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SpaceX is currently gearing up for a enormous milestone that is human-spaceflight.

Elon Musk’s business aims to fly the very first demonstration assignment of its own Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station (ISS) on March 2.

This flight, also called Demo-1, will be uncrewed. However, when everything goes well, Crew Dragon will probably take astronauts to and from the lab for the very first time \. [Take a Walk Through SpaceX’s Crew Dragon]

Here’s what you will need to know about Crew Dragon, Demo-1 and the future of human spaceflight.

What is Crew Dragon?

SpaceX's first Crew Dragon spacecraft is seen atop its Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida in February 2019.

SpaceX’s initial Crew Dragon spacecraft is observed atop its Falcon 9 rocket in Launch Pad 39Lots of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida at February 2019.

Charge: SpaceX

SpaceX has been growing Crew Dragon beneath a team contract with NASA. The agency signed a similar deal with Boeing, that is focusing on a capsule called the CST-100 Starliner.

The objective is to return orbital human spaceflight to U.S. soil. American astronauts have been determined by Russian Soyuz rockets and spacecraft to get to and from the ISS because July 2011, once NASA retired its space shuttle fleet.

A great deal of money has flowed from NASA to its Russian counterpart, Roscosmos, as an outcome; seats around the three-person Soyuz spacecraft now sell for around $80 million people.

SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 aircraft, a vehicle that includes a reusable first stage will be launched atop by crew Dragon. Starliner, that can be scheduled to make its uncrewed maiden flight to the ISS sometime in April, will be lofted by United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets, which aren’t reusable\.

What is it different from Cargo Dragon

Crew Dragon is a changed, upgraded version of SpaceX’s autonomous Dragon freight capsule, that was flying uncrewed resupply missions to the ISS under a separate NASA contract because 2012.

Crew Dragon has lots of astronaut-related attributes its own robotic cousin lacks — for example, chairs (seven of them), windows, fancy touchscreen screens, a life-support system along with an escape method. Consists of eight SpaceX SuperDraco motors built to the body of the capsule.

There are several other important differences between the 2 vehicles. For example, Dragon has deployable solar arrays, but the back of the spacecraft is covered by Crew Dragon panels and need no action\.

The two Dragon versions are designed to be reusable, and SpaceX has reflown a number of the freight craft. But each person Crew Dragon Won’t fly multiple ISS assignments for NASA, at least not originally, SpaceX agents have said 

Exactly what will Demo-1 do?

((VideoProviderTag|jwplaDemo-1 will start from historical Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX is targeting for the liftoff, although that date is far from set in stone.

The assignment was made to test almost all of Crew Dragon’s crucial equipment, out of docking gear and its automatic approach for its life-support and re-entry systems. SpaceX employees will track these systems’ performance closely for the whole period of the assignment, which will end with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

But Crew Dragon’s readiness to carry crew won’t be announced by a return to Earth. SpaceX will even run an uncrewed”in-flight abort” check together with the capsule in June, to make sure the escape system is functioning correctly.  

If everything goes well with both of those flights, Demo-2 is going to soon be cleared for liftoff. That assignment, which could launch as soon July, will take NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Douglas Hurley into the ISS.

Operational crew missions to the orbiting laboratory for NASA would adhere to the successful conclusion of Demo-2.

Prelude to Starship?

Crew Dragon will not fly for too long, if SpaceX’s eyesight holds — and neither will cargo even the Falcon 9 along with Falcon Heavy rockets or Dragon.

SpaceX is constructing a new do-it-all spaceflight system, which is made up of a 100-passenger spaceship called Starship and also a giant rocket called Super Heavy. The reusable duo will take visitors to and from the moon Mars and other destinations, Musk do anything SpaceX needs it to, and has said\.

Starship and Super Heavy will also do some job closer to Earth’s surface, ferrying individuals on superfast point-to-point trips around the world.

Mike Wall’s book concerning the hunt for alien life,”Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; exemplified by Karl Tate) is available now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us @Spacedotcom or Facebook. Originally printed on Space.com.

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