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NASA ISS Space Science

SpaceX and Boeing Slated For Manned Space Missions By Year's End ( 79

schwit1 shares a report from Fortune, covering NASA's announcement last week that it expects SpaceX to conduct a crewed test flight by the end of the year: SpaceX's crewed test flight is slated for December, after an uncrewed flight in August. Boeing will also be demonstrating its CST-100 Starliner capsule, with a crewed flight in November following an uncrewed flight in August. NASA's goal is to launch crews to the ISS from U.S. soil, a task that has fallen to Russia's space program since the retirement of the U.S. Space Shuttle program in 2011. NASA began looking for private launch companies to take over starting in 2010, and contracted both SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to pursue crewed launches. The push to restore America's crewed spaceflight capacity has been delayed in part, according to a detailed survey by Ars Technica, by Congress redirecting funds in subsequent years. The test flights could determine whether Boeing or SpaceX conducts the first U.S. commercial space launch to the ISS. Whichever company gets that honor may also claim a symbolic U.S. flag stuck to a hatch on the space station. Sources speaking to Ars describe the race between the two companies as too close to call, and say that a push to early 2019 is entirely possible. But in an apparent vote of confidence, NASA has already begun naming astronauts to helm the flights.
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SpaceX and Boeing Slated For Manned Space Missions By Year's End

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  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Monday January 15, 2018 @10:57PM (#55935879) Homepage Journal
    This will be good practice for SpaceX's crewed trip to Mars in 2024. We truly live in exciting times!
  • How can you do a crewed test flight? You send people up, tell them to do no work, and then examine whether they've exploded or not? Who volunteers for that mission?

    • Who volunteers for that mission?

      You would be surprised at how many would.

      Not me though. Never buy Version 1.0 and all that.

    • The idea of a crewed test flight is that docking with the ISS and some related aspects including the long-return flight from the ISS are not easy. So a crewed test flight before the full-up docking is intended. Frankly, it seems redundant to me, but it will be pretty safe.
    • Is screaming in terror considered work? Sign me up!
    • Have you ever heard of what we used to call a "test pilot"? IOW, the guys that were all the early astronauts?

    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

      For one, the capsules still have an emergency escape in case of a problem - while that has some limitations it greatly increases safety to the crew even if their rocket goes boom a bit louder than it's supposed to.

      Even without that, there are MANY willing volunteers who would gladly do the training and education necessary for a chance at spaceflight...even if there was a 1 in 10 chance of death.

    • by Teancum ( 67324 )

      What you are describing is what is called a test pilot. The crews have even already been announced and are among some of the most experienced pilots you could ever imagine existing and veterans of several shuttle flights too I might add along with years of experience being test pilots with aircraft and many other accomplishments.

      That is how you do a crewed test flight. A test pilot is somebody who is both an engineer and an accomplished pilot and gives detailed engineering analysis both during and after t

  • Oh, yeah, the other 100 or so targets promised by Musk and not delivered on time. It's all a big PR sham.

    • by Marlin Schwanke ( 3574769 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2018 @12:52AM (#55936403)
      Didn’t SpaceX set a record last year for most flights in a calendar year? Weren’t quite a few of those flights actually commercial flights, as in paying customers? Hasn’t SpaceX carried commercial and government cargo on re-used boosters this year. Space is one of the hardest things a company could ever set out to do. Targets will be missed and the there will be failures along the way. SpaceX has stuck it out and accomplished much.
      • by Teancum ( 67324 )

        SpaceX set a company record for the most flights in a calendar year, but not quite a global record for any company/organization. They are doing some good though and are definitely a competitor in the global launch market and having a significant impact upon launch prices right now.

        And I agree with you that any company which can send aloft a piece of equipment which functions at all while in orbit is pretty damn impressive. Getting into space is just barely possible and has almost no room for excuses or la

  • The trolls sure are out in force for this one! I guess Russia/China/Soros/etc just HATE to see America retaking the lead in space exploration.

  • I'm not thrilled of constant delays by SpaceX, BO, NASA Orion but rather than bitching and moaning, how about insightful commentary? I haven't RTFA nor am I a rocket scientist. I offer this [] where "Everyday Astronaut" summarizes reasons for FH delays (some insights of why not to just stop improving and fly the same thing over and over). There are probably better articles, finding them can be challenging particularly private companies don't want to reveal too much. Or maybe b

    • by Megane ( 129182 )

      I read this a few weeks ago after being linked to it from somewhere: []

      Basically, they took big steps so they could meet JFK's challenge. For example, the first launch of Saturn V was a "full stack" launch, with both the second and third stages. That alone saved them two or three launches over the "right" way to do it.

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs. -- H.L. Mencken