COLORADO, USA — NASA in 2020 could finally make a reality out of its plan to start flying U.S. astronauts from American soil again.
The space agency expects to return to flying U.S. astronauts into orbit in 2020, but there’s a question whether or not a Colorado rocket will be among those to launch them.
Centennial-based United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket was expected to blast off as soon as summer from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying astronauts aboard Boeing Co.’s CST-100 Starliner capsule. A hiccup in the Starliner’s test flight on Dec. 20 without crew aboard raises questions about when that crewed launch will happen.
After the Boeing Starliner’s automated systems misfired its thrusters and failed to rendezvous with the International Space Station last month, reporters questioned whether the first flight with astronauts for both the Starliner and ULA’s Atlas V rocket would still happen in 2020. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine suggested he’d be comfortable having astronauts fly on Starliner’s next flight, assuming its investigation turned up and resolved a clear cause of the December mistake.
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