NASA: Commercial Crew Program On Track
January 9, 2013 | WMFE- NASA says its commercial crew program is on course to launch astronauts into low earth orbit by 2017. The agency along with representatives of private space companies updated reporters Wednesday on the progress of the commercial crew program.
NASA selected SpaceX, Boeing and Sierra Nevada last year to receive millions of dollars in funding and advance to the next round in its commercial crew competition.
The space ventures must also ensure their proposed spacecraft meet agency safety standards.
NASA commercial crew program manager Ed Mango says he thinks there will be strong competition for the next phase of contracts in 2014.
“We believe that industry will be ready, we believe that there will be more than one, possibly two three, maybe others that will be ready to compete for phase two.”
SpaceX aims to test its launchpad abort system later this year. Both SpaceX and Boeing also have plans to fly their own test pilots on board their spacecraft before 2017. That's when NASA hopes commercial companies will be ready to begin flying astronauts from the US to the International Space Station.