NASA, SpaceX & Boeing Delay First Commercial Crew Launches
The first launch of a NASA commercial crew space craft has been delayed yet again, happening no earlier than next month.
Commercial partners SpaceX and Boeing are delaying their target launch dates by at least two weeks so they can complete hardware testing, data verification, remaining NASA and provider reviews, as well as training of flight controllers and mission managers.
SpaceX’s uncrewed mission to the International Space Station is now targeting a launch March 2 from the Kennedy Space Center. Boeing’s uncrewed test flight is set to launch no earlier than April.
“NASA has been working together with SpaceX and Boeing to make sure we are ready to conduct these test flights and get ready to learn critical information that will further help us to fly our crews safely," said Kathy Lueders, NASA's Commercial Crew Program manager. "We always learn from tests.”
SpaceX’s crew dragon and Boeing’s Starliner will be the first commercially designed spacecraft to take humans to the station. SpaceX and Boeing are targeting July and August respectively for the first crewed missions after a review from NASA and a test of each spacecraft's abort and safety systems.
NASA awarded the companies around $6 billion to develop the spacecraft. Since the end of the shuttle program, NASA has relied solely on the Russian space agency for rides into low earth orbit.