NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said on Thursday that the SpaceX’s Crew Dragon astronaut capsule will be ready for its first test flight into the orbit in the first four months of 2020 if everything goes according to plan.
Bridenstine visited the headquarters of SpaceX and he did not miss the opportunity to praise the company for the quick reaction it has to failures and fix the problems.
As he stood right next to SpaceX’s CEO, Elon Musk, Bridenstine said:
“We are not going to take any undue risk.’’
According to Reuters, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is paying commercial launch contractors SpaceX and Boeing Co $6.8 billion to build rocked-and-capsule systems to return astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S soil for the first time since America’s space shuttle program ended in 2011.
“It’s a pretty arduous engineering job to get the parachutes right,’’ said Musk adding that Crew Dragon’s parachutes will be twice safer than the ones used in the Apollo era.
“Testing will be complete and hardware at the Cape (Canaveral) by the end of December,’’ said Musk.
Musk also said that several incidents were inevitable during the whole process and rigorous testing.
The two top figures in space science had an internet feud over the last two weeks, as Bridenstine wrote on Twitter that Musk celebrated an unrelated milestone achieved on his company’s deep-space Starship rocket while the Crew Dragon project was uncompleted.
On this Musk shared his word on several interviews as he said that at one point a NASA moon rocket dubbed the Space Launch System that is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.
He also talked with CNN on the issue saying that most of the work left to complete on Crew Dragon is connected to a long series of safety reviews by NASA.