Next Month, NASA Will Be Declaring Crew Members For SpaceX And Boeing

Jan Cross
August 3, 2018

SpaceX's Dragon and Northrop Grumman's (formerly Orbital ATK's) Cygnus systems now routinely deliver cargo to ISS, but NASA remains the only customer.

Friday's announcement will clarify who will fly on which spacecraft for the first human test flight and the first mission to the ISS.

The Expedition 56 crew has finished loading Dragon with sensitive research results and station gear for analysis and refurbishment back on Earth.

NASA will announce which astronauts will fly with Boeing and SpaceX at an event Friday at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

On August 3, the space agency will declare the astronauts consigned to team the foremost flight tests and assignments of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the Boeing CST-100 Starliner, and start a new period in American spaceflights, as said by NASA in a statement.

Later in April, NASA trained Boeing and SpaceX teams to operate the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle created to help personnel escape the launch pad in the unlikely event of an emergency on launch day.

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Commercial space taxis offer an ostensibly cheaper, made-in-America option for NASA. The survey helped ensure crew members will have acceptable visibility as they prepare to launch aboard Boeing's Starliner spacecraft on the Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station. The suits that NASA astronauts wear during spacewalks at the International Space Station are total relics, and the last suits that were worn on the surface of something other than Earth (so, the Moon) now collect dust in museums.

NASA/Kennedy Space Center (via Flickr); Boeing; Shayanne Gal/Business InsiderAn illustration of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft (left) and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft (right).

Dreier said it's unlikely Congress would reverse itself one year later and cut the NASA science programs, especially as the Republican-controlled chamber is seeking to pass a budget with minimal partisan fighting over relatively small expenditures.

Each company's new ship could be test-launched (without any astronauts inside) by the end of the year. Boeing's is the CST-100 Starliner launched on United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rockets. However, Boeing announced Wednesday a delay for its first crewed launch. The latter test demonstrated Crew Dragon's ability to land safely in an off-nominal situation, deploying only one of the system's two drogue parachutes and three of the four main parachutes.

The crewed mission will be called Demo-2 for SpaceX and Crew Flight Test for Boeing. Dubbed DM-2 (demonstration mission 2, set to follow this month's first demo spaceflight that will be uncrewed), the spacecraft's first passenger test flight is slated for December, per a previous report by the Inquisitr. Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana will join Bridenstine and representatives from Boeing and SpaceX to introduce the crews, according to the news release.

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