(The AEGIS Alliance) – NASA made an announcement that SpaceX will launch its first crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS) that is expected to happen in June of 2019. This will be the first manned launch by the US up to the orbiting research lab since the space shuttle program had retired in 2011, which forced US astronauts to board costly rides on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. A Boeing spacecraft flight is set to follow during August of 2019.
The launch timetable for both flights was already postponed several times, but NASA stated on Thursday it will now provide monthly updates on the deadlines.
“This new process for reporting our schedule is better; nevertheless, launch dates will still have some uncertainty, and we anticipate they may change as we get closer to launch,” states Phil McAlister, Commercial Spaceflight Development director at the headquarters of NASA.
“These are new spacecraft, and the engineering teams have a lot of work to do before the systems will be ready to fly.” he continued.
Both of these missions are considered to be tests. The couple of astronauts to be transported in each flight will spent two weeks aboard the ISS, then will return to Earth.
NASA plans to use both Boeing and SpaceX to take astronauts aboard the ISS for regular missions in the long term, which last around six months.
SpaceX will perform an UN-crewed tests in January of 2019, then Boeing in March of 2019. The Falcon 9 rocket will be used by SpaceX to launch a Crew Dragon capsule attached on top. Boeing’s Starliner ship is to be propelled into outer space by an Atlas V rocker manufactured by the United Launch Alliance, which is a joint venture with Lockheed Martin.
NASA depends on the success of both missions, since its contract with the Russian Space Agency will expire in November of 2019.
Featured Image: SpaceX will be using its Falcon 9 rocket to launch its Crew Dragon capsule – image of simulator – to the orbiting International Space Station (AFP Photo/Robyn Beck)
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.