SpaceX poised to beat Boeing with first astronaut flights

Month NASA Will Be Declaring Crew Members For SpaceX And Boeing

The Starliner and Crew Dragon will launch American astronauts on American-made spacecraft from American soil to the International Space Station for the first time since NASA retired its Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

NASA said SpaceX was now aiming to conduct an uncrewed demonstration flight of its upgraded Dragon capsule in November, known as SpaceX Demo-1.

Now, both SpaceX and Boeing are each working on spacecraft that will enable NASA to send astronauts with American spacecraft.

NASA's schedule for Starliner flights confirmed what a Boeing executive said a day earlier: The first uncrewed mission to the station (Boeing Orbital Flight Test) would take place in late 2018 or early 2019, and the first crewed mission (Boeing Crew Flight Test) would follow five to six months later.

On Friday, NASA will announce which astronauts will fly on the first commercial crew flights.

The news, announced on NASA's Commercial Crew program blog, doesn't come as a surprise.

An artist's conception shows SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship docking with the International Space Station, plus a cargo-carrying version of the Dragon in the foreground.

The reproduction of the story/photograph in any form will be liable for legal action. 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.

"I really have no visibility into SpaceX progress or the fidelity of the SpaceX schedule", he said. 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. DM-2, Crew Dragon's first manned demonstration flight, is still now scheduled for December 2018, as reported by the Inquisitr. He had the opportunity to see a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket on the pad and check out the Crew Access Tower. Falcon 9's first and second stages for the Demo-1 mission are targeted to ship from SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California to the company's rocket testing facility in McGregor, Texas for additional testing in August.

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. However, both companies have had some problems with their vehicles lately (be it technical issues or just delays), and they have to prove that their spacecraft are safe for crewed missions to the ISS and that they can also bring them back to Earth. That resulted in a leak of toxic hypergolic propellant, but no damage to the hardware and no injuries to the test team, he said.

NASA robotics technologist Brian Roberts said, "When your auto stops working or runs out of gas, you don't leave it on the side of the road".

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