SpaceX Postpones Manned Dragon Capsule Launch to May 2018; Boeing Reschedules CST-100 Test Flights

SpaceX has pushed back from the spring of 2017 to May 2018 the first manned flight of its Dragon spacecraft designed to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Andy Pasztor writes the delay comes as SpaceX works to develop new fueling processes for its fleet of Falcon 9 rockets following the Sept. 1 explosion.

A spokesman for SpaceX said the change in launch schedule seeks to reflect the “additional time” needed to assess and implement systems, designs and processes as part of the company’s corrective measures in light of the rocket explosion in September, Pasztor reports.

NASA said in a statement released Monday that SpaceX also rescheduled the unmanned test mission of its Dragon spacecraft to November 2017 from May 2017 to reflect a “fourth quarter update” from the company, according to a report by Jeff Foust for Space News.

Boeing also announced in October a six-month delay in the scheduled test flights of its CST-100 Starliner space vehicle, Foust noted.

NASA confirmed Monday that Boeing will launch the first unmanned flight of CST-100 in June 2018 and the initial uncrewed test mission in August 2018, Space News added.

NASA awarded a $4.2 billion contract to Boeing and $2.6 billion contract to SpaceX in 2014 to transport astronauts to and from the ISS as part of the space agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

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