Four Astronauts Selected for Commercial Crew Flights

15-148“I am pleased to announce four American space pioneers have been selected to be the first astronauts to train for test flights to space on commercial crew vehicles, all part of our ambitious plan to return space launches to U.S. soil, create good-paying American jobs and advance our goal of sending humans farther into the solar system than ever before,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “These distinguished, veteran astronauts are blazing a new trail — a trail that will one day land them in the history books and Americans on the surface of Mars.”

Bob Behnken, Eric Boe, Doug Hurley and Suni Williams will train to fly on flight tests aboard Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft to certify them for operational use. Both spacecraft are in development with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Learn more about the new Commercial Crew astronauts here.

NASA Selects Astronauts for First U.S. Commercial Spaceflights

15-148Four astronauts will train to fly Commercial Crew flight tests in 2017 aboard the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon. Bob Behnken, Eric Boe, Doug Hurley and Suni Williams have been selected to be the first astronauts to board those spacecraft.

Get to know our new crew:
Bob Behnken on the value the team brings to Commercial Crew:

Eric Boe on why he is excited for Commercial Crew:

Doug Hurley on the Commercial Crew and Providers efforts:

Suni Williams on what the announcement means:

Celebrate the Fourth of July with Commercial Crew

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Celebrate Fourth of July with Commercial Crew by coloring our newest coloring sheet. You can download the sheet, at go.nasa.gov/1Hy6H2U. 

NASAinNOLAAlso, don’t forget to check out the NASA exhibits at Essence Fest and the Audubon Institute’s Aquarium if you are in New Orleans this weekend.

 

SpaceX, NASA Working Toward Higher Fidelity In-Flight Abort Test

16771603353_75f0b84e80_oFollowing the successful pad abort test on May 6, SpaceX began developing a plan that would move its in-flight abort test to provide higher fidelity data and reduce risk to future crews launched to the International Space Station in the Crew Dragon spacecraft. In the updated plan, SpaceX would launch its uncrewed flight test, called DM-1, refurbish the flight test vehicle, then conduct the in-flight abort test prior to the crew flight test.  Using the same vehicle for the in-flight abort test will improve the realism of the ascent abort test and reduce risk. Further, the test would be performed from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A instead of from Vandenberg Air Force Base. To read more information about the plan, visit http://go.nasa.gov/1LVgAHH.

Docking Adapter to Set Stage for Commercial Crew Craft

16559593623_af7fcec41f_oSpaceX and Boeing will work together to see a component valuable to the Commercial Crew effort of both companies delivered to the International Space Station this weekend. Boeing built the 42-inch-tall International Docking Adapter that is nestled inside the trunk of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft as it awaits launch to the station.

The IDA, as the adapter is called, will be the first of two installed on the station that will give Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon a place to park when they bring astronauts to the orbiting laboratory in the near future. Both of the next generation of crewed spacecraft are being built to the universal standards of the IDA which also features advanced sensors and targets that allow spacecraft visiting the station to safely dock autonomously. Read more about the IDAs and what went into building and processing them for launch at http://go.nasa.gov/1Ik5HjQ

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Watch Commercial Crew’s Kathy Lueders on NASA TV at 11

Want to see the latest progress in Commercial Crew? Watch Kathy Lueders on NASA TV beginning at 11 a.m. EDT as she discusses on Space Station Live the advancements in developing a new generation of crew transportation systems to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. Lueders is the program manager for Commercial Crew. You can tune in to NASA TV or watch the live link below.

Color Your Space

CCPColoringSheet_rev3Space doesn’t carry sound, but you can see all sorts of colors up there! From the whites of the distant stars to the red glow from Mars, the universe is alive with a palette all its own. And that doesn’t include all the human-made spacecraft up there! What colors would you use on your spacecraft? Think about it a bit then take your artistic talents to this picture and show us what you came up with! Just print out the picture – your parents can help you – and apply some crayons, markers or colored pencils to provide your own hue of success. Then scan it or take a picture and send it to us by Twitter or Facebook post or in email to ksc-connect2ccp@mail.nasa.gov

Video: NASA’s Two Paths to Space

SLS-conceptwhite-croppedDifferent destinations call for different vehicles and approaches on Earth – just ask anyone who has taken an RV on a family vacation! NASA is applying that philosophy to space exploration with Commercial Crew and the Orion/Space Launch System.

Boeing_CST-100-stackF9_Crew_DragonThe two spacecraft under development by Commercial Crew providers Boeing and SpaceX are destined for the International Space Station, orbiting more than 250 miles above Earth. Astronauts will fly inside the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to reach the station where they will conduct research off the Earth, for the Earth. Both the CST-100 and Crew Dragon will fly into space aboard rockets certified to safely carry astronauts to low-Earth orbit.

NASA’s Orion spacecraft is built to be launched aboard the massive Space Launch System, the first rocket since the Saturn V designed to send astronauts beyond the bounds of Earth orbit and into deep space. Astronauts inside Orion will conduct exploration missions to near-Earth asteroids and in the proving ground around the moon before making the journey to Mars in the 2030s. It’s a strategy involving all of the space agency’s human spaceflight knowledge and hard-won experience.

SpaceX Work Continues on 39A Hangar

Spx39AhangarSpaceX released a new photo showing the progress the company is making on an assembly hangar at Kennedy’s historic Launch Complex 39A. The company says the building will be big enough to house five Falcon rockets at once. The launch pad is being outfitted for missions by the Falcon Heavy and for Commercial Crew flights using the Falcon 9 rocket launching Crew Dragons to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts onboard.

Administrator Bolden on the Meaning of Today’s Test


Charles F. Bolden Official PortraitNASA is committed to returning American space launches to U.S. soil, and an important step toward achieving that goal took place today as our commercial partner, SpaceX, undertook a flight test to see how its Crew Dragon capsule performed on a simulated escape from an emergency at launch.

SpaceX and The Boeing Company both are working on commercial space transportation systems to launch American astronauts from the United States by 2017 and end our sole reliance on the Russians to reach space. As we move toward certification of these systems, safety remains our number one priority. The pad abort test today gives us crucial insight into how SpaceX’s system would perform if a booster failed at liftoff or in any other scenario that would threaten astronauts inside the spacecraft.

The test was one of the milestones NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and SpaceX agreed to as part of the developmental effort for a privately owned and operated crew transportation system that can safely and economically carry crews to and from low-Earth orbit. The spacecraft was equipped to gather lots of information about the test and the engines, with 270 sensors and a life-sized dummy as part of the cargo.

Commercial crew is a critical component of our journey to Mars. It will enable regular service to low-Earth orbit with astronauts by 2017 while NASA develops technologies like solar electric propulsion and radiation shielding that will take us farther into the solar system. The innovation of our partners has opened a whole new segment of the economy, created good jobs, and yielded new technologies for traveling to orbit. Our investment in commercial space is paying off with achievements like this pad abort test, as well as regular cargo deliveries to the International Space Station. We must continue those investments if we are to meet our goal of launching from America again in 2017.

We’re proud of the continued progress our commercial partners are making and look forward to a robust commercial crew program as part of an integrated strategy for fully utilizing the International Space Station as a stepping stone to the rest of the solar system and sending humans to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars in the 2030s. Today’s test gets us closer to this challenging but achievable goal.