Young Explorers’ Creativity Needed

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program wants you to 2016CommercialCrewCalendarInstructionshelp draw our future in space exploration! We are looking for your artistic vision for this year’s 12 categories, ranging from rockets to experiments in space, and Florida Space Coast launches to NASA’s journey to Mars. Can you help?

We are producing our 2016 calendar in a few weeks and we need your drawings to fill its pages. Children ages 4-12, regardless of NASA affiliation, can submit their artwork. Selections may be featured on the Commercial Crew website!

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 4 at noon EST. We’re looking for the best artwork related to the following themes:

  1. Astronauts: NASA’s astronauts have many skills and experiences that make them perfect for the variety of jobs they do both in space and on the ground. During their careers, astronauts could pilot a spacecraft, run experiments on the International Space Station, train new astronauts and even help guide other astronauts through challenging work in space from Earth. What job would you want to do if you were an astronaut?
  2. Rockets: The commercial crew rockets that will carry astronauts to the International Space Station will be smaller than NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, as well as the agency’s previous Saturn V and space shuttle systems. Their missions are different, so their designs are different. Think of it like riding your bike to see your next door neighbor. You would ride a bike to see your neighbor, but you would take a bus to travel across the country. Let’s see your best rocket drawing!
  3. Spacecraft: Spacecraft carrying astronauts are stacked on top of rockets before launching them into space. Orion is the first spacecraft since Apollo that NASA has built with an eye on distant worlds. NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, now in development, will enable humans to reach asteroids beyond lunar orbit, Mars and other potential destinations. At the same time, the space agency is working with commercial companies to launch astronauts to the space station and return them home safely. The commercial crew spacecraft astronauts will fly to the International Space Station—the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing CST-100 Starliner—will be lightweight, but tough enough to withstand meteorites. What would your spacecraft look like?
  4. Spacecraft Interior: Every spacecraft’s interior has been unique and advanced for its time. In the past, NASA’s spaceships, which also are called spacecraft, had thousands of knobs and dials. Today’s spacecraft could feature tablet-like technology, parts like engines and seats that are printed on a machine called a 3-D printer, Wi-Fi and much more. What would you want inside your spacecraft?
  5. Spacesuits: An astronaut’s spacesuit is like his or her own personal spacecraft. Spacesuits keep astronauts safe by providing breathable air and keeping them warm and cool. Spacesuits also are pressurized like the inside of a flying airplane so that the astronauts are safe in space. Spacesuits allow the astronauts to be in constant communication with doctors and medical professionals who track their health here on the ground. Design your own spacesuit . . . think about ease of motion and what tools you’d need a suit to have outside the spacecraft.
  6. Florida Space Coast Launches: The rumble . . . the glow . . . the excitement! Every time NASA has launched people off the surface of Earth and into space, it has been from Florida’s Space Coast. In the next couple years, we will see commercial crew spacecraft rockets glow orange and make huge plumes of smoke as astronauts launch to the International Space Station from Florida. In the 2030s, we also will see astronauts launching from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center as they begin their journey to Mars. Draw who you plan to watch launches with… family, friends, perhaps Florida’s abundant wildlife.
  7. International Space Station: Look up! The International Space Station is orbiting about 250 miles above the surface of Earth, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year at 17,500 miles every hour. Aboard, astronauts conduct very important experiments that help us here on Earth. They also are learning how to live for long periods of time in space, which will help future astronauts on their journey to Mars. Commercial crew spacecraft will carry up to four crew members to the station so that even more experiments can be done! Show us your best drawing of the space station. Remember it’s the size of a football field!
  8. Experiments: Every day, astronauts perform experiments aboard the International Space Station, which is commercial crew’s destination in space. Those experiments make our lives better here on Earth, help us understand more about our own planet and space, and prepare us for missions to Mars. What kind of experiments would you do in space?
  9. Space Safety: Commercial crew spacecraft that will fly astronauts to the International Space Station are designed to keep astronauts safe throughout their entire mission. The spacecraft are designed to separate from a rocket, as well as safely and quickly carry the station’s crew back to Earth in an emergency. How would you keep a crew safe in space?
  10. Landing: Spacecraft landings are quite impressive. After flying through space and re-entering the atmosphere at 17,500 miles per hour, spacecraft have to land smoothly to protect the astronauts and science experiments they carry. Commercial crew engineers are looking at different ways to land with parachutes and airbags, fly to a runway like an airplane, or land using only rocket engines. Show us what you think a spacecraft landing looks like.
  11. NASA’s Journey to Mars: NASA’s Space Launch System rocket will be the most powerful rocket ever built, designed to take astronauts to deep space, eventually even to Mars. At the same time, the experiments that astronauts are doing on the International Space Station help NASA understand what future astronauts will need to live on Mars. What do you think it will be like to live on Mars?
  12. You Could Fly To Space: Right now, only astronauts can fly to space, but soon NASA astronauts won’t be the only people flying into space in new commercial crew spacecraft. American companies will own their own spacecraft and rockets to carry other people into space. People will be able to buy tickets to take a short trip into space and come right back
    to Earth. . . will you be one of them? Draw what you would do if you could fly to space.

And here’s all you need to get started: CCP Artwork and Consent Form


Next Generation Astronaut, Meet Next Generation Spacecraft

CCP-Spacecraft_shareable_SpaceX_v3The next class of astronauts NASA hires may fly on any of four different U.S. vessels during their careers: the International Space Station, two commercial crew spacecraft currently in development – the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and the SpaceX Crew Dragon — and NASA’s Orion spacecraft that will launch aboard the Space Launch System with astronauts to conduct missions in deep space.

