As per the announcement made by NASA, the first crewed flight by a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station (ISS) is expected to happen sometime in June 2019.
If launched successfully, it will become the first manned US launch to the orbiting research laboratory since the after the space shuttle program was retired in the year 2011, resulting in the US astronauts to take up costly rides aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
A flight on Boeing spacecraft will follow in the month of August in 2019.
The schedule for both the launches has already been postponed several times, but NASA said on Thursday that it would come up with updates on monthly basis over the deadlines.
“This new process for reporting our schedule is better; nevertheless, launch dates will still have some uncertainty, and we anticipate they may change as we get closer to launch,” said Phil McAlister, director of Commercial Spaceflight Development at NASA Headquarters.
“These are new spacecraft, and the engineering teams have a lot of work to do before the systems will be ready to fly.”
Both the missions will be treated as tests as the two astronauts transported in each flight will spend two weeks aboard the orbiting ISS before returning to the Earth.
For the long term, NASA will utilize SpaceX and Boeing to shuttle astronauts to the ISS for regular missions, which last about six months.
SpaceX will conduct a test without a crew onboard in January 2019, and Boeing in March 2019.
SpaceX will come up with Falcon 9 rocket for its proposed launch with a Crew Dragon capsule attached on top.
Boeing’s Starliner ship will be sent into the space with the help of Atlas V rocket made by the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture with Lockheed Martin.
NASA is relying on the success of both the missions as its present contract with the Russian space agency is slated to expire in November 2019.
SpaceX is a California based private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportations services company. The company came into establishment in the year 2002 by the American entrepreneur Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and to enable the planet Mar’s colonization. SpaceX has from then onwards developed the Falcon launch vehicle family and the Dragon spacecraft family.
SpaceX is very ambitious in achieving goals for its Mars missions. It also hopes to start space tourism.
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