Crewmembers For Boeing, SpaceX First Test Flights To Be Named Friday

NASA just made thousands of hours of Apollo 11 tapes public for the first time

NASA just made thousands of hours of Apollo 11 tapes public for the first time

As a partner approaches its target readiness date, NASA will work with the company and the Eastern Range to identify launch dates within the busy International Space Station schedule to ensure science investigations, as well as logistics activities and critical operations continue while these new spacecraft are tested. The space agency, in 2014, had joined forces with SpaceX and Boeing to build the Crew Dragon lifting-off atop the Falcon 9 rocket and the Starliner spacecraft to lift-off atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, respectively. Four more NASA astronauts, as well as a Boeing astronaut, will be announced Friday.

So, these dates aren't surprising, but they also aren't good news. That schedule calls for an uncrewed test flight in late 2018 or early 2019, followed by a crewed test flight in mid-2019.

Earlier this year, NASA said the two companies would conduct unmanned tests flight in August.

SAVE THE DATE. On Thursday, NASA announced that SpaceX's Crew Dragon (its spacecraft created to transport astronauts) will be ready for an uncrewed test in November 2018 and a crewed test in April 2019. 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.

An artist's conception shows SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship docking with the International Space Station, plus a cargo-carrying version of the Dragon in the foreground.

An uncrewed flight test was not a NASA requirement for certifying these systems for human spaceflight. Initially Congress did not provide as much money as NASA requested because of skepticism that the program would succeed.

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The revised schedule is not surprising given that the space community had widely expected delays of at least several months by both companies.

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

Meanwhile, Boeing plans to proceed with the unmanned flight test of one of its Starliners, known as Spacecraft 3, ahead of the launch abort test.

After successful completion of the flight tests with crew, NASA will review flight data to verify the systems meet the agency's safety and performance certification requirements and are ready to begin regular servicing missions to the space station.

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.

"The mission profile will be determined by NASA", he said of the crewed test flight. For 2019 the White House is seeking approximately $19.9 billion for NASA, with more than $123 million in cuts to Earth Science.

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