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Will Commercial Crew Announcements Be Made on Tuesday?






Editor’s Note: If Sierra Nevada wins an award for Dream Chaser and Boeing is out, this will be the biggest upset in American history since Washington defeated Cornwallis at Yorktown.

OK, that may be a bit much. Let’s say the biggest upset since Joe Namath and the upstart New York Jets defeated the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl 3 back in 1969. Broadway Joe guaranteed it, and he made good on his promise.

Imagine that I’m actually speaking this with a How-WARD Co-SELL accent. It will sound funny, believe you me. For those who don’t remember Howard, think of a deep nasal voice combined with a record needle being scratched on a blackboard. That’s not exact, but it is pretty close.

OK, so a lot of you don’t know what a blackboard and record needle are. Remember when Roseanne Barr tried to sing the National Anthem that one time? Kind of like that, only male and very nasal.

UPDATE: Andy Pasztor of The Wall Street Journal says Boeing is likely to take the bulk of the award. We will see what NASA does tomorrow. Stay tuned, everyone.

CSF Elects Frank DiBello as New Chairman, Adds New Associate Member

Space Florida President Frank DiBello

Space Florida President Frank DiBello

Washington D.C. – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to announce that it has elected Frank DiBello, President and CEO of Space Florida, as its new Chairman succeeding Stuart Witt, CEO of Mojave Air & Space Port. At its semi-annual Board of Directors meeting this week in Jacksonville, Florida, the CSF also elected Mike Gold of Bigelow Aerospace and Sean Mahoney of Masten Space Systems to the Executive Committee of the Board, joining DiBello, Tim Hughes (SpaceX), Rob Meyerson (Blue Origin) and Mark Sirangelo (Sierra Nevada Corporation), who were reelected.

Also at the meeting, the full Board approved adding Interflight Global Corporation to the associate membership of the organization.

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NASA and Commercial Partners Review Summer of Advancements


WASHINGTON (NASA PR) – NASA’s spaceflight experts in the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) met throughout July with aerospace partners to review increasingly advanced designs, elements and systems of the spacecraft and launch vehicles under development as part of the space agency’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) and Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) initiatives.

Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX are partners with NASA in these initiatives to develop a new generation of safe, reliable, and cost-effective crew space transportation systems to low-Earth orbit.

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Space Florida Sets Boeing Commercial Crew Rent

High Bay of KSC facility used to manufacture Boeing CST-100 spacecraft.

High Bay of KSC facility used to manufacture Boeing CST-100 spacecraft.

Florida Today reports that Space Florida will charge Boeing up to $1 million per year in rent for facilities at the Kennedy Space Center where the company would assemble commercial crew vehicles.

The agreement is contingent upon Boeing winning a contract under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to build the CST-100 spacecraft, which would transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station. NASA is expected to announce the next round of program funding soon.

The 10-year lease, which would begin on Jan. 1, 2015, would include a former space shuttle processing facility, an engine shop and offices. Space Florida would spend up to $20 million to renovate the facilities.

Boeing has said the NASA contract would allow it to base more than 500 jobs in Florida. However, the company is not expected to continue with CST-100 development if it does receive additional funds from the space agency.

Boeing is in competition with SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corporation, which also are developing vehicles under the program. NASA expects to announce the next round of funding shortly. It is likely that at least one of the competitors will be eliminated.

SNC Abandons Own Hybrid Motors on Dream Chaser

Dream Chaser Main Propulsion System Test. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Dream Chaser Main Propulsion System Test. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Sierra Nevada Corporation won’t be using its own hybrid rockets for its Dream Chaser space shuttle, making it the second company in recent months after Virgin Galactic to dump the nitrous oxide-rubber motors.

Kathy Lueders, program manager for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP), revealed the change in an update during the third quarterly meeting of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) on July 24.

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NASA Commercial Crew Decision Expected Soon


Charles Lurio of The Lurio Reports that NASA is likely to announce contracts for the next round of the Commercial Crew Program on either Aug. 22 or Aug. 29. Sources have told him that the space agency is likely to make two full awards for partners to build and flight test their crew vehicles.

If he is correct, that would leave one of three competitors — Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation or SpaceX — without a seat at the table. Sierra Nevada and SpaceX have said they would continue with vehicle development if they are not chosen for this round. Boeing has said it would be difficult for the company to close the business case for its CST-100 spacecraft without additional NASA funding.

NASA’s goal is to have commercial crew transport to the International Space Station (ISS) by the end of 2017. SpaceX has said that it believes it can begin service about a year prior to that deadline with its Dragon V2 spacecraft, which is an upgraded version of the Dragon cargo vehicle that has already flown to and returned from ISS four times. Boeing and Sierra Nevada have said they are on track to meet the 2017 deadline.

Sierra Nevada Eyes Dream Chaser Test Flights in Fall


Dream_Chaser_LandingSierra Nevada Space Corporation is preparing for a series of Dream Chaser glide flights that will begin in the fall.

The company, which is competing with the Dream Chaser against capsule designs from Boeing and SpaceX for a contract to take astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, is more than 90% through the qualification program.

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Sierra Nevada Keeps Expanding Dream Chaser Team

Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Dream Chaser (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., Aug. 6, 2014 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser® Space System, a reusable commercial orbital transportation system, is progressing through its flight test program and critical design review. As SNC’s Dream Chaser program enters its next phase, SNC is pleased to announce its expanded Dream Chaser – Dream Team – which includes prominent heritage aerospace industry members, small and disadvantaged businesses, as well as university and international space agency partners. Between these additional organizations and its long-term members, SNC continues to build one of the most competent and capable space industry program teams in the world. The growing employment scope and economic impact of the Dream Chaser program now involves 32 states and over 50 congressional districts and is expected to continue to expand as the program matures.

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Sierra Nevada Teams with BioServe on Dream Chaser Micogravity Capabilities

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

SPARKS, Nev., Aug. 4, 2014 – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems is pleased to announce it is expanding its relationship with the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) through the signing of a letter of cooperation with CU-Boulder’s BioServe Space Technologies (BioServe). Through the cooperation, SNC and BioServe will jointly explore ways the Dream Chaser® Space Utility Vehicle (SUV) can serve as an orbital platform for scientific experiments in microgravity and space life science research.

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Space Access Society Update


Space Access Update #136 7/27/14
Copyright 2014 by Space Access Society

In this Issue:

- Bill Gaubatz
- Experienced Engineering Teams And US Space Launch Development Policy
- SLS Sole-Sourcing
- 2014 Space Politics: Halftime Report

  • Senate Appropriations Impasse, Other Legislation
  • Commercial Crew & Cargo at Crossroads
  • Defense Launch & Propulsion Politics

- Supporting Space Access

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