Boeing, SpaceX human spaceflight postponed to 2019

03 August, 2018, 16:28 | Author: Bertha Harmon
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That schedule calls for an uncrewed test flight in late 2018 or early 2019, followed by a crewed test flight in mid-2019.

NASA is considering two other options: delay the final November 2019 flight until January 2020 or use the crewed test flights as operational flights to transport USA astronauts to and from the ISS.

This is breaking news.

NASA said SpaceX was now aiming to conduct an uncrewed demonstration flight of its upgraded Dragon capsule in November, known as SpaceX Demo-1.

The Commercial Crew program carries some urgency because NASA has no contingency plan to keep shuttling astronauts to and from the station after next year.

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"A new era in American spaceflight": NASA is about to name at least eight astronauts that will fly the Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon for the first time. Once they receive the certification, NASA expects the companies to launch as many as six crews to the International Space Station.

Boeing and Space-X, NASA's Commercial Crew program partners, have pushed back the target launch dates for the first major test flights of their respective passenger spacecraft.

While the space agency has remained secretive about who might get picked for the honor of taking the first rides on board Boeing's Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon, perhaps so as not to spoil the great surprise, NASA officials did tell the Business Insider that only astronauts who are not now assigned to a space mission are eligible for the test flights of the brand-new spacecraft.

SpaceX now has six Crew Dragon capsules at various stages of production and testing, NASA officials have said.

According to their achievements, we're sure that among the first astronauts there will be Bob Behnken, Eric Boe, Doug Hurley, and Sunita "Suni" Williams. But the schedule has repeatedly moved to the right for SpaceX as well as Boeing, due to setbacks ranging from SpaceX's launch pad blow-up in 2016 to Boeing's engine valve problems this June.

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SpaceX has not publicly revised its Crew Dragon schedule.

Two companies have NASA contracts to provide flights to the ISS between 2019 and 2024: SpaceX and Boeing (ba). Two companies are vying to replace the Russians with a US spacecraft: Boeing Co.

[I] t is possible that neither contractor would be ready [to fly a USA crew to the ISS] until August 2020, leaving a potential gap in access [to the ISS] of at least 9 months.

In July, SpaceX shipped its Crew Dragon spacecraft to Kennedy Space Center in Florida for processing in preparation for Demo-1, and completed its first high-altitude balloon drop test - and 17th overall parachute system test - in the Mojave Desert from ~50,000 feet.

"After the uncrewed flight tests, both companies will execute a flight test with crew prior to being certified by NASA for crew rotation missions", NASA communications specialist Stephanie Martin wrote in a blog post.

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