One week ago, NASA announced its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport our astronauts to and from the International Space Station from the United States. Now we have quick reference collectible cards with highlights of Boeing’s CST-100, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program that you can print and share with your friends.
Our goal is to complete certification of the crew transportation systems in 2017 — including a test flight to the station with one NASA astronaut aboard — to meet NASA’s vital crew rotation and lifeboat services needs. By flying four astronauts to the orbiting laboratory at a time, the CST-100 and Crew Dragon enable NASA to increase the number of crew members on the station, doubling the amount of scientific research that can be performed on the one-of-a-kind facility as it orbits about 250 miles above Earth.
To download and print the cards, click on each of these links: Boeing CST-100, SpaceX Crew Dragon, Commercial Crew Program. 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.
The CST-100 and Dragon version 2 have been tapped by NASA to carry astronauts to the International Space Station on missions that will herald a new era in space transportation driven by private companies who also will be able to market their launch services to people around the world.
NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX to build their spacecraft during the final phase of a crew transportation development effort that began in 2010. The agency’s Commercial Crew Program will advise the companies as they advance from design to flight test vehicle to operational spacecraft, along with all the associated ground support, and launch and recovery systems.
Previous phases saw the completion of the design work up to the point when components, systems and subsystems could be manufactured, along with flight-worthy pressure vessels. The earlier work, some of which is still under way, included complex tests of thrusters, launch abort system elements, software, parachutes and control systems. More tests, agreed to under the previous development initiative called Commercial Crew Integrated Capability, are slated to take place later this year by several partners.
The selection of the companies won’t end NASA’s working relationship with other companies under their existing Space Act Agreements. The space agency remains committed to offering its extensive expertise in spaceflight to help companies advance their designs and potentially bring a spacecraft into operation on their own.
NASA and its aerospace industry partners have marked their calendars for 2017 with the goal of certification – including at least one test flight to the International Space Station with a NASA astronaut aboard.
Excitement is building as NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and other senior officials are gathering at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to announce who will transport astronauts to the International Space Station. You can watch the ceremony live on NASA TV at www.nasa.gov/ntv and don’t forget to check back for more details. We’ll post information of all sorts, too, so you can find out why this is so important for our spacefaring nation.