The two companies developing commercial crew vehicles are confident that they will be ready to start carrying astronauts in 2018 despite a recent report that concluded delays into 2019 were likely.
NASA plans to complete by the middle of March a contingency plan for ensuring access to the International Space Station should its two commercial crew partners suffer additional delays.
NASA is proposing to purchase, through Boeing, additional Soyuz seats for International Space Station missions to both take advantage of Russian plans to decrease the size of its crew and as insurance against potential additional commercial crew delays.
A NASA safety board recommended in its annual report that the agency closely study the safety issues associated with SpaceX’s fueling plans for Falcon 9 commercial crew missions.
SpaceX has delayed by several months a pair of test flights of its Crew Dragon spacecraft being developed for NASA’s commercial crew program, in part because of a Falcon 9 pad explosion in September.
In the wake of a launch accident and a critical report, the two companies with NASA commercial crew contracts say they’re committed to maintaining their development schedules, but not at the expense of safety.
Although Boeing and SpaceX remain on schedule to have their commercial crew vehicles completed by 2018, a NASA advisory group is worried about a potential gap in access to the ISS should they experience delays.
Monday's briefing begins with NASA ordering a second commercial crew mission from SpaceX.
The new platform of the Republican Party includes language supporting the use of public-private partnerships to develop space capabilities, an approach that has been used by administrations of both major political parties.
Boeing has delayed the first crewed flight of its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle until early 2018, later than NASA’s original deadline, because of a series of technical issues and new requirements that the company argues are typical for an aerospace development program.
An independent safety panel warns that “a continuing and unacknowledged accretion of risk” in NASA’s human space exploration programs, caused by schedule pressures and flat funding, could put crews on future missions in jeopardy.
As NASA continues to advocate for full funding of its commercial crew program in 2016, the agency is seeking flexibility for the program in an upcoming short-term spending bill to avoid the risk of further delays.
Boeing has renamed the CST-100 spacecraft it is developing for NASA’s commercial crew program the CST-100 Starliner, the company announced Sept. 4.