The photograph of February 9, 2016 shows the mockup of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft being developed in collaboration with the NASA commercial crew program. The device falls into a pool with a depth of 20 feet at the Langley (Hampton) research center. On July 11, 2018, the US Government Accountability Office announced that NASA needs a backup plan for delivering astronauts into space.
NASA needs a backup plan for delivering astronauts into space, given the additional delays in new commercial crew capsules. The US government made a recommendation on July 11th. This is the first sentence in the latest GAO report for SpaceX and Boeing crews.
Both companies are preparing for test flights at the end of this year. But GAO reports possible future delays. If the postponement continues, the US will have problems accessing the ISS.
On the last flight this month, the US paid Russia for delivering its astronauts to $ 82 million, and the shuttle program ended 7 years ago. The contract between the United States and Russia expires at the end of 2019. NASA is exploring potential options, but so far there is no contingency plan to ensure America’s uninterrupted access to the ISS. The audit also showed that NASA does not have a consistent approach to assessing the risk of the crew in new spacecraft.
SpaceX and Boeing sought to be the first to bring Americans into space from the United States since 2014. It was then that NASA signed contracts totaling $ 7 billion to create crew capsules and show them in flight. The agreement provided that the ship will receive certification by 2017.
SpaceX capsule is an improved version of Dragon, which is already being used to transport cargo to the ISS. The device from Boeing is called Starliner. Each company is planning test flights without passengers. Now at the station there are three Americans, two Russians and a German.