20:09 GMT17 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - NASA has received the concurrence of Russian space agency Roscosmos on the planned first unmanned test flight of the US Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station (ISS), Joel Montalbano, NASA’s deputy ISS Program manager, said, adding that the sides agreed on the protocol of the vehicle’s approach to the station.

    "We agreed with Roscosmos yesterday on a protocol of the approach, actually, through discussions with them, explaining what steps SpaceX has taken in order to ensure the safety. They asked for some additional steps … where we would protect the space station, close another hatch or two, have the Soyuz, have the crew ready to go to the Soyuz. We agreed to do that", Montalbano told a press conference, broadcast by NASA’s YouTube channel, on Thursday.

    READ MORE: Dragon Cargo Spacecraft Undocked From ISS, Returns to Earth

    Last week, the US agency announced its plans to send the capsule, designed by private aerospace contractor SpaceX, to the ISS.

    NASA officials then said that their Russian colleagues had concerns related to the US agency’s lack of a backup computer system to prevent Crew Dragon from colliding with the ISS if the vehicle goes dead.

    The flight control teams were to finalize the procedures later that day, Montalbano pointed out.

    Crew Dragon, also known as Dragon 2, is a reusable spacecraft designed as a successor to the Dragon space freighter.

    Its launch atop the Falcon 9 rocket for the unmanned test mission is scheduled for 2:48 am EST (07:48 GMT) on 2 March. The spacecraft is expected to reach the ISS on 3 March.

    READ MORE: WATCH SpaceX Dragon Blast Off to ISS Carrying Methane Fuel Mission


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    unmanned flight, consensus, risks, Dragon 2, Crew Dragon, ISS, Roscosmos, NASA, Joel Montalbano, US, Russia
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