Tag: human spaceflight

NASA Audit Raises Concerns About SLS/Orion Infrastructure Development

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Space Launch System on pad. (Credit: NASA)

Space Launch System on pad. (Credit: NASA)

NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has found that while NASA has been making steady progress on rebuilding Kennedy Space Center’s infrastructure for the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion, the agency is facing significant challenges in completing the work in time for a planned November 2018 launch.

“For the most part, these challenges originate from interdependencies between the GSDO, SLS, and Orion Programs, the report reads, referring to the Ground Systems Development and Operations program. “In short, GSDO cannot finalize and complete its requirements without substantial input from the other two Programs, and NASA is still finalizing the requirements for those Programs.”

OIG is particularly concerned that NASA had planned to complete the critical design review for GSDO in March 2015, several months prior to the critical design reviews for SLS (May 2015) and Orion (August 2015).

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Roscosmos to Restart Space Tourist Flights to ISS

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Expedition 37 takes off for the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Expedition 37 takes off for the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Faced with the loss of a NASA contract to transport astronauts to the International Space Station, Roscosmos plans to restart a program to fly tourists to the orbiting laboratory in 2018:

“We plan compensating for the fall of demand for manned spaceships of the Soyuz family after 2018 by resuming short-term commercial expeditions to the Russian segment of the ISS,” Izvestia daily quoted a quarterly report posted by Energiya space corporation, the federal agency’s main subsidiary in the field of manned orbital flights.

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Sierra Nevada Corporation and NASA Amend CCiCap Partnership Agreement for Dream Chaser Space System

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

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

SPARKS, Nev. (March 23, 2015) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is pleased to announce it has amended its current Space Act Agreement (SAA), adding a significant development milestone to the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) partnership with NASA. The amendment, which extends the period of performance through March 2016, introduces unfunded Milestone 41, Design Analysis Cycle-6 Closeout Review – demonstrating the advancement of the Dream Chaser® Space System design from a Preliminary Design Review (PDR) level of maturity toward a Critical Design Review (CDR) level.

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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.

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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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One-Year ISS Crew Set to Launch

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The prime crew members for International Space Station Expedition 43 take a break in training for a crew portrait. From left are Flight Engineers Scott Kelly of NASA, Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos. Kelly and Kornienko will be spending an entire year in space on board the ISS. (Credit: Roscosmos/GCTC)

The prime crew members for International Space Station Expedition 43 take a break in training for a crew portrait. From left are Flight Engineers Scott Kelly of NASA, Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos. Kelly and Kornienko will be spending an entire year in space on board the ISS. (Credit:
Roscosmos/GCTC)

NASA PR — The first one-year crew for the International Space Station is set to launch Friday, March 27. NASA Television will provide extensive coverage of the launch and the crew’s arrival to the orbital laboratory.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend a year living and working aboard the space station and will launch with cosmonaut Gennady Padalka. The trio will become part of the station’s Expedition 43 crew.

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Cruz Control: Texas Senator Demonstrates Why People Don’t Want Him Leading Science Committee

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Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz

There was a great deal of hue and cry earlier this year when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took over the newly renamed Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness. [Science-Denying Troglodyte Ted Cruz to Chair Senate Science Subcommittee]

Critics view the far right Tea Party favorite as pretty much of an idiot when it comes to science. [8 Dumb Quotes About Science From New NASA Overseer Ted Cruz] They worry about his past efforts to cut NASA’s budget, and what they view as his dishonest skepticism about the realities of global warming. [Ted Cruz to Oversee NASA: What Does His Record Tell Us?]

It didn’t take long for critics’ worst fears to be born out. Last Thursday, Cruz decided to engage NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a debate over the space agency’s core mission. The consensus is that Cruz got the worst of the exchange, in the process demonstrating a lack of knowledge about what NASA’s been doing for the past 57 years.

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Space Access Society Update

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

NASA, Bigelow Prepare to Launch BEAM to ISS

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Bigelow BEAM module ready for shipping. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Bigelow BEAM module ready for shipping. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (NASA PR) -- NASA and Bigelow Aerospace are preparing to launch an expandable habitat module to the International Space Station this year. The agency joined Bigelow Thursday at its Las Vegas facility to mark completion of the company’s major milestones.

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Bigelow Hands Over BEAM Module for Launch

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Bigelow concept space station with more internal volume than ISS. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Bigelow BEAM module packed and ready for shipping. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Bigelow Aerospace had a media event in North Las Vegas, Nev., today to mark completion of work on its BEAM module, which will be launched to the International Space Station in September aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The module will be provide additional habitable space on the station as NASA tests how well the inflatable technology performs in space.

Below are notes from the press event.
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