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NASA releases new dates for first commercial crew spacecraft launches

First launches with astronauts slated for summer 2019

The first U.S. astronauts who will fly on American-made, commercial spacecraft to and from the International Space Station, wave after being announced, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018 at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The astronauts are, from left to right: Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, Nicole Aunapu Mann, Chris Ferguson, Eric Boe, Josh Cassada, and Suni Williams. (Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX and Boeing are entering the home stretch for the first test flights of spacecrafts designed to return launching NASA astronauts from Cape Canaveral.

NASA released new launch dates Thursday for the first Boeing's Starliner CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft test flights without crew. In August, both companies were targeting late this year for the first test flights, however, those dates have now slipped into the beginning of next year.

Here are the new dates:

The Crew Dragon's first test flight on Falcon 9 is scheduled for January, with the first possible flight with crew in June. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be on the June flight.

SpaceX will launch from Kennedy Space Center’s historic launch pad 39A.

Boeing Starliner is slated to launch on its first test flight in March with a possible crewed test flight in August. On that flight will be NASA astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu Mann along with Chris Ferguson, a former NASA astronaut, who now works for Boeing.

The Starliner will liftoff on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41.

Read more about the eight commercial crew astronauts and Boeing test pilot here.

The space agency also said it plans to update these dates monthly with changes if needed.

The first mission to the International Space Station will happen after August, according to NASA's current timeline, however, the space agency didn't say which spacecraft would make the first trip.


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