During a dress rehearsal on Friday, Hurley and Benken rode in a white Tesla X from the Kennedy Space Center crew to the launch pad, their sleek white and black spacesuits paired with an electric sports vehicle with wing-like doors.
Boeing is hot on SpaceX's heels with its CST-100 Starliner capsule. Past year in March, SpaceX completed an end-to-end test flight of Crew Dragon without NASA astronauts onboard, making Dragon the first American spacecraft to autonomously dock with the International Space Station and safely return to Earth.
This entire sequence was a carefully planned demonstration of exactly how the Crew Dragon would safeguard the lives of the astronauts on board, in the event of an unplanned failure of a Falcon 9 rocket during some future launch. While the 45th Space Wing has said there would be no launch today, no one including SpaceX has provided information about a back-up launch date/time due to a weather delay.
Americans have not flown into space aboard an indigenous craft since the shuttle program ended in 2011.
If all goes according to plan, 2020 will be the year that American astronauts rocket into space from American soil once again, after a 9-year hiatus.
Astronauts in SpaceX missions will participate in a new tradition among crews.
"We are thrilled with the progress NASA's Commercial Crew Program is making and look forward to the next milestone for Crew Dragon". Musk, who also controls Tesla, used cars to go around the space center on Sunday. SpaceX routinely lands the first stage booster of the rocket to re-use it, lowering the cost of space launches. A SpaceX official said the company completed the investigation within the last week. The whole test was deemed a success, which means SpaceX is moving towards their goal of International Space Station transportation.
No people were engaged with the training; the main components of the Dragon transport were two or three Anthropomorphic Test Devices, or "fakers". Overall, SpaceX tested these powerful Super Draco engines about 700 times.
Musk noted that the SpaceX in-flight interruption system should be softer for the crew, and it should work from the launch pad to orbit. In June 2019, the space agency announced that it would open the International Space Station for some commercial research and development, which would include the possibility for private astronauts to spend up to 30 days there as early as 2020.
"As far as we can tell thus far, it's a picture-perfect mission", said Musk in a NASA press release.