Friday, 19 October, 2018

SpaceX Will Fly Astronauts Before Boeing

NASA SpaceX Boeing astronaut cst 100 starliner crew dragon spaceships spacecraft american flag space race illustration business insider shayanne gal 2x1 NASA Kennedy Space Center; Boeing Shayanne Gal Business Insider
Eleanor Moreno | 03 August, 2018, 16:25

NASA will announce Friday morning the names of the first astronauts to fly to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner.

Congress ultimately boosted NASA's overall budget for the fiscal year that began on October 1 to almost $20.7 billion, part of a defense spending binge that also benefited nondefense projects.

The crewed mission will be called Demo-2 for SpaceX and Crew Flight Test for Boeing.

"The resulting schedule that we have will support an uncrewed flight test in late 2018 or early 2019", Boeing vice president John Mulholland said.

NASA plans to announce the astronauts who will make the first flights aboard the Dragon and CST-100 during a presentation Friday at the Johnson Space Center.

There will be at least eight astronauts announced tomorrow - each crewed test flight will have at least two astronauts.

NASA/Kennedy Space Center (via Flickr); Boeing; Shayanne Gal/Business InsiderAn illustration of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft (left) and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft (right). NASA has had to rely on Russian Federation for taking astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) since the space shuttle was terminated in 2011.

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


Among the options being considered by NASA is to use the crewed flight test as a crew rotation flight by adding a third astronaut to the mission and extending its stay from two weeks to as long as six months.

"I really have no visibility into SpaceX progress or the fidelity of the SpaceX schedule", he said. Boeing also connected the upper and lower domes of its Crew Flight Test spacecraft and attached its docking system in June.

The hardware for these uncrewed missions is being prepared for launch.

Crew Dragon is a modified version of its cargo counterpart, and will also launch atop the Falcon 9.

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.

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 spacecraft will dock and undock autonomously to the space station before flying their crew back to Earth. "We want to do some climate science, but we aren't going to do some of the insane stuff that the previous administration did", he said. Dubbed DM-2 (demonstration mission 2, set to follow this month's first demo spaceflight that will be uncrewed), the spacecraft's first passenger test flight is slated for December, per a previous report by the Inquisitr.

Boeing has already identified the problems, and "our team is off fixing those problems", Mulholland said.

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