KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — SpaceX announced an official target date Tuesday for its first test launch of a crew capsule for the Falcon 9 rocket, an important step in sending astronauts into space.

A Kennedy Space Center email sent to news outlets shows the target date for the Demo-1 launch will be January 7, 2019, from Launch Complex 39A at KSC.

SpaceX is planning to attempt to send astronauts into space later in 2019, using its Dragon crew capsule. The January test launch is important in making sure the crew is safe when that test flight eventually happens. It would be the first time astronauts were launched from a spacecraft on American soil since the end of the space shuttle program.

If all goes well, SpaceX will be able to send astronauts to the International Space Station.  

Boeing is also planning to launch unmanned and then manned test flights for its Starliner crew capsule, on board an Atlas V rocket, in 2019.