Falcon 9 with Crew Dragon vertical at Launch Complex 39A

Falcon 9 with Crew Dragon vertical at Launch Complex 39A

The year 2019 is already off to a fast start with multiple deep space encounters performed by several robotic spacecraft. Closer to home, however, another vehicle is being prepped for its first orbital flight: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. However, schedule unknowns still remain.

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NASA, Boeing add option for extended Starliner crew flight test

NASA, Boeing add option for extended Starliner crew flight test

With the timeline for the first operational human flights for the Commercial Crew Program gradually slipping to the right and into 2019, Boeing last year proposed adding a third crew member to the first Crew Flight Test of the company’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station, NASA recently announced.

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NanoRacks' proposed airlock paves way for a more commercial ISS

NanoRacks' proposed airlock paves way for a more commercial ISS

In early February, NASA accepted a proposal from NanoRacks to send the first commercial airlock to the International Space Station in 2019. This milestone is only the latest of many that has seen the orbiting laboratory gain increased commercial use.

Houston-based NanoRacks has been sending small satellites to be deployed out of the Japanese Kibo airlock for seven years now. The airlock, however, is only big enough to send out things that are about the combined size of a small refrigerator.

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NASA mulls purchasing Soyuz seats—from Boeing?

NASA mulls purchasing Soyuz seats—from Boeing?

Despite the Commercial Crew Program being years behind schedule, NASA has said for the last number of months that it has no plans to purchase additional Soyuz seats from Russia past the end of 2018. While that may technically hold true, the U.S. space agency is, however, looking to buy Soyuz seats acquired by Boeing.

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SpaceX Crew Dragon test flights delayed

SpaceX Crew Dragon test flights delayed

In a revised schedule released by NASA on Dec. 12, 2016, it was revealed that SpaceX has delayed test flights for its Crew Dragon spacecraft by a number of months. According to Space News, this is, at least in part, due to the Sept. 1 Falcon 9 pad explosion.

The NASA statement gave no reason for the delays other than it reflected a “fourth quarter update” from both SpaceX as well as the Boeing dates that were revised in October 2016.

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