According to NASA, the first manned flight to the International Space Station (ISS) using a SpaceX rocket is planned for June 2019. What it means is that for the first time since 2011, when the space shuttle program came to an end, a crewed mission will be launched from the territory of the U.S. At the moment, the only way for the American astronauts to get to the ISS is to travel to Kazakhstan in order to get on board of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. NASA has also announced that Boeing spacecraft’s launch will follow soon after, in August 2019.
The launch dates could still be postponed
Considering the fact that the expected dates of both launches have been changed on few occasions in the past, NASA announced that it will update us on deadlines every month. Phil McAlister, who is the director of Commercial Spaceflight Development at the NASA Headquarters, said that “this new process for reporting our schedule is better, nevertheless, launch dates will still have some uncertainty, and we anticipate they may change as we get closer to launch.” He also added that since these spacecraft are new, they require a lot of work before they could be safely launched.
Further tests are needed
The two missions will be used to test new systems, so every rocket will take two astronauts to the ISS for just two weeks, after which they will return to Earth. In the future, if everything goes well, the regular missions will be held using SpaceX and Boeing rockets, each lasting around six months.
Before the manned launches take place, both companies will test their vehicles without any crew. First, in January 2019, SpaceX will launch its Falcon 9 rocket, which will take a Crew Dragon capsule into a space. Two months later, Boeing will test an Atlas V rocket, with a Starliner ship attached on top.
NASA hopes that both missions will be successful, because in November 2019 its contract with the Russian space agency is set to expire.
Laura grew up in a small town in northern Quebec. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Laura is an advocate for people with disabilities.