Tag: commercial crew

I Will Launch America: Brittani Sims

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i_will_launch_brittani_simsBy Joshua Finch,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Brittani Sims is one of the many dedicated employees supporting NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

An electrical engineer by education, Sims developed a passion for safety and human spaceflight in high school after watching the space shuttle on TV.

“I was just sitting on the couch watching TV and the news was covering the return of the space shuttle,” said Sims. “I wasn’t even aware what NASA did at the time. I remember asking my mom, ‘Did you know that we put people into space?’ When I went to school the next week, I told people that I wanted to work for NASA, and a lot of them didn’t really believe me.”

Sims says those doubts only served as additional motivation for her to achieve her goals.

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Boeing CST-100 Conducts Touchdown Tests at NASA Langley

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Dirt flies out as the mock-up of a Boeing CST-100 Starliner lands as part of testing on the spacecraft's landing system including airbags designed to absorb the shock of impact. (Credit: NASA/Langley Research Center)

Dirt flies out as the mock-up of a Boeing CST-100 Starliner lands as part of testing on the spacecraft’s landing system including airbags designed to absorb the shock of impact. (Credit: NASA/Langley Research Center)

By Sasha Ellis,
NASA’s Langley Research Center, Virginia

Hoisted about 30 feet in the air, a mockup of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft awaits its encounter with a pad full of dirt.

“Three, two, one” projects over the loud speaker just before the spacecraft is released and makes a loud thud when meeting the dirt. Six attached airbags absorb much of the landing impact and stabilize the spacecraft.

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ASAP Update on NASA’s Commercial Crew Program

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The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) held a meeting on July 21, 2016 at NASA’s headquarters in Washington, DC. Below is a summary of the status of the  Commercial Crew program and the Boeing and SpaceX vehicles, including top programmatic risks.

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SpaceX Tests Crew Dragon Parachutes

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Crew Dragon parachute test (Credit: SpaceX)

Crew Dragon parachute test (Credit: SpaceX)

A Crew Dragon test article successfully deployed its four main parachutes as planned during a test that saw the SpaceX-made test article dropped from a C-130 aircraft 26,000 feet above Delamar Dry Lake, Nevada.

The Crew Dragon, designed to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, will use four parachutes when returning to Earth. SpaceX plans to land the initial flight tests and missions in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX is working on a propulsive landing system the company intends to use in the future missions to propulsively land on land using its SuperDraco engines.

The parachute test is just one of an evaluation regimen that is expected to include many additional parachute drops of increasing complexity. SpaceX and NASA engineers will use the results throughout the test program to confirm the system and get it certified for use first on flight tests and then for operational missions.

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RL-10 Engine Tested for Boeing CST-100 Starliner Flight

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Steam billows from the engine test stand as the RL10 engine fires. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

Steam billows from the engine test stand as the RL10 engine fires.
(Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

By Steven Siceloff
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A trio of NASA astronauts watched last Friday as engineers and technicians from Aerojet Rocketdyne fired one of the RL10 engines that will help power the first crewed flight test of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner as it flies into orbit on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

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Astronauts Install International Docking Adapter on Space Station

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Spacewalker Kate Rubins works outside the International Space Station with the SpaceX Dragon space freighter just below her. (Credit: NASA TV)

Spacewalker Kate Rubins works outside the International Space Station with the SpaceX Dragon space freighter just below her. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins concluded their spacewalk at 2:02 EDT. During the five-hour and 58-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts successfully installed the first of two international docking adapters (IDAs).

