Friday, 17 August, 2018

NASA to announce next generation space flight crew

Month NASA Will Be Declaring Crew Members For SpaceX And Boeing NASA Announces Boeing and Space Crews
Sherry Houston | 03 August, 2018, 16:26

"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". SpaceX and Boeing have been developing their own reusable astronaut taxis for years, under multibillion-dollar NASA commercial crew contracts.

President George W. Bush directed in 2004 that the space shuttle program end as soon as construction of ISS was completed, then expected in 2010.

The Trump administration, meanwhile, has sought to revamp NASA's $21 billion budget to foster private-sector commercial activity in low Earth orbit and deeper forays into the solar system.

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.

There's no guarantee that either SpaceX or Boeing will stick to the schedule announced today. Boe, along with launch operations engineers from NASA, Boeing, and ULA, climbed the launch pad tower to evaluate lighting and spotlights after dark.

In light of Boeing's schedule adjustment, will that crew arrive on a Starliner or on SpaceX's Dragon spaceship?

Under the Obama administration, NASA's Earth Science program saw the fastest growth of any science division at the agency, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Coupled with the technical challenges inherent in any human spaceflight development program, the systems have been repeatedly delayed and NASA's dependence on Russian Federation extended. "To meet NASA's requirements, the commercial providers must demonstrate that their systems are ready to begin regular flights to the space station".

What commercial spacecraft will fly?

Last month, the Government Accountability Office warned that the companies were slipping on their schedules toward NASA certification, with Boeing reaching that milestone in December 2019 and SpaceX a month later.

The chamber allowed SpaceX and NASA to verify Crew Dragon's ability to withstand the extreme temperatures and vacuum of space. It's possible neither company will be ready to fly astronauts until August 2020, the GAO said in its report.

It has been widely expected that those dates would slip, however.

SpaceX did not give a reason for the delay of its first crewed test flight. He made the announcement via telecon.

NASA on Friday is scheduled to announce the crews of the first flights to fly from United States soil since the space shuttle retired in 2011, an elite group of astronauts that the agency hopes will help open a new era of space travel.

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. In particular, it is noted that the test was carried out emergency rescue crew.

SpaceX has not publicly revised its Crew Dragon schedule.

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