Boeing and SpaceX hope to launch commercial crew ferry ships on long-awaited test flights later this year, but both companies face major challenges getting the spacecraft certified before late 2019 when seats aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft will no longer be easily available for NASA space station crews, officials told lawmakers Wednesday.
Former astronaut Bruce McCandless II, a retired Navy captain and son of a Medal of Honor winner who joined NASA during the buildup to the Apollo program, served as capsule communicator when Neil Armstrong took his historic first step on the moon and later flew in space twice during the shuttle program, died Thursday. He was 80.
Outgoing space station commander Randy Bresnik, joined by Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy and European Space Agency flight engineer Paolo Nespoli, returned to Earth early Thursday after nearly five months in orbit. Their Soyuz MS-05 capsule undocked from the International Space Station at 12:14 a.m. EST (0514 GMT), and landed on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 3:37 a.m. EST (0837 GMT).