WASHINGTON (NASA PR) – NASA announced Thursday it is adding some additional milestones to agreements with three U.S. commercial companies that are developing spaceflight capabilities that could eventually provide launch services to transport NASA astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil.
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In previous human spaceflight programs, NASA paid for all aspects of development, testing and operations of human-rated spacecraft. The space agency still plays a sizeable part in spacecraft development through its Commercial Crew Program, but partner companies invest financially as well, and have much more freedom to design and manufacture with their own techniques. NASA’s extensive expertise plays a critical role in numerous areas, including crew safety.
“We want to pay an American company for transportation services and return crew launch capabilities to U.S. soil,” said Ed Mango, NASA Commercial Crew Program manager. “This will only be possible if NASA and its partners continue to make this a joint endeavor.”
Video Caption: The Boeing Company evaluated tools, equipment and procedures it could use if the CST-100 spacecraft is required to make a water landing. The testing included a full-scale mockup of the spacecraft floating in a specialized facility operated by Bigelow Aerospace near Las Vegas. The CST-100 is one of three spacecraft under development in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The others are the SpaceX Dragon and Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser.
by Rebecca Regan
NASA Kennedy Space Center
Two NASA astronauts conducted flight suit evaluations inside a fully outfitted test version of The Boeing Company’s CST-100 spacecraft July 22, the first time the world got a glimpse of the crew capsule’s interior.
“The astronauts always enjoy getting out and looking at the vehicles and sharing their experiences with these commercial providers,” said Kathy Lueders, deputy manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP).
HOUSTON, July 19, 2013 (Boeing PR) – Boeing recently demonstrated that astronauts in its Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 capsule will be able to safely exit the spacecraft during an emergency water landing.
NASA astronaut Serena Aunon put on her iconic orange launch-and-entry suit and climbed aboard The Boeing Company’s CST-100 mock-up to perform fit checks of the spacecraft’s interior. Aunon is one of two astronauts who will spend a few hours inside the capsule to test maneuverability while Boeing engineers monitor communications equipment, ergonomics and crew interfaces.
Boeing is one of three aerospace industry partners working with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) during its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative, which is intended to make commercial human spaceflight services available for government and commercial customers. Stay tuned this afternoon to the CCP website for the first look at the interior of the CST-100.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) – Preparations are under way at Boeing’s Houston Product Support Center in Texas to host NASA astronauts for flight suit evaluations in the CST-100 mock-up next week. Stay tuned to the agency’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) website July 22 for a first-ever look at the interior of Boeing’s spacecraft.
By Steven Siceloff,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
The Boeing Company in Houston is performing ongoing work to advance the design of the CST-100, a capsule and service module, in between meeting major milestones for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Boeing is one of three companies working with NASA to develop space transportation systems capable of flying astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station later this decade.
- The company is a third of the way through 13 key milestones for 2013. It has 19 milestones to complete by next spring.
- Boeing is planning to launch the CST-100 spacecraft on a three-day test flight in 2016.
- The first two CST-100 spacecraft will be launched on Atlas V. However, Boeing is evaluating whether the crew vehicle can be launched on SpaceX’s Falcon 9.
- The company is on tract to conduct a pad abort test in December.
- SpaceX plans to fly the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station with a non-NASA crew in mid-2015, if it receives sufficient funding from NASA.
Sierra Nevada Corporation
- The Dream Chaser shuttle has begun tow tests at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB, Calif.
- The tow tests are in preparation for drop tests from a helicopter later this year.