Thu, 13 September, 2012 NASA Launches Program To Certify Space Taxis By Irene Klotz
PASADENA, Calif. — With an eye toward breaking Russia’s monopoly on flying crew to the international space station (ISS) by 2017, NASA has launched a two-stage certification process aimed at ensuring commercial passenger spaceships currently under development will meet the agency’s safety standards, schedule and mission requirements.
NASA expects to award multiple firms a Certification Products Contract (CPC), each of which will run for 15 months and be worth up to $10 million. The program dovetails with the agency’s ongoing partnerships with Boeing, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) and Sierra Nevada Corp. to develop privately owned space transportation systems capable of flying astronauts to the space station.
“If there are other companies who can demonstrate that they can indeed meet the requirements of the request for proposals, which is that they can develop a system and they have already started to do that to a certain point that is integrated, then we’re certainly willing and very open to anybody to put in a proposal,” Commercial Crew Program manager Ed Mango told Space News at the AIAA Space 2012 conference here.
CPC’s first phase is scheduled to begin in February and run through May 30, 2014. The timing is intended to influence commercial spaceship design and operations plans early enough to meet NASA’s space station mission requirements and minimize potentially costly changes and schedule delays later in the development process.
After three rounds of Space Act Agreements that leveraged U.S. government funding with private investment to stimulate development of passenger spaceships, NASA is shifting to fixed-priced, Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)-based awards for the CPC effort. The first buy will be for data products related to “an end-to-end Crew Transportation System (CTS) for an ISS design reference mission,” NASA wrote in its Sept. 12 solicitation.
That includes alternative standards, hazard reports, a verification and validation plan and a certification plan. Phase 2 includes final development, test and verification activities, including at least one and possibly more demonstration missions to the space station.
“The government expects that only Phase 1 contractors will be capable of successfully competing for Phase 2,” NASA wrote.
NASA intends to run its ongoing, 21-month, $1.1 billion Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) projects with Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada separately fr om any awards the companies may win under the Certification Products Contract.
“They can work in conjunction if folks want to do that, but we, NASA, will keep those separate because one is for public purpose and one is for NASA purpose,” Mango said.
“The partners themselves, whomever would like to propose for that, are really going to end up making a system that can meet multiple customers hopefully, and if they would like to make one of those customers NASA then we are now telling them through CPC, ‘Here’s the requirements you gotta meet. How are you going to meet them? And if you can’t meet them, let’s talk about that and let’s get to a baseline that we can both agree to,’” Mango said.
Under its existing program, NASA was not able to formally evaluate if a company’s design met agency requirements for flying crew to the station.
“This bridge will allow us to either move down the road toward getting design concurrence assessment or potentially waivers for areas wh ere we don’t fully meet all the design requirements,” said John Mulholland, Boeing vice president and program manager for commercial space programs.
“The big benefit of [CPC] is that bridge is going to allow us to move down together and hopefully get certified to fly to the international space station and fly NASA crew,” Mulholland told Space News.
// CyberSecurity.ru // - Американское космическое агентство НАСА продолжает предпринимать усилия, направленные на то, чтобы сбросить с себя зависимость от российской монополии на доставку людей до 2017 года. В конце прошлой недели НАСА объявило о старте программы двухуровневой сертификации, направленной на то, чтобы гарантировать: все находящиеся ныне в разработке частные космические корабли соответствуют стандартам НАСА.
Участие в программе сертификации добровольное, но для того, чтобы компания-претендент могла отправлять от США астронавтов на МКС наличие сертификата НАСА обязательно. В рамках сертификации эксперты будут проверять не только безопасность и качество изготавливаемых аппаратов, но также и сроки их производства, готовность компании-подрядчика к выпуску множества аппаратов и ряд других требований.
Самому агентству НАСА сертификация обойдется примерно в 10 млн долларов, а длится она будет на протяжении 15 месяцев. Известно, что в программе сертификации NASA Certification Products Contract будут принимать участие как минимум три компании - Boeing, Space Exploration Technologies и Sierra Nevada Corp, ведущие создание пилотируемых аппаратов, пригодных для автономных околоземных полетов. Впрочем, в НАСА говорят, что программа сертификации открытая и в ней могут принять участие другие производители.
Первая фаза программы сертификации стартует в феврале 2013 года и продлится до конца мая 2014 года. За этот срок коммерческие аппараты должны быть произведены и готовы к фактической демонстрации, кроме того, здесь же компания-производитель должна ознакомить НАСА с основами производственного процесса, чтобы ведомство было уверено, что получает качественный продукт по обоснованной цене. Далее НАСА должно оценить потенциальные угрозы, связанные с использованием аппарата. Например, как изменится стоимость аппарата, если в него внести какие-то изменения, или как скажется на работе американской программы возможные задержки с поставками данных кораблей.
В НАСА говорят, что данная программа также направлена на то, чтобы сформировать полноценный рынок коммерческих аппаратов и перейти от схемы фиксированного ценообразования к гибкой системе.
