Commercial Crew Teams Practice Triage and Medical Evacuation

 

NASA and the Department of Defense Human Space Flight Support (HSFS) Office have a long history in preparing for human spaceflight missions. As NASA’s Commercial Crew Program prepares to begin launching astronauts once again from American soil, it is vital teams prepare for launch day operations, including possible but unlikely emergency scenarios, and simulations are key to getting teams as ready as possible.

Today, teams from NASA, HSFS and SpaceX are conducting a joint medical triage and medical evacuation (medevac) training exercise at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is the second of two emergency medical services simulations to be performed before commercial crew flight tests, which are scheduled for 2019. The first exercise was conducted at Space Launch Complex 41 and integrated teams from NASA, Boeing and United Launch Alliance.

“In the business of human spaceflight, we go to great lengths to design away or to control all the known hazards,” said Steve Payne, NASA Simulation Test Director and CCP Launch Integrator. “However, when the unexpected happens, we must be ready to respond. We develop and practice our procedures to handle the worst possible scenarios on launch day, but we hope we never have to use them. NASA is working closely with both our commercial partners and the Department of Defense to do everything possible to keep our flight crews and ground teams safe.”

For today’s exercise, teams are practicing a worst-case scenario, pad emergency and subsequent hypergolic fuel leak. Starting at the base of the egress system at Launch Complex 39A, volunteer ground crews are evacuating the pad perimeter using three Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP, vehicles. Three helicopters, emergency services, and the triage team are meeting the evacuated crews at triage site 8, between Launch Pads 39A and B.

As part of this exercise, evacuated personnel are undergoing a toxic vapor check. Kennedy Fire/Rescue teams are treating the crews as if contamination were detected and are performing decontamination measures. Following the medical evaluations, the simulated patients are being stabilized and prepared for transport. Selected patients are being evacuated to several area hospitals in order to validate all emergency procedures.

This simulation is a recent example of how safety is being built into systems, processes and procedures. These simulations are designed to exercise various components of emergency procedures, as well as triage and medevac response during the unlikely event of an emergency during launch operations. It is standard practice to conduct these exercises, and was regularly done during the Space Shuttle Program.

 

Calling All Creative Kids Ages 4-12

As we prepare to launch U.S. astronauts on new spacecraft and rockets with Boeing and SpaceX,  we want kids to have a fun way to learn more about space and the excitement that comes with flying astronauts while being creative!

We are holding our fifth annual kids artwork contest.  We are asking children around the world ages four to 12 years old to share their space artwork with us. The winning artwork will be used to create a 2019 calendar with different space-related themes for each month. The themes educate students about the International Space Station, astronauts, growing food in space and more! Unique and original artwork will be selected for each month. Once the calendar is complete, it will be transmitted to astronauts aboard the space station. The calendar also will include supplemental education materials for kids here on Earth to learn more about the space-related themes.

For more information about the competition’s themes, rules and deadlines plus the entry form, download the contest PDF.

NASA, SpaceX Agree on Plans for Crew Launch Day Operations

We are finalizing plans with SpaceX for launch day operations at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as they prepare for the company’s first flight test with astronauts on board.

A key question the program and the company have been assessing is whether the astronauts will climb aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft before or after SpaceX fuels the Falcon 9 rocket. NASA has made the decision to move forward with SpaceX’s plan to fuel the rocket after the astronauts are in place. While the agreement makes this plan the baseline for operations, it is contingent upon NASA’s final certification of the operation. Learn more: https://go.nasa.gov/2Mwl1mh

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Target Test Flight Dates

*NASA, Boeing and SpaceX provided an update on Oct. 4, 2018. For the details on the flight tests and the latest schedule, visit https://go.nasa.gov/2QuP7F1.

The next generation of American spacecraft and rockets that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station are nearing the final stages of development and evaluation. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program will return human spaceflight launches to U.S. soil, providing safe, reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit on systems that meet our safety and mission requirements. To meet NASA’s requirements, the commercial providers must demonstrate that their systems are ready to begin regular flights to the space station. Two of those demonstrations are uncrewed flight tests, known as Orbital Flight Test for Boeing, and Demo-1 for SpaceX. After the uncrewed flight tests, both companies will execute a flight test with crew prior to being certified by NASA for crew rotation missions. The following schedule reflects the most recent publicly releasable dates for both providers.

Targeted Test Flight Dates:
Boeing Orbital Flight Test (uncrewed): late 2018 / early 2019
Boeing Crew Flight Test (crewed): mid-2019
SpaceX Demo-1 (uncrewed): November 2018
SpaceX Demo-2 (crewed): April 2019

Astronaut Crew Quarters Upgraded

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is actively preparing for a return to human spaceflight, with Boeing and SpaceX uncrewed flight tests, followed by crew flight tests and missions.

When our astronauts arrive before their missions, they will spend eight to nine days quarantined in astronaut crew quarters. The crew quarters occupies about 26,000 square feet of the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy. Access is restricted to this area, which features 23 bedrooms — each with a bathroom — and the iconic suit room, where astronauts are helped into their pressure suits moments before boarding a vehicle to take them to the pad for launch.

A significant, recently completed upgrade will await the commercial crew astronauts when they arrive at Kennedy. There are new carpets and ceiling tiles, and fresh paint on the walls. Appliances all have been replaced, as has the audio/visual teleconference system in both conference rooms. The suit room, last used in an official capacity in July 2011 for STS-135, the final mission of the Space Shuttle Program, has been reactivated and remodeled. The area is furnished with new recliners and tables, and there are now three suit containment rooms — one each for Orion, Boeing and SpaceX.

Learn more about the upgrades to crew quarters here: https://go.nasa.gov/2OyFmp0

NASA to Name Astronauts Assigned to First Boeing, SpaceX Flights

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will participate in the announcement of the astronauts assigned to the first crews aboard the first flight tests and missions of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon. The event will begin at 10 a.m. CDT Friday, Aug. 3 at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana will join Bridenstine to introduce the crews of the first two flights for each spacecraft. Boeing and SpaceX representatives will also participate in the event. The crew assignment event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Learn More: https://go.nasa.gov/2mLohf4 

Atlas V Prepped for Flight Tests

United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V dual engine Centaur (ULA) Crew Flight Test dual engine, at left, and the Orbital Flight test dual engine, at right, for the Centaur stage of the Atlas V rocket are in production on June 11, 2018, at ULA’s factory in Decatur, Alabama. Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner will launch on its first uncrewed flight test on the ULA Atlas V rocket. The Starliner is being developed and manufactured in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to return human spaceflight capabilities to the U.S.