Sci-tech

SpaceX and Boeing Manned Capsule Flights Get Official Names

SpaceX and Boeing Manned Capsule Flights Get Official Names

SpaceX has a target date of November 2018 for its uncrewed flight and April 2019 for its crewed test. Boeing's schedule is considerably vaguer: uncrewed test, "late 2018/early 2019"; crewed test, "mid-2019".

On the left, NASA astronaut Suni Williams, fully suited in SpaceX's spacesuit, uses the display inside a mock-up of the Crew Dragon spacecraft in Hawthorne, Calif., during a testing exercise on April 3.

Eight NASA astronauts will be assigned to initial test flights and the following missions to the International Space station.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is packed with science and hardware ready for return to Earth on Friday.

When President Obama took office in 2009, he retained the Bush policy to terminate the shuttle program, which ultimately ended in 2011.

These will be the first American-made vehicles to take off into space from the USA and ferry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) since the Space Shuttle Program was retired seven years ago. It won't be the first time SpaceX trounces Boeing.

In June, Boeing, NASA and U.S. Army teams rehearsed safely bringing the Starliner spacecraft home to Earth at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. ULA is a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. 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.

Although they are PPPs, the government provides the lion's share of the funding. Coupled with the technical challenges inherent in any human spaceflight development program, the systems have been repeatedly delayed and NASA's dependence on Russian Federation extended.

After successful completion of the flight tests with crew, NASA will review flight data to verify the systems meet the agency's safety and performance certification requirements and are ready to begin regular servicing missions to the space station.

Starliner's launch abort system, created to eject the crew pod a safe distance from the rocket in case of an emergency, relies on four engines developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

See the full GAO report and NASA's Thursday statement.

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.

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. He made the announcement via telecon.

More than 50 people are in NASA's astronaut corps, though 12 in the agency's 2017 astronaut class are still training.

The announcement is at 10 a.m. Friday at the Johnson Space Center. The astronauts toured the pad for an up-close look at modifications that are in work for the SpaceX Crew Dragon flight tests.