На второй фазе сертификации компания должна будет готова показать аппарат в полете и продемонстрировать его возможности в реальных условиях. Принять участие во второй части программы могут лишь те компании, что успешно прошли первую, кроме того компании могут объединяться и предлагать какие-то совместные решения.
Как известно, всего сейчас на двухлетнюю программу коммерческих космических полетов НАСА выделило 1,1 млрд долларов. Первые заявки на участие в программе компании могут подать, начиная с 12 октября.
NASA’s plan to human-rate commercial crew vehicles in parallel with their private development using federal seed money may not produce safety levels acceptable for U.S. and U.S.-partner astronauts, members of a key House panel worried Sept. 14.
In testimony before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier outlined plans to start certifying commercial vehicles next February under a “hybrid” process designed to ins ert some of the rigor of standard Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) procurement in to the Space Act Agreements (SAAs) the agency is using to help fund commercial vehicle development.
But Joseph Dyer, chairman of the independent Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, cautioned that the parallel development and certification is a “workaround” that may not produce the desired results, particularly as uncertain budgets generate downward pressure on safety spending.
“It’s not yet clear to us how waivers and deviations will be approved, who is accountable, and how the process shall be administered,” said Dyer, a naval aviator who retired as a vice admiral. “[And] both from the Congress’s and NASA’s perspective, budget and budget stability are a significant challenge.”
Gerstenmaier, who runs the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, said NASA is restricted to spending $406 million on commercial crew development this fiscal year in the absence of a fiscal 2013 budget figure from Congress, and will need on the order of $830 million a year beginning in fiscal 2014 to meet its plan to fly humans in a commercial vehicle by the end of 2017.
Gerstenmaier testified that, collectively, the private companies using NASA funds to develop commercial crew vehicles — Boeing, Sierra Nevada and SpaceX, in the most recent round — are investing only 10-20% of their internal funds in the effort. But under their SAAs, the space agency has no direct way to evaluate company spending as part of an estimate of what it will cost to fly astronauts on their vehicles.
Ultimately, he said, NASA probably will pick just one of the contenders to supply transportation services to the International Space Station, at a cost the agency is budgeting at the roughly $62 million a seat it pays Russia for Soyuz transportation and training. The competition in development probably will help hold that cost down, while the parallel certification will avoid costly rework later on, he said.
Boeing got high marks in the competition for an integrated commercial crew launch system with its CST-100 capsule, a bare-bones vehicle designed to reach the International Space Station on battery power after launch with an Atlas V.
In the just-completed Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) selection, NASA gave the aerospace giant the largest share of the $1.1 billion in seed money available. But the $460 million award came with a warning that Boeing's corporate commitment to the project is weak, leaving “an increased risk of insufficient funding” over the life of the Space Act agreement.
Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier, who heads NASA's human spaceflight mission directorate, discounted Boeing's low investment in his selection of the CST-100 for CCiCap funding.
“While this was only one of 13 goals, I did consider it,” he writes in his formal source-selection document. “However, Boeing met all of the other goals and had a strong technical design; therefore, I did not find the lack of significant corporate financial commitment to be a major discriminator in my assessment.”
Across the three companies sel ected—Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corp. and SpaceX—Gerstenmaier says he picked the CST-100 because it scored highest in “level of effectiveness” and “confidence” on its technical approach. “The Boeing [vehicle] is clearly what we would see in more of a traditional program, the kind of layout and the structure and the way things flow,” he tells Aviation Week.
The company passed the first of its 19 CCiCap milestones—integrated systems review (ISR)—at a three-day meeting in August. Covering the seven-seat capsule, Atlas V and mission operations on the ground and in space, the review closed some issues left open at preliminary design review (PDR) during the second round of NASA's Commercial Crew Development effort that preceded CCiCap.
“We still had some open trades that we had to go work,” says John Mulholland, Boeing vice president and commercial crew program manager. “We had some water landing modes that we were attacking because of its threat on weight, some power-system decisions that we needed to make. We took that time between PDR and the kickoff of CCiCap to go pound those issues flat, so when we got into CCiCap we could really go full force on final design release.”
Also included in the first milestone were the results of abort-engine hot-fire tests, wind-tunnel tests, parachute drops and tests of the air-bag system designed to cushion the capsule's nominal touchdown on dry land. With the ISR milestone complete, Mulholland says, the outer mold line of the capsule is frozen, and the program is on track to deliver its first flight-design hardware—the one-piece lower section of the capsule's aluminum pressure vessel—in “less than 20 months.” Boeing has rented the former space shuttle orbiter processing facility at Kennedy Space Center as the assembly facility for the CST-100 (AW&ST Nov. 7, 2011, p. 34). First flight is scheduled by the end of 2016, and the company is looking for ways to advance that, Mulholland says.
As for the finding that the Boeing home office has not committed sufficient resources to the CST-100, Mulholland argues that “conservative” corporate accounting obscures the in-kind role played by engineers from other Boeing units, including commercial aircraft and those building military fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.
