SpaceX has formally announced they will postpone their manned Dragon Capsule vehicle, which was designed to transport NASA astronauts back and to the International Space Station.
This decision came after the unprecedented explosion that occurred in Falcon-9 rocket as it was being fueled on September 1st. The manned vehicle was set to leave in late 2017, but as of now the plans have changed, pushing it to take place in May, 2018. A demonstration will take place in November 2017 by SpaceX, but will not have any crew members aboard the vehicle.
SpaceX issued a statement about the official delay they have stated, saying the postponed date is due to a reflection of how long it may take to assess this investigation, to identify what defaults existed and correct them, and to work through the process so as to take the necessary action for the official execution of the operation.
This announcement serves as another postponed decision for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, whose enterprise consists strictly for sending astronauts on American-made rockets. Boeing Co. is currently underway in creating a new capsule which is called the CST-100 Starliner, which aims in sending needed supplies to the International Space Station.
However, they have postponed their manned vehicles into being sent out to space twice now, and strives to fulfill the ordeal by August 2018.
Charles Bolden, the NASA Administrator has thrown some blame towards Congress who he claims are not supporting them financially to the best of their ability. The longer the wait for NASA to send manned vehicles to the International Space Station, the higher the probability that they might be forced to rely on Russia for assistance on the matter.
As of now, only the Russian Soyuz rocket holds the capability in being able to send astronauts to the International Space Station. This reliance has a costly aspect to it, as just one vacant seat for the Soyuz rocket holds a budget of $81 million.