MNA Science & Tech Desk: Tech magnate Elon Musk’s SpaceX vowed Monday to send its first astronauts into orbit on schedule next year—part of a drive to restore America’s dominance of the space race, reported news agency.
Gwynne Shotwell, the aerospace manufacturer’s president, told journalists in Los Angeles an unmanned flight to the International Space Station in November would pave the way for a manned mission in April 2019.
NASA awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 as part of its commercial crew programme, aimed at helping private industry build spaceships to reach low-Earth orbit.
On 3 August the agency named the first nine astronauts who will fly to space on Boeing and SpaceX vehicles in 2019 — a mix of novices and veterans.
Those named for the SpaceX test crew include shuttle veterans Bob Behnken, Michael Hopkins and Douglas Hurley, alongside naval aviator Victor Glover, a novice to spaceflight.