“Across the company, our business is delivering transportation platforms,” he says. “We bring a rigorous and robust process, because our company is not going to let these programs fail. One of the things that we always focus on is the old approach of 'test like you fly, and fly like you test,' so when we lay out a design and development program, it will look the same across all the portfolios.”
While proprietary financial information is redacted fr om the published versions of NASA's source-selection documents, Mulholland says his program's business case continues to close with the two flights per year to the ISS that NASA anticipated. Like other commercial-crew contenders, Boeing is also looking to stoke new markets in space tourism and alternate destinations such as the inflatable space habitats under development by Bigelow Aerospace.
“We'll close on two NASA flights alone, but we are also in a position of trying to make sure that we're doing everything we can to help the market emerge,” Mulholland says.
SpaceX Clears Milestones In NASA Commercial Crew Effort By Mark Carreau
November 06, 2012
Space Exploration Technologies, leveraging off a pair of successful 2012 supply missions to the International Space Station, has completed a third performance milestone in its bid to establish a U.S. commercial crew orbital transportation service under NASA’s three-month-old Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative.
The company presented its strategy for meeting the design, development and test requirements outlined in a $440 million Space Act Agreement during an Oct. 29 integrated systems requirement review.
The next of SpaceX’s 14 planned milestones under CCiCap is a ground systems and ascent preliminary design review, according Katherine Nelson, the company’s vice president of marketing and communications. “Our goal is to fly test flights with crew in three years,” said Nelson in an Nov. 5 email.
SpaceX was one of thee companies sel ected by NASA on Aug. 3 under CCiCap to work toward a 2017 date for the inauguration of commercial crew transportation services in support of the six-person space station. The 10-year-old Hawthorne, Calif.-based company is aiming for a 2015 startup.
“The Dragon spacecraft has successfully delivered cargo to the space station twice this year, and SpaceX is well under way toward upgrading Dragon to transport astronauts as well,” said SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell in a joint NASA statement, following the late October session.
The review examined the company’s strategy for the design, development and testing of its integrated assets as well as initial plans for managing ground, launch, ascent, in orbit, re-entry and landing operations. Earlier SpaceX milestones previewed the use of the previously flown but unpiloted Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft for crewed missions as well as plans for ground operations, including launches from the company’s Cape Canaveral pad and Mission Control facilities in Hawthorne.
Like SpaceX, Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corp. are partnered with NASA under CCiCap agreements valued respectively at $460 million and $212.5 million.
Another milestone under the program will be a SpaceX presentation on the company’s financial standing in support of the 21-month CCiCap performance period.
SpaceX completed its first round-trip cargo mission to the station on Oct. 28 under the terms of a $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services agreement signed in late 2008. The 10-year-old company qualified for the contract following a successful May demonstration that marked the first U.S. commercial delivery of cargo to the ISS. CCiCAP requirements specify a spacecraft that can launch at least four crewmembers with equipment to the orbiting science lab, safely abort fr om the launch pad, provide a 24-hr. orbital safe haven; and remained docked to the station for 210 days.
During two rounds of NASA-funded Commercial Crew Development activities dating back to 2010, SpaceX initiated work on plans for a seven-seat passenger version of its reusable Dragon capsule and a powered pad-to-orbit launch abort system; as well as a propulsive capability to return space station crews to Earth on land rather than water.
By Frank Morring, Jr. Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
October 01, 2012
Sierra Nevada Corp. drew the short straw in NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) competition, winning only about half as much of the federal seed money to advance its Dream Chaser lifting-body crew vehicle as its two competitors received for their capsule designs.
At $212.5 million, the company's award is not exactly chump change, but the $460 million for Boeing and the $440 million for SpaceX would go a lot further in wringing out the questions that remain about Sierra Nevada's unique approach to flying humans to space. The half-portion grew out of congressional fears that NASA was spending too much to preserve competition in its commercial crew development effort (AW&ST June 18, p. 26).
In his source-selection document William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations, says the Dream Chaser design—based on the old NASA HL-20 testbed—poses “significant risks because of design complexity.”
“The winged vehicle offers a lot of advantages, even to customers, in terms of easier landing—you can land on a runway—lower gs, cross-range from deorbit, that's all called out in the document,” Gerstenmaier says. “But associated with that are more technology hurdles. You've got to look at aborts. They're a little more difficult. You've got thermal protection issues, the heat-shield kind of stuff we dealt with on shuttle protection on orbit, all those things. So there's a lot more complexity with a winged vehicle.”
As a result, the agency cut back on the milestones Sierra Nevada had proposed, commensurate with the lower funding level, and does not expect the Louisville, Colo., company to pass critical design review under CCiCap. “We kept enough in that we think we'll get really good insight into how well they can handle those technical challenges,” Gerstenmaier says.
Abort-testing is not on the new list of for Dream Chaser milestones, says Mark Sirangelo, head of Sierra Nevada's space systems unit, but the company plans to make a start anyway. The abort system uses the same hybrid-rocket engines designed for in-space maneuvering to fly off a failing Atlas V, which would be the initial Dream Chaser launch vehicle (AW&ST July 2, p. 37).
