NASA Says Boeing, SpaceX Could Launch Astronauts Next Year

Doug Carpenter
August 3, 2018

Another capsule, Spacecraft 1, will be put through an uncrewed pad abort test during the first few months of 2019.

Later in April, NASA trained Boeing and SpaceX teams to operate the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle created to help personnel escape the launch pad in the unlikely event of an emergency on launch day.

In March, SpaceX performed two parachute tests, the company's 14th and 15th overall parachute test supporting Crew Dragon development in the Mojave Desert in Southern California. The crewed demonstration flight, with two astronauts on board, will follow in April 2019, four months later than previously announced.

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. "After the uncrewed flight tests, both companies will execute a flight test with crew prior to being certified by NASA for crew rotation missions". Each will demonstrate their spacecraft in an uncrewed and then a crewed test flight. The goal: ensure NASA astronauts can access the International Space Station and end U.S. reliance on Russia's increasingly expensive Soyuz spaceships to get there.

According to their achievements, we're sure that among the first astronauts there will be Bob Behnken, Eric Boe, Doug Hurley, and Sunita "Suni" Williams. Crew for Boeing's Crew Flight Test and SpaceX's Demo-2 flights will each include at least a flight commander and pilot aboard to test out the systems. 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.

NASA is about to name the first eight astronauts ever to fly Boeing and SpaceX's brand-new spaceships.

SpaceX has not publicly revised its Crew Dragon schedule. If something goes wrong at any point during a Crew Dragon flight, these engines can fire up and carry the spacecraft and its passengers to safety. Nominally, two astronauts will be on each test 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.

"We have a dedicated team of both ourselves and the contractor working diligently on those corrective actions", said Mulholland. There, the spacecraft underwent testing in the In-Space Propulsion Facility-the world's only facility capable of testing full-scale upper-stage launch vehicles and rocket engines under simulated high-altitude conditions.

Witnesses at January 17, 2018 House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing on commercial crew.

The other four astronauts that NASA has selected, however, aren't yet publicly known.

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