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  CCtCap: NASA selects commercial crew providers

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Author Topic:   CCtCap: NASA selects commercial crew providers
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 09-16-2014 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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NASA picks Boeing, SpaceX capsules to fly astronauts to space station

When American astronauts next launch from United States' soil to the International Space Station, they will fly onboard spacecraft built and operated by The Boeing Company and SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies), NASA announced on Tuesday (Sept. 16).

The space agency's selection of the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Dragon capsules to taxi crews to and from Earth orbit is aimed at resuming U.S.-based crewed spaceflights since the retirement of the space shuttle fleet in 2011 and ending the country's sole reliance on Russia for access to space by 2017.

"Today, with the selection of Boeing and SpaceX to be the first American companies to launch our astronauts to the International Space Station, NASA has set the stage for what promises to be the most ambitious and exciting chapter in the history of human spaceflight," said Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator. "Turning over low-Earth orbit transportation to private industry will allow NASA to focus on an even more ambitious mission — sending humans to Mars."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 32407
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-27-2015 01:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Boeing, SpaceX on track to launch crewed capsules to space station in 2017

Boeing and SpaceX will each be ready to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station in 2017, company officials said on Monday (Jan. 26).

The two U.S. firms, which last September were selected by NASA to provide commercial transportation services to the orbiting laboratory, joined space agency leaders at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to share their plans and schedules. Boeing's CST-100 and SpaceX's Dragon space capsules will each fly four astronauts per flight to and from the station, relieving NASA's reliance on Russia's Soyuz since the end of the shuttle program in 2011.

"The contracts we have signed with our industry partners are vivid examples of American innovation at work," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, addressing the small audience of astronauts, flight directors and media. "We've seen the return of an American launch industry."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 32407
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-27-2015 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
Commercial Crew Milestones Met; Partners on Track for Missions in 2017

NASA has taken another step toward returning America's ability to launch crew missions to the International Space Station from the United States in 2017.

The Commercial Crew Program ordered its first crew rotation mission from The Boeing Company. SpaceX, which successfully performed a pad abort test of its flight vehicle earlier this month, is expected to receive its first order later this year. Determination of which company will fly its mission to the station first will be made at a later time. The contract calls for the orders to take place prior to certification to support the lead time necessary for the first mission in late 2017, provided the contractors meet certain readiness conditions.

Missions flown to the station on Boeing's Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 and SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft will restore America's human spaceflight capabilities and increase the amount of scientific research that can be conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory.

"Final development and certification are top priority for NASA and our commercial providers, but having an eye on the future is equally important to the commercial crew and station programs," said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. "Our strategy will result in safe, reliable and cost-effective crew missions."

Boeing's crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft, has advanced through various commercial crew development and certification phases. The company recently completed the fourth milestone in the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) phase of the program, the delta integrated critical design review. This milestone demonstrates the transportation system has reached design maturity appropriate to proceed with assembly, integration and test activities.

"We're on track to fly in 2017, and this critical milestone moves us another step closer in fully maturing the CST-100 design," said John Mulholland, Boeing's vice president of Commercial Programs. "Our integrated and measured approach to spacecraft design ensures quality performance, technical excellence and early risk mitigation."

Orders under the CCtCap contracts are made two to three years prior to the missions to provide time for each company to manufacture and assemble the launch vehicle and spacecraft. In addition, each company must successfully complete the certification process before NASA will give the final approval for flight. If NASA does not receive the full requested funding for CCtCap in fiscal year 2016 and beyond, NASA will have to delay future milestones for both partners proportionally and extend sole reliance on Russia for crew access to the station.

A standard mission to the station will carry four NASA or NASA-sponsored crew members and about 220 pounds of pressurized cargo. The spacecraft will remain at the station for up to 210 days and serve as an emergency lifeboat during that time. Each contract includes a minimum of two and a maximum potential of six missions.

"Commercial Crew launches are critical to the International Space Station Program because it ensures multiple ways of getting crews to orbit," said Julie Robinson, International Space Station chief scientist. "It also will give us crew return capability so we can increase the crew to seven, letting us complete a backlog of hands-on critical research that has been building up due to heavy demand for the National Laboratory."

NASA's Commercial Crew Program manages the CCtCap contracts and is working with each company to ensure commercial transportation system designs and post-certification missions will meet the agency's safety requirements. Activities that follow the award of missions include a series of mission-related reviews and approvals leading to launch. The program also will be involved in all operational phases of missions to ensure crew safety.

See here for discussion of NASA's commercial crew program developments.

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