NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the SpaceX Crew Dragon launch escape demonstration, as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, which is working with U.S. companies to launch American astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 8 a.m. EST Saturday, Jan. 18, for launch of the company’s In-Flight Abort Test, which will demonstrate Crew Dragon’s ability to safely escape the Falcon 9 rocket in the event of a failure during launch. The abort test has a four-hour launch window.

The test launch, as well as other activities leading up to the test, will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon will launch from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX will intentionally trigger Crew Dragon to perform the launch escape prior to 1 minute, 30 seconds into flight. Falcon 9 is expected to aerodynamically break up offshore over the Atlantic Ocean. The spacecraft is planned to land under parachutes offshore in the ocean.

Full coverage is as follows. All times are EST:

Friday, Jan. 17

  • 1 p.m. – Pre-test briefing at Kennedy, with the following representatives:
    • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • Benji Reed, director, Crew Mission Management, SpaceX
    • Mike McAleenan, launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron

Saturday, Jan. 18

  • 7:45 a.m. – NASA TV test coverage begins for the 8 a.m. liftoff
  • 9:30 a.m. – Post-test news conference at Kennedy, with the following representatives:
    • Jim Bridenstine, administrator, NASA
    • SpaceX representative
    • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • Victor Glover, astronaut, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • Mike Hopkins, astronaut, NASA Commercial Crew Program

The deadline for media to apply for accreditation for this launch has passed, but more information about media accreditation is available by emailing [email protected].

The goal of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station, which could allow for additional research time and increase the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity’s orbiting testbed for exploration.

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