Tag: commercial crew

SpaceX Powers Up Crew Dragon Avionics Test Bed

Comments
Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (NASA PR) — SpaceX recently powered up its Crew Dragon avionics test bed at its facility in Hawthorne, California, by simulating a crew flight to the International Space Station. During the avionics functionality check, engineers were able to make sure the spacecraft’s hardware and software worked well together in a flight-like environment. The avionics are known as the brains of a spacecraft, controlling all the critical automated operations of a flight.

“It may not sound exciting, but it’s a really, really important tool. We can basically fly the Crew Dragon on the ground — flip the switches, touch the screens, test the algorithms and the batteries – all before testing the avionics system in flight,” said Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of mission assurance for SpaceX. “It’s important to get the avionics right before putting it into the capsule.”

The SpaceX avionics test bed is similar to the Shuttle Avionics Integration Lab, or SAIL, in Houston, which was used throughout NASA’s Space Shuttle Program to test the interaction of hardware and software before modifying code on the vehicles for flight.

CST-100 Structure Test Article Domes Arrive at KSC

Comment
Pressure dome for CST-100 structural test article. (Credit: Boeing)

Pressure dome for CST-100 structural test article. (Credit: Boeing)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The first two domes that will form the pressure shell of the Structural Test Article, or STA, for Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft have arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Continue reading ‘CST-100 Structure Test Article Domes Arrive at KSC’

Space Access Society Update on Station Supply, Commercial Crew & SpaceX Investigation

10 Comments
Progress 60P on approach to ISS. (Ctedit: NASA TV)

Progress 60P on approach to ISS. (Ctedit: NASA TV)

Space Access Update #144 7/6/15
copyright 2015 by Space Access Society
__________________________________________

Contents This Issue:

Station Supply Update

Latest From SpaceX

__________________________________________

Station Supply Update

A Russian Progress cargo ship successfully docked with Station in the early hours of Sunday morning. This adds a month to International Space Station’s supply reserves, sufficient now for roughly through November.

Continue reading ‘Space Access Society Update on Station Supply, Commercial Crew & SpaceX Investigation’

SpaceX’s Philosophy: Reliability Through Continual Upgrades

39 Comments
falcon9_debris

Remains of a Falcon 9 rocket fall to Earth.

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

To succeed in the launch business, you need to be very, very good and more than a little bit lucky. Eventually, there comes a day when you are neither.

That is what happened to SpaceX on June 28. A string of 18 successful Falcon 9 launches was snapped as the company’s latest rocket broke up in the clear blues skies over the Atlantic Ocean. A Dragon supply ship headed for the International Space Station was lost, SpaceX’s crowded manifest was thrown into confusion, and the company’s reputation for reliability was shattered.

Continue reading ‘SpaceX’s Philosophy: Reliability Through Continual Upgrades’

Space Access Update: Falcon 9 Failure

29 Comments

falcon9_debris
Space Access Update #143 7/2/15

copyright 2015 by Space Access Society
__________________________________________

Sunday’s Commercial Cargo Mission Loss

Background

Sunday’s (6/28/15) SpaceX cargo resupply launch to Station failed, breaking up a little over two minutes into the flight. (More here and here.) This was SpaceX’s eighth such flight; their initial test mission then six commercial-contract cargo flights had essentially gone as planned. This was SpaceX’s nineteenth launch of the Falcon 9 booster; the first eighteen F9 launches all reached orbit successfully.
Continue reading ‘Space Access Update: Falcon 9 Failure’

SpaceX, NASA Agree to Delay Dragon In-Flight Abort Test

17 Comments
Dragon pad abort test. (Credit: NASA)

Dragon pad abort test. (Credit: NASA)

By Stephanie Martin,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Following the successful pad abort test in May, SpaceX began developing a plan that would move its in-flight abort test to provide higher fidelity data and reduce risk to future crews launched to the International Space Station in the Crew Dragon spacecraft. NASA and SpaceX agreed to consider this proposed change prior to the mishap of SpaceX’s seventh commercial resupply services mission.

Continue reading ‘SpaceX, NASA Agree to Delay Dragon In-Flight Abort Test’

Falcon 9 Launch Failure Scrambles Schedule

32 Comments
Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

With the failure of the Falcon 9 on Sunday, SpaceX’s only launch vehicle will be grounded for an unknown number of months while engineers identify the cause of the crash and make necessary changes to ensure that failure won’t happen again.

Continue reading ‘Falcon 9 Launch Failure Scrambles Schedule’

Space Access Society Update on Commercial Crew, ITAR Rules

12 Comments

Launch_America_Commercial_Crew
Space Access Update #142 6/24/15

copyright 2015 by Space Access Society
__________________________________________

Contents This Issue:

Commercial Crew Funding
– Deeper Background?
– Opposition Overreach

Major Problem With Proposed New ITAR Rules

__________________________________________

Commercial Crew Funding

– Deeper Background RSN

Since this latest Commercial Crew funding fight started a few weeks back, we’ve been skimping on context. Those of you less than totally immersed in all this might not have ended up with a completely clear picture of what we think is really going on, or why we think it matters so much. We’ve been rushed. Our apologies.

Continue reading ‘Space Access Society Update on Commercial Crew, ITAR Rules’

Dream Chaser Prepped for Flight Test

35 Comments
Dream Chaser (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser (Credit: NASA)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser engineering test article is being prepped for its second free-flight test at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California later this year. The flight test is a milestone under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with SNC.  The wings, windows and landing gear are installed. The Dream Chaser’s the nose skid will have thermal protection system tiles on the vehicle, manufactured at Kennedy Space Center’s Thermal Protection System Facility, for the flight test. The performance of the tiles will be assessed following the touch down on the runway.

SNC will share their thermal protection system work and a status of the Dream Chaser spacecraft to media and social media attending CRS-7 activities at Kennedy Space Center next week.

Senate: Because Commercial Crew Could Slip, We’re Slashing the Budget Request

121 Comments
Sen. Richard Shelby

Sen. Richard Shelby

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program must drive Richard Shelby absolutely crazy. It just has to. There’s no other way to explain the utterly nonsensical reasoning being used to justify the Senate Appropriation Committee’s decision to slash NASA’s budget request for the program by more than 27 percent.

The Obama Administration came to Congress requesting $1.244 billion for FY 2016 to keep Boeing and SpaceX on track to begin commercial human spaceflights to the International Space Station by 2017. Anything less, NASA insisted, would result in further delays and more reliance upon Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.

The House came through with $1 billion in its funding measure. When the proposal came up before Shelby’s Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee in the Senate, appropriators cut the amount even further to $900 million. That amount ended up in the measure approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee.

Continue reading ‘Senate: Because Commercial Crew Could Slip, We’re Slashing the Budget Request’