NASA confirms delays in Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew flights

NASA Announces Boeing and Space Crews

The first flights were scheduled for 2018. TESS is anticipated to send out its first string of science data in August back to Earth, and after that, from time to time every 13.5 Days, one time per orbit, as the probe makes it nearest approach to our planet. The idea is that other customers will emerge and the company will have a profitable business that does not rely exclusively on government contracts. Boeing's Starliner spacecraft will blast off atop United Launch Alliance's Atlas 5 rocket, while SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft will travel on the company's workhorse Falcon 9 rocket.

It was Ferguson and his crew who left a US flag behind on the space station during the last shuttle mission in 2011, to be picked up by the next space crew to be launched from USA soil.

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.

"NASA's Commercial Crew Program will return human spaceflight launches to US soil, providing safe, reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit on systems that meet our safety and mission requirements", said the official blog. In its report, the GAO said NASA's projected "average" certification date for Boeing was December 2019, and January 2020 for SpaceX, with the potential for both companies to slip well into 2020.

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The space agency also confirmed Boeing's plan to put off its first crewed space taxi mission until mid-2019, and geared up to announce who'd be on the first space taxi flights for SpaceX's Crew Dragon as well as Boeing's Starliner. The first test was set for 2017, but it was delayed to this end of summer (Boeing delaying it to the end of the year).

Part of Boeing's delay arose from a propellant leak in June during a launch-abort engine test in New Mexico. Nominally, two astronauts will be on each test flight. However, NASA indicated in April that it may "operationalize" the Boeing test flight and fly three, instead of two crew. Starliner and Crew Dragon will dock and undock autonomously to the space station before returning the crew safely home.

Mulholland added that he has no "visibility into SpaceX progress or the fidelity of the SpaceX schedule", and that they only focus on making "sure we do everything we can to ensure a safe vehicle and meeting the schedule parameters that I've laid out". Space station officials from around the world gave the "go" on Thursday for Dragon's release from the orbital complex.

So, for the last seven years, the American space agency has been paying its Russian counterpart for crew transportation services. Crew Dragon also completed acoustical vibration testing on-site at Plum Brook Station. That will include training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston as well as at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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