SCIENCE

NASA And SpaceX Look To Astronauts To Space In First Commercial Crew Capsules

  • Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
  • Jul, 31, 2016, 04:33 PM
Tags : SpaceX, NASA
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(Photo : REUTERS/Tom Rogers) The International Space Stations scheduled date to receive delivery from SpaceX' dragon cargo ship will apparently continue without delays despite complications with its computer.

NASA is looking to SpaceX for the delivery of astronauts to the International Space Station. The order of a second post-certification mission from SpaceX is the final order guaranteed through the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap).

CCtCap looks to restore human spaceflight capability and increase how much time astronauts have for scientific research. The initiative is important for NASA, and ever since the space shuttle program retired in 2011, they have had to rely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to get to the ISS.

"The order of a second crew rotation mission from SpaceX, paired with the two ordered from Boeing will help ensure reliable access to the station on American spacecraft and rockets," Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, said in a media release. "These systems will ensure reliable U.S. crew rotation services to the station, and will serve as a lifeboat for the space station for up to seven months."

SpaceX received its first order in November 2015, and this will be the final guaranteed order NASA will make. The other two orders were given to Boeing in May and December of 2015. The plan is that, eventually, NASA will know which company will fly the first post-certification mission to the space station.

SpaceX was able to meet NASA's standards for the latest award thanks to its Crew Dragon spacecraft, Falcon 9 rocket, and related ground systems.

"We're making great progress with Crew Dragon, with qualification of our docking adapter and initial acceptance testing of the pressure vessel qualification unit completed," said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer, about their resources. "We appreciate the trust NASA has placed in SpaceX with the order of another crew mission and look forward to flying astronauts from American soil next year."

The Crew Dragon is expected to fly in the summer of 2017, the latest. NASA will send astronauts Robert Behnken, Eric Boe, Douglas Hurley and Sunita Williams. They will be the first to fly in commercial crew capsules. 

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