Now SpaceX and NASA are targeting for a March unveiling of the foremost capsule from a private firm developed to soar astronauts to the ISS (International Space Station). For the crew Dragon’s initial test flight to the outpost, no astronaut will be aboard.
As per the most recent announcements, March 2 has been set as the latest launch date by the officials. If the demonstration goes fine, a test flight will be taken by 2 NASA astronauts in July onboard the SpaceX capsule. It will mark the foremost liftoff of US astronauts, from US soil, into orbit since the shuttle program of NASA terminated in 2011. The upcoming milestone was mentioned by President Donald Trump in the recently held State of the Union address.
Distinctly, Boeing is planning for an April liftoff of its first Starliner capsule with no squad. At the utmost, the first Starliner flight along with astronauts would be in August. The commercial crew program of NASA has been postponed frequently over the years, impelling an extended, costly dependence on Russian rockets. Every chair on a Russian Soyuz capsule has charged the agency as much as $82 Million.
As per NASA, more time is still required to accomplish testing, safety reviews, and training. The agency is doling out Boeing and SpaceX to offer the capsules and soar astronauts from and to the ISS, enabling the space agency to concentrate on building a new rocket, SLS (Space Launch System) and a capsule Orion, for carrying astronauts to the lunar surface and, ultimately, Mars. Since 2012, SpaceX has been transporting cargo to the ISS, under the agreement to the US space agency. Northrop Grumman is another station supplier of NASA.
Likewise, Blue Origin is also building a crew capsule that may fetch passengers by the end of the year. However, that capsule is meant for short up-and-down trips, not orbital flights, by travelers. Moreover, Virgin Galactic is also building a spacecraft for tourists.