WASHINGTON — NASA says it may soon be able to launch astronauts from U.S. soil to the International Space Station.
Important project milestones are coming up for NASA’s two commercial crew partners: Boeing and SpaceX, according to AP.
Several flight tests, including manned missions, are slated for 2018.
Boeing is working on the CST-100 Starliner. The spacecraft is designed to send up to seven astronauts to the space station. Three Starliners are currently in production, with one planned to carry astronauts next year.
SpaceX, which has flown cargo missions to the space station with its Dragon spacecraft, plans to use the Dragon 2 to send astronauts to space.
The Dragon 2 is the latest version of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule model, which can carry seven astronauts.
Boeing and SpaceX must show that both of their systems are ready to start regular flights to the space station in order to meet NASA’s requirements.
SpaceX has its first test flight set for February, while Boeing’s launch is planned for June.