The next generation of American spacecraft and rockets that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station are nearing the final stages of development and evaluation. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program will return human spaceflight launches to U.S. soil, providing safe, reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit on systems that meet our safety and mission requirements.
To meet NASA’s requirements, the commercial providers must demonstrate that their systems are ready to begin regular flights to the space station. Two of those demonstrations are uncrewed flight tests, known as Orbital Flight Test for Boeing, and Demo-1 for SpaceX. After the uncrewed flight tests, both companies will carry out spacecraft abort tests to demonstrate their crew escape capability during an actual on-pad, or ascent emergency. The final test flights for each company will be crew flight tests to the space station prior to being certified by NASA for crew rotation missions. The following target dates reflect the current schedule as of Tuesday, Nov. 20.
Test Flight Planning Dates:
Boeing Orbital Flight Test (uncrewed): March 2019
Boeing Pad Abort Test: Between OFT and CFT
Boeing Crew Flight Test (crewed): August 2019
SpaceX Demo-1 (uncrewed): January 17, 2019
SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test: Between Demo-1 and Demo-2
SpaceX Demo-2 (crewed): June 2019
SpaceX also completed a pad abort test in 2015. Following the test flights, NASA will review the performance data and resolve issues as necessary to certify the systems for operational missions. Boeing, SpaceX and the Commercial Crew Program are actively working to be ready for the operational missions; however, as with all human spaceflight development, learning from each test and adjusting as necessary to reduce risk to the crew may override planning dates.
Anticipated Readiness Dates for Operational Missions:
First operational mission: August 2019
Second operational mission: December 2019
For more information, see https://go.nasa.gov/2QwW3Sd.