Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator and a 2019 Wash100 Award winner, said he thinks spacecraft from Boeing and SpaceX could be ready to fly astronauts as soon as the first quarter of 2020, CNBC reported Sunday.
A Boeing official said the company plans to perform an unmanned flight test of its Starliner crew vehicle on Dec. 17, while SpaceX has to recertify the emergency rocket engines of its Crew Dragon spacecraft.
“Which means that, while we go through these test processes, we are going to learn things that need to be reviewed, where we need to take deeper dives, maybe make some modifications,” Bridenstine told CNBC. “So when I say the first quarter of next year for human spaceflight, what I mean is if things all go right. Things all going right is not the history when you talk about development programs.”
NASA started conducting safety reviews of both companies earlier this year and Bridenstine said he is about to be briefed on those assessments by the end of October. SpaceX and Boeing are developing their spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which aims to end the country’s dependence on Russia’s Soyuz vehicle.