SpaceX Will Be Ready to Transport Humans in April 2019, NASA Estimates

  • SpaceX Will Be Ready to Transport Humans in April 2019, NASA Estimates

SpaceX Will Be Ready to Transport Humans in April 2019, NASA Estimates

NASA has outsourced the design of new spacesuits to various contractors, and those projects resulted in prototypes that would seem to be a huge step forward. The spacecraft that will fly the uncrewed flight test arrived in Florida last month after completing thermal vacuum and acoustics tests at NASA's Plum Brook Station in Ohio.

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

"Both partners said they really wanted to have an uncrewed flight test to make sure the integrated rockets, spacecraft and re-entry systems are all working as created to be able to ensure the integrated system is functioning".

"Tomorrow we will meet the astronauts who will be the first to fly the CST-100 Starliner".

The Starliner program has seen repeated delays.

"We believe the earliest time we can confidently do that will be in mid-2019 after flying an uncrewed flight test late this year or early next year".

So, these dates aren't surprising, but they also aren't good news.

"The mission profile will be determined by NASA", he said of the crewed test flight.

At one point last year, it was expected that it would have its first uncrewed test flight in June of this year, followed by a crewed flight this month.

A report issued last month by a United States government auditor said Boeing and SpaceX are unlikely to be able to send astronauts to the ISS next year, resulting in a possible gap in the U.S. presence on the spacecraft.

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.

The news, announced on NASA's Commercial Crew program blog, doesn't come as a surprise. "The systems will be operated in the actual environment to test it and ensure it's ready for crew".

John Mulholland, a Boeing vice president who's program manager for the CST-100 Starliner program, laid out the revised schedule today during a teleconference with journalists.

SpaceX carried out a pad abort test of its Crew Dragon vehicle in May 2015.

It is still not clear which company, Boeing or SpaceX, will launch humans first.

In 2014, Boeing and SpaceX were selected to build those systems.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft will be fully autonomous and can be closely watched from in space or on Earth at SpaceX's mission control in Hawthorne, California. Space station officials from around the world gave the "go" on Thursday for Dragon's release from the orbital complex.

"They are providing input to the partners to help ensure the interior of the cabin is appropriately located and set up so crew can function and conduct key activities".