Tag: commercial crew

Boeing, ULA Conduct Ground Breaking on Commercial Crew Access Tower

Comments
Officials take part in the formal groundbreaking at Space Launch Complex 41 where the Commercial Crew Access Tower will be built. The 200-foot-tall structure is designed to provide safe access for flight and ground crews to the Boeing CST-100 spacecraft at the pad. (Credit: NASA)

Officials take part in the formal groundbreaking at Space Launch Complex 41 where the Commercial Crew Access Tower will be built. The 200-foot-tall structure is designed to provide safe access for flight and ground crews to the Boeing CST-100 spacecraft at the pad. (Credit: NASA)

By Steven Siceloff,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Boeing and United Launch Alliance teams held a ceremonial groundbreaking Feb. 20 to begin construction on the first new crew access structure at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in decades. The preparations will enable Space Launch Complex 41 to host astronauts and their support personnel for flight tests and missions to the International Space Station.

Continue reading ‘Boeing, ULA Conduct Ground Breaking on Commercial Crew Access Tower’

SNC: So Close Yet So Far….

30 Comments
Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

The Washington Post looks at the aftermath of Sierra Nevada Corporation losing NASA’s Commercial Crew Program contract to Being and SpaceX:

On the day of the contract announcement, Mark Sirangelo, director of the company’s space program, took the call at his desk. It was not good news. “Like a death in the family,” he would later say.

And so Sierra Nevada entered a realm particular to the world of government contracting: that of the big-time corporate loser.

Ford will survive if someone decides to buy a Chevrolet, and it won’t break Denny’s if you eat breakfast at IHOP. But the stakes are higher for contractors who put everything on the line in a marketplace dominated by a single customer: the federal government.

The loser’s locker room is a scene of despair, anger, calls for litigious revenge. There is lost revenue, sometimes layoffs, even bankruptcy. In Sierra Nevada’s case, it had a spaceship suddenly in search of a mission and now even more pressure to find a customer to fly it….

The consequences are more pronounced in the landmark, and increasingly rare, multibillion-dollar opportunities such as the one Sierra Nevada was pursuing. Winners can be guaranteed a stream of orders that last years, if not decades. Lose, and you could be shut out of an industry for good.

Read the full story.

Boeing, ULA to Break Ground on Commercial Crew Access Tower

Comments
Artist concept of CST-100 and Atlas V on launch pad. (Credit: Boeing)

Artist concept of CST-100 and Atlas V on launch pad. (Credit: Boeing)

Boeing and United Launch Alliance (ULA) will mark the start of construction of the Commercial Crew access tower at Space Launch Complex 41(SLC-41) on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at 2:30 p.m. EST Friday, Feb. 20.

Continue reading ‘Boeing, ULA to Break Ground on Commercial Crew Access Tower’

NASA Purchases More Soyuz Seats From Russians as Commercial Crew Hedge

60 Comments
The Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft with Expedition 36 Commander Pavel Vinogradov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy of NASA aboard, lands in a remote area near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. (Credit:  NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft with Expedition 36 Commander Pavel Vinogradov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos and Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy of NASA aboard, lands in a remote area near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. (Credit:
NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA has announced its intention to purchase six additional seats aboard Russian Soyuz crew transports to maintain America’s presence aboard the International Space Station through 2018.

“NASA needs to secure crew transportation with a known reliable provider to ensure a continued U.S. presence aboard the ISS until the sustained availability of a U.S. commercial vehicle,” the space agency said in its notice. “The intent of this proposed action is to provide the Government the ability to procure these uninterrupted services until a U.S. provider demonstrates full operational capability.”

Boeing and SpaceX are currently working on crew transports which are scheduled to be ready to deliver astronauts to ISS on a commercial basis in late 2017. Purchasing Soyuz seats is a hedge against delays in the program.

“Given the current maturity level of the commercial vehicles and the 3-year procurement lead time for Soyuz crew transportation services, NASA must contract for Soyuz now in order to assure uninterrupted access to ISS in CY 2018,” the space agency said.

Under its most recent contract, Soyuz seats cost approximately $76 million apiece.

NASA Requests $18.5 Billion for FY 2016

28 Comments

commercial_crew_cst100_dragon_iss
The Obama Administration is requesting $18.5 billion for Fiscal Year 2015, which is roughly half a billion dollars more than its current budget.

The commercial crew program would receive $1.24 billion, which NASA officials say is necessary to keep the program on schedule for crew transportation to the International Space Station in 2017. The amount is more than $400 million above current spending.

Continue reading ‘NASA Requests $18.5 Billion for FY 2016′

Elon Musk to Headline Space Station Research and Development Conference

Comments
Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Independence Day is not the only important fourth this July. Hot on the heels of the holiday is the fourth annual International Space Station (ISS) Research and Development Conference, which takes place in Boston July 7 to 9. Launching this year’s event is a keynote speaker who lives up to one of the core conference themes of gaining a new perspective: Elon Musk, chief executive officer and lead designer at SpaceX.

“To welcome this diverse set of new and existing ISS users we were looking for a keynote speaker whose name is synonymous with the future of innovation,” said Brian Talbot, marketing and communications director with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). “Elon Musk is an ideal fit for this role. Elon’s passion for discovery and exploration appeals to business leaders, research and development professionals, and the space community.”

Continue reading ‘Elon Musk to Headline Space Station Research and Development Conference’

ASAP Criticizes NASA Commercial Crew Program on Transparency

19 Comments

commercial_crew_cst100_dragon_iss

In its 2014 Annual Report, the NASA Aerospace Advisory Panel (ASAP) slammed the space agency for “less-than-candid and -transparent communication” over the multi-billion dollar Commercial Crew Program.

“There are certain areas where this exemplary behavior of candid, timely, and transparent communication of risk has been insufficient,” ASAP said in its report. “The Commercial Crew Program (CCP) has been notably less forthcoming. This lack of transparency has been a concern for a number of years and, despite numerous discussions with the Director of Commercial Spaceflight Development (DCSD) and with senior leadership at NASA Headquarters, this less-than-candid and -transparent communication with the ASAP regarding the CCP has persisted.

Continue reading ‘ASAP Criticizes NASA Commercial Crew Program on Transparency’

SpaceX Prepares Dragon for Abort Test

24 Comments
SpaceX Dragon vehicle undergoes preparation for abort test. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX Dragon vehicle undergoes preparation for abort test. (Credit: NASA)

NASA Commercial Crew Program Update

SpaceX is preparing a test version of its Crew Dragon for an upcoming flight that will simulate an emergency abort from the launch pad. The Crew Dragon is designed to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, and the ability to abort from a launch or pad emergency and safely carry crew members out of harm’s way is a critical element for NASA’s next generation of crewed spacecraft. The pad abort test will take place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 in under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with NASA, but some data gathered during the development flight will be critical for the company as it continues on the path to certification.

NASA, Boeing, SpaceX Outline Objectives to Station Flights

Comments
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.

Continue reading ‘NASA, Boeing, SpaceX Outline Objectives to Station Flights’

NASA, Commercial Crew Partners Lay Out Plans for Human Spaceflight

85 Comments

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

Continue reading ‘NASA, Commercial Crew Partners Lay Out Plans for Human Spaceflight’