NASA’s commercial plan to put American astronauts in deep space received a blow. Some of the private partners who are supposed to work with the Space Agency have their own challenges ahead of them.
NASA announced on September, the 1st that the space program will happen three years later than the original estimates. The new stage of the space program was supposed to start in 2015. It has now been postponed by 3 years, because of technical difficulties facing Boeing and SpaceX.
The Commercial Crew Program (or CCP) had its setbacks before. Problems with funding and industrial design have crippled the program.
Insp. Gen. Paul Martin, of NASA, declared that the delays happened because of vibration issues with Boeing’s spacecraft design. Too much vibration during launch can endanger a mission, so it’s best to be on the safe side. Other problems involved the spaceship’s mass.
What is more, SpaceX has decided to introduce a different design for the spacecraft. It should enable the craft to easier land offshore.
The release of the NASA report was made the same day the Falcon 9 reusable rocket exploded. SpaceX prestige was affected by the explosion, but no people were hurt.
The aerospace company struck a 2,6-billion-dollar deal with NASA. It is supposed to build a Dragon spacecraft to carry astronauts into orbit and return them safely to Earth. The capsule should be on top of a Falcon 9 rocket.
At the same time, Boeing was gearing up to build a CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, following an even better 4,2-billion-dollar deal with the space agency.
The Dragon and the Starliner vehicles are supposed to transport a crew of seven members.
Both companies have agreed to make unmanned tests of their vehicles, and the second stage will include two astronauts who are going to pilot the spaceships.
Now, Boeing delayed the initial launch of the Dragon Spacecraft to 2018. In a similar move, Space X could postpone the 2017 launch of the manned spaceship, following the Falcon 9 incident which took them by surprise.
NASA has warned companies that they have to meet strict safety requirements for crew-carrying.
So in the meantime, NASA bought six transporter seats on board Russian agency Roscosmos. The seats cost 82 million dollars per seat. This puts pressure on NASA to come up with a new commercial plan.
Image Source – Wikipedia