Near Term Future of Manned Space Flights

The SpaceX – NASA Crew 1 flight is scheduled to fly this weekend with four astronauts to the International Space Station.

There are nine Crew Dragon flights contracted to carry crew. Seven are contracted by NASA (one crewed test flight and six operational crew rotation missions) and one for private companies Axiom Space and another for Space Adventures.

Boeing has one more uncrewed test flight to prove the safety and effectiveness of the manned Starliner capsule. If that goes well then they will have a crewed flight in mid-2021.

A True Manned Space Age Would Start With a Successful SpaceX Super Heavy Starship

The SpaceX Starship is nearing 15000-meter test flight. The SpaceX Superheavy Starship should reach orbital flights early in 2021 and it will take many unmanned orbital flights before it will get certified for manned travel.

SOURCES- NASA, SpaceX, Boeing, Wikipedia
Written by Brian Wang,

24 thoughts on “Near Term Future of Manned Space Flights”

  1. Of course, the crewed part is uncertain, but because we have waited 4 decades, we have some simple rover and robot tasks to get going on. Bezos is in charge of this whole project, and directly supplies the lander itself, which does not need the Gateway to set up Prime on the Moon. Not to mention Starship cargo. O'Neill starts this way, as you know. Will it happen?

    "Bezos cites the increased energy demands of better living standards for people as a contributor to his off-world goals. “We will run out of energy,” Bezos said during the presentation. “This is just arithmetic. It’s going to happen. Do we want stasis and rationing or do we want dynamism and growth? This is an easy choice. We know what we want. We just have to get busy.”"

  2. It was orig for Mars ship assembly, but under Mr. B has become the focus of international agreement to do O'Neill. Big improvement!

  3. The airflight club is an interesting source of historical information. Just what countries DID gain prestige from flight?
    I'm going to say that there were 3 or 4 prestige boosts only.
    1) France, Montgolfier Brothers, first flight. Solid score there.
    2) Germany, Lilienthal, first heavier than air flight that was controllable and repeatable. Half a point.
    3) USA, Wright Brothers. 'Nuff said.
    4) USA, Lindenberg, first, solo, Atlantic flight. While not actually the first Atlantic flight, he was good enough at publicity and self promotion that it was the USA that got the prestige from this one.

    After that? Maybe Chuck Yeager in the X1 first supersonic flight? After that it all became too common for any national prestige to be garnered.

  4. He did another movie too, called Top Gun. In that one he wears a helmet and flight suit, so he's qualified for space flight.

  5. There is a difference between a historically proven failure rate of 1/million (or whatever airliners are) established over billions of passenger flights over half a century, compared to a total data set of only a dozen or so.

  6. I wish I knew why someone would downvote Goldbowtie's comment.
    Probably a Russian or Blue Origin employee trying to take out their frustration.
    Or a martian wanting to keep out the riffraff.

  7. Important to remember that, even if a manned launcher IS man rated, it will be a long while before any of them accumulate the number of flights necessary to empirically establish safety. And it will likely be a long while before orbital launches are as safe as even civil, let alone commercial, aviation. 

    One hopes the Dragon capsule accumulates a fair number of flights before the first casualty, because there WILL be a first casualty.

  8. It's perfectly understandable; there are plenty of people who are afraid to fly, no matter how reliable airplanes may be.

  9. Well, but you are making my point even stronger in reply to the concept that "A country could gain some prestige from sending one of their citizen into space. ".

    If in the early 2000s there was already little prestige to be gained for sending an astronaut to LEO on a rented rocket, there will be even less prestige to be gained in the future, for as you said youself, the "astronaut club" will lose it's glory.

  10. Don't take it personal.

    As more and more people go to space, the "astronaut club" (those who have gone to space) will lose its former glory.

    The same as the "airflight club" now has hundreds of millions of members and no country bats an eye about belonging to it anymore.

  11. Yeah, Brazil got lots of international prestige by sending Marcos Pontes to the ISS. Oh wait, you didn´t even know that. So much for the prestige!

  12. Even better, both ISS and Lunar Gateway are coop international efforts. And seeing the Earth from orbit is supposed to be very good for diplomacy, as in: "don't nuke this!"

  13. Exactly. Robotic ISM builds anything, such as Space Solar or rocket fuel mines, and then people can come too. Start with the high dollar tourists, but mostly people will be there to help the robots get ready for many more people.

  14. I would be surprised if Starship beats New Glenn as crew rated. But SS cargo plus almost any crew is a big winner.

  15. I agree. It feels almost painful to watch the other players still struggle with expendable rockets, doing the same great plans, but following the same approaches that never pan out.

    A few companies seem to be taking a hint and plan to build reusable rockets. But they are several years behind SpaceX already, counting since the first time they reused a Falcon 9 booster in 2016.

    In a market with such high entry barrier, not having a viable rocket ASAP could mean not having money for having a company.

  16. Your not going to have a lot of crewed spaceflights unless there are habitats in orbit and on the lunar surface to accommodate lots of astronauts, scientist, tourist, and military personal.

    Once private companies start to deploy their own extraterrestrial habitats then crewed spaceflight demand will increase dramatically.

    If you build it, they will come:-)

  17. Still all eggs in one basket. I would like to see a few more companies or countries with manned flight capabilities.

  18. SpaceX and NASA should sell seats to other nations and to the super rich. A country could gain some prestige from sending one of their citizen into space. It could also be good for diplomacy.

  19. That's the beauty of decentralization and moving industrial capabilities to the private markets.

    The many years suspension of crewed space from American soil between the end of the Shuttle and the start of Crew Dragon is over. Crew launch capabilities should be in the USA's hands permanently since now on. And from it, to the rest of the world.

    Crew Dragon will ensure that under any new administration, regardless of their political leaning and planned projects, NASA can launch astronauts to orbit only by paying the ticket.

    Starship will only make this even more clear and affordable, adding payload and crew interplanetary launch capabilities to those of any future government and interested customers locally and abroad.

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