NASA on Thursday released schedules of crewed and unmanned test flights of space vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX as part of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts the agency awarded in 2014, Space News reported Friday.
The SpaceX-built Crew Dragon vehicle is expected to carry out an unmanned test flight in February 2018 and a manned flight test in June 2018, according to NASA's schedule.
The agency expects Boeing to conduct an uncrewed test flight of its CST-100 Starliner vehicle in June 2018, followed by a manned test flight in August 2018.
NASA expects both Crew Dragon and Starliner vehicles to get certification by the end of this year to conduct manned transportation missions to the International Space Station.
“What's our primary focus? Making sure we stay on track for getting crew to station, as we promised NASA, around the middle of next year,“ SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said during an on-stage interview at the ISS Research and Development Conference held Wednesday in Washington.
Chris Ferguson, director of Starliner crew and mission systems at Boeing, said the company plans to conduct a pad abort test early next year at White Sands in New Mexico, followed by the test flight program between June 2018 and December 2018.