Elon Musk appeared today in front of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology to give an update on the Commercial Crew Development program.
“In the coming years, SpaceX will collect significant data and experience on the Falcon 9 and
Dragon system from upcoming COTS and future CRS missions. Specifically, the Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 launch vehicle are currently scheduled to fly together at least 8 more times before a crew demonstration in 2014. The Falcon 9 itself is scheduled to launch a total of 14 missions prior to the first Dragon crew mission. The commonality between the cargo and crew versions of Dragon allows for significant end-to-end flight heritage and operational experience to be gained on critical functions – including launch, navigation and control, thermal protection, thermal control, power generation and distribution, avionics, software, entry guidance and recovery – well before the first crew flight. The avionics hardware is highly scalable, allowing SpaceX to significantly leverage the architecture tested and proven on cargo missions for use on crew missions. “ -Elon Musk, SPACEX