SpaceX pushed back the first test flights for a “space taxi” that is eventually meant to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
X The space company founded by Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk now expects an uncrewed mission to happen in August instead of April, with a crewed mission set for December instead of August.
In 2014, NASA awarded Boeing (BA) a $4.2 billion contract and SpaceX a $2.6 billion contract to develop spacecraft for missions to the ISS and end the reliance on Russian Soyuz capsules.
Regular manned missions to the ISS were expected to start in 2019 if the crewed tests performed successfully. But now that timeline is likely delayed.
Meanwhile, Boeing’s unmanned test of its Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner capsule is due in August, and its crewed test is scheduled for November, but the company reportedly has warned the crewed test could be pushed back to 2019.
IBD’S TAKE: A new space age is dawning as billionaires like Elon Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos look to explore deeper into the final frontier and make space exploration and commercial development more affordable.
The leap forward from uncrewed to crewed capsules is huge and NASA has rigorous safety requirements, with no more than one potential fatal incident out of every 270 flights.
But the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel’s annual report outlined risks, especially with SpaceX’s new rocket fuel system.
“We expect to see several significant certification issues brought to culmination in the next year that will require NASA risk acceptance decisions at a very high level,” the report said
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