Crew Dragon and Starliner: A Look at the Coming Astronaut Taxis
03 August, 2018, 16:27 | Author: Carmen Reese
Being the first to fly the tests indicates that SpaceX has an advantage, even though both are behind a schedule drawn up in 2014 when NASA awarded a combined $6.8 billion to the two firms for what the agency calls the Commercial Crew program.
On the left, NASA astronaut Suni Williams, fully suited in SpaceX's spacesuit, uses the display inside a mock-up of the Crew Dragon spacecraft in Hawthorne, Calif., during a testing exercise on April 3.
"The resulting schedule that we have will support an uncrewed flight test in late 2018 or early 2019", said Mulholland, who manages the Starliner program for Boeing.
NASA is all prepared to declare the names of the astronauts allocated to the new commercial crew capsules from SpaceX and Boeing, early next month. That modification is meant to "optimize the program flow", said John Mulholland, Boeing vice president and commercial crew program manager, noting that the abort system is not needed for the uncrewed flight test.
In light of Boeing's schedule adjustment, will that crew arrive on a Starliner or on SpaceX's Dragon spaceship?
Boeing Starliner's flight will be known as the Orbital Flight Test, and it will depart atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
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The big announcement will be made tomorrow during a special event hosted at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, set to begin at 11 a.m. EDT.
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. "After the uncrewed flight tests, both companies will execute a flight test with crew prior to being certified by NASA for crew rotation missions".
The hardware for these uncrewed missions is being prepared for launch. The crewed test flights were also supposed to take place this year - Boeing's in November and SpaceX's in December.
Once the uncrewed flight tests are complete and the data reviews have validated the spacecraft systems, NASA astronauts will have their first opportunity to fly in the spacecraft. Proving that SpaceX can safely fly NASA personnel would put Musk, the company's chief executive officer, closer to his ultimate goal of carrying human colonists to Mars. "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.
Boeing has already identified the problems, and "our team is off fixing those problems", Mulholland said.
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