SpaceX Targets May 6 for Pad Abort Test of New Crew Spacecraft

Pad_Abort_1.30_15SpaceX now is targeting Wednesday, May 6, for a pad abort test of its Crew Dragon, a spacecraft under final development and certification through NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). The test window will open at 7 a.m. EDT.

NASA Television will provide live coverage of the test, which will simulate an emergency abort from a test stand on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida.

The media briefing previewing the test will take place at 10 a.m., Friday, May 1 in the Press Site TV auditorium at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This briefing will air live on NASA TV.

Briefing participants are:

  • Jon Cowart, NASA’s CCP partner manager
  • Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of Mission Assurance at SpaceX

The ability to abort from a launch or pad emergency, and safely carry crew members out of harm’s way, is a critical element for NASA’s next generation of crewed spacecraft. SpaceX will perform the test under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with NASA, but can use the data gathered during the development flight as it continues on the path to certification.

Under a separate Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract, NASA’s CCP will certify SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, Falcon 9 rocket and ground and mission operations systems to fly crews to and from the International Space Station.

Accreditation for the test and briefing already has closed to international media. U.S. media without permanent Kennedy credentials must apply by 5 p.m. today for the briefing and by 5 p.m. Monday, May 4 for test viewing. Apply online at:

https://media.ksc.nasa.gov

Green card holders must submit a scanned copy of their cards to jennifer.p.horner@nasa.gov for processing no later than noon Monday, May 4. Questions about accreditation also may be addressed to Jennifer Horner by email or at 321-867-6598.

Badges for the briefing will be available for pickup Friday, May 1 at the Kennedy Badging Office on State Road 405, east of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Kennedy Badging Office hours are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Badges for the abort test will be available Tuesday, May 5, beginning at 8 a.m., and Wednesday, May 6, beginning at 4 a.m. at the Press Accreditation Office on State Road 3 in Merritt Island. Two forms of unexpired, government-issued identification are required to receive a badge. One must be a photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.

On test day, media should plan to arrive at the press site by 5:15 a.m. for transportation to the viewing location at CCAFS. Long pants and closed-toe shoes are highly recommended.

A Connection for the Future

17179167311_01f3959c44_o (1)In the next year, the International Space Station will gain two new docking ports for spacecraft visiting the orbiting laboratory, including the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon under development in collaboration with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Earlier this year, NASA astronauts conducted three spacewalks to rig the power, data, and communications cables for the docking ports.

The next step is to add the International Docking Adapters that will provide a flawless fit between the space station and any visiting spacecraft so crews can safely move between them through connecting hatches. The first docking adapter now is deep into processing at Kennedy Space Center to prepare for its delivery to the station on the seventh SpaceX commercial resupply services mission, scheduled to launch no earlier than June 19. The second adapter will go through similar processing later this year for launch on the ninth SpaceX resupply mission.

Engineers will continue in-depth analysis and measurements of the ports before they are launched. Commercial Crew providers, Boeing and SpaceX, are using the precise measurements and standards of the adapters and space station as they build the spacecraft and docking mechanisms they will launch to carry astronauts to the station.

SpaceX Commercial Crew Pad Abort Test Coverage and Credentialing Details

Pad_Abort_1.30_15SpaceX currently is targeting no earlier than Tuesday, May 5, for a pad abort test of its Crew Dragon development spacecraft from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The ability to abort from a launch or pad emergency and safely carry crew members out of harm’s way is a critical element for NASA’s next generation of crew spacecraft.

The company will have a four-hour window to conduct the test, beginning at about 9:30 a.m. EDT. SpaceX has an additional test opportunity on Wednesday, May 6. NASA TV will provide live coverage of the test. NASA TV also will air a media briefing previewing the test with SpaceX and NASA representatives at 10 a.m. Friday, May 1.

SpaceX will perform the test under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with NASA, but can use the data gathered during the development flight as it continues on the path to certification. Under a separate Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program will certify SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, Falcon 9 rocket, ground and mission operations systems to fly crews to and from the International Space Station.

More about media credentialing and coverage details available here.

Happy Fourth Birthday to America’s Commercial Crew Program!

