Over the summer, Elon Musk said that the crewed mission would happen some time between January and April if everything went smoothly. The updated timetable announcement comes as NASA’s Commercial Crew promises more regular updates to its launching and landing schedule. “As we get closer to launching human spacecraft from the U.S., we can be more precise in our schedules,” the director of Commercial Spaceflight Development at NASA, Phil McAlister, said in a statement. “This allows our technical teams to work efficiently toward the most up-to-date schedules, while allowing us to provide regular updates publicly on the progress of our commercial crew partners.” Also added to the schedule are a series of unmanned missions: a test flight with the SpaceX rocket this December, a launch in January, and Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test in March 2019.
With SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission, Elon Musk and his Teslanauts will become the first private company to design and build a spacecraft that carries astronauts into space. Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley of NASA are currently training for the mission, while NASA astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu Mann, along with Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson, are preparing for Boeing’s Crew Flight Test, which is scheduled for two months later in August 2019. After both test flights, NASA will take a close look at the performance data as it prepares for upcoming long-duration missions in August and December 2019.