“We have plans to do a pad abort test in the coming months,” Sirangelo says. “Our vehicle has no black zones right now for abort from launch to orbit, and we can abort to a runway anywhere along the way. . . . None of the three of us has done any abort tests so far, and we need to all do that. We have that planned to retire that risk, not as one of the milestones but as work that we're doing separately.”
Those hybrid engines, also mentioned in the source-selection document as a technical risk, are based on the rockets that powered the Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne in its successful bid for the $10 million Ansari X Prize, and those planned for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle. Sirangelo says the Dream Chaser versions have been test-fired and restarted, including in vacuum, and should have no problem meeting the test-fire milestones in the CCiCap plan.
Despite the lower NASA funding, Sierra Nevada plans to go ahead with its bid to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, starting before the end of the year with an autonomous drop test and landing with a full-scale engineering article that has already undergone captive-carry tests. Ultimately, Sirangelo and his corporate colleagues believe, the capabilities of their vehicle will outweigh today's risks.
“With the hybrid motors, if we don't use them on abort, they give us a tremendous capability to fly on orbit,” he says. “So we can actually go up to several hundred miles above the space station and do work. That's a really robust capability that allows us to consider potential servicing missions for things for NASA for other purposes, and to use the vehicle for other purposes.”
Also on the list of potential advantages of the Dream Chaser over the Boeing and SpaceX capsules is the high level of reuse Sierra Nevada expects from each vehicle—25-30 missions each, according to Sirangelo. The optimistic outlook for the Dream Chaser's commercial potential is shared by Gerstenmaier and the CCiCap source-selection board that advised him.
“These significant technical advantages could result in a larger customer base for [Sierra Nevada] than a capsule design and more capability for users,” Gerstenmaier writes.
NASA still making the case for commercial crew BY STEPHEN CLARK SPACEFLIGHT NOW Posted: November 30, 2012
NASA's top administrators, baffled by continued congressional resistance to funding the agency's commercial crew program, this week said supporters should revamp how they advocate for privatized human spaceflight.
File photo of NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
After the retirement of the space shuttle, NASA is turning to the private sector to supply U.S. crew transportation to the International Space Station. Until a domestic provider becomes operational, NASA has procured astronaut seats on Russian Soyuz vehicles.
The commercial crew transportation initiative was announced by the Obama administration in February 2010, but nearly three years later, NASA's top managers are still selling the program's merits to lawmakers.
In August, NASA announced Boeing Co., SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corp. won agreements to receive up to $1.1 billion through May 2014 to continue designing and testing human-rated commercial rockets and spaceships. NASA expects at least one of the companies will have an operational crew transportation system by 2017.
Concerned that NASA was shortchanging other priorities, including the government-owned Space Launch System and Orion exploration programs, Congress declined to appropriate the White House's requested funding for the commercial crew program for the last two years.
The space agency is spending less than half the money it said it needed for fiscal year 2013, which began Oct. 1. Congress was unable to pass a federal budget before the last fiscal year's spending package expired, and lawmakers extended funding to NASA and other agencies at fiscal 2012 levels.
The continuing resolution runs until March 27 and extends the commercial crew program's $406 million annual budget for the first six months of fiscal 2013, affecting the rate at which the program can spend money. The Obama administration proposed giving the commercial crew program $830 million in fiscal 2013.
"We are obviously not communicating this well," said Lori Garver, NASA's deputy administrator, who said the agency has had a tough time selling commercial crew transportation and technology development funding on Capitol Hill. "I can't believe we're losing this argument."
So far, NASA expects the commercial crew milestones to remain on schedule through the timeframe of the continuing resolution, according to Candrea Thomas, an agency spokesperson.
Even if Congress passes a spending bill with additional commercial crew funding, it is unlikely the program will receive a budget near the White House's request. That is because the commercial crew budget for the first six months of fiscal 2013 was less than 50 percent of the Obama administration proposal, meaning any boost in the budget for the second half of fiscal 2013 would have to go beyond the White House request just to meet the funding level NASA anticipated.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, speaking to the NASA Advisory Council on Wednesday, said commercial transportation is "absolutely essential to the success and survival of the International Space Station. Unless we want to be dependent [on Russia] for time immemorial to get crews and cargo the station, then we have to have an American capability."
In its latest agreement with the Russian space agency, NASA is paying nearly $63 million per round-trip seat on Soyuz missions. NASA expects domestic carriers to charge less than Russia's price.
Earlier this year, lawmakers led by Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., pushed NASA to sel ect one company to continue the next phase of commercial crew development. NASA officials fought back, saying multiple companies should continue work, ensuring competition and lowering total costs.
Wolf is chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee responsible for drafting NASA's budget.
Wolf and Bolden agreed in June - after a successful test flight by SpaceX, one of the most visible commercial crew competitors - that NASA would ensure continued competition by selecting two companies for full funding awards in the next phase of the program.
