The requirements NASA developed for its Commercial Crew Program partners includes details that will allow space station astronauts to turn to the spacecraft in an emergency, whether to provide temporary shelter or a quick ride home. Read what went into the requirements and why engineers came up with the list they did here.
The Boeing Company is one of four NASA partners working with the agency’s Commercial Crew Program to develop new capabilities to transport people to low-Earth orbit. Ultimately, NASA intends to certify and use commercial systems to fly astronauts from the United States to the International Space Station and back. Click here for a printable version of this poster.
Light the candles because NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is three years old! The past three years have seen CCP and its industry partners make huge strides toward crewed spaceflight. The by-no-means-complete highlights include, from left, Blue Origin’s testing of its BE-3 engine, Boeing’s software evaluations using its new CST-100 simulator, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s glide tests of the Dream Chaser and parachute drop tests conducted by SpaceX. There is plenty of work to be done before any of them make their first flights with people on board, but the time to that milestone gets shorter every day.
NASA’s Commercial Crew partners recently completed design reviews that are critical in producing safe and reliable spacecraft in a cost-effective manner. You can read the details here.
The flight deck is where the magic happens for a crew of space explorers. It’s the command center, the cockpit and the living area for astronauts during their missions. A great deal of research went into creating the flight deck for every spacecraft, from days when switches would only turn on an indicator light to the modern age of touchscreens. The Commercial Crew Program’s partners are designing their spacecraft to maximize the room the crew has in space and to optimize the information and actions they need to take during a flight. See if you can pick out which of these flight decks belong to which spacecraft. Your choices are: Apollo command module, Boeing’s CST-100, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser, SpaceX’s Dragon and the space shuttle. Good luck!
Images are courtesy of their respective companies except the space shuttle, which is a NASA photo, and the Apollo cockpit which is courtesy of the National Air & Space Museum.
A scale model of the CST-100 arrived at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., recently ahead of a series of wind tunnel tests to evaluate the spacecraft’s aerodynamics.
Boeing’s Chris Ferguson, who commanded the space shuttle’s last mission, took to the controls inside a CST-100 simulator in January to show NASA engineers that the software will allow a human to take control of the spacecraft at any point in a mission following the CST-100’s separation from its booster. Called a pilot-in-the-loop demonstration, the accomplishment was performed in Houston to mark a milestone for the company under its Commercial Crew integrated Capability contract with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
All four of NASA’s industry partners in the Commercial Crew Program are proceeding in the development of their own unique designs for spacecraft that could carry crews to low-Earth orbit. You can find out details about new milestones met during December and January here, plus what commercial achievements mean to the nation’s goal of returning humans to orbit on American spacecraft launched from U.S. soil.
The CST-100 development team and NASA engineers recently accomplished a hardware review and software testing for a spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to low-Earth orbit. Separate, in-depth evaluations of the launch vehicle adapter that will connect Boeing’s CST-100 to the top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and the detection system that would signal an abort during an emergency were performed. The CST-100, short for Crew Space Transportation, is one of several spacecraft under development by aerospace industry partners working with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to establish crew transportation to low-Earth orbit from U.S. soil. You can read more details about the work here.