December 12, 2019

After redesigns, the finish line is in sight for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship

December 7, 2019

Five-and-a-half years ago, SpaceX founder Elon Musk revealed SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, a sleek-looking human-rated spaceship with 3D-printed engines, a roomy stylized interior and touchscreen controls. Now SpaceX’s first ship to ferry astronauts — with numerous design changes introduced since 2014 — is about to leave the company’s factory for final testing before launching early next year.

SpaceX fires up Crew Dragon thrusters in key test after April explosion

November 13, 2019

SpaceX test-fired the Crew Dragon spacecraft’s eight SuperDraco abort engines Wednesday at Cape Canaveral, paving the way for a high-altitude rocket escape test and demonstrating engineers have apparently fixed the problem that triggered an explosion during a similar ground firing in April.

Boeing, SpaceX readying for crew capsule abort tests

October 31, 2019

Boeing and SpaceX are readying for launch abort tests in the coming weeks to validate the crew escape systems for the new human-rated Starliner and Crew Dragon spaceships, now scheduled to begin ferrying astronauts to the International Space Station in the first half of next year.

Bridenstine says NASA not holding up commercial crew schedule

October 25, 2019

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said this week the space agency is not unduly delaying the debut of new SpaceX and Boeing commercial crew capsules as engineers gear up for a challenging rapid-fire sequence of test flights in the next few months, all against the backdrop of in-depth safety reviews before clearing the privately-owned ships to carry astronauts.

NASA likely to buy Soyuz seats, defer Japanese astronaut flight

October 25, 2019

With lingering uncertainly about when new commercial crew spaceships will be ready to launch humans, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Thursday the space agency will replace a Japanese astronaut with a U.S. space flier on the next Russian Soyuz launch to the International Space Station. He added that it remains in NASA’s interests to pay Russia for one or more additional Soyuz seats next year to ensure the station remains continuously staffed with at least one American.

NASA chief says SpaceX properly focused on Crew Dragon

October 10, 2019

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine visited SpaceX’s California rocket factory Thursday, toured the sprawling facility with founder Elon Musk and told reporters he is optimistic the company will be ready to launch the first piloted test flight of its Crew Dragon spaceship in the first quarter of next year.

Boeing reveals target dates for initial Starliner test flights

October 9, 2019

Boeing officials said Wednesday that the company is targeting Dec. 17 for the launch of the first unpiloted orbital test flight of the new Starliner crew capsule from Cape Canaveral on a week-long demonstration mission to the International Space Station, a precursor to a mission with astronauts next year.

NASA may ask SpaceX to extend duration of Crew Dragon test flight

October 7, 2019

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley may spend more time on the International Space Station than originally planned when they ride SpaceX’s new human-rated Dragon spacecraft into orbit on its first crewed test flight, a space agency official said Friday.

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