Boeing and SpaceX won agreements worth $460 million and $440 million, respectively, to work on their CST-100 and Dragon capsules. Sierra Nevada was selected to continue development of the Dream Chaser lifting body spacecraft at a slower pace, receiving an award worth up to $212 million.
"In a nation that was established on free speech and public dialogue, there is no public dialogue on space and human exploration," Bolden said. "The only way to do that is out-and-out duking it out with the Congress. It's an opportunity we have to engage, and it's the closest thing we have to public dialogue. I wish we did it more in public forums."
File photo of NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver. Credit: NASA/Paul E. Alers
Despite the progress, the backlash fr om Congress and many aerospace veterans, including Apollo-era astronauts, on the commercial crew program does not sit well with Garver.
"We somehow have not characterized it in a way that's been able to get those types of people who absolutely should believe in what we're doing to see that it's going to allow NASA to advance that much more quickly and positively," Garver told a NASA advisory panel Monday.
Garver then launched into rebuttals of several arguments used by critics of commercial spaceflight.
"The safety issue? In view, this country trusts the private sector will all types of safety issues beyond what we're discussing here," Garver said. "Welfare to billionaires? How can our program be considered welfare to billionaires, when we don't talk about that with companies we do business with now, who don't take financial risks? Isn't that welfare?"
One feature of NASA's pacts with commercial spaceflight companies is the agreements are public-private partnerships. Each firm is expected to provide private investment to go along with government funding, and companies take on any budget overruns.
"Facts are facts, and we need to be able to communicate this," Garver said. "I don't think it is productive to have that kind of misinformation out there, when our commercial programs allow us to return the best value to the taxpayers."
Garver highlighted the commercial program's ability to ignite innovation, create jobs, and return the U.S. commercial space industry - including the launch services business - to a leadership position in a hotly competitive environment with Europe, Russia and China.
"People think spaceflight is over because the shuttle is not flying," Garver said. "It's part of this overall communications challenge that we have to let people know NASA is not over."
Garver said: "We aren't going to just keep doing the same things over and over because that's not what advances the economy and society."
NASA Awards Commercial Crew Certification Contracts
NASA announced Dec. 10 the next step in its plan to launch American astronauts from U.S. soil, selecting three companies to conduct activities under contracts that will enable future certification of commercial spacecraft as safe to carry humans to the International Space Station.
Advances made by these American companies during the first contract phase known as the certification products contracts (CPC) will begin the process of ensuring integrated crew transportation systems will meet agency safety requirements and standards to launch American astronauts to the International Space Station from the United States, ending the agency’s reliance on Russia for these transportation services. The second phase of certification will result in a separately competed contract.
CPC contractors are: -- The Boeing Company, Houston, $9,993,000 -- Sierra Nevada Corporation Space System, Louisville, Colo., $10,000,000 -- Space Exploration technologies Corp., Hawthorne, Calif., $9,589,525
"These contracts represent important progress in restoring human spaceflight capabilities to the United States," said Phil McAlister, director of the Commercial Spaceflight Development Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "NASA and its industry partners are committed to the goal of safely and cost-effectively launching astronauts from home within the next five years."
During the Phase 1 CPC contracts, from Jan. 22, 2013 through May 30, 2014, the companies will work with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) to discuss and develop products to implement the agency's flight safety and performance requirements. This includes implementation across all aspects of the space system, including the spacecraft, launch vehicle, and ground and mission operations.
Under the contract, a certification plan will be developed to achieve safe, crewed missions to the space station. This includes data that will result in developing engineering standards, tests and analyses of the crew transportation systems design.
"I congratulate the three companies for their selection," said Ed Mango, CCP manager at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. "This is the program's first major, fixed-price contract. The effort will bring space system designs within NASA's safety and performance expectations for future flights to the International Space Station."
The second phase of the certification contract, expected to begin in mid-2014, will involve a full and open competition. It will include the final development, testing and verifications necessary to allow crewed demonstration flights to the space station.
NASA is facilitating the development of U.S. commercial crew space transportation capabilities with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from low-Earth orbit for potential future government and commercial customers.
While NASA works with U.S. industry partners to develop these capabilities, the agency also is developing the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS), a crew capsule and heavy-lift rocket to provide an entirely new capability for human exploration. Designed to be flexible for launching spacecraft for crew and cargo missions, SLS and Orion will expand human presence beyond low-Earth orbit and enable new missions of exploration in the solar system.
NASA to Hold Commercial Crew Program Status Update Jan. 9
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA will hold a status update news conference to discuss the progress of the agency's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) at 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The briefing from Kennedy Space Center in Florida will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency's website.
Through CCP, NASA is facilitating the development of U.S. commercial crew space transportation capabilities to achieve safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from low-Earth orbit for potential future government and commercial customers.
