SpaceX is preparing a test version of its Crew Dragon for an upcoming flight that will simulate an emergency abort from the launch pad. The Crew Dragon is designed to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, and the ability to abort from a launch or pad emergency and safely carry crew members out of harm’s way is a critical element for NASA’s next generation of crewed spacecraft. The pad abort test will take place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 in under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with NASA, but some data gathered during the development flight will be critical for the company as it continues on the path to certification.
Veteran NASA astronaut Suni Williams is one of the few who have launched on missions to the International Space Station aboard both American and Russian spacecraft. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, with its aim to certify and launch astronauts aboard a new generation of American spacecraft, offers new opportunities for the nation to learn more about the work station crews already are performing on the orbiting laboratory. The new spacecraft also will present NASA with the chance to double the amount of scientific research time performed by astronauts on the station, with the crew going from 40 hours a week to 80 after another crew member is added to the current roster of six station residents. Watch Williams discuss Commercial Crew’s potential here.
Want to learn more about NASA’s Launch America initiative and the exciting work Boeing and SpaceX will do to prepare to fly astronauts? Tune into the Commercial Crew Path Forward briefing on NASA TV at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston at noon EST (11 a.m. CST) Monday, Jan. 26. http://go.nasa.gov/1CCx9TU
NASA issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) decision to deny a protest Sierra Nevada Corp., of Louisville, Colorado, filed Sept. 26, 2014, challenging the agency’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) Contract awards made Sept. 16, 2014, to The Boeing Company, of Houston and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), of Hawthorne, California.
“The GAO has notified NASA that it has denied Sierra Nevada Corporation’s protest of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract awards. NASA is pleased the GAO’s decision allows the agency to move forward and continue working with Boeing and SpaceX on the Launch America initiative that will enable safe and reliable crew transportation to and from the International Space Station on American spacecraft launched from the United States, ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia for such transportation. The case remains under the protective order and blackout until the GAO releases its decision.”
Read the GAO’s full statement on its ruling at:
Are you looking for something fun for the kids to do today while they wait for Santa? Encourage them to color his Commercial Crew sleigh past the International Space Station. As always, you can learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew.
Santa Claus is prepared for his annual mission to deliver toys and other presents to children around the world. NASA is offering plenty of support to the jolly old fellow with a new countdown clock, an array of technology advances and even the option of an overnight rest stop at the spaceport’s Shuttle Landing Facility. http://go.nasa.gov/1AR32r3
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.
To download and print the cards, click on each of these links: Blue Origin Space Vehicle, Boeing CST-100, Commercial Crew Program, Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser and SpaceX Crew Dragon. 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.
Jon Cowart, an engineer with a pioneering spirit and more than three decades of human spaceflight experience, recently was honored by NASA’s Astronaut Corps. Learn more about Cowart and his Silver Snoopy award at http://go.nasa.gov/VD2zdS.
You also can check out the outspoken engineer’s 2012 TEDx event called “A Retrospective on the Future of Space Exploration.”