NASA may see more delays for SpaceX and Boeing private space flights



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"The GAO continues to believe that NASA must develop a contingency plan to ensure uninterrupted access to the ISS if delays persist beyond September 2020. NASA has agreed to the GAO's findings," the report says. Nasa already plans to buy more Soyuz seats by September next year to ensure continued access to the ISS. But it looks like the GAO is asking the agency to buy more space for its astronauts beyond that month.

The GAO report says both companies still need to solve a number of technical problems, including the need to adjust some components for safety reasons before their vehicles can receive certification. Both have to perform several parachute tests to demonstrate that their capsules can land safely as well.

While SpaceX was able to dock an Unmanned Crew Dragon with the ISS in March, the same vehicle was destroyed as the company tested its thrusters and emergency escape system. SpaceX said it was due to an "anomaly", but did not detail what went wrong. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine recently admitted that it caused a change in the company's programming again. SpaceX originally wanted to launch a seven-day manned test flight this summer, but a NASA paper shows that it is now scheduled for a release date on November 15.

Meanwhile, the scheduled launch date for Boeing's Starliner test flight is September 17 – the first flight of the crew depends on the success of the initial test. A spokesman said in response to the report that the company is "making progress toward Starliner's first launch this summer." He added that "[s]security debris [their] priority number one, and [they’re] focused on conducting a safe and successful cordless orbital flight test. "

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