The new approach NASA is taking to get its crews to low-Earth orbit with commercial partnerships requires the space agency to closely examine the plans companies have for their own space transportation systems to ensure they are as safe and reliable as can be.
Reviewing software, for example, has become increasingly important in aerospace as technology has become more complex, and computers are required to take on more and more of the operation of systems. Simply put, computer programs can detect the need to make adjustments then execute those adjustments in a fraction of the time it would take a person to even turn his or her head to read an instrument. Software also can handle the mundane, everyday aspects of a spacecraft to free up astronauts and crew for unique tasks. Read more at http://go.nasa.gov/1t04QbX.
One week ago, NASA announced its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport our astronauts to and from the International Space Station from the United States. Now we have quick reference collectible cards with highlights of Boeing’s CST-100, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program that you can print and share with your friends.
Our goal is to complete certification of the crew transportation systems in 2017 — including a test flight to the station with one NASA astronaut aboard — to meet NASA’s vital crew rotation and lifeboat services needs. By flying four astronauts to the orbiting laboratory at a time, the CST-100 and Crew Dragon enable NASA to increase the number of crew members on the station, doubling the amount of scientific research that can be performed on the one-of-a-kind facility as it orbits about 250 miles above Earth.
To download and print the cards, click on each of these links: Boeing CST-100,SpaceX Crew Dragon,Commercial Crew Program. For best results, use card stock and select auto-rotate and center and the two-sided option in your printer settings. If the two-sided option isn’t available, print page 1 and reload the paper before printing page 2.
This week’s announcement to finalize development and certification efforts, as well as begin operation of new American crew transportation systems has not slowed the ongoing work with NASA and aerospace industry partners. Blue Origin, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX continue to make great strides under their Space Act Agreements with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). NASA is absolutely committed to these agreements and will continue working with our partners to complete them.
Kathy Lueders, NASA’s CCP manager, reiterated the agency’s commitment during the media teleconference Tuesday. “As a program, we gain a lot of benefit from us continuing to work with different solutions and keeping our fingers on the pulse of industry out there,” said Lueders. “It continues to provide us with innovative and new ways for us to be able to do business together.”
A pair of experiments headed to the International Space Station on the next cargo mission will focus on aspects of bone density medication and offer a company a chance to test some manufacturing principles for its golf clubs. The scientific payloads are sponsored by CASIS, short for Center for the Advancement of Science in Space. CASIS is an organization that manages the U.S. National Laboratory on the International Space Station and is responsible for brokering and facilitating research on the station with clear Earth applications and benefits. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program will allow research to increase on the orbiting laboratory by increasing the capability to add another station crew member by way of America’s next human transportation systems. CASIS produced this video detailing the research projects. You can also read more about the work here.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, from left, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, Commercial Crew Program Manager Kathy Lueders and astronaut Mike Fincke announce the selection of Boeing and SpaceX during an event Tuesday at Kennedy. Thanks for tuning in today, you can continue to follow the progress of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program here and at www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew.
The CST-100 and Dragon version 2 have been tapped by NASA to carry astronauts to the International Space Station on missions that will herald a new era in space transportation driven by private companies who also will be able to market their launch services to people around the world.
NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX to build their spacecraft during the final phase of a crew transportation development effort that began in 2010. The agency’s Commercial Crew Program will advise the companies as they advance from design to flight test vehicle to operational spacecraft, along with all the associated ground support, and launch and recovery systems.
Previous phases saw the completion of the design work up to the point when components, systems and subsystems could be manufactured, along with flight-worthy pressure vessels. The earlier work, some of which is still under way, included complex tests of thrusters, launch abort system elements, software, parachutes and control systems. More tests, agreed to under the previous development initiative called Commercial Crew Integrated Capability, are slated to take place later this year by several partners.
The selection of the companies won’t end NASA’s working relationship with other companies under their existing Space Act Agreements. The space agency remains committed to offering its extensive expertise in spaceflight to help companies advance their designs and potentially bring a spacecraft into operation on their own.
NASA and its aerospace industry partners have marked their calendars for 2017 with the goal of certification – including at least one test flight to the International Space Station with a NASA astronaut aboard.
“We should see a key when we look at these spacecraft, a key to the doorway of space that will be opened by more and more people. It’s going to let us have more people working on the station, conducting more scientific research than we’ve been able to do so far. I don’t mean one or two more observations a week, I mean the full-on studies we are counting on to fill in the gaps about long-duration spaceflight so we can survive the years-long trip to Mars and back.
These spacecraft might seem pretty small to carry so many big dreams, but I think they’ll do alright.
NASA is committed to ensuring the/these systems are held to the same rigorous safety standards as previous government human spaceflight systems. We have worked carefully and diligently to assure our safety requirements span all mission phases and adequately address hazards, including pad emergencies, in-flight aborts and emergency landings.
Boeing and SpaceX and the Commercial Crew Program recognize the extraordinary work we have ahead of us to reach our goal of certifying a crew transportation capability in 2017. We are grateful to have worked with eight industry partners throughout the past four and a half years and we know industry is up to the challenges ahead.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden reveals today’s big news: Boeing and SpaceX will fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station in the next couple of years aboard their CST-100 and Dragon version 2, respectively.