Tag: commercial crew

SpaceX Tests Crew Dragon Parachutes

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COOLIDGE, Ariz. (NASA PR) — Four red-and-white parachutes unfurled high above the desert near Coolidge, Arizona, recently during a test of the system that initially will be used to safely land SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying astronauts back from the International Space Station. The test used a mass simulator as the weight of the spacecraft connected to the parachute system. The mass simulator and parachutes were released thousands of feet above the ground from a C-130 cargo aircraft. This test evaluated the four main parachutes,but did not include the smaller pilot and drogue chutes that a full landing system would utilize.

As part of its final development and certification work with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, SpaceX continues to perform tests of flight-like hardware like this allow engineers to assess the reliability. Later tests will grow progressively more realistic to simulate as much of the actual conditions and processes the system will see during an operational mission.

Crew Dragon parachute test (Credit: SpaceX)

Crew Dragon parachute test (Credit: SpaceX)

Initially, the spacecraft will splash down safely in the ocean under parachutes, but ultimately the company wants to land the vehicle on land propulsively using eight SuperDraco engines. SpaceX tested its propulsive land landing ability in Texas in November.

SpaceX and Boeing are working in separate partnerships with NASA to build a new generation of human-rated spacecraft to take astronauts to the International Space Station.

Crucial Commercial Crew Milestones Lie Ahead in 2016

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Launch_America_Commercial_Crew
By Steven Siceloff,

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and its aerospace industry partners Boeing and SpaceX are on the eve of America’s return to human spaceflight launches. By the time the year closes, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon will be poised for the flight tests that allow our astronauts to travel to the International Space Station lifting off from Florida’s Space Coast.

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Praise for NASA’s Commercial Cargo Contract Awards

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CSF_logo2Commercial Spaceflight Federation

NASA announced three cargo contract awards to ensure robust and affordable transportation of critical supplies, scientific experiments and commercial payloads to and from the International Space Station (ISS) through at least 2024. NASA selected Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and SpaceX to continue and expand upon its successful public-private partnerships with American companies to obtain reliable cargo resupply services for the ISS.

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NASA ASAP Concerned About Commercial Crew Safety

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Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

In a sobering report, NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) warned that a combination of funding shortfalls and programmatic decisions have led to an “unacknowledged accretion of risk” that threaten the agency’s Commercial Crew and deep-space human exploration programs.

“As we noted in our 2014 Annual Report and continue to assert this year, NASA’s budget is insufficient to deliver all current undertakings with acceptable programmatic risk,” ASAP stated in its 2015 Annual Report. “Programmatic risk can lead to tradeoffs that are inconsistent with good safety practice.”

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Commercial Crew Astronauts Get a Look at Starliner Trainer

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Astronauts Eric Boe and Bob Behken at CST-100 Starliner trainer. (Credit: Boeing)

Astronauts Eric Boe and Bob Behken at CST-100 Starliner trainer. (Credit: Boeing)

ST. LOUIS, Jan. 7, 2016 (Boeing PR) – Two of the four NASA astronauts training to fly Boeing’s [NYSE: BA] CST-100 Starliner spacecraft recently tried some of the systems that will prepare them for flights to the International Space Station.

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U.S. Launch Providers Plan Busy Year in 2016

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Falcon Heavy. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon Heavy. (Credit: SpaceX)

The United States has a very busy launch year ahead if all 33 flights currently on the manifest go off as planned. Given the tendency of launches to slip and rockets to occasionally go boom, that is a very big “if”.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX each have 15 launches penciled in this year, according to the latest update to Spaceflight Now’s Launch Schedule page. Orbital ATK has plans for three launches during 2016. Continue reading ‘U.S. Launch Providers Plan Busy Year in 2016’

Russia Led in Launch Successes and Failures in 2015

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Flight VS13 was the 13th Soyuz liftoff performed from French Guiana since this vehicle’s 2011 introduction at the Spaceport. (Credit: Arianespace)

Flight VS13 was the 13th Soyuz liftoff performed from French Guiana since this vehicle’s 2011 introduction at the Spaceport. (Credit: Arianespace)

Russia continued its dominance of the global satellite launch industry in 2015, conducting 29 of 86 orbital launches over the past 12 months. It also maintained its lead in botched launches, suffering two failures and one partial failure.

