Being the first to fly the tests indicates that SpaceX has an advantage, even though both are behind a schedule drawn up in 2014 when NASA awarded a combined $6.8 billion to the two firms for what the agency calls the Commercial Crew program.
Although both Boeing and SpaceX still have a few milestones to reach before the launch of their respective astronaut-ferrying spacecraft, NASA is already looking ahead at resuming USA -based crewed spaceflights.
However, as the Inquisitr reported earlier today, Boeing has just announced it will be delaying the entire launch schedule of its Starliner spacecrafts, aiming for a first crewed test flight in mid-2019.
The space agency will announce Friday in Houston which of the four commercial crew astronauts will be on board the first of those launches with crew.
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.
The schedule was that Starliner would test an uncrewed flight this month and then a crewed launch in November.
The reproduction of the story/photograph in any form will be liable for legal action. Falcon 9's first and second stages for the Demo-1 mission are targeted to ship from SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California to the company's rocket testing facility in McGregor, Texas for additional testing in August. Since the shuttle fleet's retirement in 2011, the only spaceship cleared for carrying people to the station has been Russia's Soyuz spacecraft, and the ticket price for NASA is in the range of $80 million a seat.
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If those flights are successful, the companies will be certified by NASA for crew rotation missions.
Boeing had planned to start with the pad abort test, which would make use of a "pusher" rocket system created to throw the capsule clear of its launch vehicle in the event of an emergency.
During the manned tests, the astronauts will be able to use the displays inside the spacecraft, communicate with mission control and practise manual controls during flight.
The crews will begin training to get ready for their launch.
The announcement is at 10 a.m. Friday at the Johnson Space Center. In this simulation, DOD pararescue specialists jumped from military aircraft, parachuted to the water, and simulated stabilizing the Crew Dragon capsule and safely removing astronauts from the spacecraft. It will use an Atlas V rocket, but before sending a manned crew, it must first conduct an uncrewed and a crewed flight test and see if the capsule is safe to use on multiple trips to the station.
"The crew right now is actually working on integrated crew simulations on the flight systems", said Lueders. That resulted in a leak of toxic hypergolic propellant, but no damage to the hardware and no injuries to the test team, he said.