Dragon Ready for Return Ahead of Commercial Crew Announcement

Dragon Ready for Return Ahead of Commercial Crew Announcement

SpaceX, under a $2.6 billion contract, is modifying its Dragon cargo ship to fly unpiloted resupply missions and to carry astronauts.

Eight NASA astronauts will be assigned to initial test flights and the following missions to the International Space station.

The ground controllers will use the space station's Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Dragon from the Earth-facing side of the station's Harmony module and manoeuvre the vehicle into its release position.

USA media are invited to attend the event at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and, afterward, speak with the astronauts about their assignments.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program is partnering with Boeing and SpaceX to launch humans on US -built spaceships from Kennedy Space Center on test flights to the space station. Both companies have matured their designs, are making significant progress through their extensive testing campaigns, and are headed toward flight tests to validate their systems.

More than 50 people are in NASA's astronaut corps, though 12 in the agency's 2017 astronaut class are still training. The survey helped ensure crew members will have acceptable visibility as they prepare to launch aboard Boeing's Starliner spacecraft on the Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station.

Since then, astronauts have relied on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to transport them to and from the orbiting space station. SpaceX's is the Crew Dragon launched on SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. "I'm incredibly proud of the progress our team has made, and it has been inspiring to watch them work through challenges quickly, while developing a brand new human-rated spacecraft that Boeing, NASA and the nation can be proud of".

Dragon Ready for Return Ahead of Commercial Crew Announcement

According to Investor's Business Daily, it looks like Elon Musk's company might beat Boeing to the punch and be the first to launch its astronaut-ferrying vehicle to the ISS. Each will be manned by at least a flight commander and a pilot. Boeing's is the CST-100 Starliner launched on United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rockets.

Starliner's launch abort system, created to eject the crew pod a safe distance from the rocket in case of an emergency, relies on four engines developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Astronauts are expected to make their first flight aboard Boeing's CST-100 Starliner in mid-2019, following a test flight without a crew in late 2018 or early 2019. Nominally, two astronauts will be on each test flight.

SpaceX has not publicly revised its Crew Dragon schedule.

"After the uncrewed flight tests, both companies will execute a flight test with crew prior to being certified by NASA for crew rotation missions", NASA communications specialist Stephanie Martin wrote in a blog post.

SpaceXNASA astronaut Sunita "Suni" Williams tests mock-ups of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship and spacesuit.

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All nine members of the Bank's monetary policy committee voted to push rates up to 0.75 per cent. The Institute of Directors said the Bank had "jumped the gun" by raising the rate now.

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