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NASA to Announce Crews for Boeing, SpaceX Missions

The station is critical for NASA to understand and overcome the challenges of long-duration spaceflights, and necessary for a sustainable presence on the Moon and missions deeper into the solar system, including Mars

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NASA to use Blockchain technology for air traffic management. Pixabay

NASA is set to announce the names of the astronauts assigned to the new commercial crew capsules from Boeing and SpaceX, early next month.

NASA will announce on August 3, the astronauts assigned to crew the first flight tests and missions of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon, and begin a new era in American spaceflights, the space agency said in a statement on Thursday.

The agency will also announce the crew assignments for the crew flight tests and the first post-certification mission for both Boeing and SpaceX, in a press conference to be presided over by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

In 2014, NASA had partnered with Boeing and SpaceX to develop the Starliner spacecraft to launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and the Crew Dragon launching atop the Falcon 9 rocket, respectively.

NASA
The agency will also announce the crew assignments for the crew flight tests and the first post-certification mission for both Boeing and SpaceX. Flickr

The Starliner and Crew Dragon will launch American astronauts on American-made spacecraft from American soil to the International Space Station for the first time since NASA retired its Space Shuttle Programme in 2011.

Also Read: NASA: No Contact Made With Storm-Hit Mars Rover, Till Now

The station is critical for NASA to understand and overcome the challenges of long-duration spaceflights, and necessary for a sustainable presence on the Moon and missions deeper into the solar system, including Mars.

But, according to a recent US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, neither is expected to be ready until 2019. (IANS)

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Spacecraft Test Runs into Serious Problems, Smoke All Over SpaceX in Florida

"Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting (issues) like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test"

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Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. Pixabay

Thick plumes of smoke rose over a SpaceX facility in Florida during a test fire of a Crew Dragon spacecraft and the issue was serious, it could derail plans to fly astronauts aboard the capsule later this year, the media reported.

SpaceX, which was founded by billionaire businessman Elon Musk in 2002, said the craft was undergoing a “series of engine tests” at a facility in Cape Canaveral on Saturday, and something went wrong during the final stretch, CNN reported.

SpaceX will work with NASA to determine what caused the issue. No injuries were reported.

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The US has not had the technology to fly humans to orbit since the space shuttle programme ended in 2011. Meanwhile, NASA has paid Russia about $80 million per seat to send astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz capsules. Pixabay

“Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting (issues) like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test,” SpaceX said in a statement.

Crew Dragon is already overdue and more delays could make things tricky for NASA.

It was scheduled to conduct a key test of its emergency abort system in June. And its first crewed mission, which will carry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, was slated for July, though NASA recently said that timeline was under review.

space craft
Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. Pixabay

The US has not had the technology to fly humans to orbit since the space shuttle programme ended in 2011. Meanwhile, NASA has paid Russia about $80 million per seat to send astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz capsules.

NASA has also decided to ask the private sector to design and build a new generation of spacecrafts.

Also Read: Avoid Smoking During Pregnancy To Prevent Premature Births

SpaceX and Boeing, which is building a vehicle called Starliner, were awarded contracts worth up to $2.6 billion and $4.2 billion, respectively, in 2014. Both capsules were supposed to start flying in 2017, but they have been hampered with delays.

Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. (IANS)