Engine flaw delays Boeing test of crew capsule to 2019

Gwen Vasquez
August 3, 2018

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

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

"This was above and beyond the NASA requirement in the contract", said Kathy Lueders, Commercial Crew Program manager at NASA Kennedy.

During the manned tests, the astronauts will be able to use the displays inside the spacecraft, communicate with mission control and practise manual controls during flight.

To certify that the Crew Dragon and CST-100 Starliner are ready to become NASA's new go-to space taxis, SpaceX and Boeing are each planning three test missions. The CST-100 Cockpit allows the crew to be within 60 hours.

Who Will Be Part of the Commercial Crew?

Initially, the first test flights with people on board were scheduled to take place late in 2018. For CST-100 Starliner, there will be one from NASA and one from Boeing. On the right, NASA astronauts conduct a fully-suited exercise in Boeing's CST-100 Starliner mock-up trainer in early May at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

This will include science samples from human and animal research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities, the statement said. The survey helped ensure crew members will have acceptable visibility as they prepare to launch aboard Boeing's Starliner spacecraft on the Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station. 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 new launch schedule comes just a day before the agency will announce which astronauts will be aboard which company's test and maiden crewed flights as the space community continues its quest to bring human spaceflight back to the U.S.

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Numerous team members leading the unique public-private partnership believe the agency is on the cusp of something life changing with its Commercial Crew Program.

"It's very exciting getting more people in space".

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

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.

Each company's new ship could be test-launched (without any astronauts inside) by the end of the year. Boeing also connected the upper and lower domes of its Crew Flight Test spacecraft and attached its docking system in June.

"After the uncrewed flight tests, both companies will execute a flight test with crew prior to being certified by NASA for crew rotation missions", NASA communications specialist Stephanie Martin wrote in a blog post. Starliner and Crew Dragon will dock and undock autonomously to the space station before returning the crew safely home.

"I see parallels between commercial crew and the early aviation industry, when government nurtured that commercial innovation", said Cowart.

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