Tags: nasa | launch | 2019 | u.s. | soil | astronauts

NASA Chief: Agency Will Launch Astronauts Into Space From U.S. Soil in 2019

NASA Chief: Agency Will Launch Astronauts Into Space From U.S. Soil in 2019
Vice President Mike Pence speaks in the Teague Auditorium at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Joel Kowsky/NASA via Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 27 August 2018 04:43 PM

The U.S. will launch astronauts into space next year from U.S. soil following seven years of reliance on Russian transport, NASA Administrator James Bridenstine told USA Today in an interview published Monday.

"Without question, by the middle of next year, we'll be flying American astronauts on American rockets from American soil," he said in an interview published Monday. “We’re so close.”

U.S. astronauts have been hitching rides on Russian rockets into space since 2011 at a cost of more than $82 million per seat, but NASA has made strides over the last few years to change course with its Commercial Crew Program. The Trump administration has also cited Moon missions as a key element of the 2019 NASA budget, with Vice President Mike Pence last week saying the U.S. wasn’t “content with just leaving behind footprints.”

“The time has come for the United States of America to ... establish a permanent presence around and on the moon,” he said during a speech at the Johnson Space Center.

The space agency first handed out multi-billion dollar contracts to SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 as part of its Commercial Crew program, but both companies this year announced delays on test flights.

Still, SpaceX is scheduled to send astronauts back into space from American soil in April 2019 from the Space Coast, while Boeing is set to send crew up to the International Space Station in mid-2019 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

“SpaceX will be ready in November, if we can make all the other pieces work and we’re working toward that,” Bridenstine said.

The U.S. will still maintain its partnership with Russia, Bridenstine told USA Today.

“This is one thing that’s unique about NASA. Relationships around the world fall apart, but NASA has this ability because of support from Congress to maintain this relationship with Russia.”

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The U.S. will launch astronauts into space next year from U.S. soil following seven years of reliance on Russian transport, NASA Administrator James Bridenstine told USA Today in an interview published Monday."Without question, by the middle of next year, we'll be flying...
nasa, launch, 2019, u.s., soil, astronauts
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2018-43-27
Monday, 27 August 2018 04:43 PM
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