Dragon Ready for Return Ahead of Commercial Crew Announcement

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NASA wants to stop relying on Russian Federation to get American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). NASA and Boeing announced earlier this year they were studying it, but Mulholland said August 1 no decision would be made about using the test flight in that fashion until next year.

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.

Friday's announcement is expected to identify Chris Ferguson, who was the commander of NASA's last space shuttle mission and is now Boeing's director of crew and mission operations, as a member of the first Starliner crew.

In its report, the GAO said NASA's projected "average" certification date for Boeing was December 2019, and January 2020 for SpaceX, with the potential for both companies to slip well into 2020. Like many spaceflight programs, development has been slow-going, with milestones regularly delayed.

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An engine flaw discovered during a launchpad test of Boeing's Starliner spaceship, created to carry humans to the International Space Station, has delayed its first crew test flight until next year.

The findings point to a stark contrast with NASA's current focus on human spaceflight and deep-space exploration, as the agency works on a lunar orbital platform for the early 2020s and a mission to Mars in the 2030s.

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Mulholland said the company partnered with NASA for an investigation into the failure.

A failed test of the abort engines on Boeing's Starliner spacecraft will delay the company's maiden uncrewed test flight into late this year or early next year, the company has confirmed.

After a month from the engine test issues, Boeing will have to delay the first two major test flights to the ISS of their future passenger spacecraft - The CST-100 Starliner.

NASA is about to name the first astronauts ever to fly commercial spaceships.

The other four astronauts that NASA has selected, however, aren't yet publicly known. However, NASA indicated in April that it may "operationalize" the Boeing test flight and fly three, instead of two crew.

The Starliner program has completed 80 percent of its testing with "tremendous progress" made as it gets prepared for flight, Mulholland said. It will use an Atlas V rocket, but before sending a manned crew, it must first conduct an uncrewed and a crewed flight test and see if the capsule is safe to use on multiple trips to the station.

SpaceX has not publicly revised its Crew Dragon schedule.

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