NASA released redacted versions of the contracts the agency signed with Boeing and SpaceX in September 2014 to begin the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability phase of final development and certification work. The contracts outline goals and obligations that both NASA and the providers agreed to, however, the focus of the agency’s involvement is not just in milestones but in the day-to-day work the NASA team is performing. The agency’s efforts revolve around understanding the providers’ designs and ensuring progress is being made toward meeting safety and performance requirements before crew flight tests and missions to the International Space Station.
Astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore will make the third spacewalk Sunday to complete the first in a series of work to outfit the International Space Station with the mechanisms needed for Commercial Crew spacecraft to dock to the orbiting laboratory. The two adapters were built by Boeing and will be carried to the station on upcoming SpaceX cargo missions. The adapters will serve the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft when they fly astronauts to the station.
During Sunday’s spacewalk, Virts and Wilmore will deploy 400 feet of cable along the truss of the station and install antennas as part of the new Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles system that will provide rendezvous and navigational data to visiting vehicles approaching the station, including the new U.S. commercial crew vehicles.
NASA TV coverage Sunday will begin at 6 a.m. EST. The spacewalk will begin around 7:10 a.m. and is expected to last about 6 hours, 45 minutes. NASA TV is available online at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.
We have three – one for the program and one for each of our Commercial Crew Transportation Capability providers. They can be downloaded by clicking on their respective pictures on the right.
Boeing, United Launch Alliance, NASA and other organizations were represented today for the ceremonial start of construction on the first new crew access tower at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station since the 1960s. The 200-foot-tall structure will be crucial to allowing astronauts to board Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft as it sits atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. You can read our account of today’s groundbreaking ceremony for a new crew access tower at SLC-41 along with all the details about the structure and what it means to American spaceflight here.
Boeing and United Launch Alliance (ULA) will mark the start of construction of the Commercial Crew access tower at Space Launch Complex 41(SLC-41) on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at 2:30 p.m. EST Friday, Feb. 20. Media are invited to tour operations and attend the formal groundbreaking event.
Groundbreaking participants include:
- John Mulholland, vice president of Boeing commercial programs
- Jim Sponnick, vice president of Atlas and Delta Programs at ULA
- Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program
- Robert Cabana, director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
- Shawn Fairhurst, vice commander of the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing
- Jim Kuzma, chief operating officer for Space Florida
- Lynda Weatherman, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast
The new crew access tower at SLC-41 will reach 200 feet in height and include an elevator, as well as means for quick evacuation from the structure in the event of an emergency. SLC-41 is one of the most active launch complexes on the Space Coast, so construction of this tower is scheduled to take place between launches, with segments of the structure being built off-site then assembled at the pad.
Under a Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract with NASA, Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft, currently in development, will be certified by NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to fly crews to and from the International Space Station. The spacecraft will launch on a ULA Atlas V rocket from SLC-41.
Read the details: http://go.nasa.gov/1zSvye1
Last week, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden delivered his annual State of NASA address from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to audiences at centers across the agency. The speech was even broadcast to a control room at Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Kennedy and Johnson will work closely in developing and flying the next generation of human spacecraft for the Commercial Crew Program.
- The Atlas V that will launch the first CST-100 flight test – uncrewed – will be the 76th mission for the Altas V family. The first flight test with a test pilot and astronaut aboard will fly on the 80th Atlas V mission. Both missions have been placed on the United Launch Alliance manifest.
- Boeing plans these two flight tests for its CST-100 vehicle in addition to extensive component and systems testing already completed in the development program.
- Work to build the Crew Access Tower at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida is already underway. The tower is needed to meet the requirements of a human-rated launch pad.
- The CST-100 will conduct a pad abort test in early 2017 to show the effectiveness of the spacecraft’s launch abort system or LAS.
- A flight test completing a full orbital mission profile will be flown in mid-2017, with the CST-100 flying on an Atlas V into space.
- Mid 2017 is also the timeframe for the flight test that will include a Boeing test pilot and an astronaut. The spacecraft will visit the station in a demonstration of the complete crew transportation system.
Watch a short recap of this week’s Commercial Crew Program news in this week’s episode of Inside KSC! Kennedy is the home of the Commercial Crew Program and the launch site of the systems now in development by Boeing and SpaceX that will carry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station in 2017.