NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine says he is “fairly confident” that astronauts can fly to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship at the end of May or early June, pending final parachute tests, data reviews and a training schedule that can escape major impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.
NASA has selected Axiom Space, a Houston-based startup partnering with Boeing and other aerospace contractors, to attach a commercial habitat to the International Space Station and begin constructing an orbiting complex that the company says could ultimately replace the international research outpost.
An unpiloted demonstration flight of Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule ended prematurely Sunday with a smooth airbag-cushioned predawn landing in New Mexico after a timing glitch prevented it from docking with the International Space Station, leaving some test objectives incomplete as NASA begins analyzing data to determine if astronauts should fly on the next Starliner mission.
NASA has declared assembly complete on the core stage for the first Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket in New Orleans, signaling a long-awaited transition from manufacturing to testing as the core stage is set to move to the nearby Stennis Space Center in Mississippi for a hold-down firing next year of its four shuttle-era main engines.
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.