For Full Story: Orlando Business Journal

Article By: Matthew Richardson


A tug ship that will support SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Capsule arrived at Port Canaveral earlier this month, adding another piece of preparation for the company’s targeted August test launch of its manned capsule.

The ship, built in 2010, now has a large radome on board — a structure protecting radar equipment. This radome likely will track movement of the Crew Dragon capsule as it arrives back to Earth’s atmosphere and prepares for a landing.

Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX, is on a tight schedule for its Crew Dragon capsule. While the test launch is scheduled for August, the estimated crew launch of seven passengers is scheduled for December. SpaceX won a contract with NASA to develop, build and test the Crew Dragon capsule to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

SpaceX Crew Dragon also is undergoing a few final tests before its launch. SpaceX tweeted on June 20 that the capsule was undergoing thermal testing to withstand extreme temperatures. It also was noted that this is one of the final tests before heading to Cape Canaveral, where it will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

Rocket activity in Florida’s Space Coast helps the area grab a piece of the $330 billion global space industry. It also keeps Florida in the spotlight as the top place for rocket launches.