Declaring that their partnership is still going strong, Elon Musk and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine have suggested that SpaceX’s first crewed flight to space will take place in the first quarter of 2020.
Commercial Crew Program
The announcement was made during the NASA Administrator’s tour of SpaceX’s rocket factory and headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
Both Musk and Bridenstine have suggested that their collaboration to enable the Commerical Crew Program is of utmost priority and that they are both on the “same page.”
For those who don’t know, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is an initiative with private companies such as SpaceX and Boeing to take humans to space at lower costs.
NASA was previously in association with Russia’s Soyuz rocket for the same, which was relatively expensive for NASA (around $85 million per seat). The Commercial Crew Program is likely to cost NASA $50 million per seat.
Although both Elon Musk and Jim Bridenstine are optimistic about the recent development, there could still be a further delay in the project due to unknown reasons.
Problems with Commercial Crew Program
While the claim of taking humans to space by 2020 gives us positivity, the initiative has had its set of challenges. The program was expected to go for its mission in 2017, but it never happened.
Then came security issues when SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule exploded recently, due to which there was an added uncertainty about the venture.
Furthermore, it was suggested that the project faced two more issues — the problem with the abort thrusters (meant for the safety of the crew during an emergency) and parachute testing.
However, now they are both confident about the mission — thanks to the new developments in the project.
Musk and Bridenstine weren’t always on the same page!
Although Musk and Bridenstine seem like an ideal team, they weren’t always like that — as hinted by a rift between the both.
Recently, Jim took a dig at Musk before Musk’s introduction of its Starship rocket for human flight to space.
The jab came via a tweet, which suggested that Jim criticized Musk for delaying their collaborative project and instead of working on the company’s plan.
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) September 27, 2019
Following this, Musk replied to Bridenstine’s tweet during an interview with CNN, throwing light on NASA’s delay for its SLS project.
Nonetheless, everything appears good between Musk and Bridenstine now, and we hope the aim of flying to space by 2020 becomes true.