Commercial Crew’s Role in Path to Mars

Enabling Deep Space Exploration - graphic of International Space Station, spacecraft and planets and The spacecraft and rocket systems that Boeing and SpaceX are creating in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program may not land on the surface of Mars. However, they are critical to the agency’s plans to send astronauts to the Red Planet. The systems will provide reliable access to the International Space Station, our test bed. Learn more:

NASA Secures Crew Rotation Flights Through 2024

2017.1.3 CCP 4 SS

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program secured eight crew rotation missions from Boeing and SpaceX – four from each company. The missions will carry astronauts to the International Space Station through 2024. The four additional missions will fly following NASA certification. They fall under the current Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts, and bring the total number of crew rotation missions awarded to each provider to six.

The additional flights will allow the commercial partners to plan for all aspects of these missions while fulfilling space station transportation needs. The awards do not include payments at this time.

“Awarding these missions now will provide greater stability for the future space station crew rotation schedule, as well as reduce schedule and financial uncertainty for our providers,” said Phil McAlister, director of NASA’s Commercial Spaceflight Development Division. “The ability to turn on missions as needed to meet the needs of the space station program is an important aspect of the Commercial Crew Program.”

The two commercial spacecraft also will provide a lifeboat capability to allow the astronauts aboard the station to return safely to Earth in an emergency, if necessary.

Returning human launch capabilities to U.S. soil underscores NASA’s commitment to the station and the research that the orbiting laboratory makes possible including the advancement of scientific knowledge off the Earth, for the benefit of those on the Earth and to prepare for future deep space exploration.

The Commercial Crew Program will help NASA get full operational use from the national laboratory for scientific research by increasing the number of astronauts on the space station, and allowing the crew members to dedicate more time to research.

For more details about the missions and the work of the Commercial Crew Program, click here.

Commercial Crew Program Completes Year of Transition


The past year marked a substantial transition for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and its partners as they moved from design of critical elements and systems in previous years to the manufacturing of the spacecraft and launch vehicles. Working on independent spacecraft and launch systems, Boeing and SpaceX made substantial modifications to launch complexes in Florida and performed the first integrated simulations of the teams that will oversee the flights. Along the way, advances were overseen by NASA engineers and the astronauts who will fly the spacecraft into orbit for the flight tests. Read about the dynamic 2016 achievements here.

Commercial Crew’s Winter Wonderland


Take a break this holiday season with this Commercial Crew Program-inspired coloring sheet! Featuring Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, the scene plays out in a snowy environment quite unlike the typical climate of Florida’s Space Coast, where the companies will launch Commercial Crew Program missions to the International Space Station.

And don’t forget to download your own copy of the 2017 Children’s Artwork Calendar from NASA’s Commercial Crew Program! It features drawings from children all over the world as they imagine scenes of spaceflight playing out.


Children’s Artwork Calendar Now Available for Download!

ccp_children_calendar_2017_508sm-1Our new Children’s Artwork Calendar is here and you can download and print your own right now! This is the same calendar that will be transmitted to the International Space Station where astronauts will be able to see it and put it to their own use. Kids from all over America and around the world (Hello Romania!) submitted wonderful and creative artwork.

For NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, the calendar will mark the progress of a vital and important year as NASA and our industry partners – Boeing and SpaceX work toward establishing a new American capability to launch astronauts from the United States to the space station. A robust and vibrant space program will depend tremendously on the hard work our engineers, technicians and spaceflight specialists put in during this pivotal year.

So thank you children for sharing your own hard work with us and helping inspire us every day and with every page turn of this calendar!

The Sun to Power the Starliner

Boeing's Starliner CST-100 Boeing's Starliner CST-100Boeing will use solar energy to power the company’s CST-100 Starliner for crew missions to and from the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The sun’s energy offers a reliable and efficient power source for the Starliner just as it does for the space station and satellites.

The Starliner will use solar cells made of three distinct cell layers to capture different portions of the energy spectrum to convert solar energy into more than 2,900 watts of usable electricity and allow astronauts to complete their journey to the orbiting laboratory. The system also will create enough power to run the Starliner’s systems while it is docked to the station for roughly six months at a time. The solar cells will be incorporated into the micro-meteoroid debris shield located at the bottom of the spacecraft’s service module. Spectrolab in Sylmar, California, is supplying the more than 3,500 solar cells for each spacecraft.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program has partnered with private companies, Boeing and SpaceX, to take astronauts to and from the space station. Each company is building their own unique systems to meet NASA mission and safety requirements, and will return human launch capabilities to American soil. Photos credit: Boeing

New American Capability Drives Commercial Crew Team

AmCapGraphic-1275x1650NASA’s Commercial Crew Program has been redefining space system development for low-Earth orbit by forming strong public-private partnerships with the aerospace industry to encourage innovation while maintaining NASA’s high safety standards and leveraging the agency’s 50-plus years of spaceflight experience.

Commercial crew has partnered with private companies, Boeing and SpaceX, to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. The goal of partnering with industry is to advance a diverse economic market in space.

“Once NASA has certified its two commercial partners’ systems to fly, we will have also kick started the commercial spaceflight industry, opening the door for private, paying customers to fly in space,” said Steve Payne, launch integration manager for commercial crew. “This is a truly exciting time for all of us.”

Since 2010, NASA also has worked with Blue Origin on spacecraft, engines and systems and Sierra Nevada Corporation on the Dream Chaser spacecraft. NASA selected the Dream Chaser’s cargo version to ferry supplies, equipment and experiments to and from the orbiting laboratory starting in 2019. Both Sierra Nevada Corporation and Blue Origin also are working toward the goal of flying people to and from space. Read the complete story at

Send Us Your Vision for Space Farming!

GrowingFoodInSpaceThere are no grocery stores in space, but there may soon be farms. Very small farms that are important to a crew conducting a mission to deep space. That’s because our astronauts will need to grow some of their own food. Researchers on Earth and astronauts on the International Space Station are already showing what is needed to grow robust plants in orbit.

So, kids ages 4 to 12, what do you think farms in space should look like?
Send in your masterpiece for our artwork competition and check out our other 11 space-related themes. Learn more:

The Countdown is on for 2017 Calendar Artwork Contest!

Boy and Calendar

We are kicking off our Children’s Artwork Contest for the Commercial Crew Program’s 2017 calendar! Send us your drawings – along with the entry form – and we will pick the best ones to include in the calendar and transmit them to the to the International Space Station where the astronauts will be able to see them! There are 12 themes you can choose from, so take a look at the list and the rules. Then get your parent’s permission, compose your art and send it to us!



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