Members of a NASA safety panel said May 17 they believed that a SpaceX approach for fueling its Falcon 9 rockets known as “load-and-go” could be used for future commercial crew missions.
A NASA advisory committee, concerned about delays in the development of commercial crew systems, wants the agency to look at options where the International Space Station is operated with a reduced crew.
NASA is in discussions with its Russian counterparts about extending some upcoming space station missions as a way to buy more time for development of commercial crew vehicles.
A commercial crew contract modification moves NASA one step closer to using a test flight as an operational mission to maintain a presence on the ISS.
Members of the House space subcommittee raised concerns about elements of NASA's fiscal year 2019 budget proposal during a March 7 hearing, from the cancellation of a space telescope to restructuring of the agency's technology programs.
Members of a NASA safety panel said they see good progress on the development of both exploration systems and commercial crew vehicles, but warn future progress could be hindered by a "bottleneck" of reviews they face.
NASA is beginning to study a contingency option for maintaining access to the International Space Station should commercial crew vehicle development experience delays, one that would turn test flights of those vehicles into operational missions.
As the two companies developing commercial crew systems reiterated that they were on schedule to carry out test flights later this year, a government analysis of schedules concluded those vehicles may not be certified to carry NASA astronauts until late 2019 or early 2020.
An independent safety panel recommended NASA not certify SpaceX’s commercial crew system until the agency better understands the behavior of pressure vessels linked to a Falcon 9 failure in 2016.
SpaceX has delayed its two commercial crew test flights by four months, according to a new NASA schedule released Jan. 11, raising questions about whether it or Boeing will be able to send astronauts to the International Space Station by the end of the year as previously planned.
As the two companies developing commercial crew vehicles prepare for test flights in the next 12 months, a NASA official said the agency expects those companies to be able to meet, or come close to, stringent safety requirements for those spacecraft.
Both NASA and the two companies developing commercial crew vehicles say those efforts remain on schedule for test flights that are in some cases less than a year away.
The two companies developing commercial crew vehicles for NASA may not be able to meet a safety threshold specified in their contracts, an agency safety panel found.