Briefing participants are: -- Phil McAlister, NASA Commercial Spaceflight Development director -- Ed Mango, NASA Commercial Crew Program manager -- Rob Meyerson, Blue Origin president and program manager -- John Mulholland, The Boeing Co. Commercial Programs Space Exploration vice president and program manager -- Mark Sirangelo, Sierra Nevada Corp vice president and SNC Space Systems chairman -- Garrett Reisman, Space Exploration Technologies Commercial Crew project manager
To participate by phone, media representatives must call the newsroom at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston at 281-483-5111, 15 minutes before the briefing begins. Priority will be given to journalists participating in person. Questions by phone will be taken as time permits. To participate via Twitter, journalists should use the hashtag #askNASA.
SpaceX has an ambitious schedule of seven milestones to complete this year under the NASA-funded commercial crew program which is aimed at transforming the Dragon freighter into a crew vehicle and human rating the Falcon 9 booster.
The company’s efforts this year are set to culminate in a pad abort test in December. SpaceX is eligible for up to $440 million during this phase of the commercial crew program, which ends in 2014.
CCiCAP Milestones for 2013
5. Pad Abort Test Review. SpaceX will hold a Pad Abort Test Review to demonstrate the maturity of the pad abort test article design and test concept of operations. March 2013 - $20 Million
6. Human Certification Plan Review. SpaceX will hold a Human Certification Plan Review to present the Human Certification Plan. This Human Certification Plan Review will cover plans for certification of the design of the spacecraft, launch vehicle, and ground and mission operations systems. May 2013 - $50 Million
7. On-Orbit and Entry Preliminary Design Review (PDR). SpaceX will hold an On-Orbit and Entry Preliminary Design Review (PDR) to demonstrate that the overall CTS preliminary design for orbit, rendezvous and docking with the ISS, and entry flight regimes meets all requirements with acceptable risk and within schedule constraints and that it establishes the basis for proceeding with detailed design. July 2013 - $35 Million
8. In-Flight Abort Test Review. SpaceX will hold an In-Flight Abort Test Review to demonstrate the maturity of the in-flight abort test article design and test concept of operations. September 2013 - $10 Million
9. Safety Review. SpaceX will hold a Safety Review at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, or a nearby facility to demonstrate that the CTS design is progressing toward meeting the Commercial Crew Program’s safety goals. October 2013 - $50 Million
10. Flight Review of Upgraded Falcon 9. SpaceX will conduct a review of a launch of the upgraded Falcon 9 launch vehicle demonstrating the operation of enhanced first-stage M1D engines, stage separation systems, enhanced second-stage MVacD engine and mission-critical vehicle telemetry during flight. Demonstration of the upgraded launch vehicle will serve as a risk reduction for the planned inflight abort test. November 2013 - $0
11. Pad Abort Test. SpaceX will conduct a pad abort test of the Dragon spacecraft. The scenario where an abort is initiated while the CTS is still on the pad is a design driver for the launch abort system as it dictates the total impulse and also requires parachute deployment in close proximity to the ground. December 2013 - $30 Million
Space 2013: Boeing to Tackle 13 Commercial Crew Milestones Posted by Doug Messier on January 8, 2013, at 5:18 am
Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft will use landing bags. (Credit: Boeing)
The Boeing Company has a big job ahead in 2013 in the development of its seven-person CST-100 spacecraft. The company is scheduled to complete 13 milestones out of a total of 19 as part of the NASA funded Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCAP) program.
Some of the key milestones for the coming year include:
Service Module Propulsion System Critical Design Review Launch Vehicle Adapter Critical Design Review Emergency Detection System (EDS) Standalone Testing.
Boeing completed the first three of its 19 milestones last year for $126.9 million. The company is scheduled to complete an additional three milestones during the first four months of 2014.
A full list of 2013 milestones are shown below.
