Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Dragon Ready for Return Ahead of Commercial Crew Announcement

Dragon Ready for Return Ahead of Commercial Crew Announcement

NASA Astronaut Suni Williams, fully suited in SpaceX's spacesuit, interfaces with the display inside a mock-up of the Crew Dragon spacecraft in Hawthorne, Calif., during a testing exercise on April 3, 2018.

SpaceX and Boeing's new spacecraft are shaping up to be two solutions to that problem. Boeing and SpaceX volunteered to perform these tests to demonstrate their systems are safe for crew. 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.

To certify that the vehicles are ready to be used by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner must pass three test missions: one without a crew and two with a crew. Nominally, two astronauts will be on each test flight.

"Tomorrow we will meet the astronauts who will be the first to fly the CST-100 Starliner". With all this happening you might be thinking that astronaut wardrobe is the least of NASA's concerns, but you couldn't be more wrong.

Astronauts are expected to make their first flight aboard Boeing's CST-100 Starliner in mid-2019, following a test flight without a crew in late 2018 or early 2019.

"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.

"NASA is continuing to assess multiple scenarios to ensure continued United States access to the International Space Station", Schierholz wrote in an email earlier this week.

An engine flaw discovered during a launchpad test of Boeing's Starliner spaceship, created to carry humans to the International Space Station, has delayed its first crew test flight until next year.

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.

However, as the Inquisitr reported earlier today, Boeing has just announced it will be delaying the entire launch schedule of its Starliner spacecrafts, aiming for a first crewed test flight in mid-2019. In 2006, it initiated public-private partnerships (PPPs) to build "commercial cargo" systems.

"I'm excited to be part of the future of space travel", said Jon Cowart, acting deputy manager for the Commercial Crew Program's Mission Management and Integration office at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Since then, NASA has been forced to rely exclusively on Russia's increasingly expensive Soyuz spaceships to get to the International Space Station (ISS), in which the USA government has invested about $100 billion.

■ PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem), a mission to monitor the planet's ocean health, which has not yet launched.

SpaceX has not publicly revised its Crew Dragon schedule. The crew assigned to fly on the company's Crew Dragon will liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic pad 39A.

Each company's new ship could be test-launched (without any astronauts inside) by the end of the year.

Expedition 54 Flight Engineer Serena Aunon, Chancellor of NASA, will monitor its departure as the spacecraft is released through ground-controlled commands.

The crews will begin training to get ready for their launch.

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