Two NASA astronauts will take a test flight in July aboard the SpaceX capsule. It would be the first launch of U astronauts into orbit, from US soil, since NASA's shuttle program ended in 2011.NASA and SpaceX are now aiming for a March debut of the first capsule from a private company designed to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. March 2 has been decided as the latest launch date. If the demo goes well, two NASA astronauts will take a test flight in July aboard the SpaceX capsule. It would be the first launch of U astronauts into orbit, from US soil, since NASA’s shuttle program ended in 2011. Boeing, meanwhile, without a crew is shooting for an April launch of its first Starliner capsule. The first Starliner flight with astronauts would be August at best. Repeatedly over the years NASA’s commercial crew program has been delayed, forcing a lengthy, expensive reliance on Russian rockets. On a Russian Soyuz capsule each seat has cost NASA as much as $82 million.To complete testing, training and safety reviews more time is still needed. To provide the capsules and fly astronauts to and from the space station NASA is paying SpaceX and Boeing, allowing the space agency to focus on developing a new capsule, Orion, and rocket, Space Launch System or SLS, for transporting astronauts to the moon and, eventually, Mars. The initial launch without astronauts is “a great dry run for not only our hardware, but for team to get ready for our crewed flight tests.”Under contract to NASA SpaceX has been delivering cargo to the space station since 2012.By year’s endBlue Origin is also developing a crew capsule that might carry passengers.