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


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

Pablo Tucker
August 3, 2018

SpaceX plans to fly Demo-2, its first crewed test flight, in April 2019, while Boeing's Crew Test Flight is now slated for mid-2019, according to a new schedule that NASA released Thursday.

The agency released the revised schedule with little fanfare ahead of a planned August 3 announcement at the Johnson Space Center of the astronauts that will fly the two companies' crewed demonstration missions, as well as on the first post-certification, or operational, missions by each company.

NASA is anxious for the Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew systems to begin operations because its access to Russia's Soyuz spacecraft ends next year. "I'm incredibly proud of the progress our team has made, and it has been inspiring to watch them work through challenges quickly, while developing a brand new human-rated spacecraft that Boeing, NASA and the nation can be proud of". The crewed test flights were also supposed to take place this year - Boeing's in November and SpaceX's in December. The company said it has identified the root cause of that incident and will make both operational and technical changes to ensure the valves close properly in the future.

The Crew Dragon capsule is a next-generation spacecraft created to carry humans to ISS and other destinations, according to SpaceX.

SpaceX and Boeing's new spacecraft are shaping up to be two solutions to that problem.


The NASA statement did not disclose reasons for either company's delays, and SpaceX did not respond to questions about its revised schedule.

A few months ago, both companies had hoped to start flying people by the end of this year.

The news confirmed what a recent report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office had predicted - that the program's timeline was unrealistically optimistic.

NASA TV is broadcasting video of the announcement live from Texas. Boeing's capsule is reusable up to 10 times with a six-month turnaround time, according to Starliner mechanical engineers.

ISS OR BUST. This delayed timeframe isn't entirely unexpected.


"During the startup of that test, all engines responded nominally", said John Mulholland, vice president and program manager for Boeing's commercial crew programs, during a conference call.

SpaceX and Boeing have been working on their space taxi programs for almost four years, with the aim of transporting astronauts to and from the space station for NASA.

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.

SpaceXNASA astronaut Sunita "Suni" Williams tests mock-ups of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship and spacesuit.


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