NASA’s Commercial Crew Partners Focus on Testing, Analysis to Advance Designs

Building interiorNASA’s aerospace industry partners are taking their designs and operational plans for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) through a series of comprehensive tests, evaluations and review boards this summer as they move through important milestones – all with an eye on launching people into orbit from American soil by 2017.

Read the details here.

First Certification Phase for Crewed Commercial Spacecraft Completed

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and its aerospace industry partners completed the first phase of certification agreements today. Under the contracts, The Boeing Company, Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems (SNC) and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completed reviews detailing how each plans to meet NASA’s certification requirements to transport space station crew members to and from the orbiting laboratory. NASA awarded the contracts totaling $30 million in December 2012. Read details at http://go.nasa.gov/1kRkIgE

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Bloomberg TV’s “The Next Space Race”

thenextspacerace-croppedBloomberg Television took an up-close look at the work NASA’s industry partners are performing to produce the next American spacecraft capable of carrying humans to low-Earth orbit destinations. Bloomberg examined NASA’s partnerships with The Boeing Company, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX and what the effort means to America’s goals in space exploration. You can watch the full 23-minute report here.

Spaceport Magazine Includes SNC Wind Tunnel Testing

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SPM_5_1_CoverOpen the newest issue of Kennedy Space Center’s Spaceport Magazine to read about the detailed work that goes into testing spacecraft models, in this case the Dream Chaser under development by Sierra Nevada Corporation in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. This is the second edition of the redesigned publication, and it also includes stories about the launch of the SpaceX-3 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, Firing Room 4’s metamorphosis and NASA’s plans to develop the capabilities needed to send humans to an asteroid by 2025. It’s available in the digital newsstand and at Spaceport Magazine.

New Craft will be Able to Serve as a Lifeboat

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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.

Sierra Nevada Corporation: Forward Innovations

Sierra Nevada Corporation 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.CCP_SNC

CCP @ 3: Happy Birthday!

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.

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Match the Flight Deck

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!

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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.

 

NASA Partners Achieve Milestones on Way to Space

 

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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.