Dragon Ready for Return Ahead of Commercial Crew Announcement
03 August, 2018, 16:29
NASA is now ready to announce who are the first astronauts for the flights of SpaceX and Boeing's commercial spaceships. After that, the companies will become eligible for many years' and billions of dollars' worth of future NASA missions.
Elon Musk's SpaceX is going to start putting people on its test flights in April next year, ahead of Boeing, NASA has revealed in a schedule published Thursday.
NASA is also expected to provide an update on flight schedules, though Boeing on Wednesday confirmed that it would target "late 2018 or early 2019" for an uncrewed test flight of Starliner, followed by a crewed mission in mid-2019, at least partially due to an anomaly that surfaced during testing in June.
"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.
The agency released the revised schedule with little fanfare ahead of a planned August 3 announcement at the Johnson Space Center of the astronauts that will fly the two companies' crewed demonstration missions, as well as on the first post-certification, or operational, missions by each company.
"Both partners said they really wanted to have an uncrewed flight test to make sure the integrated rockets, spacecraft and re-entry systems are all working as created to be able to ensure the integrated system is functioning". They will undoubtedly be part of the crew because they are veterans and have assisted Boeing and SpaceX for the last three years - while the companies worked on their spacecraft and systems. The crew assigned to Boeing's Starliner spacecraft will launch from SLC-41 atop an Atlas V on their way to the International Space Station.
Engine flaw delays Boeing test of crew capsule to 2019
The reproduction of the story/photograph in any form will be liable for legal action. The goal: ensure NASA astronauts can access the International Space Station and end USA reliance on Russia's increasingly expensive Soyuz spaceships to get there.
If those flights are successful, the companies will be certified by NASA for crew rotation missions.
SpaceX said it would fly crews by April.
"And NASA will be the anchor tenant", said scientist in residence John Charles at Space Center Houston.
Since June's test was created to prepare the Starliner spacecraft for the launch abort test later this summer, that procedure will have to wait a while longer until it can be rescheduled. "To meet NASA's requirements, the commercial providers must demonstrate that their systems are ready to begin regular flights to the space station". Seven seats, to be precise; that's how many people Crew Dragon can accommodate. The spacecraft will dock and undock autonomously to the space station before flying their crew back to Earth. "They're verifying crew layout, doing simulations where they're actually practicing their maneuvers, and also checking out the software and the display systems, and everything else for the crew to be functioning safely in the spacecraft".
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