Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Sci-tech | By Eric Barnett

Next Month, NASA Will Be Declaring Crew Members For SpaceX And Boeing

Next Month, NASA Will Be Declaring Crew Members For SpaceX And Boeing

"After the uncrewed flight tests, both companies will execute a flight test with crew prior to being certified by NASA for crew rotation missions", NASA communications specialist Stephanie Martin wrote in a blog post. It won't be the first time SpaceX trounces Boeing. The idea is that other customers will emerge and the company will have a profitable business that does not rely exclusively on government contracts. Anyone now assigned to a space mission also won't be picked for the Boeing and SpaceX flights, NASA told Business Insider. If history is any guide, the crews taking the spotlight on Friday will have even more time to train.

During the manned tests, the astronauts will be able to use the displays inside the spacecraft, communicate with mission control and practise manual controls during flight.

The Commercial Crew program carries some urgency because NASA has no contingency plan to keep shuttling astronauts to and from the station after next year.

Leading up to the a ceremony at the Johnson Space Center here, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said it was a historic moment for the space agency, saying: "We are going to launch American astronauts from American soil".

According to their achievements, we're sure that among the first astronauts there will be Bob Behnken, Eric Boe, Doug Hurley, and Sunita "Suni" Williams. "Two of those demonstrations are uncrewed flight tests, known as Orbital Flight Test for Boeing, and Demo-1 for SpaceX".

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No launch date has been set for NASA's satellite fix demonstration, but the mission is expected to happen between 2020 and 2022.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program is working with the American aerospace industry as companies develop a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems to carry crews safely to and from low-Earth orbit - the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing CST-100 Starliner. Boeing's Starliner spacecraft is being outfitted at the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility on the Kennedy and the United Launch Alliance Atlas V dual engine Centaur that will launch Starliner will be shipped to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in August to prepare for the upcoming flight. Nominally, two astronauts will be on each test flight.

An uncrewed flight test was not a NASA requirement for certifying these systems for human spaceflight.

So, for the last seven years, the American space agency has been paying its Russian counterpart for crew transportation services. However, both companies have had some problems with their vehicles lately (be it technical issues or just delays), and they have to prove that their spacecraft are safe for crewed missions to the ISS and that they can also bring them back to Earth. "We want to do some climate science, but we aren't going to do some of the insane stuff that the previous administration did", Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said in May 2017 while discussing Trump's first budget proposal. Heat shield qualification, as well as a majority of qualification testing for both Crew Dragon and Falcon 9, is now complete.

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