1st Crewed Flights of Private Space Taxis Slip to 2019

Mindy Sparks
August 3, 2018

NASA has had to rely on Russian Federation for taking astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) since the space shuttle was terminated in 2011. "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 plans to reveal which of the four commercial crew astronauts will fly on board Boeing or SpaceX capsules on a mission to the International Space Station.

Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana will join Bridenstine and representatives from Boeing and SpaceX to introduce the crews.

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. Like many spaceflight programs, development has been slow-going, with milestones regularly delayed.

Under the Obama administration, NASA's Earth Science program saw the fastest growth of any science division at the agency, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. That schedule calls for an uncrewed test flight in late 2018 or early 2019, followed by a crewed test flight in mid-2019. L-R: Bill Gerstenmaier (NASA), John Mulholland (Boeing), Hans Koenigsmann (SpaceX), Cristina Chaplain (GAO), Pat Sanders (ASAP).

In a blog post, NASA said SpaceX plans to launch its Crew Dragon spacecraft on an unpiloted test flight in November.

The findings point to a stark contrast with NASA's current focus on human spaceflight and deep-space exploration, as the agency works on a lunar orbital platform for the early 2020s and a mission to Mars in the 2030s.

The news confirmed what a recent report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office had predicted - that the program's timeline was unrealistically optimistic. He made the announcement via telecon.

Boeing has also rearranged its test program, pushing back a pad abort test that was scheduled for this summer, before both the uncrewed and crewed test flights, to spring 2019, after the uncrewed flight. With all this happening you might be thinking that astronaut wardrobe is the least of NASA's concerns, but you couldn't be more wrong.

The other four astronauts that NASA has selected, however, aren't yet publicly known. For CST-100 Starliner, there will be one from NASA and one from Boeing.

Once the uncrewed flight tests are complete and the data reviews have validated the spacecraft systems, NASA astronauts will have their first opportunity to fly in the spacecraft. That might mean two NASA astronauts plus Boeing's (Chris Ferguson, a former NASA astronaut).

In light of Boeing's schedule adjustment, will that crew arrive on a Starliner or on SpaceX's Dragon spaceship?

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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