NASA says Boeing, SpaceX could launch astronauts next year

03 August, 2018, 09:00 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • NASA Announces Boeing and Space Crews

Although the first crewed flight of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft was supposed to take place either at the end of 2018 or early next year, Boeing won't be ready to fly the first passengers on its state-of-the-art "space taxi" until mid-2019.

NASA is making crew assignments now for the Boeing Crew Flight Test and SpaceX Demo-2 to support flight training as we return to launching our astronauts from American soil.

The ISS was created to be resupplied with crews and cargo by the shuttle throughout its lifetime, however, so NASA needed to develop alternative systems. Now, the White House wants to slash NASA's $21 billion budget - encouraging private-sector commercial activity in low Earth orbit as well as deeper forays into the solar system.

Starliner's launch abort system, created to eject the crew pod a safe distance from the rocket in case of an emergency, relies on four engines developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Both Boeing and SpaceX have designed their own spacesuits.

The Starliner program has completed 80 percent of its testing with "tremendous progress" made as it gets prepared for flight, Mulholland said. ULA is a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

NASA's goal in collaborating with Boeing and SpaceX is to achieve safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from station on the companies' spacecraft.

Although they are PPPs, the government provides the lion's share of the funding.

NASA's updated timeline did not provide reasons for the delays. Like many spaceflight programs, development has been slow-going, with milestones regularly delayed.

NASA Announces Boeing and Space Crews

NASA is now ready to announce who are the first astronauts for the flights of SpaceX and Boeing's commercial spaceships.

Now, however, the SpaceX uncrewed flight is scheduled for November 2018 and its crewed successor for April 2019 - edging in front of Boeing's planned launches.

A look at these capsules comes ahead of Friday's Commercial Crew announcement. L-R: Bill Gerstenmaier (NASA), John Mulholland (Boeing), Hans Koenigsmann (SpaceX), Cristina Chaplain (GAO), Pat Sanders (ASAP).

No launch date has been set for NASA's satellite fix demonstration, but the mission is expected to happen between 2020 and 2022. Those engines are created to power up if the launch rocket suffers a mishap and would eject the Starliner crew capsule to a safe distance.

The setback means the first crewed test flight will be pushed back to the middle of 2019, he said.

NASA will announce the crew assignments for the crew flight tests and the first post-certification mission for both Boeing and SpaceX.

A second round of test flights - manned flights - will follow the inaugural flights.

"Tomorrow we will meet the astronauts who will be the first to fly the CST-100 Starliner".

NASA's Commercial Crew Program, as it's called, will soon launch launch one uncrewed and two crewed test flights of each new spacecraft.

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