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NASA Year in Review

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WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2015, NASA explored the expanse of our solar system and beyond, and the complex processes of our home planet, while also advancing the technologies for our journey to Mars, and new aviation systems as the agency reached new milestones aboard the International Space Station.

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NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Moves Closer to Flight in 2015

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Dragon abort test with SuperDraco engines.  (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon abort test with SuperDraco engines. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA and its partners are on track to launch astronauts from Florida’s Space Coast to the International Space Station as soon as 2017, thanks to critical progress made in 2015. Through partnerships with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, Boeing and SpaceX are developing a new generation of American rockets and spacecraft to open low-Earth orbit like never before.

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NASA Orders Second Boeing Crew Mission to International Space Station

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Artist's conception of CST-100 Starliner docking at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Artist’s conception of CST-100 Starliner docking at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NASA PR) — NASA took an important step Friday to establish regular crew missions that will launch from the United States to the International Space Station with the order of its second post-certification mission from Boeing Space Exploration of Houston.

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More NASA Funding Provisions From the Omnibus Spending Bill

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Here are some additional provisions included in the omnibus spending measure unveiled by Congress on Wednesday.

Commercial Crew

“This Act provides up to $1,243,800,000 for NASA’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability to safely send the Nation’s astronauts to and from the ISS by 2017. The Committees note that NASA notified Congress in an August 2015 letter of its decision to modify an existing contract with the Russian government for crew transportation services beyond 2017. That decision was made prior to any final action by Congress on NASA’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability funding for fiscal year 2016.

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NASA Gets $1.27 Billion Boost in Spending Measure

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NASA LOGONASA would received $19.3 billion in FY 2016 under an Omnibus spending measure unveiled early Wednesday by Congress. The amount would be $1.27 billion more than last year and $756 million above the amount requested by President Barack Obama.

The Commercial Crew Program would receive “up to $1.24 billion,” which is the amount requested by the Administration. It would mark the first time that Congress has fully funded the program if it receives the total amount. It is not clear exactly what the phrase “up to” means.

Just about every other major program would receive a boost in spending, including the Space Launch System, Orion deep space vehicle, International Space Station, and the Science and Space Technology programs.

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Astronauts Celebrate With Builders Topping of Crew Access Tower

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Astronauts Bob Behnken, Suni Williams, Eric Boe and Doug Hurley in the white room.

Astronauts Bob Behnken, Suni Williams, Eric Boe and Doug Hurley in the white room. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — Four astronauts training for test flights with NASA’s Commercial Crew program joined the festivities at Space Launch Complex 41 Thursday morning as one of the highest steel beams was placed on the Crew Access Tower during a “topping off” ceremony with United Launch Alliance, Boeing and Hensel Phelps at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launch site in Florida.
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Commercial Crew Progress on Display in Florida

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Media view Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

Media view Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Commercial Crew team members with NASA and our aerospace industry partners showed what a season of advances has meant for the launch sites where NASA astronauts will lift off on missions to the International Space Station in the near future.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Signs $200 Million Contract for CST-100 Starliner Propulsion

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High Bay of KSC facility used to manufacture Boeing CST-100 spacecraft.

High Bay of KSC facility used to manufacture Boeing CST-100 spacecraft.

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 23, 2015 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has signed a contract with Boeing valued at nearly $200 million that supports a new era of spaceflight – one that will carry humans to the International Space Station (ISS) from American soil once again. Under its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) subcontract to Boeing, Aerojet Rocketdyne is completing the design, development, qualification, certification and initial production of the Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 “Starliner” service module propulsion system.

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