SpaceX designed its Crew Dragon to accommodate technological advances in numerous ways to perform the mission of taking astronauts safely to the International Space Station. The launch abort system is integrated into the sidewall of the Crew Dragon. It boasts eight hypergolic-powered engines designed to lift the spacecraft and astronauts inside to safety at any point during launch and ascent. Inside the Crew Dragon, touchscreens replace the myriad of dials and barber poles that defined earlier spacecraft instrument panels. The company developed its cargo-transport version of the Dragon with an eye on carrying crews into space. SpaceX has used its experiences to refine the crew version and provide essential opportunities to automatically perform critical functions, such as rendezvous with the space station and flying through the atmosphere safely to come back home.

If you think you have what it takes to fly this new generation of spacecraft, NASA will start taking applications Dec. 14 for its next astronaut class.

Happy Anniversary Apollo 4!

apollo_4_at_pad-full_0The Apollo spacecraft launched on the first all-up test flight of the Saturn V 48 years ago today to confirm launch loads and dynamic characteristics of the systems that would carry astronauts to the surface of the moon. The flight proved aspects of the Apollo heat shield and re-entry operations.

Two years from now, at the 50th anniversary of that unpiloted Apollo 4 mission, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will have undergone unpiloted flight tests to confirm their designs.


Get Your Scare On With New Commercial Crew Coloring Sheet!

CCP-Halloween-Coloring-Sheet_web_link_imageCelebrate Halloween with our new coloring sheet featuring kids dressed up as members of the NASA Commercial Crew team! Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and the SpaceX Crew Dragon are highlighted on their launch pads in Florida getting ready to carry astronauts to the International Space Station passing overhead.  To get started, print out the coloring sheet linked here and start filling it in. Happy Halloween!



Crew Access Tower Stacking Passes Midway Point


The steel lattice column that will become the Crew Access Tower for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft continues its methodical rise at Space Launch Complex-41 where four of seven sections of the tower have been stacked.

Built four miles south, each section or tier, is being trucked to United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V launch pad where a crane lifts it into position. The tower will reach about 200 feet high when it’s finished.

Even after stacking is complete, the team will have plenty to do to outfit it for launch, including installing the elevator, white room, crew access arm and infrastructure lines. Since SLC-41 remains an operational facility while the tower is built, work on the tower is taking place between Atlas V launch operations.





Boeing Wraps Up C3PF Mural Work


The new face of the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility (C3PF) is complete. Workers placed the finishing touches of the building-sized mural on the rounded edges of the former Orbiter Processing Facility-3 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida earlier this week.

The image of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner orbiting above Florida highlights the C3PF’s role as the assembly and processing home for the company’s next-generation human-rated spacecraft. The Starliner is being built in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to re-establish America’s ability to launch astronauts to the International Space Station from Florida’s Space Coast.

Spacecraft built in the C3PF will be launched into space from nearby Space Launch Complex-41 aboard United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets. NASA also is working with SpaceX on the Crew Dragon to take astronauts to the station.

SpaceX Unveils Crew Dragon Interior


Have you ever wondered what it will be like to be an astronaut flying aboard the Crew Dragon to the International Space Station? Check out these interior photos and videos from SpaceX that give us a glimpse of the astronauts’ inside view.



Crew Access Tower Stacking Begins

2015-2795The first new Crew Access Tower at Cape 2015-27922015-2793Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida since the Apollo 2015-2799era will take shape at Space Launch Complex-41 in the coming days as workers moved the first two tiers from a nearby construction yard to the pad surface. The tiers will be lifted into place atop each other at the foot of the launch pad starting next week.

Boeing and United Launch Alliance are building the tower which is a critical element for the launch pad as it is converted from a pad that serves only uncrewed missions to a complex that can safely accommodate the needs of flight crews along with their ground support teams for CST-100 Starliner missions. The Starliner is under development in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, along with the SpaceX Crew Dragon, to take astronauts to the International Space Station from Florida’s Space Coast.

Designed with modern data systems, communications and power networks integrated and protected from blast and vibration, plus an elevator, the Crew Access Tower has been built with several features only a fully suited astronaut could appreciate, such as wider walkways, snag-free railings and corners that are easy to navigate without running into someone. The tower will also be equipped with slide wire baskets for emergency evacuation to a staged blast-resistant vehicle.

The segments were assembled about four miles away from the launch pad so workers wouldn’t be idled by launch preps for United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets. The tower will be stacked just to the side of the hard stand at SLC-41 where the boosters lift off. It will take seven tiers to complete the more than 200-foot-tall tower. A swing-out walkway bridge will be added later to connect the tower to the hatch of the Starliner so astronauts can climb aboard the ship as it stands at the pad before launch.

The tower construction marks the latest in a quick succession of events for Boeing’s Starliner program. The company opened the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility last week for use as the Starliner production and processing base and just completed the mural on the front of the building showing the spacecraft orbiting above Florida. The upper and lower dome assemblies arrived earlier this year for the Starliner’s Structural Test Article which is being built and processed as a pathfinder for the program and will be put together just as an operational spacecraft would before it goes into exhaustive testing to the prove the design.

Meet the Starliner!

The wait is over! Boeing’s next-generation spacecraft has a new name! A fleet of CST-100 Starliners will give the United States crew access to the International Space Station, launching from Florida’s Space Coast atop United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets on NASA Commercial Crew Program flights. Read details about the spacecraft and today’s grand opening of the C3PF, where the Starliners will be assembled and processed for flight.