A launchpad disaster involving Crew Dragon of SpaceX took place in April during testing. However, the company has taken corrective measures and is back on track after carrying out a successful engine test.
There has been no definite timeline for the Crew Dragon. What we are trying to say is that it has remained flexible. Ever since 2014, the spacecraft has been undergoing development and tests as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program along with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner. The basic idea is to have US-built spacecraft that can take astronauts to the ISS for the first time ever since the Space Shuttle program got discontinued in 2011.
Crew Dragon is actually based on SpaceX’s Dragon capsule. The Dragon Capsule has been taking cargo to and bringing it back from the International Space Station since 2012. However, it has been modified for human travel, and the outcome is Crew Dragon. But the company has to make sure that it is completely safe before having astronauts jumping in and heading for orbit. In order to ascertain its safety, SpaceX is subjecting Crew Dragon to a series of intensive tests.
Last year, before any disaster had happened, SpaceX was aiming for June 2019 for its first manned flights. This was pushed back to July, and now the first manned flights have been postponed without an exact date after the explosion that took place in April. The explosion happened because of a leaky happened and happened during a static fire test of the Draco thrusters. These thrusters are to be used as abort rockets for blasting the vehicle clear of the launchpad if any emergency occurs.
The Draco thrusters will undergo testing again before the Crew Dragon goes into orbit with people onboard. Falcon 9 rocket, which will be used for lifting Crew Dragon to space, has also been undergoing tests including static fire tests. We will have to wait until a final date for launching is given to us, but this would be the first time that SpaceX will be able to send astronauts to space if all this goes according to plan, and we are excited!