SpaceX Job Listings Suggest It's Getting Close to Launching Crewed Mission
SpaceX is getting ready to go beyond blasting inanimate objects into orbit. The splashy announcement that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be taking a trip around the moon aboard the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) was followed by some less splashy additions to the company’s jobs opening page.
A few of the most notable additions? SpaceX added a listing for a Mission Integration Engineer in its Crew Mission Management division the same day as the BFR press event. This was the most recent of 16 job opportunities Elon Musk’s aerospace company has listed with the word “Crew” in the title this year. This is a sign that SpaceX is amassing a team of engineers and technicians to usher in a new era of regular crewed space missions.
The latest job posting explains that the Mission Integration Engineer will work towards sending NASA astronauts into the great unknown aboard the company’s Dragon 2 spacecraft and work on designing the BFR from SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
“The SpaceX Crew Mission Management team is expanding in anticipation of our upcoming crewed missions of the Dragon 2 spacecraft,” reads the job description. “This close-knit team serves as the main interface between the SpaceX technical teams and our external stakeholders to certify our spacecraft for astronauts and lead all programmatic aspects of their specific missions. The team also contributes to the early architecture of the Big Falcon Rocket program.”
SpaceX Crewed Mission: Launch Date
SpaceX will soon provide its futuristic Dragon 2 capsule to carry nine NASA astronauts into space. The firm intends to conduct an un-crewed flight test of the spacecraft in November, followed by a crewed flight in April 2019 if the tests all goes well, according to a Musk tweet.
The Dragon 2 is designed to be lifted past the atmosphere by a Falcon 9 rocket and safely bring its crew back to Earth with a re-entry splashdown using a parachute system. But that’s far from the only spacecraft that’s being designed to pioneer the future of crewed space travel.
The BFR is currently being assembled in in a shipyard near the southwestern part of Los Angeles’ Terminal Island. SpaceX leased out this area to serve as the rocket’s factory grounds. Once complete it will stand at 387 feet (118 meters) — SpaceX’s largest rocket of all time — a full 157 feet taller than the Falcon Heavy. Musk estimates that the “BFR Lunar Mission” taking Maezawa, along with six to eight artists, around the moon could happen as early as 2023.
Humans could once again take to the stars very soon.