NASA Announces First Crew for Commercial Space Travel
05 August, 2018, 01:59 | Author: Sherry Houston
They will be the first Americans to launch into space from USA soil since NASA's space shuttle program retired in 2011.Since then, the us has relied on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft to carry Americans space.
Both Boeing and SpaceX are slightly behind schedule when it comes to their crew vehicles.
Now, SpaceX will launch its uncrewed test flight in November 2018, with the first crewed flight next spring.
The Starliner will launch aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Ferguson is the only non-NASA astronaut.
The successful flight marked the scheduled end of the 30-year space shuttle program. Both vehicles are reusable.
NASA has worked closely with the companies throughout design, development and testing to ensure the systems meet its safety and performance requirements. And it's now apparent that SpaceX is slightly ahead-it will conduct a crewed test flight in April of next year, while Boeing's crewed test is only scheduled for "mid-2019". In a call with reporters this week, John Mulholland, Boeing's program manager, said that several of the valves failed to fully close, resulting in a propellant leak.
Both Crew Dragon and Starliner are created to carry four astronauts. But that same propellant can be deadly to humans if not stored carefully.
Boeing has since identified the problem, he said, and is working to fix it.
That system will likely fly some time early next decade. Therefore, it's essential that Crew Dragon and Starliner be ready for operational flights by the 2020 deadline. Behnken, Boe and Hurley have each flown two shuttle missions, logging four weeks in space apiece.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended NASA pursue a backup plan for getting astronauts to the ISS, as its contract with Russian Federation to send them to the station via Soyuz launches in Kazakhstan ends at the end of 2019.
For Mann, a former F-18 test pilot with the Marines, though, this will be her first space flight.
Once Crew Dragon and Starliner are certified by NASA for regular use, they will be used for operational ISS flights around 2020.
NASACommercial Crew ProgramNASA astronauts (from left) are: Suni Williams, Josh Cassada, Eric Boe, Nicole Mann, Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Bob Behnken, Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover. They were two of the four astronauts selected by NASA in July 2015 to be trained to fly commercial crew missions. It will be Mr. Cassada's first spaceflight.
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