilities at Cape Canaveral and released by NASA Thursday show the Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 booster assigned to an in-flight abort test of the new human-rated spaceship later this year, a prerequisite before astronauts climb aboard for a mission to the International Space Station.