SpaceX And Boeing Won’t Make Manned Flights To The ISS In 2019
18 Juillet, 2018, 12:22 | Auteur: Therese Cote
Now that the Crew Dragon is finally at Cape Canaveral, the next step for SpaceX is to bring in the Falcon 9 "Block 5" booster that will carry the space pod to the ISS on its first demonstration mission, DM-1. NASA chose Boeing and SpaceX to build rockets that can transport astronauts to the space station as the contract with Russia's Soyuz will end in November 2019.
NASA needs a backup plan for getting astronauts to space, given additional delays on the horizon for new commercial crew capsules, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended Wednesday.
Since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011, NASA has been relying on Russian Federation to carry American astronauts aboard its Soyuz capsule to the space station.
Back in 2014, NASA employed SpaceX and Boeing to develop rockets to fly United States astronauts to the ISS starting with November 2019 when the still ongoing contract with Russia's Soyuz would expire.
Officials with SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies, and NASA could not immediately be reached to comment.
Boeing was meant to have their manned capsule Starliner certified in January 2019, but the date could be pushed to December 2019.
Both the vehicles are expected to get ready by 2019, but this not an issue.
Before SpaceX and Boeing can launch the astronauts they must demonstrate their crew systems are safe for human spaceflight, according to NASA. But the GAO warned in its 47-page report that despite progress, further delays are likely.
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But, unfortunately, according to the recent GAO report "it is possible that neither contractor would be ready before August 2020, leaving a potential gap in access of at least nine months". It is easy to say that NASA can try to book seat board for future missions with Soyuz but it is hard to do.
On July 11, in a report, the GAO stated that SpaceX and Boeing could miss their present plans for having their business team vehicles ensured by NASA by a year or so, making a difference in access to the station when the organization's utilization of Soyuz seats closes in the later half on coming year.
That's the top suggestion in the GAO's latest report on the SpaceX and Boeing crew capsules under development.
"Without a viable contingency option for ensuring uninterrupted access to the ISS in the event of further commercial crew delays, we concluded that NASA was at risk of not being able to maximize the return on its multibillion dollar investment in the space station", it added.
The recommendations given by GAO are as indefinite as they are apparent.
However, should all testings prove successful, NASA's plans may still be derailed. But we can not expect anything more than pointing out problems from government auditors, it is their job to find a problem, not trying to fix them.
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