SpaceX’s commercial crew program is running more than a year behind schedule on the Commercial Crew program it is performing for NASA.
Garrett Reisman, SpaceX’s Director of Crew Operations, said on Tuesday that an automated flight test of the Crew Dragon vehicle to the International Space Station (ISS) has slipped into the second quarter of 2017. (Spaceflight Now has the mission listed for May 2017.) It was scheduled to occur in March 2016 under the contract NASA awarded to SpaceX in September 2014.
Misty Snopkowski has worked on human spaceflight initiatives since 2003, building up expertise with the Space Shuttle and International Space Station Programs and now standing on the precipice of the new era in human spaceflight with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
“I got to work up until the very last shuttle launch in 2011, which was a pretty amazing period in time,” Snopkowski said. “Then I joined commercial crew. You flip the script and go into a brand new program. I was this young person who got to start at the very beginning of a new program and most people don’t ever get that opportunity.”
Most recent rocket took max damage, due to v high entry velocity. Will be our life leader for ground tests to confirm others are good.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 15, 2016
SpaceX has released some stunning images of three recovered Falcon 9 first stages in Hangar 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centers.
One stage landed back at Cape Canaveral in December. The other two stages landed on an off-shore barge.
SpaceX plans to refurbish the Falcon 9 stages and fly them again.
Aviation Week report’s on NASA’s contribution to SpaceX’s plan to land a Dragon spacecraft on Mars:
NASA expects to spend “on the order of $30 million” helping SpaceX send a modified Dragon vehicle to the surface of Mars in the 2018 planetary launch window, but the entry, descent and landing (EDL) data alone it may obtain in return would be a bargain at 10 times the price.
Officials believe an amendment to NASA’s unfunded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with the ambitious spaceflight company could someday help the agency land heavy payloads on Mars using supersonic retropropulsion. NASA already is using infrared photography to study the technique on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 first-stage landings.
Expanding that work to Mars with onboard cameras, sensors—and perhaps even imagery collected from below by one of the two NASA rovers operating on the planet—would be extremely useful to engineers at the space agency who are trying to figure out how to land 20-ton payloads there.
“If we had a complete stand-alone technology demonstration mission, it would be an order of magnitude larger than this [in cost],” says Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight development at NASA headquarters.
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The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) approved the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) yesterday that limits United Launch Alliance (ULA) to purchasing nine Russian-made RD-180 engines for use in the first stage of the company’s Atlas V booster to launch national security payloads.
The move sets up a showdown with the House Armed Services Committee, which earlier put the number of engines ULA could purchase at 18. ULA and the U.S. Air Force support the higher number, saying the engines are needed to meet military launch needs.
Alan Boyle reports that the first crewed Starliner flight to the International Space Station has slipped its schedule.
“We’re working toward our first unmanned flight in 2017, followed by a manned astronaut flight in 2018,” Leanne Caret, who is Boeing’s executive vice president as well as president and chief executive officer of Boeing’s defense, space and security division, said at a briefing for investors.
Continue reading ‘Boeing Starliner Schedule Slips as First Test Article Comes Together’
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 2:51 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 11, about 261 miles southwest of Long Beach, California, with more than 3,700 pounds of NASA cargo, science and technology demonstration samples from the International Space Station.
Update: SpaceX has reported a successful splashdown in the Pacific.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was released from the International Space Station’s robotic arm at 9:19 a.m. EDT. The capsule will begin a series of departure burns and maneuvers to move beyond the 656-foot (200-meter) “keep out sphere” around the station and begin its return trip to Earth. The capsule is currently scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at 2:55 p.m., about 261 miles southwest of Long Beach, California.
The spacecraft will return the final batch of human research samples from former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s historic one-year mission. These samples will be analyzed for studies such as Biochemical Profile, Cardio Ox, Fluid Shifts, Microbiome, Salivary Markers and the Twins Study. Additional samples taken on the ground as Kelly continues to support these studies will provide insights relevant for the Journey to Mars as NASA learns more about how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight.
The McGregor City Council has passed a series of ordinances limiting rocket motor testing at the SpaceX facility located just outside of the city.
The ordinance also limits acceptance tests to 15-seconds or less and says that if noise limits of 125 decibels are exceeded, the test must be curtailed within 3 seconds.
Continue reading ‘McGregor Changes SpaceX Rocket Testing Rules’
Video Caption: Three different views of last week’s Falcon 9 first stage landing after sending JCSAT-14 satellite on to Geostationary Transfer Orbit. Hottest and fastest landing yet.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo ship is ending its stay tomorrow at the International Space Station. The commercial cargo craft has been packed with about 3,700 pounds of cargo, spacewalk gear and biological samples for analysis on Earth.
Astronauts Tim Peake and Jeff Williams will be at the controls of the Canadarm2 robotic arm when the command to release Dragon is given at 9:18 a.m. EDT/1:18 p.m. UTC. Dragon will parachute to a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean a few hours later for recovery by SpaceX personnel. NASA TV will televise the release and departure activities starting at 9 a.m.
While the astronauts in the U.S. segment loaded Dragon, their Russian counterparts conducted research exploring diverse fields such as physics, biology and human research. They researched how space radiation affects materials that simulate human tissue for the long-running Matryeshka study. The crew also looked at how the space environment affects a crew member’s carotid artery and immune system.
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5 (NSS PR) — SpaceX is the winner of the National Space Society’s 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Science and Engineering. This award recognizes the company’s recent major achievement, the historic first landing of the Falcon 9 rocket on Dec 21, 2015, which was a major step toward fulfilling one of the major “holy grail” quests of the space community – reusability.