Commercial Crew Partners Continue Moving Toward Completion

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s aerospace industry partners are taking their designs and operational plans for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) through a series of comprehensive tests, evaluations and review boards this summer as they move through important milestones – all with an eye on launching people into orbit from American soil by 2017.

To meet milestones established in Space Act Agreements with NASA, the companies are completing specific assessments such as materials stress tests, engine firings and analysis, and system tests. The companies’ engineers use data gathered from these tests to refine the design, then NASA’s team uses the data to ensure the tests satisfy milestone objectives that provide confidence a spacecraft system or program is progressing toward its goals.

“A vast array of testing and work goes into even the smallest subsystem of a spacecraft, so getting to the point where our partners evaluate integrated spacecraft, launch systems and operation details is a massive achievement for our partners,” said Kathy Lueders, program manager for CCP.

Blue Origin continues to make steady progress in the development of its Space Vehicle as the company moves toward an interim design review of the spacecraft’s subsystems.

The Boeing Company is preparing for a critical design review that will determine whether the integrated design, systems, software and operations plans for its CST-100 spacecraft are ready for the production of models for extensive testing that simulates the demands of space travel.

In May, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) tested the main propulsion and reaction control systems (RCS) of its Dream Chaser spacecraft to advance its design to a production version. SNC is preparing to perform additional RCS vacuum environment tests, simulating flight-like conditions that will enable the company to further examine and certify system performance.

SpaceX is preparing to test the structural integrity of its Dragon spacecraft to verify it will stand up to the forces and stresses exerted on it during launch, while in orbit and through re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

Milestones achieved by NASA’s CCP partners continue to advance commercial spacecraft and transportation systems from design to reality. The successes of NASA and American aerospace companies are ushering in a new generation of space transportation capabilities, which will enable new opportunities for people to live and work in space.

Later this year, NASA plans to award one or more Commercial Crew contracts that will provide the agency with commercial services to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station by the end of 2017.

For more information about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and its aerospace industry partners, visit

Boeing Remaining CCiCAP Milestones
Award Period: August 2012 – August 2014
Milestones: 20
Milestones Completed: 17
Milestones Remaining: 3
Total Possible Award: $480 Million
Total Award to Date: $427 Million
Total Award Pending: $53 Million

No.DescriptionOriginal DatePlannedAmount
18.Software Critical Design Review. Boeing shall conduct a Spacecraft Software CDR. CDR confirms that the requirements, detailed designs, and plans for test and evaluation form a satisfactory basis for flight software development, verification, and delivery.March 20142Q 2014$15.1 Million
19.Critical Design Review (CDR) Board. Boeing shall establish and demonstrate a critical baseline design of the CCTS that meets system requirements. CDR confirms that the requirements, detailed designs, and plans for test and evaluation form a satisfactory basis for production and integration.April 20143Q 2014$17.9 Million
21A.Boeing Spacecraft Safety Review. Boeing shall prepare and conduct a Phase 2 Safety Review of the Commercial Crew Transportation System (CCTS) Spacecraft Critical Design Review (CDR) level requirements, system architecture and design, and associated safety products to assess conformance with Commercial Crew Transportation System certification process (CDR-level products). Focus is review of the updated hazard reports, hazard causes and controls, and specific safety verification methods to reflect the CDR level of design detail forthe CCTS Spacecraft Segment.
July 20143Q 2014$20 Million
TOTAL (Out of $480 Million):
$53 Million

Sierra Nevada Remaining CCiCAP Milestones
Award Period: August 2012 – March 2015
Total Milestones: 13
Milestones Completed: 9
Milestones Pending: 4
Total Possible Award: $227.5 Million
Total Awarded to Date: $184.5 Million

Total Award Remaining: $43 Million

No.DescriptionOriginal DatePlannedAmount
4B.Engineering Test Article Flight Testing. The purpose of these additional free flight test(s) is to reduce risk due to aerodynamic uncertainties in the subsonic approach and landing phase of flight and to mature the Dream Chaser aerodynamic database. A minimum of one and up to five additional Engineering Test Article free flight test(s) will be completed to characterize the aerodynamics and controllability of the Dream Chaser Orbital Vehicle outer mold line configuration during the subsonic approach and landing phase.April 2013March 2015
$8 Million
9.Risk Reduction and TRL Advancement Testing. The purpose of these tests is to significantly mature all Dream Chaser systems to or beyond a CDR level.May 20142Q 2014
$17 Million
9A.Main Propulsion and RCS Risk Reduction and TRL Advancement Testing. The purpose of these tests is to significantly mature the Dream Chaser Main Propulsion System and Reaction Control System to or beyond a CDR level. Risk reduction and Technology Readiness Level improvement tests will be completed for these systems.May 20142Q 2014
15A.Reaction Control System Testing — Incremental Test No. 1. The purpose of the test on this pre-qualification unit is to support eventual qualification/certification by testing the thruster in flight-like environments.July 20143Q 2014
$10 Million
TOTAL (Out of $227.5 Million):$43 Million

SpaceX Remaining CCiCAP Milestones
Award Period: August 2012 – March 2015
Milestones: 17
Milestones Completed: 13
Milestones Remaining: 4
Total Possible Award: $460 Million
Total Award to Date: $330 Million
Total Award Remaining: $130 Million

DescriptionOriginal DatePlannedAmount
11Pad Abort Test. SpaceX will conduct a pad abort test of the Dragon spacecraft. The scenario where an abort is initiated while the CTS is still on the pad is a design driver for the launch abort system as it dictates the total impulse and also requires parachute deployment in close proximity to the ground.December 20133Q 2014$30 Million
12Dragon Primary Structure Qualification. SpaceX will conduct static structural testing of all Dragon primary structure components to ultimate load factors, as applicable. This series of tests will validate the Dragon structure’s ability to maintain integrity during all driving load cases as well as verify the accuracy of math models used to analyze the Dragon structure. Individual tests will be designed to exercise all credible failure modes and minimum margin areas.January 20142Q 2014$30 Million
13Integrated Critical Design Review (CDR). SpaceX will hold an Integrated Critical Design Review (CDR) to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test.March 20142Q 2014$40 Million
14In-Flight Abort Test. SpaceX will conduct an in-flight abort test of the Dragon spacecraft. The in-flight abort test will supplement the pad abort test and complete the corners-of-the-box stress cases. The in-flight abort scenario represents a Dragon abort while under propulsive flight of the launch vehicle during the worst-case dynamic loads on the CTS.April 2014March 2015$30 Million
TOTAL (Out of $460 Million):$130 Million

Blue Origin Remaining Space Act Agreements Milestones
Award Period: 2010 – 2014
Funded and Unfunded Milestones: 20
Milestones Completed: 19
Milestones Remaining: 1
Total Award: $25.38 million

1.4Space Vehicle Subsystem Interim Design Review. Review space vehicle subsystem design progress with emphasis on power and actuation systems, in-space propulsion, multiplex avionics, flight mechanics and GN&C.March 2014Pending$0
TOTAL (Out of $25.38 Million):$0