Commercial Crew’s Collector Card Family Expands!

CCP CollageWe’ve added two more collector cards to the Commercial Crew set! Blue Origin’s Space Vehicle and Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser join Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, along with the card for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. All the companies are working in partnership with NASA to develop their respective spacecraft and are in different stages of agreements.

The goal is to build and fly a new generation of spacecraft capable of carrying people to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station from America in the next three years. It’s a great challenge on many levels, but combining NASA’s know-how with the industrial prowess of American aerospace companies puts the opportunity to create a new business system within reach.

To download and print the cards, click on each of these links: Blue Origin Space VehicleBoeing CST-100, Commercial Crew Program, Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser and SpaceX Crew Dragon. For best results, use card stock and select auto-rotate and center and the two-sided option in your printer settings. If the two-sided option isn’t available, print page 1 and reload the paper before printing page 2.

Ask the Orion Team Anything Today on Reddit

10285705_10152789495836772_478128866869580532_oNASA’s Commercial Crew and Orion programs are part of an interdependent approach to space exploration. While NASA’s industry partners are testing their systems and components for missions to low-Earth orbit, the agency is gearing up for the first flight test of a new flagship spacecraft called Orion which is designed to carry astronauts far from Earth. Tune in to today’s Reddit AMA
at 3 p.m. ET to ask Orion’s engineering team your #Orion questions.

14 Years Ago: The First Crew Moves Into Space Station

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Astronaut Bill Shepherd, left, and cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko in photo taken by cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev inside the International Space Station.
Astronaut Bill Shepherd, left, and cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko in photo taken by cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev inside the International Space Station.

Astronaut Bill Shepherd and cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko opened the hatch on history Nov. 2, 2000, when they moved into the International Space Station to begin permanent habitation of the orbiting laboratory. The station was in its embryonic stages of construction then, comprising just three pressurized modules: the Unity node, Zarya and Zvezda. Since then, the station has grown to a mass of a million pounds and has a pressurized volume comparable to a house. It also has numerous laboratories and facilities inside along with the necessities of orbital life. The 14-year mark is a record for continuous occupation of a spacecraft. The Russian space station Mir held the previous mark at just under 10 years.

ISSatcompleteSpacecraft developed in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program are expected to keep that record going when they arrive at the station later this decade carrying astronauts and cargo. The greatest impact of the missions will be to enable double the amount of research aboard the unique research facility. Already, the station has impacted research in numerous fields ranging from biological studies to materials sciences and Earth observations.


Space Station Tech On Display

rapidscatprocessingResearchers and engineers will discuss today the technological advances being tried out and perfected aboard the International Space Station during a forum that will be shown live on NASA TV beginning at 10 a.m. You can watch the hour-long event on TV or streaming here. The station’s capacity to host cutting-edge experiments is unparalleled and ranges from new ways to examine elements of Earth’s atmosphere using such investigations as RapidScat to the promising innovations of 3D printing.

The envelope of discovery is expected to grow significantly in the near future when NASA’s Commercial Crew Program-supported spacecraft begin missions to the orbiting laboratory. Because the new generation of spacecraft will carry astronauts, the station’s crew will grow and allow the amount of time dedicated to science to double on the station.

NASA Statement on Court of Federal Claims Decision

NASA is pleased the U.S. Court of Federal Claims Oct. 21 allowed NASA to proceed with the performance of its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts while the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) considers the GAO bid protest filed by Sierra Nevada Corporation. NASA will continue to work with Boeing and SpaceX on the contracts that will enable safe and reliable crew transportation to and from the International Space Station on American spacecraft launched from U.S. soil.

