Both Boeing and SpaceX are building spaceships to transport astronauts and restore United States access to the space station, a capacity lost when the shuttle program was retired in 2011, as planned after 30 years of operation. Each company's new ship could be test-launched (without any astronauts inside) by the end of the year.
"NASA will announce on Friday, Aug. 3 the astronauts assigned to crew the first flight tests and missions of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon, and begin a new era in American spaceflight", the agency said.
Dreier said it's unlikely Congress would reverse itself one year later and cut the NASA science programs, especially as the Republican-controlled chamber is seeking to pass a budget with minimal partisan fighting over relatively small expenditures.
NASA is anxious for the Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew systems to begin operations because its access to Russia's Soyuz spacecraft ends next year. 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.More news: Trump urges attorney general to end Mueller probe ‘right now’
NASA's updated timeline did not provide reasons for the delays.
NASA is now ready to announce who are the first astronauts for the flights of SpaceX and Boeing's commercial spaceships. Fully 43 percent of respondents said the climate should be NASA's "top priority".
Among the options being considered by NASA is to use the crewed flight test as a crew rotation flight by adding a third astronaut to the mission and extending its stay from two weeks to as long as six months. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued several reports, most recently in June, warning that the systems are not likely to be certified until late 2019 or 2020.
Now, however, the SpaceX uncrewed flight is scheduled for November 2018 and its crewed successor for April 2019 - edging in front of Boeing's planned launches. His remarks were widely reported and Boeing spokeswoman Rebecca Regan confirmed the news via email to SpacePolicyOnline.com. Four NASA astronauts were selected in 2015 for training.More news: Ivanka Trump says she was 'vehemently' opposed to separation of families
SpaceX designed its Crew Dragon spacecraft to launch atop the company's Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. For Crew Dragon, both will be NASA astronauts.
A second round of test flights - manned flights - will follow the inaugural flights. For CST-100 Starliner, there will be one from NASA and one from Boeing. The first test flight with a crew on board is targeted for "mid-2019", NASA said. That might mean two NASA astronauts plus Boeing's (Chris Ferguson, a former NASA astronaut).
SpaceX has not publicly revised its Crew Dragon schedule.More news: Tour de France victor Geraint Thomas' future unclear
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