ISPCS Session: Crew Transportation Systems

Illustration of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft arriving at the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

ISPCS Session:
Crew Transportation Systems: The Game Changer in Human Spaceflight

Brett Alexander – President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Mark Sirangelo – Corporate Vice President and Chairman, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Chairman, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Keith Reiley – Program Manager, Commercial Crew Development, The Boeing Company
Ken Bowersox – Vice President of Astronaut Safety and Mission Assurance, SpaceX
Kenneth Reightler – Vice President, NASA Program Integration, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company
Robert Bigelow – Owner and Founder, Bigelow Aerospace


Bigelow Visits ULA Assembly Plant in Decatur

A Boeing CST-100 crew module docks at a Bigelow Aerospace space station. (Credit: Boeing)

Space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow visited the United Launch Alliance assembly plant in Decatur, Ala., where he promoted the use of the Atlas V rocket for human missions and decried the $56 million per seat that NASA is paying to Russia to fly American astronauts aboard Soyuz spacecraft. WAFF-48 News quotes the founder of Bigelow Aerospace as saying:

“We’ve already spent about 800-million dollars giving that money to the Russians, and I understand there is about 900-million more that is marked to go to the Russians. So America desperately needs a good transportation system that is economical and efficient.”

Bigelow is teaming up with Boeing to produce a 7-person CST-100 spacecraft designed to launch aboard Atlas V and other expendable rockets. The vehicle would service Bigelow’s inflatable space stations, which the Las Vegas company plans to begin launching in 2014. The plan is dependent upon NASA funding to build the crew transport.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin on NASA Budget: Kaching!

A Boeing CST-100 crew module docks at Bigelow Aerospace's Sundancer space station. (Credit: Boeing)

Boeing Statement

On Sept. 29, the U.S. Congress passed S. 3729, a bill to authorize NASA programs for fiscal years 2011 through 2013. The bill soon will be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature, signaling a new direction for human space exploration. Boeing today released the following statement:

“Passage of the NASA Authorization Bill by the 111th Congress is a monumental feat and one that will continue to sustain the United States’ commitment to human spaceflight and exploration. We applaud Congress for achieving a bipartisan, bicameral resolution and for its commitment to maintaining U.S. leadership in space.


Boeing Bids for NASA Cargo Mission Contract for ISS

International Space Station


Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced that it has submitted its final bid for NASA’s Cargo Mission Contract (CMC) for the International Space Station (ISS). Boeing’s bid draws on more than 50 years of the company’s human spaceflight experience, as well as first-hand knowledge of ISS operations and cargo processing.


Space Review Looks at NRO, Boeing Commercial Space

Boeing's CST-100 crew module. (Credit: Boeing)

This week in The Space Review….

A paler shade of black
As the National Reconnaissance Office marks its 50th anniversary, it appears to be preparing to declassify some of its secret satellite programs. Dwayne Day examines what may be, and what is likely not to be, revealed in the coming months.

Space tourism and space policy
Last week Boeing and Space Adventures announced an agreement to market seats on Boeing’s proposed commercial crew capsule to private customers, aka “space tourists”. That deal, Jeff Foust reports, may also play a role in influencing the ongoing debate about commercial crew programs on Capitol Hill.

The ICE mission: the first cometary encounter
As NASA’s EPOXI mission, using the spacecraft from the earlier Deep Impact mission, prepares for an upcoming cometary encounter, it’s been 25 years since the first spacecraft made a close approach to a comet. Andrew LePage recounts the history of ICE, itself a “recycled” spacecraft.

Review: Footprints in the Dust
Forty years after Apollo, what more can be said about this legendary program? Jeff Foust reviews a book that tries to come up with new angles to retell the story of the Moon landing missions and more.

Boeing’s Commercial Space Plans Spurred Senate Funding Compromise

SpaceX's Falcon 9 on the pad at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX)
SpaceX's Falcon 9 on the pad at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX)

The Washington Post has an excellent summary of NASA’s budget standoff that includes some interesting insights into the process. It mentioned how opponents of the President’s commercial space plan focused so much attention on Elon Musk and SpaceX, pointing to a lack of experience as a reason for continuing with NASA’s Constellation program.

Given the attacks on Musk and his company, the Senate compromise funding commercial space efforts passed only after Boeing gave congressional staffers a detailed presentation about its own space plans, participants in the negotiations said. The company announced an agreement last week to develop commercial space taxis for the space station.


Boeing Awarded $1.24 Billion Extension for ISS Work

International Space Station


NASA has awarded a five-year, $1.24 billion contract extension to The Boeing Co. to continue engineering support of the International Space Station through Sept. 30, 2015.

Work under the contract extension is intended to maintain the station at peak performance levels so the full value of the unique research laboratory is available to NASA, its international partners, other U.S. government agencies and private companies.


Boeing Teaming Up With Space Adventures

A Boeing CST-100 crew module docks at Bigelow Aerospace's Sundancer space station. (Credit: Boeing)

Alan Boyle over at MSNBC’s Cosmic Log writes:

Space Adventures, the Virginia-based company that has worked with the Russians to send seven millionaires to the International Space Station, says it has reached “a unique agreement” with the Boeing Co. on space transportation services — and executives from both companies will be talking about the deal next week.


DOD Says Boeing Improperly Billed Them $271 Million for Delta IV Work

United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy.

Boeing Should Lose $271 Million of Rocket Billings, Audit Says
Bloomberg News

Boeing Co. should lose as much as $271 million in government payments for satellite launch services because the No. 2 U.S. defense contractor violated federal accounting rules, the Pentagon’s audit agency said.

The Defense Contract Audit Agency, in a July 23 report, said the Pentagon should require Boeing to reimburse $72 million that was previously paid, agency director Patrick Fitzgerald said in an e-mail statement.


Orbital Would Put Additional COTS Funding Toward Testing, Extra Test Flight

Orbital Would Use COTS Boost To Augment Taurus 2 Testing
Space News

If Congress approves NASA’s plan to add $300 million to its 2011 budget to develop commercial cargo delivery systems for the international space station, Orbital Sciences Corp. likely would use its share of the funding to augment ground testing of its planned medium-lift Taurus 2 rocket and possibly conduct an additional test flight of the vehicle, according to David W. Thompson, Orbital’s chairman and chief executive.


Air Force to Fly Hypersonic X-51 Waverider Vehicle in March

X-51 Waverider

U.S. Air Force Set To Begin X-51 Hypersonic Flight Tests
Space News

The maiden flight of the X-51 Waverider aircraft — the first U.S. hypersonic vehicle to fly in six years — is scheduled to take place later in March. Boeing Defense, Space & Security Systems of St. Louis has been developing the aircraft since 2003 on behalf of the Air Force Research Laboratory and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.