Tag Archives: CST-100

Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada the winners of NASA’s commercial crew contracts.

It’s official: Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada are the winners of NASA’s commercial crew contracts.

Boeing will receive $460 million, SpaceX $440 million, and Sierra Nevada $212.5. All are planning to launch by 2015.

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Boeing and Lockheed Martin are both considering hiring the Russia aerospace company Energia to build components for the CST-100 and Orion manned capsules.

It appears that both Boeing and Lockheed Martin are considering hiring the Russia aerospace company Energia to build components for the CST-100 and Orion manned capsules.

What is going on here is that both Boeing and Lockheed Martin are looking for a subcontractor who can build these components for less money. Since labor costs in Russia are much lower than the U.S., both companies are considering Energia for this work.

This quote, however, encapsulates the cultural war that still goes on sometimes between Russia and the U.S.:

“[Russian] achievements in docking sites and [thermal protection equipment] production are quite competitive, but I am not sure that the Americans will accept our offer because they not only have the task of building a spaceship but also of gaining competence in this matter,” Dmitry Payson, director of the space and telecommunication technology department in Russia’s Skolkovo hi-tech hub, told Izvestia.

In interviewing many Russian and American space engineers over the years I have found an amazing amount of contempt from each for the work of the other, often without justification. Just as the Russians above seem to falsely think that Boeing and Lockheed Martin know nothing about docking equipment or thermal protection, American engineers repeatedly have expressed to me unjustified disdain for the space station technology developed by the Russians for Mir. The result: both countries often don’t take advantage of the other’s skills.

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Coming and going

There are really only two important stories today concerning space exploration. The story that is getting the most coverage is the big news that the space shuttle Discovery is making its last flight, flying over Washington, DC, as it is delivered to the Smithsonian for permanent display.

Of these stories, only Irene Klotz of Discovery News seems to really get it. This is not an event to celebrate or get excited about. It is the end of an American achievement, brought to a close probably three to five years prematurely so that the United States now cannot even send its own astronauts to its own space station.

The other news, actually far more important, has gotten far less coverage, and includes three different stories all really about the same thing.
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Assuming it gets the necessary funds, Boeing anticipates flight tests of its CST-100 reusable manned capsule in 2016.

More news from commercial space: Assuming it gets the necessary funds, Boeing anticipates flight tests of its CST-100 reusable manned capsule by 2016.

This story is part of the on-going lobbying effort to convince the Luddites in Congress to subsidize the new commercial space companies. To get some context, even if Congress gives NASA all of the money it has requested for this program, the annual cost will still be less than a third of the NASA-built Space Launch System, and will get us four different ways to get humans and cargo into orbit, and do it in far less time.

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Boeing today successfully completed an 11,000 foot parachute drop test of its CST-100 reusable manned capsule.

Boeing today successfully completed an 11,000 foot parachute drop test of its CST-100 reusable manned capsule.

Another success for commercial space, which based on the opinions of our elected officials means they must cut this program’s budget.

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Boeing vs Boeing.

Boeing vs Boeing.

The story describes how Boeing is considering upgrading the X-37B to become a manned ferry to ISS, thus putting it in direct competition with the company’s other manned capsule, the CST-100.

At the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’s Space 2011 conference in November, Boeing’s Arthur Grantz revealed that the company is studying a new derivative of the Boeing/USAF X-37B. The new X-37C would be 65-80% larger than the current B version. Launched by an Atlas V rocket, X-37C could carry pressurized or unpressurized cargo or 5-6 astronauts. Grantz is chief engineer in charge of X-37 at the Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems Experimental Systems Group .

Hat tip to Clark Lindsey.

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Building Boeing’s CST-100 manned capsule, the smart way

Building Boeing’s CST-100 manned capsule, the smart way.

From pressure seals used on the international space station to rendezvous and docking sensors developed for the Pentagon’s Orbital Express experiment, Boeing is drawing heavily on heritage space and aviation programs for its proposed CST-100 commercial human spacecraft.

Cheaper also.

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The state of the new commercial manned space efforts

Chris Bergin at NASAspaceflight.com today wrote a report on the four companies NASA is subsidizing to build manned capsules. The status of each company tells us something of whether they can eventually provide the United States with a replacement for the shuttle, and do it soon. Let’s take a look at each.
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