Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - Boeing, SpaceX human spaceflight postponed to 2019

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - Boeing, SpaceX human spaceflight postponed to 2019

Due to some further testing required on Boeing's Starliner, it is likely SpaceX will to beat the aerospace giant in becoming the first private company to launch astronauts in an American-built space capsule.

Demo-1 is scheduled to lift off in November of this year from KSC's historic Pad 39A, which also served as the jumping-off point for NASA's Apollo moon missions.

SpaceX and Boeing have been working on their space taxi programs for almost four years, with the aim of transporting astronauts to and from the space station for NASA.

If those uncrewed missions go well, Boeing and SpaceX will each follow with two crewed flights in 2019.

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The crews for Boeing's demonstration flight, and for SpaceX's parallel demonstration flight, are to be announced amid fanfare at NASA's Johnson Space Center on Friday.

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.

Boeing and SpaceX came out on top with their CST-100 Starliner and Crew Dragon space capsule designs, respectively. NASA is also introducing a team of astronauts who will soon fly Boeing and SpaceX vehicles to the International Space Station.

The reproduction of the story/photograph in any form will be liable for legal action. Tomorrow, on 3 August, at around 11 a.m. EDT, NASA will broadcast the live video of their announcement, so be sure to check the link at the end of this article.

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These flight tests will have similar configurations to the uncrewed tests, but the crew will have the ability to interface with spacecraft displays, communicate with mission control, and practice manual controls during flight.

SpaceX said it would fly crews by April. Those engines are created to power up if the launch rocket suffers a mishap and would eject the Starliner crew capsule to a safe distance.

The hardware for these uncrewed missions is being prepared for launch. Proving that SpaceX can safely fly NASA personnel would put Musk, the company's chief executive officer, closer to his ultimate goal of carrying human colonists to Mars. Sometimes called the "Commercial Crew Cadre", those astronauts are seasoned veterans who've worked closely with Boeing and SpaceX on their new spacecraft and systems over the past three years. "Two of those demonstrations are uncrewed flight tests, known as Orbital Flight Test for Boeing, and Demo-1 for SpaceX". According to Geekwire, Boeing has traced back the issue with June's test to four of these valves, which failed to seal properly due to a problem with their springs. DM-2, Crew Dragon's first manned demonstration flight, is still now scheduled for December 2018, as reported by the Inquisitr. "We want to do some climate science, but we aren't going to do some of the insane stuff that the previous administration did", he said.

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