One of the Expedition 40 crew members onboard the International Space Station photographed this image of Super Typhoon Neoguri headed toward Japan on July 5, 2014. (NASA)
(AP/Meredith) — NASA needs a backup plan for getting astronauts to space, given additional delays on the horizon for new commercial crew capsules.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office made the recommendation Wednesday. It’s the top suggestion in the GAO’s latest report on the SpaceX and Boeing crew capsules under development.
Both companies have been shooting for test flights by the end of this year. But the GAO says further delays are likely. If postponements keep mounting, the GAO fears there could be a gap in U.S. access to the International Space Station.
With its last shuttle flight seven years ago this month, NASA has been paying Russia to ferry U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station. But that contract is up at the end of 2019.