NASA chief set to tour SpaceX factory

Katie Ramirez
October 11, 2019

SpaceX's Elon Musk and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine staged a public show of support for one another at the rocket company's headquarters Thursday, weeks after the two traded barbs over the closely held company's delayed efforts to fly astronauts for the first time.

That said, Bridenstine also emphasized that the timeline could slip in the name of astronaut safety, which juxtaposed with the NASA chief's earlier praise for SpaceX's "fail fast then fix" strategy. Completing that test flight wouldn't necessarily bring Boeing even with SpaceX, but it would be a big step toward fulfilling the needs of NASA, which desperately needs vehicles that can send humans to the space station.

"We are not going to take any undue risk", Bridenstine said, standing beside Musk outside a clean room that contained a Crew Dragon capsule.

SpaceX is developing a capsule under NASA's commercial crew program to launch astronauts to the worldwide space station so that the USA does not have to rely on Russian rockets and spacecraft.

Whereas Musk and Bridenstine equipped few concrete well-known aspects on their joint investigation into an explosion at some stage in a capsule ground sign in April, Musk mentioned incidents had been inevitable at some stage in complex pattern processes and rigorous attempting out. He additionally informed CNN "most of the work" left to finish on Crew Dragon was associated to "a long series of safety reviews" by NASA.

SpaceX and Boeing Co. have contracts to perform such missions under NASA's commercial crew program, though both have encountered setbacks that have put the companies behind schedule.

The test will be an in-flight abort (IFA), which will assess Crew Dragon's ability to shuttle itself to safety in a launch emergency scenario, Space.com reported.

SpaceX flew Crew Dragon in March with a mannequin on board and docked with the space station.

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The top executive for Boeing's rival Starliner program, John Mulholland, said on Wednesday that its own key test of an abort system was slated for November 4, while its unpiloted orbital test flight was set for December 17.

NASA said earlier this year it was considering paying for two more seats to the space station for this fall and the Spring of 2020 to ensure USA access.

Other testing includes 10 additional mid-air "drop tests" to test parachute resilience and performance, Bridenstine said.

Industry sources suggest the first Starliner manned mission is unlikely to happen before 2020.

With no current means of flying astronauts into orbit from USA soil, NASA has been paying Russian Federation about $80 million per ticket for rides to the space station.

Bridenstine said the agency was "still buying seats" for ride-alongs aboard Russia's Soyuz as an "insurance policy" against future delays in US crew capsule development.

Requested about his jab at Musk on Twitter, Bridenstine stated he was "signaling" to SpaceX and all different NASA contractors that "we need more realism built in to our development time frames". Adore us on Fb or apply us on Twitter and Instagram for contemporary news and stay news updates.

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