SpaceX said March 24 that one of the final parachute tests for its Crew Dragon spacecraft went awry, a problem it blamed on the test setup and not a flaw with the parachutes themselves.
NASA representatives will be part of an ongoing SpaceX investigation into an engine anomaly on a recent Falcon 9 launch as the company prepares for a Crew Dragon mission carrying two NASA astronauts.
Although an independent review team has wrapped up its investigation into issues with last December’s uncrewed test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, NASA says it will be some time before it decides if a second uncrewed test flight is needed.
As the independent review of last December’s test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle nears completion, the company said it will perform more rigorous testing to catch errors that slipped through on that flight.
NASA is leaning increasingly towards making SpaceX’s crewed test flight to the International Space Station a long-duration mission, a move that could alleviate concerns about a lack of crew on the station later this year.
Boeing will reverify all the software on its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew spacecraft after an ongoing investigation found “numerous” problems in the original development process that allowed at least two major problems to escape detection.
A NASA safety panel is recommending a review of Boeing’s software verification processes after revealing there was a second software problem during a CST-100 Starliner test flight that could have led to a “catastrophic” failure.
Boeing is taking a $410 million charge to its earnings to cover a potential additional uncrewed test flight of its CST-100 Starliner, although company officials say there’s no decision yet about whether such a flight is necessary.
NASA will decide in the coming weeks whether to extend a crewed SpaceX test flight to the International Space Station, a move that could help alleviate a crew time crunch on the station.
SpaceX successfully tested the abort system of its Crew Dragon spacecraft Jan. 19, one of the final milestones before a crewed test flight that could take place as soon as this spring.
NASA and Boeing will cooperate on an investigation into a timer anomaly that cut short December’s uncrewed test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft as NASA weighs whether to require another such test flight.
The Boeing CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle that flew an abbreviated test flight this month appears to be in good condition as an investigation into the timer problem that shortened the flight continues.
SpaceX said Dec. 23 that it completed the tenth successful consecutive test of the new parachute design for its Crew Dragon spacecraft, a milestone that NASA previously said was critical before the agency would allow astronauts to fly on the vehicle.