Dream Chaser Prepares for Flight

Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser June 2015-blog

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser engineering test article is being prepped for its second free-flight test at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California later this year. The flight test is a milestone under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with SNC.  The wings, windows and landing gear are installed. The Dream Chaser’s the nose skid will have thermal protection system tiles on the vehicle, manufactured at Kennedy Space Center’s Thermal Protection System Facility, for the flight test. The performance of the tiles will be assessed following the touch down on the runway.

SNC will share their thermal protection system work and a status of the Dream Chaser spacecraft to media and social media attending CRS-7 activities at Kennedy Space Center next week.

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.

MRAP Rolls Through Pad Evacuation Runs

2015-2182Engineers recently timed an MRAP armored vehicle for potential launch pad evacuation routes as preparations for Commercial Crew flights move ahead. The 45,000-pound MRAP is a great improvement over the M113 used during the space shuttle era in many regards. Larger and more powerful, the MRAP offers a mobile bunker to astronauts and ground crews in the unlikely event they have to get away from the launch pad quickly in an emergency. Read more of the details about the testing and what it means for the next generation of human-rated spacecraft launching astronauts from American soil to the International Space Station: http://go.nasa.gov/1fkcCOw

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.

Commercial Crew: The Facts

CCPOLIAFactSheet-thumbNASA’s approach for returning human spaceflight capabilities to the International Space Station frees up low-Earth orbit for entrepreneurial opportunities and enables the agency to meet the challenges of deep space exploration. The two systems under final development and certification by our Commercial Crew partners in the American aerospace industry will ensure safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station. Learn how the pieces fit together for America’s future with this fact sheet.

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.

Station Rearranged for Commercial Crew

Moving the Permanent Multipurpose Module from the Unity node on the International Space Station to a connection on the Tranquility module took hours to complete, but in this 4k-resolution video it only takes a minute. Flight controllers in Houston remotely commanded the station’s robotic arm to remove the PMM, which is used as a storage area for the orbiting laboratory, and swing it into place on Tranquility. The relocation was made to free the Earth-facing port on Unity for use as a backup docking location for Commercial Crew spacecraft due to start bringing astronauts to the station in the near future.

Other changes will be made to the station during the next several months to completely outfit the unique spacecraft for spaceships under development by Boeing and SpaceX.

Budding Engineers Build Spacecraft

0608151505“Sometimes when you are an engineer, you have to get it wrong, before you can get it right,” said Rebecca Regan, an employee at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Yesterday, Regan taught 17 elementary school students at Kennedy’s Child Development Center about the Commercial Crew Program and the need to have American-made spacecraft and rocket systems to carry people to and from space. After the lesson, each student built their own spacecraft out of cardboard boxes and art supplies.

Take a look at the designs these budding engineers created.

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Want to build your own spacecraft this summer? We used the following supplies:

  • Cardboard box
  • Disposable plates (for portholes)
  • Pictures (to place on the portholes)
  • Plastic cups (to make rocket engines)
  • Foil (to cover the cups)
  • Tissue Paper – red, orange and yellow (to make fire for the engines)
  • Construction Paper (for decorating)
  • Stencils (for decorating)
  • Pencil (for a steering wheel)
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • NASA and Commercial Crew Program logos

SpaceX Achieves Pad Abort Milestone Approval

SpaceX Pad Abort Test vehicle parachutes down to the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station May 6.NASA has approved a $30 million milestone agency’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with the company following a recent and successful pad abort test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Data gathered during the test is critical to understanding the safety and performance of the Crew Dragon spacecraft as the company continues on the path to certification for crew missions to the International Space Station, and helping return the ability to launch astronauts from the United States.

Learn more: http://go.nasa.gov/1dYmg96