CCP-bday_cake_candlesThe Commercial Crew Program is four years old this week, and what a four years it has been — every year seems to bring accomplishments that outpace those of the year before! The program was formed to facilitate the development of U.S. commercial crew space transportation systems with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit.

In the past year, we’ve expanded our focus beyond the development stages of spacecraft and launch vehicle systems to complete crew transportation systems. We are working closely with four industry partners — Blue Origin, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX — with our sights firmly set on the horizon of a new dawn of spaceflight in the very near future. We’re moving into the flight testing and certification phase with Boeing and SpaceX, the two companies chosen to take astronauts from American launch sites to the International Space Station.

We have a lot of work to do, but the goal is within reach! So let’s light these candles — one for each partner — and get on with our innovations! (By the way, we light our candles on the bottom for liftoff!)

SpaceX Engine Test Demonstrates Pad Abort Test Profile

SpaceX ignited two of its SuperDraco engines together at the company’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas, during a recent test of the reusable system. This specific test was a demonstration of a pad abort test profile, with two SuperDraco engines igniting simultaneously and throttling as they will during an upcoming flight test at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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The SuperDraco engine is vital to the safety of the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft under development to carry crew to the International Space Station. Four SuperDraco pods, with two engines in each for a total of eight engines, are to be arranged on the sides of a Crew Dragon capsule. During launch and ascent into space, the eight rocket engines would be called on to push the spacecraft and crew out of danger in case of an abort.

The pad abort test will be performed under the company’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with NASA. SpaceX can use the data gathered during the development flight as it continues on the path to certification. Under a separate Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract, SpaceX is working with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to certify the Crew Dragon, Falcon 9 rocket, ground and mission operations systems to fly crews to and from the space station.

Go for the View, Stay for the Science

https://vine.co/v/OEpAVVTxj0w

The International Space Station passes around the world once about every 90 minutes giving astronauts and cosmonauts spectacular views like this one that shows a pass over America with the familiar Florida peninsula in the frame. Florida will be the launch site for the next generation of American-built spacecraft carrying astronauts to the station. They won’t be going just for the chance to look on the world below, though. Like the current crew, station residents spend their day on station work and research. The new spacecraft from Boeing and SpaceX will increase the research performed on the station by adding a seventh crewmember. With seven people aboard, the research work will double from the current 40 hours a week to 80.

CCtCap Contracts Available Online

NASA released redacted versions of the contracts the agency signed with Boeing and SpaceX in September 2014 to begin the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability phase of final development and certification work. The contracts outline goals and obligations that both NASA and the providers agreed to, however, the focus of the agency’s involvement is not just in milestones but in the day-to-day work the NASA team is performing. The agency’s efforts revolve around understanding the providers’ designs and ensuring progress is being made toward meeting safety and performance requirements before crew flight tests and missions to the International Space Station.

– Boeing-CCtCap-Contract here.

– SpaceX-CCtCap-Contract here.

Get to Know the International Docking Adapters

Astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore will make the third spacewalk Sunday to complete the first in a series of work to outfit the International Space Station with the mechanisms needed for Commercial Crew spacecraft to dock to the orbiting laboratory. The two adapters were built by Boeing and will be carried to the station on upcoming SpaceX cargo missions. The adapters will serve the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft when they fly astronauts to the station.

During Sunday’s spacewalk, Virts and Wilmore will deploy 400 feet of cable along the truss of the station and install antennas as part of the new Common Communications for Visiting Vehicles system that will provide rendezvous and navigational data to visiting vehicles approaching the station, including the new U.S. commercial crew vehicles.

NASA TV coverage Sunday will begin at 6 a.m. EST. The spacewalk will begin around 7:10 a.m. and is expected to last about 6 hours, 45 minutes. NASA TV is available online at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

Commercial Crew Bookmarks are Here!

bookmark-spacexbookmark-boeingbookmark-combined
Pick up a book this weekend if you’re cooped up inside from the rain or tired of shoveling snow and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program will help you keep your place in it using one of our new bookmarks.

We have three – one for the program and one for each of our Commercial Crew Transportation Capability providers. They can be downloaded by clicking on their respective pictures on the right.