4. Software Integrated Engineering Release 2.0. Boeing shall demonstrate the software release [REDACTED] closed loop with guidance, Navigation & Control (GN &C) for the flight ascent phase. January 2013 - $20.4 Million
5. Landing & Recovery/Ground Communication Design Review. Boeing shall conduct a Landing & Recovery / Ground Communication Design Review which establishes the baseline plan, for equipment, and infrastructure for conducting CST-100 spacecraft flight operations fulfilling both ground communications and landing and recovery operations. January 2013 - $28.8 Million
6. Launch Vehicle Adapter (LVA) Preliminary Design Review (PDR). The LVA PDR demonstrates that the preliminary design meets requirements with acceptable risk and within the cost and schedule constraints and establishes the basis for proceeding with detailed design. February 2013 - $45.5 Million
7. Integrated Stack Force and Moment Wind Tunnel Test. Boeing shall develop a test matrix, fabricate the necessary test models, and perform an integrated launch vehicle force and moment wind tunnel test to validate predictions on integrated Crew Module (CM)/Service Module (SM)/Launch Vehicle (LV) stack for ascent. April 2013 - $37.8 Million
8. Dual Engine Centaur (DEC) Liquid Oxygen Duct Development Test. Boeing shall complete a Dual Engine Centaur Liquid Oxygen Duct Development Test. May 2013 - $21.5 Million
9. Orbital Maneuvering and Attitude Control (OMAC) Engine Development Test. Boeing shall complete the OMAC Engine development test to support component, subsystem and CST-100 vehicle level development. July 2013 - $50.2 Million
10. Spacecraft Primary Structures Critical Design Review (CDR). A Spacecraft Primary Structures CDR confirms that the requirements, detailed designs, and plans for test and evaluation form a satisfactory basis for fabrication, assembly and structural testing. October 2013 - $8.6 Million
11. Service Module Propulsion System Critical Design Review. Boeing shall perform a Service Module (SM) Propulsion System Critical Design Review (CDR) after major SM Propulsion components have completed their individual CDR. CDR confirms that the requirements, detailed designs, and plans for test and evaluation form a satisfactory basis for production and integration. November 2013 - $7.5 Million
12. Mission Control Center Interface Demonstration Test. The Mission Control Center (MCC) Interface Demonstration Test demonstrates the linkage between the MCC and the Boeing Avionics Software Integration Facility which is a precursor to integrated simulation capability for flight operations training. September 2013 - $7.9 Million
13. Launch Vehicle Adapter Critical Design Review. Boeing shall complete a Launch Vehicle Adapter (LVA) Critical Design Review (CDR). CDR confirms that the requirements, detailed designs, and plans for test and evaluation form a satisfactory basis for production and integration. September 2013 - $13.5 Million
14. Emergency Detection System (EDS) Standalone Testing. Boeing shall complete the Initial EDS Testing – Launch Vehicle Stand-alone. October 2013 - $13.8 Million
15. Certification Plan Review. Boeing shall complete a review of the CCTS Certification Plan which defines our strategy leading to a crewed flight test. November 2013 $5.8 Million 16. Avionics Software Integration Lab (ASIL) Multi-String Demonstration Test. Boeing shall demonstrate the [REDACTED] flight software closed loop with GN&C for the flight ascent phase. December 2013 - $24.9 Million
Company test pilots slated for first commercial space flights
The first American rockets and spacecraft to fly in the wake of the shuttle's retirement will be crewed by company test pilots -- not NASA astronauts -- in part to give space agency managers better insight into flight readiness and safety, officials said Wednesday.
Assuming NASA gets the funding managers say they need -- a big if in today's political environment -- Space Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, hopes to launch a manned version of its Dragon cargo ship in the mid 2015 timeframe, followed by a crewed flight to the International Space Station later that year.
A top Boeing manager told reporters the company's CST-100 capsule should be ready for an initial three-day orbital test flight, with company pilots, in 2016. A senior manager with Sierra Nevada, which has pinned its hopes on a winged orbiter similar in appearance to a mini space shuttle, said both manned and autonomous sub-orbital test flights will be used to pave the way to orbital missions.
The test flights will be part of a complex certification process that will lead to NASA flights to and from the space station in the 2017 timeframe, budgets permitting. Whether those flights will use all-NASA crews or combinations of company pilots and NASA passengers is not yet clear.
NASA, industry committed to human spaceflight By Rebecca Regan Spaceport News
NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) and its industry partners have spent the last few years investing their time, money, efforts and reputations into shaping America's next-generation human spaceflight capabilities.
"This program really brings new meaning to 'skin in the game,'" said Phil McAlister, NASA Commercial Spaceflight Development director, during a televised status upd ate Jan. 9 at Kennedy Space Center. NASA and company representatives participated in the upd ate to discuss their accomplishments to date and lay out their plans for 2013 and beyond as they work toward ensuring America has safe, reliable and affordable crew transportation systems launching from U.S. soil by mid-decade. "The agreements are paid-for-performance milestones, so our partners only get paid when they show demonstrative progress toward developing their crew transportation systems," McAlister said. "This allows us to ensure that our partners are making good progress and are making good use of taxpayer money." Agreements made with The Boeing Company, Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) Space Systems and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) during NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative are set to bring about some exciting milestones this year.
Boeing is on track to pick up the keys this summer to Kennedy's former Orbiter Processing Facility-3, now called the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility (C3PF), to begin manufacturing its CST-100 spacecraft. C3PF has been undergoing modifications by Space Florida to support the clean-floor processing needs of the spacecraft. Incorporating astronaut feedback into the cockpit design and demonstrating flight software, ground operations and landing/recovery plans are on tap for 2013. "Everything is focused on making sure we properly and aggressively mature the design so that we can have a very robust critical design review at the end of this phase," said John Mulholland, Boeing's Commercial Programs Space Exploration vice president and program manager. "It will give us confidence that we can move in with very low risk into the qualification and flight demonstration phase." Boeing's subcontractor, United Launch Alliance, will focus on verifying that its dual-engine Centaur can perform as planned on the Atlas V rocket and testing the launch vehicle adaptor between the spacecraft and the rocket. Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne also will complete additional propulsion testing on the CST-100's launch abort engines.
