Tag: commercial crew

Boeing’s Commercial Crew Launchers Begin to Take Shape at ULA

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Boeing’s Chris Ferguson said the first two Atlas V’s to launch the CST-100 will have a parking spot on United Launch Alliance’s factory floor in Decatur soon. (Credit:  ULA)

Boeing’s Chris Ferguson said the first two Atlas V’s to launch the CST-100 will have a parking spot on United Launch Alliance’s factory floor in Decatur soon. (Credit: ULA)

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

The codes AV-073 and AV-080 may not mean much to many, but they mean a whole lot to former astronaut Chris Ferguson and the team of engineers and technicians who will assemble the first Atlas V rocket to launch a crew to the International Space Station. That test and a precursor flight without crew are part of the final development work Boeing is completing with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to certify a new crew transportation system for low-Earth orbit.

On its factory floor in Decatur, Alabama, United Launch Alliance, or ULA, is beginning to fabricate parts for the two rockets that are to launch Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft in 2017.

Continue reading ‘Boeing’s Commercial Crew Launchers Begin to Take Shape at ULA’

SpaceX’s Busy To-Do List for Rest of 2015

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SpaceX vehicle integration building at Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX vehicle integration building at Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell was making the rounds last week in Washington, D.C., speaking before the Satellite 2015 conference and a House Armed Services subcommittee meeting. Much of the focus was on the latter, where Shotwell engaged in a she said-he said battle over launch costs with United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno.

More interesting were the updates Shotwell provided on SpaceX’s plans for 2015 and beyond. What emerged is just how crowded the company’s agenda is for the rest of the year. The table below provides a summary.

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Space Access Society Update

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Space Access Update #139
  3/14/15
Copyright 2015 by Space Access Society
__________________________________________

In this Issue:

FY’16 Political Season Underway: Early Roundup

House Passes NASA Authorization

Commercial Crew Contracts

FAA AST “Learning Period” Extension

Our Colleagues Have Been Busy

                          Pioneering Space Summit

                          Alliance For Space Development

                          March Storm

         Space Access ’15 Conference April 30 – May 2, 2015 in Phoenix

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FY’16 Political Season Underway: Early Roundup

While we’ve been putting together our upcoming Space Access Conference, another DC space political season has been getting underway. It’s time we took a quick look at what’s going on so far. In no particular order… Continue reading ‘Space Access Society Update’

Boeing CCtCap Milestones

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Boeing CST-100 docking at ISS. (Credit: Boeing)

Boeing CST-100 docking at ISS. (Credit: Boeing)

Boeing CCtCap Milestone Status
Milestones: 23
Milestones Completed: 2
Milestones Remaining: 21

A couple of notes on the table below:

  • In January, Boeing said it was planning an automated test flight of the CST-100 spacecraft to the International Space Station in April 2017 followed by a flight with crew in July of that year. These flights do not seem to be listed as specific milestones in the contract document.
  • The designation of milestones 3 and 4 as Pending does not necessarily indicate they are incomplete at this time. It’s possible they have been completed but not yet announced.
  • Boeing stated in January that the pad abort test would be completed in February 2017. The schedule calls for the test to be completed by December 2016.
NO. DESCRIPTION DATE
STATUS
1 Certification Baseline Review (CBR) November 2014 Complete
2 Ground Segment Critical Design Review (CDR) November 2014
Complete
3 Phase II Safety Review – Part B (Integrated System) December 2014 Pending
4 Delta Integrated Critical Design Review (I-CDR) January 2015 Pending
5 Qualification Test Vehicle (QTV) Production Readiness Review March 2015 Pending
6 Structural Test Article (STA) Test Readiness Review (TRR) April 2015 Pending
7 CST-100 Checkout and Control System (CCCS) Activation/Validation Tests Complete July 2015 Pending
8 Qualification Test Vehicle (QTV) Integrated Readiness Review (IRR)
August 2015 Pending
9 Flight Software Demonstration Nominal Launch, Docking and De-Orbit October 2015 Pending
10 Orbital Flight Test Configuration Performance & Weight Status Report (CPWSR)  December 2015 Pending
11 Mission Control Center Integrated Simulation System Acceptance Review (SAR) January 2016 Pending
12 Qualification Test Vehicle Test Readiness Review (TRR) April 2016 Pending
13 Integrated Parachute System Drop Tests 1 & 2 Complete
June 2016 Pending
14 Service Module Hot Fire Launch Abort Test Complete September 2016 Pending
15 International Space Station Design Certification Review (DCR) Delivery
November 2016 Pending
16 Orbital Flight Test Flight Operations Review (FOR)
August 2016 Pending
17 Spacecraft Servicing Operational Readiness Review (ORR) November 2016 Pending
18 Pad Abort Test Complete December 2016 Pending
19 Orbital Flight Test (OFT) Flight Test Readiness Review (FTRR) January 2017 Pending
20 Crewed Flight Test Design Certification Review March 2017 Pending
21 Crewed Flight Test (CFT) Flight Test Readiness Review (FTRR) April 2017 Pending
22 Operational Readiness Review (ORR) July 2017 Pending
23 Certification Review (CR) Delivery August 2017 Pending

NASA Releases Redacted Commercial Crew Contracts

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WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA released redacted versions of the contracts the agency signed with Boeing and SpaceX in September 2014 to begin the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability phase of final development and certification work. The contracts outline goals and obligations that both NASA and the providers agreed to, however, the focus of the agency’s involvement is not just in milestones but in the day-to-day work the NASA team is performing. The agency’s efforts revolve around understanding the providers’ designs and ensuring progress is being made toward meeting safety and performance requirements before crew flight tests and missions to the International Space Station.

- Boeing-CCtCap-Contract here.

- SpaceX-CCtCap-Contract here.

Boeing, ULA Conduct Ground Breaking on Commercial Crew Access Tower

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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.

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SNC: So Close Yet So Far….

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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

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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.

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NASA Purchases More Soyuz Seats From Russians as Commercial Crew Hedge

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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

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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.

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