NASA boss to tour SpaceX factory after feud over capsule delays

NASA boss to tour SpaceX factory after feud over capsule delays
  • Clock-gray 19:13
  • calendar-gray 10 October 2019

SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk opened up his private rocket factory to the top official of NASA on Thursday for a tour and progress report on the company’s long-delayed Crew Dragon astronaut capsule, APA reports citing Reuters.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is paying commercial launch contractors SpaceX and Boeing Co $6.8 billion to build rocket-and-capsule systems to return astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil for the first time since America’s space shuttle program ended in 2011.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine’s visit to SpaceX headquarters in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne and a joint news conference slated for 2 p.m. local time come as SpaceX works to overcome key technical challenges on the Crew Dragon.

It also follows a rare public spat days earlier between Musk and the NASA chief, who bristled at Musk on Twitter for celebrating an unrelated milestone achieved on SpaceX’s deep-space Starship rocket while completion of the Crew Dragon project remained delayed.

“It’s time to deliver,” Bridenstine said.

Musk quickly shot back at a news conference, citing soaring cost overruns on a rival NASA moon rocket dubbed the Space Launch System. 

Apart from a display of unity, SpaceX and NASA were expected to update journalists on Thursday on the Crew Dragon launch schedule and technical difficulties, including concerns over parachutes and an investigation into an explosion during a capsule ground test in April.

Both the Boeing and SpaceX capsules have been beset by delays and testing mishaps that have prevented either company from achieving goals for manned orbital missions in 2019.

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