For the better part of a decade, NASA and its commercial partners have been working toward re-establishing the United States’ domestic human spaceflight launch capability. Using its Crew Dragon spacecraft, SpaceX plans on testing its vehicle via the unpiloted Demo-1 flight to the International Space Station on a two-week mission.
Should all go according to plan, this mission is expected to serve as a dress rehearsal for the company’s first piloted flight, called Demo-2, later in 2019 with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.
Demo-1 is currently targeting a launch atop a Falcon 9 no earlier than February 2019 from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida. Once in orbit, it will ultimately rendezvous with and dock to the space station’s International Docking Adapter 2 located on the forward-facing port of the Harmony module. It is expected to remain at the outpost for about two weeks before undocking and returning to Earth for a splashdown in the ocean.