NASA & World Space Exploration...News, Views, Photos & videos

bd popeye

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Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket

A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket on a resupply mission to the International Space Station lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (Photo/Agencies)

SpaceX launched a 6000-pound shipment to the International Space Station on Thursday, including “mighty mice” for a muscle study, a robot sensitive to astronauts’ emotions and a miniature version of a brewery’s malt house.


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bd popeye

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In this Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 file photo, a Boeing Starliner spacecraft sits on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket at Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla. After an intensive review, on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, NASA and Boeing managers agreed to a Dec. 20 liftoff. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Boeing's Starliner crew capsule finally has a launch date for its first test flight to the International Space Station.

After an intensive review Thursday, NASA and Boeing managers agreed to a Dec. 20 liftoff.

Just a few technical issues remain to be completed, he noted.

No one will be aboard, just a mannequin named Rosie. Three astronauts will strap in for the second test flight of a Starliner sometime next year.

SpaceX also plans to launch astronauts for NASA next year. The company conducted a test flight without a crew back in March.

NASA turned to the two private companies in 2014 to ferry astronauts to and from the space station.

Whether Boeing or SpaceX, it will be the first time U.S. astronauts rocket to orbit from home soil in nearly nine years. The longer-than-anticipated hiatus stretches back to NASA's last space shuttle flight in July 2011. NASA astronauts have been stuck riding Russian rockets in the interim.

United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket will provide the Starliner's lift from Cape Canaveral, a little before sunrise. The capsule will parachute into New Mexico on Dec. 28 to close out the flight.

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Back dropped by the rotating earth, U.S. Army and NASA Astronaut Col. Andrew Morgan pauses for a photo opportunity during extravehicular activity (EVA) #64 at the International Space Station’s Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer worksite Jan. 25, 2020. Col. Morgan and Italian Air Force and ESA astronaut Col. Luca Parmitano participated in this fourth and final EVA to complete repairs on the AMS, a state-of-the-art particle physics detector. The emblems displayed on Col. Morgan's cuff checklist are U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (top) and U.S. Space Command (bottom). (Photos by ESA Astronaut Luca Parmitano)

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NASA astronaut U.S. Army Col. Andrew Morgan participates in extravehicular activity (EVA) #57 with NASA Astronaut Christina Koch, Oct. 11, 2019, to upgrade the International Space Station’s solar array batteries. Morgan, with one of the station’s four solar arrays in the background, is on the most extreme port side of the ISS during this EVA. Morgan is the commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Army Astronaut Detachment at Johnson Space Center, Texas. (Photo by NASA astronaut Christina Koch)

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NASA astronaut U.S. Army Col. Andrew Morgan holds a new cooling module for the International Space Station’s Alpha Magnet Spectrometer (AMS) during extravehicular activity (EVA) #61, Dec. 2, 2019. Morgan worked with Italian Air Force and European Space Agency astronaut Italian Air Force Col. Luca Parmitano on this third of a series of four EVAs to repair the failing AMS, a state-of-the-art particle physics detector. (Photo by ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano)
 
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