KEY POINTS

  • SpaceX's COO confirmed that Demo 2 will launch in May
  • Demo 2 will transport 2 NASA astronauts to the ISS
  • It is not yet clear how long the mission will last

An official from SpaceX confirmed that the company is all set to carry out its first human spaceflight this year. However, it is not yet clear how long SpaceX’s mission with NASA astronauts will last.

SpaceX’s upcoming mission, known as Demo 2, is part of its partnership with NASA to provide commercial spaceflight services. As part of the deal, the company will transport two astronauts from the agency to the International Space Station (ISS).

The company’s COO Gwynne Shotwell recently confirmed that SpaceX is ready to proceed with the launch of Demo 2, which is currently scheduled to take place on May 7. The date coincides with SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s earlier estimate about launching the mission sometime during the second quarter of the year.

As noted by Shotwell, although both SpaceX and NASA are still finalizing a couple of matters related to Demo 2, it seems the two partners will be able to carry out the launch in less than two months from now.

“We’re gunning for May. We have work to do, NASA has work to do,” Shotwell confirmed during the Satellite 2020 conference in Washington, D.C., according to CNBC.

The two astronauts that will head the Demo 2 mission are NASA’s Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken. As part of the mission, the two astronauts will be transported to the ISS. However, it is not yet clear how long they will stay on the massive orbiting station before returning to Earth.

Shotwell noted that in preparation for their undetermined stay aboard the ISS, the two astronauts are currently undergoing additional training at a NASA facility.

“I think with the training that Bob and Doug are going through right now ... I think we can be done by May, but we want to be ready to fly in May,” the company official stated.

SpaceX’s Demo 2 mission will be carried out via the Crew Dragon spacecraft, which will serve as the capsule that will transport the NASA astronauts to the ISS. The capsule will be launched from Earth using SpaceX’s flagship rocket, the Falcon 9.

The official launch is expected to take place at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

(L-R) NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, SpaceX founder Elon Musk, and astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken speaking during a news conference at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California on October 10, 2019 (L-R) NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, SpaceX founder Elon Musk, and astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken speaking during a news conference at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California on October 10, 2019 Photo: www.philippachecophoto.com / Philip Pacheco