CINCINNATI — Amid growing concerns about commercial crew delays, a U.S. Government Accountability Office report recommended NASA share more schedule information with Congress and develop contingency plans to maintain access to the International Space Station.
In a July 11 report, the GAO said that Boeing and SpaceX could miss their current schedules for having their commercial crew vehicles certified by NASA by a year or more, creating a gap in access to the station when the agency’s use of Soyuz seats ends late next year.
“Boeing and SpaceX continue to make progress developing a capability to fly to the ISS, but both have continued to experience delays,” the GAO concluded in its report. “Additional delays could also disrupt U.S. access to the ISS.”
Current public schedules call for Boeing and SpaceX to make uncrewed test flights in August, followed by crewed test flights by Boeing in November and SpaceX in December. On that schedule, Boeing would be certified by NASA to transport astronauts to the ISS in January 2019, followed by SpaceX in February.
However, those dates are expected to slip, perhaps significantly, according to NASA’s own schedule risk analysis assessments. “In April 2018, the program’s schedule risk analysis found ...