At NASA, we’re thankful to have astronauts working off the Earth, for the Earth. Every day, our crew members perform life-changing research like studying the effects of weightlessness on the human body. This research is teaching us how to survive off the planet as well as improving the lives of people living on the planet.
We’re also thankful for the opportunity to work with industry partners to design, build and eventually fly a new fleet of spacecraft capable of transporting crews to and from the station. These systems will not only give the U.S. its own safe, reliable and cost-effective system to transport our crews, but will also enable NASA to send an additional crew member to the space station, who can double the amount of scientific research performed on the station today.
NASA’s industry partners completed and added new development milestones under agreements with the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The work performed by Blue Origin, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX during partnership and contract initiatives are leading a new generation of safe, reliable and cost-effective crew space transportation systems to low-Earth orbit destinations. Learn more about what has been accomplished and what has been added here.
We’ve added two more collector cards to the Commercial Crew set! Blue Origin’s Space Vehicle and Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser join Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, along with the card for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. All the companies are working in partnership with NASA to develop their respective spacecraft and are in different stages of agreements.
The goal is to build and fly a new generation of spacecraft capable of carrying people to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station from America in the next three years. It’s a great challenge on many levels, but combining NASA’s know-how with the industrial prowess of American aerospace companies puts the opportunity to create a new business system within reach.
NASA’s Commercial Crew and Orion programs are part of an interdependent approach to space exploration. While NASA’s industry partners are testing their systems and components for missions to low-Earth orbit, the agency is gearing up for the first flight test of a new flagship spacecraft called Orion which is designed to carry astronauts far from Earth. Tune in to today’s Reddit AMA
at 3 p.m. ET to ask Orion’s engineering team your #Orion questions.
Astronaut Bill Shepherd, left, and cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko in photo taken by cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev inside the International Space Station.
Astronaut Bill Shepherd and cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko opened the hatch on history Nov. 2, 2000, when they moved into the International Space Station to begin permanent habitation of the orbiting laboratory. The station was in its embryonic stages of construction then, comprising just three pressurized modules: the Unity node, Zarya and Zvezda. Since then, the station has grown to a mass of a million pounds and has a pressurized volume comparable to a house. It also has numerous laboratories and facilities inside along with the necessities of orbital life. The 14-year mark is a record for continuous occupation of a spacecraft. The Russian space station Mir held the previous mark at just under 10 years.
Spacecraft developed in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program are expected to keep that record going when they arrive at the station later this decade carrying astronauts and cargo. The greatest impact of the missions will be to enable double the amount of research aboard the unique research facility. Already, the station has impacted research in numerous fields ranging from biological studies to materials sciences and Earth observations.