Sunday, January 13, 2013

Private Test Pilots to Fly First Commercial Crewed Space Flights for NASA

Image Caption: Dream Chaser commercial crew vehicle built by Sierra Nevada Corp docks at ISS 

Commercial test pilots, not NASA astronauts, will fly the first crewed missions that NASA hopes will at last restore America’s capability to blast humans to Earth orbit from American soil perhaps as early as 2015 which was totally lost following the forced shuttle shutdown.

At a news briefing this week, NASA managers at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) said the agency is implementing a new way of doing business in human spaceflight and purposely wants private companies to assume the flight risk first with their crews before exposing NASA crews as a revolutionary new flight requirement. Both NASA and the companies strongly emphasized that there will be no shortcuts to flying safe.

A trio of American aerospace firms  Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corp are leading the charge to develop and launch the new commercially built human-rated spacecraft that will launch Americans to LEO atop American rockets from American bases.

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