NASA Says Boeing, SpaceX Could Launch Astronauts Next Year

03 August, 2018, 16:26 | Author: Tracy Craig
  • NASA Announces Boeing and Space Crews

The survey helped ensure crew members will have acceptable visibility as they prepare to launch aboard Boeing's Starliner spacecraft on the Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station.

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

Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana will join NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Boeing and SpaceX officials to make the crew announcement. SpaceX has hinted that its first crewed flight could take place by early next year, but Mulholland declined to speculate.

"I'm incredibly proud of the progress our team has made, and it has been inspiring to watch them work through challenges quickly, while developing a brand new human-rated spacecraft that Boeing, NASA and the nation can be proud of", Mulholland added.

NASA and commercial industry partners Boeing and SpaceX are making significant advances in preparing to launch astronauts from US soil for the first time since the space shuttle's retirement in 2011. They're both the result of NASA's Commercial Crew Program: a almost 10-year-long, $8-billion effort to maintain access to orbit for United States astronauts.

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

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US media are invited to attend the event at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and, afterward, speak with the astronauts about their assignments.

If those flights are successful, the companies will be certified by NASA for crew rotation missions.

"While we know there's quite a bit of interest and focus on who will fly first, NASA is more interested in both of them flying successfully", Stephanie Schierholz, a spokeswoman for the USA space agency, said Thursday. Since the shuttle fleet's retirement in 2011, the only spaceship cleared for carrying people to the station has been Russia's Soyuz spacecraft, and the ticket price for NASA is in the range of $80 million a seat. The idea is that other customers will emerge and the company will have a profitable business that does not rely exclusively on government contracts.

During the manned tests, the astronauts will be able to use the displays inside the spacecraft, communicate with mission control and practise manual controls during flight. Boeing's CST-100 Starliner will launch on its first uncrewed flight test on the ULA Atlas V rocket. In this simulation, DOD pararescue specialists jumped from military aircraft, parachuted to the water, and simulated stabilizing the Crew Dragon capsule and safely removing astronauts from the spacecraft. "The result is that we'll have a better and safer spacecraft", he said.

Last week, Boeing confirmed that it had a problem with its launch abort system, which is created to ferry crews to safety in the event of an emergency.

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