NASA has teamed up with SpaceX and Boeing to start launching manned spaceflight from the U.S. soil again. Both the aerospace companies are going to start flight tests to ensure that their space systems meet the U.S. space agency’s need for certification in the coming year.
SpaceX and Boeing have developed advanced space system designs from the time they got a contract from NASA. They are now working on the substantial launch vehicle and spacecraft hardware as well as conducting trials to prepare for the test flights.
Commercial Crew Program Mission
The Commercial Crew Program’s goal is cost-effective, reliable, and safe transportation for United States-International Space Station-United States spaceflights. The process will adhere to a public-private approach.
The U.S. space agency and the two aerospace companies already have crucial testing under way, which will eventually result in test missions once the systems are fully prepared and adhere to the safety requirements.
"Both companies are scheduled to begin flight tests to prove the space systems meet NASA's requirements for certification in the coming year," NASA stated. "Boeing's Starliner will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 and SpaceX's Crew Dragon will launch on the company's Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A."
After each company completes their crewed and uncrewed flight tests, NASA will analyze the flight data to check if the systems meet the certification requirements. Once they get the certification from NASA, each of the companies will fly six manned missions to the space station from 2019 and continue until 2024.
SpaceX To Launch Astronauts On The Crew Dragon
SpaceX will conduct its crewed missions on a new spacecraft called the Crew Dragon. Ever since the U.S. space agency’s Space Shuttle missions ended in 2011, astronauts from the United States have had to depend on Russian spacecraft to help them travel to and fro Earth and the space station.
NASA used to pay $81 million per seat on the spacecraft. However, the deal with SpaceX will help them cut the cost down to $58 million per seat.
Boeing To Launch Astronauts On The Starliner
Boeing will send astronauts to the ISS on the CST-100 Starliner. Seats on the spaceflight are reportedly expected to cost the same as those on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. There is a plan of a test launch in August this year by Boeing, followed by a crewed launch in November.