Human spaceflight: Boeing in orbit, Sierra Nevada moves forward

America’s third and fourth crewed launch systems get ready.

Boeing’s entry into NASA’s commercial crew program for the International Space Station, has suffered multiple technical delays, but has launched with two astronauts. The test flight is critical both for Boeing and for NASA, who need a backup system to guarantee crew access to orbit with two redundant systems. 

The fourth system besides NASA, Boeing and SpaceX, is the Sierra Space Dream Chaser lifting body vehicle. An uncrewed cargo version is now at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for testing and will be launched by a ULA Vulcan Centaur rocket. Soon, there may be four separate ways to lift humans into orbit from US soil.

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Written by

James Anderton

Jim Anderton is the Director of Content for Mr. Anderton was formerly editor of Canadian Metalworking Magazine and has contributed to a wide range of print and on-line publications, including Design Engineering, Canadian Plastics, Service Station and Garage Management, Autovision, and the National Post. He also brings prior industry experience in quality and part design for a Tier One automotive supplier.