The private spaceflight companies Boeing and SpaceX are on track to start launching NASA astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017, representatives of both firms said Monday (Jan. 26).
In September 2014, SpaceX and Boeing were awarded contracts under NASA's commercial crew program to help them start flying astronauts on missions to the space station from U.S. soil in the next few years. SpaceX and Boeing are planning to launch a series of tests of their spaceships — capsules called Dragon V2 and the CST-100, respectively — from this year through 2017. The tests will make sure the launch systems are in good shape before the spacecraft make their first official runs to and from the station.
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