05:39 GMT25 January 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US astronauts will launch into space from American soil using American-built rockets before the summer, Vice President Mike Pence told workers at NASA’s Langley Research Centre on Wednesday.

    "Before we even get to the summer… the United States will return American astronauts to space on American rockets from American soil. We’re going back and we’re going back from the USA", Pence said.

    But of two companies hired by NASA to develop rockets and crew capsules to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, only Space X has a system eligible for NASA certification to fly humans, having successfully completed a series of uncrewed test flights.

    Space X’s competitor, Boeing, failed to reach the Space Station with its Starliner spacecraft in a recent unscrewed test due to software glitches, with company officials unable to say when the system would be ready to fly again.

    Since the US shuttle program ended in 2011, the United States has purchased seats on Russia's Soyuz space system for NASA astronauts to travel to and from the space station.

    NASA, SpaceX, United States
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