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Dextre to Assist Astronauts in Installing New Docking Port on Friday

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Dextre at the end of Canadarm2 preparing to remove cargo from Dragon. (Credit: NASA)

Dextre at the end of Canadarm2 preparing to remove cargo from Dragon. (Credit: NASA)

LONGEUIL, QC (CSA PR) — Dextre, the Canadian robotic handyman on board the International Space Station (ISS), will have a very important job to do from August 17 to 19, 2016. Dextre will convert an existing docking port on the ISS into a spaceport able to welcome the upcoming new US commercial crew vehicles. This means that crew vehicles other than the Russian Soyuz will be able to dock to the ISS. An International Docking Adapter (IDA) was designed to convert the port and was shipped to the ISS on board SpaceX’s latest Dragon cargo ship. Next, Canada’s robots are being called in to do the heavy lifting.
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Video: The Road to the International Docking Adapter

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Video Caption: In 2015, NASA astronauts laid the groundwork for the installation of the first International Docking Adapter, or IDA on the International Space Station.

Starliner Crew Access Arm Installed

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The Crew Access Arm for Commerical Crew Program (CCP) being installed to the tower at Pad 41. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

The Crew Access Arm for Commerical Crew Program (CCP) being installed to the tower at Pad 41. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — A 50-foot-long, 90,000-pound bridge to space known as the Crew Access Arm was installed today at Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station adjacent to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Workers have been modifying the launch pad so astronauts can climb aboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft ahead of NASA Commercial Crew Program missions to the International Space Station.

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NASA to Air Spacewalk to Install New Space Station Docking Port

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Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA Television will bring to viewers around the world live coverage Friday, Aug. 19, as two NASA astronauts install a new gateway for American commercial crew spacecraft at the International Space Station — a significant milestone in NASA’s work to return crew launches to U.S. soil.

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NASA Q&A on Commercial Crew Program

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Bob Cabana, Kennedy Space Center director, from left, Kathy Lueders, Commercial Crew Program manager, astronauts Eric Boe and Suni Williams discuss talk about the development of a new generation of human-rated spacecraft. (Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

Bob Cabana, Kennedy Space Center director, from left, Kathy Lueders, Commercial Crew Program manager, astronauts Eric Boe and Suni Williams discuss talk about the development of a new generation of human-rated spacecraft. (Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

By Steven Siceloff,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

There are few days that are the same for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program astronauts as they train for flight tests aboard the next generation of human-rated spacecraft, astronauts Eric Boe and Suni Williams told an audience at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Thursday.

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More Delays Coming for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program?

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I asked Eric what he meant by this Tweet. He said he was referring to a crewed test flight of either SpaceX’s Dragon or Boeing’s CST-100 sometime by the end of 2018. That would push back the first commercial mission into 2019.

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I Will Launch America: Jon Cowart

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Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

By Joshua Finch,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

In the near future, Jon Cowart will lead mission-related activities on Kennedy Space Center in Florida for NASA as astronauts on Launch Pad 39A move through their procedures inside a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. While SpaceX controllers and NASA work through their respective processes, the teams will perform go or no-go polling that will establish whether everyone agrees that the time to launch is at hand. Cowart will serve as mission manager, meaning he will support NASA’s efforts in determining “go” to confirm that the company’s rocket and spacecraft are ready to carry astronauts into orbit.

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Inside KSC: CST-100 Starliner, VAB Work

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Video Caption: NASA and Boeing entered in an agreement with Bastion Technologies for the company to build training mock-ups and ground support equipment for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner. In Kennedy’s Vehicle Assembly Building, half of the 10 work platforms now have been installed to surround the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, providing access during preflight processing.

I Will Launch America: Steve Payne

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i_will_launch_steve_payneBy Joshua Finch,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Steve Payne always knew he wanted to work for NASA.

“As a kid, I watched the moon landings on TV,” Payne said. “I grew up with pictures of rockets on my wall. Like every kid in that era, space was everywhere and I wanted to do that.”

Over the years, Payne has not lost his passion for all things space and sometimes he gets a little carried away. Like earlier this year, when he was asked to build a model rocket for his child’s school fundraiser and ended up with a 15-foot-tall, high-fidelity model of a Saturn 1B rocket from the early days of the space program. The model rocket still sits in his living room.

“I did it for the kids’ school, but also because I’m a nerd,” said Payne. “I like launching model rockets anyway. I build my own rockets from scratch. I can make almost anything fly with a rocket engine in it.”

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