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. And another 25 percent said the agency should monitor asteroids and other space objects.
Boeing test pilot Chris Ferguson, who commanded NASA's last space shuttle mission in 2011, appears to be a sure thing for the first Starliner crew, based on advance reports. In particular, it is noted that the test was carried out emergency rescue crew.
Back in 2014, the US agreed to pay Elon Musk's aerospace company SpaceX $2.6 billion for a spacecraft that could carry the nation's astronauts into orbit.
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.
NASA is about to name the first eight astronauts ever to fly Boeing and SpaceX's brand-new spaceships. The goal: ensure NASA astronauts can access the International Space Station and end United States reliance on Russia's increasingly expensive Soyuz spaceships to get there.
Congress ultimately boosted NASA's overall budget for the fiscal year that began on October 1 to almost $20.7 billion, part of a defense spending binge that also benefited nondefense projects.
Today, John Mulholland, Vice President and Program Manager for Boeing's commercial crew program, made CST-100 Starliner's delay official.
On August 3, the space agency will declare the astronauts consigned to team the foremost flight tests and assignments of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the Boeing CST-100 Starliner, and start a new period in American spaceflights, as said by NASA in a statement. "Two of those demonstrations are uncrewed flight tests, known as Orbital Flight Test for Boeing, and Demo-1 for SpaceX".
However, both companies still have to prove that their vehicles can fly to the ISS and return safely to Earth. Experts believe that with the latest complications, the first uncrewed flight test will take place at the end of 2018 - the beginning in 2019 and the manned flight test will take place in mid-2019. In 2015, NASA astronauts Robert Behnken, Eric Boe, Douglas Hurley and Sunita Williams were announced as the first commercial crew astronauts. It'll be equipped with four windows providing astronauts with breathtaking views of the Earth, our moon and the solar system.
Although NASA has not yet said which astronauts will be assigned to these historic first flights, four astronauts have already been working closely with Boeing and SpaceX in the testing and development of their capsules. Initially Congress did not provide as much money as NASA requested because of skepticism that the program would succeed.