Boeing and SpaceX have scheduled a series of demonstrations for 2019 to seek NASA’s approval for regular flights of their new spacecraft and rockets to bring astronauts to the International Space Station.
The demonstrations indicate both companies have moved closer to final stages of development and evaluation of their new space vehicles, NASA said Wednesday.
Boeing and SpaceX will conduct unmanned and manned flight tests of the vessels’ journey to the ISS beginning January 2019 under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
Boeing scheduled an uncrewed Orbital Flight Test for March 2019 and another test with a crew aboard for August.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s space company expects to start its unmanned Demo-1 test flight in January, followed by a crewed demonstration in June.
Both firms also plan to conduct an in-flight abort test between the two demo test flights.
Passing the test flights will allow both firms to secure certification from NASA to perform crew rotation missions to the space station.
The agency expects Boeing and SpaceX to have their spacecraft ready for first operational mission in August, with the second launch set for December 2019.