1st Crewed Flights of Private Space Taxis Slip to 2019

Posted August 03, 2018

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.

Not only will the manned test flights be the first time astronauts fly to the space station aboard commercial spacecraft, but they will also be the first launch of "American astronauts on American-made spacecraft from American soil" since NASA retired its space shuttle program in 2011, the space agency said. "SpaceX is targeting November 2018 for Crew Dragon's first demonstration mission and April 2019 for Crew Dragon's second demonstration mission, which will carry two NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station". According to the updated timeline, SpaceX will conduct a manned Crew Dragon flight in April 2019. Since then, NASA has been forced to rely exclusively on Russia's increasingly expensive Soyuz spaceships to get to the International Space Station (ISS), in which the USA government has invested about $100 billion. Space station officials from around the world gave the "go" on Thursday for Dragon's release from the orbital complex.

Boeing has pushed back the launch test of its astronaut capsule for another six months, according to CNBC.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.

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NASA has outsourced the design of new spacesuits to various contractors, and those projects resulted in prototypes that would seem to be a huge step forward. "The systems will be operated in the actual environment to test it and ensure it's ready for crew". They will launch atop the company's Falcon 9 rockets from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, the same pad, now extensively modifiled, that was once used by shuttles and Saturn 5 moon rockets. On Sept. 16, 2014, the agency announced that Boeing and SpaceX would share $6.8 billion to develop independent space taxis, the first new USA crewed spacecraft since the shuttle.

SpaceX has not publicly revised its Crew Dragon schedule.

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.

It was expected that Boeing will launch the vehicle in August, unmanned, but the latest news suggests that, most likely, start will take.

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At one point last year, it was expected that it would have its first uncrewed test flight in June of this year, followed by a crewed flight this month.

"The crew right now is actually working on integrated crew simulations on the flight systems", said Lueders.

The crews will begin training to get ready for their launch.

"I see parallels between commercial crew and the early aviation industry, when government nurtured that commercial innovation", said Cowart.

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