Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Science | By Dan Gutierrez

Next Month, NASA Will Be Declaring Crew Members For SpaceX And Boeing

Next Month, NASA Will Be Declaring Crew Members For SpaceX And Boeing

The first flights were scheduled for 2018.

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.

SpaceX's Dragon crew ship, on display at the company's Hawthorne, Calif., factory in 2014.

Although both Boeing and SpaceX still have a few milestones to reach before the launch of their respective astronaut-ferrying spacecraft, NASA is already looking ahead at resuming USA -based crewed spaceflights.

Last week, Boeing confirmed that it had a problem with its launch abort system, which is created to ferry crews to safety in the event of an emergency. "After the uncrewed flight tests, both companies will execute a flight test with crew prior to being certified by NASA for crew rotation missions". That modification is meant to "optimize the program flow", said John Mulholland, Boeing vice president and commercial crew program manager, noting that the abort system is not needed for the uncrewed flight test. However, on Friday NASA will announce at Johnson Space Center which craft the astronauts will launch in.

Four veteran astronauts - Eric Boe, Douglas Hurley, Sunita Williams and Robert Behnken - were named earlier, but they were not assigned to specific missions or spacecraft.

Two companies have NASA contracts to provide flights to the ISS between 2019 and 2024: SpaceX and Boeing (ba).

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After a month from the engine test issues, Boeing will have to delay the first two major test flights to the ISS of their future passenger spacecraft - The CST-100 Starliner.

The chamber allowed SpaceX and NASA to verify Crew Dragon's ability to withstand the extreme temperatures and vacuum of space.

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

"Safely and reliably flying commercial crew missions for NASA remains the highest priority for SpaceX", said Benji Reed, Director of Crew Mission Management at SpaceX.

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.

The Expedition 56 crew has finished loading Dragon with sensitive research results and station gear for analysis and refurbishment back on Earth.

"We have a dedicated team of both ourselves and the contractor working diligently on those corrective actions", said Mulholland. Crew Dragon also completed acoustical vibration testing on-site at Plum Brook Station. 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. For Crew Dragon, both will be NASA astronauts.

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