NASA is developing contingency plans for sending astronauts to the International Space Station in case Boeing and SpaceX are not yet certified to do so by 2019, according to a response included in a Feb. 16 Government Accountability Office report, Space News reported. These alternative plans will be finalized in mid-March. Boeing and SpaceX had hoped to have their commercial crew vehicles certified in 2018 but now say delays may extend that timeline to 2019 or later. NASA's contract with Roscosmos for moving astronauts to the space station will expire in 2018. The development of the U.S. private space industry has been successful in terms of innovation, but has suffered from delays and failures. The proliferating global use of space will be a defining feature of the 21st century, and science missions are only one part of this trend. Access to space will be essential in order for nations to pursue both military and economic objectives.
U.S.: NASA Drafting Contingency Plans For Space Station Access