Engine flaw delays Boeing test of crew capsule to 2019

Engine flaw delays Boeing test of crew capsule to 2019

Engine flaw delays Boeing test of crew capsule to 2019

Although the first crewed flight of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft was supposed to take place either at the end of 2018 or early next year, Boeing won't be ready to fly the first passengers on its state-of-the-art "space taxi" until mid-2019. In its report, the GAO said NASA's projected "average" certification date for Boeing was December 2019, and January 2020 for SpaceX, with the potential for both companies to slip well into 2020. 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. "Our commitment has always been to provide NASA and those crews the highest level of mission assurance", said John Mulholland, vice president and program manager for Boeing's Commercial Crew effort. Initially Congress did not provide as much money as NASA requested because of skepticism that the program would succeed.

If no major problems develop, SpaceX could be ready to launch another Dragon, this one with a crew on board, in the April 2019 timeframe.

Witnesses at January 17, 2018 House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing on commercial crew.

It has been widely expected that those dates would slip, however. Sometimes called the "Commercial Crew Cadre", those astronauts are seasoned veterans who've worked closely with Boeing and SpaceX on their new spacecraft and systems over the past three years. His remarks were widely reported and Boeing spokeswoman Rebecca Regan confirmed the news via email to SpacePolicyOnline.com.

Boeing has also rearranged its test program, pushing back a pad abort test that was scheduled for this summer, before both the uncrewed and crewed test flights, to spring 2019, after the uncrewed flight.

More than 50 people are in NASA's astronaut corps, though 12 in the agency's 2017 astronaut class are still training.

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

NASA plans to announce the astronauts who will make the first flights aboard the Dragon and CST-100 during a presentation Friday at the Johnson Space Center. The CST-100 Cockpit allows the crew to be within 60 hours.

"Safely and reliably flying commercial crew missions for NASA remains the highest priority for SpaceX", said Benji Reed, Director of Crew Mission Management at SpaceX. Separately, SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft for Demo-1 arrived to the Cape in July for final processing.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program is working with the American aerospace industry as companies develop and operate a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems created to carry crews safely to and from low-Earth orbit.

Related news