Tag: CST-100Page 2 of 15

NASA, Commercial Crew Partners Lay Out Plans for Human Spaceflight

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NASA and its commercial crew partners, Boeing and SpaceX, held a press conference in Houston this afternoon to discuss their plans for launching U.S. astronauts from Cape Canaveral in 2017. Below are my notes on the event.

Participants

  • Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator
  • Kathy Lueders, NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager
  • Mike Fincke, NASA Astronaut
  • Ellen Ochoa, Johnson Space Center Director
  • John Elbon, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Space Exploration
  • Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President & COO

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GAO Denies Sierra Nevada Protest of NASA Commercial Crew Award

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Dream Chaser landing at Ellington Field. (Cedit: SNC)

Dream Chaser landing at Ellington Field. (Cedit: SNC)

Statement on Sierra Nevada Bid Protest Decision

The following is a statement from Ralph O. White, Managing Associate General Counsel for Procurement Law at GAO, regarding today’s decision resolving a protest filed by Sierra Nevada Corp., B-410485, et al., January 5, 2015.

On January 5, 2015, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied a protest filed by Sierra Nevada Corp., of Louisville, Colorado, challenging the award of contracts to The Boeing Co., Space Exploration, of Houston, Texas, and to Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), of Hawthorne, California, by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for NASA’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability Contract (CCtCap).  Sierra Nevada argued, among other things, that NASA’s evaluation departed from the solicitation’s stated evaluation and selection criteria by significantly elevating NASA’s stated “goal” of obtaining an integrated crew transportation system no later than the end of 2017, and by failing to put offerors on notice that the agency’s goal would be central to the evaluation and selection decision.

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NASA’s Busy, Successful Year in Space & On Earth

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Orion splashed down safely in the Pacific after its first test flight. (Credit: NASA)

Orion splashed down safely in the Pacific after its first test flight. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2014, NASA took significant steps on the agency’s journey to Mars — testing cutting-edge technologies and making scientific discoveries while studying our changing Earth and the infinite universe as the agency made progress on the next generation of air travel.

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Sierra Nevada Alleges Boeing Benefitted From Commercial Crew Criteria Changes

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Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Andy Pasztor of The Wall Street Journal has an update on Sierra Nevada Corporation’s appeal of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program award to Boeing. The Government Accountability Office is set to decide on the appeal by the first week in January.

In recent weeks, details have emerged that some of the arguments at the heart of the proceeding revolve around Sierra Nevada’s claims that a high-ranking agency official opted to rank Boeing’s proposal higher than a previous panel of agency procurement experts.

According to people familiar with the details, Sierra Nevada has alleged that Boeing won unfairly, because the choice was partly based on agency projections that the Chicago-based aerospace giant was more likely than its rival to complete the work on time. Sierra Nevada’s filings, however, contend that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s formal bidding criteria put a premium on price combined with technical issues, without indicating that scheduling considerations would be major factors in ranking rival proposals, one of these people said.

Sierra Nevada’s bid was about $900 million lower than the one Boeing submitted, but NASA’s final decision memo noted that Sierra Nevada’s plans entailed “considerably more schedule risk.”

Sierra Nevada has challenged Boeing’s award on various grounds. One of the main assertions, according to one person familiar with the details, is that William Gerstenmaier, the agency’s top human exploration official and the one who made the final decision, overstepped his authority by unilaterally changing the scoring criteria.

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Space Florida Approves Funds for Cape Launch Pad Upgrades

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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)

Florida Today reports on Space Florida putting up $6.4 in matching funds for state Department of Transportation improvements on two Cape Canaveral launch pads:

The more costly of the two, shielded under the code name Project Mountain, has Space Florida putting up $6.15 million for improvements to Launch Pad 41, including a new tower to make the facility capability of servicing human flights.

The pad is now used for unmanned Atlas rocket launches.
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Getting to Space is Never Easy, But It Will Be More Automated

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A look inside the Crew Dragon in development by SpaceX. (Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

A look inside the Crew Dragon in development by SpaceX. (Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

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

The next American spacecraft astronauts fly aboard to the International Space Station will be more automated than any that have come before thanks to advances in technology and software. These advances also have potential to reduce stress on the crew.

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Commercial Crew Partners Completed 23 Milestones in 2014

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WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and the agency’s industry partners completed 23 agreement and contract milestones in 2014 and participated in thousands of hours of technical review sessions. The sessions focused on creating a new generation of safe, reliable and cost-effective crew space transportation systems to low-Earth orbit destinations.

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Boeing Bids for Commercial Cargo II Contract

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

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

SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation have competition for the next phase of NASA’s commercial cargo program:

Company officials said in a Dec. 9 interview here that they submitted a proposal earlier this month for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) 2 competition, a follow-on to the existing CRS contracts held by Orbital Sciences Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to ferry cargo to and from the station.

The cargo version of Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft will be based on the crewed version the company is developing for NASA, said John Mulholland, Boeing commercial crew program manager. Boeing will remove spacecraft components not needed for crew missions, like its launch abort system and environmental controls, to free up room in the spacecraft for cargo.

The cargo version of CST-100 would, like the crewed version, launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. The cargo version will also be able to return cargo to Earth, landing in the western United States like the crewed version.

That similarity between the two CST-100 versions is intended to improve the spacecraft’s overall economics. “It gives us a chance to use the launch vehicle and capsule that are being integrated for crew and get more missions out of it to help with affordability,” said John Elbon, vice president and general manager for space exploration at Boeing.

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Boeing Completes Second CCtCAP Milestone

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Concept of the floor of the CST-100 assembly facility that Boeing envisions at Kennedy Space Center. (Credit: Boeing)

Concept of the floor of the CST-100 assembly facility that Boeing envisions at Kennedy Space Center. (Credit: Boeing)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The momentum of certifying American space transportation systems capable of carrying astronauts to the International Space Station continued on pace as NASA took a comprehensive look at all of Boeing’s ground-based system designs. This Ground Segment Critical Design Review marks the second milestone in the company’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract, NASA’s Launch America initiative designed to return human spaceflight launches to the United States and end our reliance on Russia.

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Boeing Completes First CCtCap Milestone

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

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

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has approved the completion of Boeing’s first milestone in the company’s path toward launching crews to the International Space Station from the United States under a groundbreaking Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract.

The Certification Baseline Review is the first of many more milestones, including flight tests from Florida’s Space Coast that will establish the basis for certifying Boeing’s human space transportation system to carry NASA astronauts to the space station. The review established a baseline design of the Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft, United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, and associated ground and mission operations systems.

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