NASA, Boeing, SpaceX Outline Objectives to Station Flights

NASA's Stephanie Schierholz introduces the panel of Johnson Space Center Director Dr. Ellen Ochoa, seated, left, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Commercial Crew Program Manager Kathy Lueders, Boeing's John Elbon, SpaceX's Gwynne Shotwell and NASA astronaut Mike Fincke. (Credit: NASA TV)
NASA’s Stephanie Schierholz introduces the panel of Johnson Space Center Director Dr. Ellen Ochoa, seated, left, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Commercial Crew Program Manager Kathy Lueders, Boeing’s John Elbon, SpaceX’s Gwynne Shotwell and NASA astronaut Mike Fincke. (Credit: NASA TV)

By Steven Siceloff,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

American spacecraft systems testing followed by increasingly complex flight tests and ultimately astronauts flying orbital flights will pave the way to operational missions during the next few years to the International Space Station. Those were the plans laid out Monday by NASA’s Commercial Crew Program officials and partners as they focus on developing safe, reliable and cost-effective spacecraft and systems that will take astronauts to the station from American launch complexes.

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NASA, Commercial Crew Partners Lay Out Plans for Human Spaceflight

commercial_crew_cst100_dragon_iss
NASA and its commercial crew partners, Boeing and SpaceX, held a press conference in Houston this afternoon to discuss their plans for launching U.S. astronauts from Cape Canaveral in 2017. Below are my notes on the event.

Participants

  • Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator
  • Kathy Lueders, NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager
  • Mike Fincke, NASA Astronaut
  • Ellen Ochoa, Johnson Space Center Director
  • John Elbon, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Space Exploration
  • Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President & COO

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NASA’s Busy, Successful Year in Space & On Earth

Orion splashed down safely in the Pacific after its first test flight. (Credit: NASA)
Orion splashed down safely in the Pacific after its first test flight. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2014, NASA took significant steps on the agency’s journey to Mars — testing cutting-edge technologies and making scientific discoveries while studying our changing Earth and the infinite universe as the agency made progress on the next generation of air travel.

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Smith, Palazzo Decry SLS Schedule Delay

Lamar Smith
Lamar Smith

Washington, D.C. (House Science Commitee PR) – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), sent a letter to NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. about reported delays to NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew vehicle. The news comes despite congressional support above the Administration’s full budget requests and repeated Administration assurances that the exploration priorities are on schedule.

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SpaceX Signs 20-Year Lease for Pad 39A

Launch Pad 39A with the space shuttle Endeavour. (Credit: NASA)
Launch Pad 39A with the space shuttle Endeavour. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX has signed a 20-year lease on Pad 39A, the former shuttle launch facility the company plans to use for its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters.

“I promise everybody, we’re going to make great use of this pad,” said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer.

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and KSC Director Bob Cabana joined Shotwell at the pad to announce the agreement moments after they signed it, beginning the pad’s “new mission as a commercial launch site,” Bolden said.

SpaceX hopes to launch its first heavy-lift Falcon rocket from KSC in the first quarter of next year, a mission previously expected to launch from California.

And if later this year SpaceX wins a NASA contract to launch astronauts to the International Space Station, those missions also would depart from KSC by 2017….

Shotwell said SpaceX would install new instrumentation and some new plumbing at 39A.

More details are to come, but the overhaul likely won’t be as significant as at pad 39B, where NASA dismantled the fixed and rotating shuttle service towers.

Read more here.

NASA Names New CTO

David W. Miller
David W. Miller

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced Thursday that David W. Miller, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass., has been named the agency’s new Chief Technologist. As chief technologist, he will be Bolden’s principal advisor and advocate on matters concerning agency-wide technology policy and programs.

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NASA’s Day of Remembrance Pays Tribute to 3 Brave Crews

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks to NASA personnel and others during a wreath laying ceremony as part of NASA's Day of Remembrance, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, at Arlington National Cemetery.  The wreaths were laid in memory of those men and women who lost their lives in the quest for space exploration.  Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks to NASA personnel and others during a wreath laying ceremony as part of NASA’s Day of Remembrance, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, at Arlington National Cemetery. The wreaths were laid in memory of those men and women who lost their lives in the quest for space exploration. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Message from the Administrator: Day of Remembrance

Today we pause in our normal routines and reflect on the contributions of those who lost their lives trying to take our nation farther into space. On our annual Day of Remembrance, please join me in giving thanks for the legacy of the STS-107 Columbia crew; the STS-51L Challenger crew; the Apollo 1 crew; and Mike Adams, the first in-flight fatality of the space program as he piloted the X-15 No. 3 on a research flight.

