The United States has announced the signing of a contract with Boeing for the launch of the next generation of its Space Launch System rocket.
The United States signed the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) contract on Wednesday with Boeing, with the first stage of the CST-100 spacecraft being delivered to the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Thursday.
The first stage will fly to the International Space Station on a Falcon 9 rocket later this year.
The contract, which was worth $7.2 billion, will allow NASA to launch the CST and CST-11 spacecraft to the station as early as 2019.
The two crew capsules are designed to carry four astronauts and a robotic laboratory.
The CST-111 spacecraft is scheduled to launch in 2021, which would place it in a geostationary transfer orbit with NASA.
The station is designed to support about three months of operations, including a six-month stay at Earth’s surface.
The first-stage of the Soyuz rocket is being assembled for the flight.
The Soyuz-U launch vehicle was the first to carry a crew capsule to the space station and is also capable of carrying astronauts to the moon and beyond.
The capsule will launch with the crew capsule in 2021.
The crewed test flight will be the first time a new spacecraft, built for the space agency, will be launched to the ISS.
The company will provide a video feed to the astronauts aboard the station, which will enable the crew to see what they are doing and to communicate with the station.
The space station, established in 1957, has been designed to provide scientific and research facilities to help humans living and working in the planet’s most remote parts.
The station is currently home to around 30 crew members, including two Russian cosmonauts and a German astronaut.
The United Nations agency has about 5,000 people working at the station for the sake of scientific research and humanitarian assistance.