Their tail numbers are AV-073 and AV-080 and they are two of the Atlas V rockets expected to make history when they launch Boeing’s CST-100 on a pair of flight tests to set the stage for operational flights in the future carrying astronauts to the International Space Station. The first flight will not carry anyone but will perform orbital checkouts to prove the CST-100 systems. The second flight is to have people aboard and run a mission profile similar to the ones NASA will ask for when it begins regular Commercial Crew missions to the orbiting laboratory. Read the full story at http://go.nasa.gov/1bk4ifJ
SpaceX is deep into construction of a new horizontal integration facility at Launch Complex 39A. The 300-foot-long structure is being built at the base of the pad on Kennedy Space Center’s historic crawlerway to process the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket for Commercial Crew flights. The pad facilities also will be used for launches using the Falcon Heavy rocket.
“It’s good to see the actual hardware up there and coming together in space,” Lisa Colloredo, associate program manager for Commercial Crew, told a luncheon of the National Space Club today. “It’s really an exciting time, especially for people in Florida who are used to having the hardware close by. From the get-go, the people of Commercial Crew knew this program would only be as successful as our commercial providers. It’s a big job, its difficult and it’s never been done before. I can tell you that industry has really stepped up. This is a hard job and they stepped up in a big way.”
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.
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.
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.
Safety engineer Billy Stover is part of the NASA team making the new generation of commercial spacecraft safe. He will use the same determination and open-minded approach as he supports the Brevard County School Board make the best capital improvements to the school system.
“It’s all about problem-solving – life is all about problem solving,” Stover said. “I’m going to bring my set of project management skills to a different environment, the schools. Each company, each organization has its own culture. To me it’s all about getting the task done as efficiently as possible with the people being as effective as they can be.”