NASA’s inspector general warned in a new report that, because of commercial crew delays, utilization of the International Space Station will drop sharply in 2020 and that NASA runs the risk of losing access entirely by next fall.
NASA paid Boeing nearly $300 million more than originally planned in its commercial crew contract in part because of agency concerns that the company might drop out of the program, a new report claims.
Boeing said Nov. 7 that a misplaced pin prevented a parachute from deploying during a pad abort test of its CST-100 Starliner vehicle three days earlier, the only flaw in a key test of that commercial crew vehicle.
Boeing and SpaceX are on schedule to perform two critical tests of their commercial crew vehicles in the next week with hopes that both vehicles will be ready to carry astronauts by early next year.
Airstream, maker of the iconic “silver bullet” travel trailer, unveiled Astrovan II, an eight-seat transport vehicle Boeing will use to transport commercial crew astronauts to the CST-100 Starliner’s Cape Canaveral, Florida, launchpad.
Boeing expects to carry out a pad abort test for its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle in early November, followed by an uncrewed orbital flight test in mid-December, a company executive said Oct. 8.
Boeing and SpaceX said Aug. 19 that they expect to carry out critical test flights of their commercial crew systems this fall, with SpaceX still hopeful of launching astronauts to the International Space Station this year.
An incident involving a test of parachutes for one commercial crew vehicle has heightened awareness of the challenges involved in developing those systems, as well as determining what constitutes an anomaly.
Members of an independent safety panel said it will take time to determine what happened during a SpaceX Crew Dragon testing incident several days ago, and that its impact to the overall commercial crew program remains uncertain.
A day after Boeing confirmed delays in test flights of its commercial crew vehicle, NASA said that the company’s crewed test flight will get an extended stay at the station when it does fly.
NASA announced Feb. 6 another set of delays to the schedule of commercial crew test flights by Boeing and SpaceX, increasing concerns that the vehicles won’t be ready to starting transporting astronauts to the International Space Station by the end of this year.
A day after a SpaceX executive expressed doubts that his company would be able to carry out its first commercial crew test flight before the end of the year, NASA issued an updated schedule that delayed that mission to 2019.