• SpaceX successfully carried out an abort test for Crew Dragon
  • The human spaceflight for Crew Dragon could take place this year
  • Elon Musk confirmed the Demo 2 mission might take place after March

Elon Musk confirmed that SpaceX will conduct its first human spaceflight with the Crew Dragon spacecraft sometime during the second quarter of the year. Musk made the statement following the successful abort test of Crew Dragon on Sunday.

On Jan. 19, SpaceX carried out an unmanned test flight for the Crew Dragon through its Falcon 9 rocket. About 90 seconds after liftoff, the rocket was intentionally destroyed. After Falcon 9’s explosion, the Crew Dragon separated from the rocket and landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean using its parachutes.

The test flight, dubbed as an abort test, was a critical component of SpaceX’s assessment regarding the capabilities of Crew Dragon. It was carried out to test and demonstrate how the spacecraft would break away from its launcher in the event of an emergency.

“We are purposefully failing a launch vehicle, to make sure our abort system works,” Kathy Lueders, the manager for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program said in a statement prior to the launch. “That’s a very, very different way for us to formally conduct a mission.”

With the success of the abort test, SpaceX is now preparing for the first crewed spaceflight for Crew Dragon. The company had previously announced that NASA veteran astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behknen have been selected to pilot the spacecraft.

According to Musk, Crew Dragon’s human spaceflight, known as the Demo 2 mission, could take place during the second quarter of 2020. This means the mission might happen after March. Of course, will still be conducted before Crew Dragon’s piloted launch.

“We're highly confident that the hardware will be ready in [the first quarter], most likely end of February but no later than March,” he said according to “And we think it appears probable that the first crewed launch would occur in the second quarter.”

If all goes well for SpaceX, the company could soon fulfill its promise to NASA as one of the agency’s commercial partners. For years, both NASA and SpaceX have been hoping that the Crew Dragon will serve as the main spacecraft that will transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

An artist's depiction of Crew Dragon, the SpaceX spacecraft designed for manned missions to the International Space Station. SpaceX