The test flights and missions aboard Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, slated for as early as April 2019, will "begin a new era in America spaceflight", the USA space agency said.
The agency released the revised schedule with little fanfare ahead of a planned August 3 announcement at the Johnson Space Center of the astronauts that will fly the two companies' crewed demonstration missions, as well as on the first post-certification, or operational, missions by each company.
On Friday, the space agency plans to announce crews for the first flights of SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner.
The crewed mission will be called Demo-2 for SpaceX and Crew Flight Test for Boeing.
Science has to be relevant to our daily lives Casey Dreier, the director of space policy at the Planetary Society, which lobbies for greater funding of space science and exploration, says most people see science in the context of how it affects our daily lives.
In March, astronaut Eric Boe visited Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. For Crew Dragon, both will be NASA astronauts.
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SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.
Each company must launch an uncrewed test flight and then a crewed test flight prior to certification by NASA for the vehicles to begin operational flights.
NASA has outsourced the design of new spacesuits to various contractors, and those projects resulted in prototypes that would seem to be a huge step forward.
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. "The systems will be operated in the actual environment to test it and ensure it's ready for crew". Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana will join Bridenstine and representatives from Boeing and SpaceX to introduce the crews, according to the news release.
The setback means the first crewed test flight will be pushed back to the middle of 2019, he said.
It was expected that Boeing will launch the vehicle in August, unmanned, but the latest news suggests that, most likely, start will take. "They're verifying crew layout, doing simulations where they're actually practicing their maneuvers, and also checking out the software and the display systems, and everything else for the crew to be functioning safely in the spacecraft".
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.