Experiment Stand on Station Marks 100,000 Hours of Space Research

Expressrack1The first of the work stands custom-built for science experiments operating on the International Space Station marked its 100,000th hour of operation this month. EXPRESS Rack 1, as the device is known, is housed inside the U.S.-built Destiny laboratory of the space station. Before installation on the station, the design was tried out during space shuttle missions. The rack offers electricity, network connections and access to the projects by station crew members. It was revolutionary for NASA because it offered a standardized platform that could be put in place and experiments could be plugged in and out of it during the life of the station. That means research can span several specialties on the station from medicine to computer chips and manufacturing of lighter metals.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program spacecraft will be capable of carrying payloads to the station along with crew as part of the agency’s work to effectively double the amount of research conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Boeing Concludes Commercial Crew Space Act Agreement for CST-100/Atlas V

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Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket.

NASA in July approved the Critical Design Review Board milestone for Boeing’s crew transportation system, confirming the detailed designs and plans for test and evaluation form a satisfactory basis to proceed with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and testing. It is the culmination of four years of development work by Boeing beginning when the company partnered with NASA during the first round of agreements to develop commercial crew transportation systems. To get to this point, extensive spacecraft subsystem, systems, and integrated vehicle design work has been performed, along with extensive component and wind tunnel testing.
Read more details here.

Space Station Research Includes Cancer Studies

ISScancer-ShareableAs people and nations around the world mark Breast Cancer Awareness month, Commercial Crew Program looks forward to missions that will allow more groundbreaking research to be performed on the International Space Station. The unique platform offers scientists significant research into life sciences, including biological studies. The work of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to develop the next generation of American crewed spacecraft will double the research capability of the space station.

Although the work is being done off the Earth, it’s very much for those on the Earth. Throughout the life of the space station, many experiments have focused on how cancer cells behave in microgravity, and researchers are using the feedback from microgravity cell growth to identify the patterns and other mechanisms the cells use to multiply. The goal of the research is to lead to medicines on Earth that inhibit cancer from forming or spreading in people. Read more details about the research and its potential to benefit humanity here, including biological science focused on deciphering some of the fundamental questions about cancer. Research on the station covers a wide swath of scientific arenas, including disease study.

Spacewalkers Prep Station for Commercial Crew Craft

ISSspacewalkviewToday’s spacewalk by International Space Station astronauts Reid Wiseman and Barry “Butch” Wilmore, both from NASA, includes some of the first steps in the process of outfitting the station for the arrival of Commercial Crew Program partner spacecraft later this decade. Each spacewalker is wearing a helmetcam and you can watch the spacewalk live on NASA TV which is streaming here.

Using spacesuits dedicated to the demanding tasks of spacewalking, the astronauts are repositioning a camera and television equipment on the outside of the station. When completed, the reconfiguration of  of station systems and modules will make room for new docking adapters that will allow the new generation of American spacecraft to connect to the station and deliver crew members for the orbiting laboratory. The new spacecraft are integral in NASA’s plans to double the amount of research performed on the station.

**UPDATE: The spacewalk was completed on time Wednesday afternoon.

NASA Exercises Authority to Proceed with Commercial Crew Contracts

On Sept. 16, NASA announced U.S. astronauts once again will travel to and from the International Space Station (ISS) from the United States on American spacecraft under groundbreaking contracts. The agency unveiled its selection of Boeing and SpaceX to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, respectively, with a goal of ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia in 2017.

On Sept. 26, Sierra Nevada Corporation filed a protest of the commercial crew contracts with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Pursuant to the GAO protest, NASA instructed Boeing and SpaceX to suspend performance of the contracts.

On Oct. 9, under statutory authority available to it, NASA has decided to proceed with the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts awarded to The Boeing Company and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. notwithstanding the bid protest filed at the U.S. Government Accountability Office by Sierra Nevada Corporation. The agency recognizes that failure to provide the CCtCap transportation service as soon as possible poses risks to the International Space Station (ISS) crew, jeopardizes continued operation of the ISS, would delay meeting critical crew size requirements, and may result in the U.S. failing to perform the commitments it made in its international agreements. These considerations compelled NASA to use its statutory authority to avoid significant adverse consequences where contract performance remained suspended. NASA has determined that it best serves the United States to continue performance of the CCtCap contracts that will enable safe and reliable travel to and from the ISS from the United States on American spacecraft and end the nation’s sole reliance on Russia for such transportation.