The big picture: Launching at 2:48 on Saturday indicates that government-led space research is passing through public-private partnerships in which billions, such as Elon Musk, who founded and manages SpaceX, is sharing US space research .
- This will be the first time a private spacecraft has been deployed to the space station to transport astronauts.
- Beginning this year, the United States astronauts and their cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) are bound to private-built missiles.
Details: During the 6-day mission, SpaceX Crew Dragon attempts to dock independently with ISS, testing a large portion of the crew's traffic system.
- The launch of the demo is part of NASA's long-term trading team program, where Elon Musk SpaceX and Boeing signed a $ 6.8 billion contract to launch astronauts and cargo to the ISS. According to NASA, Boeing's contracts have so far reached $ 4,312 billion and $ 2.5 billion.
- Although on Saturday no one will ride in the capsule, there will be a dummy called "Ripley" (in honor of "Alien") that contains sensors that allow SpaceX and NASA officials to get to know more about what it means to man. for G-forces and radiation.
- In March, Boeing tested the CST-100 Starliner.
- The test flights are steps to ensure the safety of the spacecraft of these companies prior to the commencement of personnel testing.
Yes but: Before SpaceX and Boeing can launch people into space, they must meet stringent security requirements, including reducing their crew loss or permanent disability to 1-in-270.
- This standard is stricter than that used in NASA's Shuttle program.
- Difficulties in losing the need for staff and meeting design and production challenges have led to serious delays in Commercial Crew, so much that NASA had to consider emergency plans to maintain ISS access if Boeing or SpaceX did not. work. ready to start safely.
- Demo-1 flight is expected to detect some bugs in SpaceX to capture them.
"I really expect you to learn something about this flight," he said. "I guarantee that everything won't work exactly, and that's good. That's exactly what we want."
– Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator of the NASA Human Space Program
- NASA protects against the possibility of further delays in purchasing two additional Soyuz sites in 2019 and 2020.
What to watch: NASA oversees and certifies these companies, but is currently taking on the role of a supportive player.
But this does not mean that NASA will fade into the background, says Eric Stallmer, president of the Association of Commercial Space Weapons, which promotes the development of the commercial space sector.
- "NASA is an iconic brand and will continue to do incredible things," says Stallmer to Axios. He says SpaceX, Boeing, and other private spacecraft logos can be seen with similar respect in the future.
- "We are a commercial-minded nation," he says. He called "national embarrassment" that the United States had been launching its own astronaut for about 8 years.
What is the next step: After the demo-1 mission, an in-flight interruption test is performed. Assuming that everything goes smoothly and the company meets the certification requirements, the first crewed SpaceX test flight to ISS, with Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley astronauts, exploded in July. The Boeing roadmap is also moving at about the same pace.