These men and women were our friends, family and colleagues, and we will never forget their lives and passion to push us farther and achieve more.  They have our everlasting love, respect and gratitude.

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Space Station Extension Brings Benefits for Science, Commercial Research

The International Space Station, backdropped by the blackness of space and the thin line of Earth's atmosphere. (Credit: NASA)
The International Space Station, backdropped by the blackness of space and the thin line of Earth’s atmosphere. (Credit: NASA)

By Charles Bolden and John P. Holdren

As more than 30 heads of space agencies from around the world prepare to gather in Washington January 9-10 for an unprecedented summit on the future of space exploration, we are pleased to announce that the Obama Administration has approved an extension of the International Space Station (ISS) until at least 2024. We are hopeful and optimistic that our ISS partners will join this extension effort and thus enable continuation of the groundbreaking research being conducted in this unique orbiting laboratory for at least another decade.

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Google Founders Saved Millions With NASA Ames Lease Deal

A P3 Navy aircraft with Hangar One at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.  (Copyright 2008: Douglas Messier)
A P3 Navy aircraft with Hangar One at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. (Copyright 2008: Douglas Messier)

Google’s founders, Sergei Brin and Larry Page, have saved millions of dollars in fuel costs and property taxes through a lease deal with NASA Ames that allows them to house their private aircraft at Moffett Field, according to an investigation by NBC Bay Area.

Nearly $8 million worth of jet fuel that sold for as little as $1.68 a gallon was put into a fleet of seven different airplanes and two helicopters that are kept on taxpayer-owned land at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field. The same jet fuel sells for two to four-and-a-half times that amount, up to $8.05 a gallon, at fixed-base operators at nearby airports in the Bay Area.

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Dream Chaser Unveiled at NASA Dryden

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden discusses the role and capabilities of Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems' Dream Chaser flight vehicle for eventual transport of astronauts to and from the International Space Station with assembled news media representatives during a briefing at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. (Credit: NASA/Ken Ulbrich)
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden discusses the role and capabilities of Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems’ Dream Chaser flight vehicle at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. (Credit: NASA/Ken Ulbrich

EDWARDS AFB, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden visited the agency’s Dryden Flight Research Center on Wednesday, May 22, taking the opportunity to see the Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser test vehicle that had arrived at the center a week earlier.

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Bolden Views Dream Chaser, Flies Simulated Landing

Video Caption: NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden had the opportunity to fly a simulated landing of the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser while touring the agency’s Dryden Flight Research Center in California on May 22.

SNC’s Dream Chaser flight test vehicle arrived at Dryden on May 15 in preparation for tow, captive-carry and free-flight tests later this year. The testing is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) initiatives to develop safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from low-Earth orbit destinations, including the International Space Station.

Bolden: Congress to Blame for Extended Reliance on Russian Crew Transport

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

By Charles Bolden
NASA Administrator

NASA is committed to launching our astronauts on American spacecraft from U.S. soil as soon as possible. Since the end of our Space Shuttle Program in 2011, NASA has relied on the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) for the launch and safe return of astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) aboard its Soyuz spacecraft. While our Russian counterparts have been good partners, it is unacceptable that we don’t currently have an American capability to launch our own astronauts.

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Bolden: Proposed NASA Budget Keeps America as World’s Leader in Space

NASA LOGOWASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The following statement is from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the administration’s budget request for the 2014 fiscal year:

“Today, we unveil President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request for NASA — a $17.7 billion investment in our nation’s future. Our budget ensures the United States will remain the world’s leader in space exploration and scientific discovery for years to come, while making critical advances in aerospace and aeronautics to benefit the American people.
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Bolden to Unveil FY 2014 Budget Today

NASA LOGONASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Robinson will unveil the 2014 budget proposal today at 3 p.m. EDT.

I will be on the road to Phoenix for the Space Access Conference where I will be giving a talk and serving on a panel discussion, so I won’t be able to write about the budget until this evening.

If you really really need to know before that, you can listen to the briefing and see visuals on Ustream by visiting:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

The budget proposal will be posted online at 1 p.m. EDT today at:

http://www.nasa.gov/budget

So, have at it. I know you’ll find all these numbers just as thrilling as I do.