NASA Targets 2017 for Return to Manned Space Travel
After a hiatus of six long years, US astronauts will finally return to space in a revolutionary new pair of private crew capsules under development by Boeing and SpaceX, starting in 2017. Just as importantly this will finally end our embarrassing our current reliance on the Russians for launching our astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
So what he have is that in two years from now, crews will start travelling to space aboard the first US commercial spaceships ever built, launching atop US rockets from US soil. These new “human rated spaceships” which are also known as “space taxis” are being designed and manufactured as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP).
A two person mixed crew of NASA astronauts and company test pilots will fly on the first test flights going to the space station in 2017.
Severe budget cuts by Congress forced NASA into a two year delay in the first commercial crew flights from the original target of 2015 to 2017 and also forced NASA to pay hundreds of millions of more dollars to the Russians for crews seats instead of employing American aerospace workers.
The first unmanned test flights of the SpaceX Dragon V2 and Boeing CST-100 are scheduled to occur by late 2016 or early 2017. Manned flights to the ISS could follow by the spring and summer of 2017.