Engine flaw delays Boeing test of crew capsule to 2019

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SpaceX plans to fly Demo-2, its first crewed test flight, in April 2019, while Boeing's Crew Test Flight is now slated for mid-2019, according to a new schedule that NASA released Thursday.

Although the first crewed flight of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft was supposed to take place either at the end of 2018 or early next year, Boeing won't be ready to fly the first passengers on its state-of-the-art "space taxi" until mid-2019.

"NASA's Commercial Crew Program will return human spaceflight launches to US soil, providing safe, reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit on systems that meet our safety and mission requirements", said the official blog.

SpaceX's craft - the Crew Dragon - will be launched into space atop the company's Falcon 9 rocket.

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Not only will the manned test flights be the first time astronauts fly to the space station aboard commercial spacecraft, but they will also be the first launch of "American astronauts on American-made spacecraft from American soil" since NASA retired its space shuttle program in 2011, the space agency said.

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NASA is due to live-stream the announcement from Johnson Space Center in Texas at 11 a.m. ET (8 a.m. PT) Friday, with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine presiding.

Last month, the Government Accountability Office warned that the companies were slipping on their schedules toward NASA certification, with Boeing reaching that milestone in December 2019 and SpaceX a month later.

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Also, the most recent planet-hunting probe of NASA-the TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite)-has begun its hunt for new worlds around close by stars, as said by the US Space organization.

"It's very exciting getting more people in space". Future integration of the crew access arm will allow for safe crew entry for launch and exit from the spacecraft in the unlikely event a pad abort is required.

These flight tests will have similar configurations to the uncrewed tests, but the crew will have the ability to interface with spacecraft displays, communicate with mission control, and practice manual controls during flight. DM-2, Crew Dragon's first manned demonstration flight, is still now scheduled for December 2018, as reported by the Inquisitr. Those engines are created to power up if the launch rocket suffers a mishap and would eject the Starliner crew capsule to a safe distance.

In March, SpaceX performed two parachute tests, the company's 14th and 15th overall parachute test supporting Crew Dragon development in the Mojave Desert in Southern California. Starliner and Crew Dragon will dock and undock autonomously to the space station before returning the crew safely home.

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Boeing has already identified the problems, and "our team is off fixing those problems", Mulholland said.

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