SNC is gearing up for its first free-flight test of the Dream Chaser spacecraft at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California early this year. During the test, the vehicle will be dropped for a full autonomous flight to demonstrate the aerodynamics and controllability during the approach-and-landing phase that culminates in a hard surface runway landing and runway rollout. "The facility there has been the home of so many tests, including the shuttle tests, and we're going to be picking that mantle up and starting our first flight tests here in the first quarter of this year," said Mark Sirangelo, Sierra Nevada Corp. vice president and SNC Space Systems chairman. The company currently is testing its Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) and reaction control system, performing landing gear tests and flight simulations. Testing of the company's hybrid rocket motors is ongoing at its facility in California.
SpaceX also has ambitions to fly its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule during CCiCap. A pad abort test scheduled for late 2013 will prepare the company for an in-flight abort test in 2014. "We'll end this year with a flight-like, full-scale pad abort test for certification as well as risk mitigation," said Garrett Reisman, SpaceX Commercial Crew project manager. "We're going to take a Dragon, as flight-like as possible, take it from our pad over at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and demonstrate our ability to get away from the Falcon 9 on the pad from zero altitude and zero airspeed if we were ever having a bad day on the pad." Reisman said they'll spend CCiCap stressing and bending their primary Dragon structure to prove it's ready to be manufactured. They'll culminate their agreement with an in-flight abort test during which Dragon will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and then light up its SuperDracos to prove the abort system could safely whisk the spacecraft and its crew members away from a failing rocket and safely splash down in the Atlantic Ocean. "Having strapped into a rocket before, I can tell you that I have personal and emotional reasons of why I want to build a vehicle that is safer than anything that's ever flown before by an order of magnitude," said Riesman, who is a two-time space shuttle astronaut and International Space Station flight crew engineer.
The same three CCiCap partners were awarded contracts that kick off Jan. 22. Called the Certification Products Contracts (CPC), the initiative will allow certification plans to take shape for agency missions to the International Space Station. During the conference, Blue Origin also announced its plans to continue its Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) partnership with NASA in an unfunded capacity. The company previously received $22 million to advance its subsystem technologies, a new Liquid Hydrogen and Liquid Oxygen engine and pusher escape system. A continuation of a CCDev2 partnership would allow the company to receive expert feedback from NASA on the progress of its engine development, biconic-shaped spacecraft and integration plans for future flights. As the companies se t out to prove their systems can be called upon for crewed missions to low-Earth orbit, the program is se tting its sights on a second phase of certification contracts for station missions, which could be announced in mid-2014. "I think the partnership between NASA and each of these companies clearly shows that we have a very vibrant space industry in the United States," said Ed Mango, CCP manager. "The four companies here today are capable and are the leading edge of what it takes to get folks back into low-Earth orbit over time."
SpaceX Crewed Dragon: Pressing home the advantage January 10, 2013 by Chris Bergin
With all three Commercial Crew partners providing a status update at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) this week, SpaceX have outlined their path towards launching a crew on their Dragon spacecraft in 2015. With the advantage of already flying cargo missions on a near-human rated Dragon, SpaceX are leading the drive to return domestic crew launch capability to the United States.
Обама подписал закон о сотрудничестве с Россией в космосе 15 января 2013, 05:22
Президент США Барак Обама подписал закон о продлении сотрудничества с Россией в космической сфере до 2020 года, сообщает пресс-служба Белого дома.
«Президент подписал в понедельник закон, который продлевает с 1 июля 2016 года до 31 декабря 2020 года полномочия НАСА по выплатам России за работу на Международной космической станции. Закон также продлевает на 2013 год полномочия министерства транспорта по осуществлению выплат по жалобам о причинении вреда, вызванного коммерческими запусками», - говорится в сообщении пресс-службы, передает РИА «Новости».
Закон был принят конгрессом в конце декабря 2012 года
Commercial Crew Efforts To Be Hit Hard By Sequestration By Jefferson Morris
February 15, 2013
NASA’s topline budget for fiscal 2013 will be reduced by $726.7 million as compared to its budget request if sequestration takes effect March 1, with a significant portion of that cut being absorbed by the agency’s efforts to nurture commercial systems for transporting crew and cargo to low Earth orbit.
“Sequestration would reduce Commercial Space Flight funding by $441.6 million below the FY 2013 budget request,” writes Administrator Charles Bolden in a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).
As a result, NASA would not be able to make fourth-quarter milestone payments to the industry teams working on the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) program, including for SpaceX’s Inflight Abort Test Review, Boeing’s Orbital Maneuvering and Attitude Control Engine Development Test, and the Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Integrated System Safety Analysis Review #2, according to Bolden.
“Overall availability of commercial crew transportation services would be significantly delayed, thereby extending our reliance on foreign providers for crew transportation to the International Space Station,” he says.
The overall Exploration budget would see a reduction of $332.2 million as compared to its $3.9 billion fiscal 2013 request.
The agency’s Space Technology budget would see a steep reduction of $149.4 million, as compared to its $699 million fiscal 2013 request. As a result, NASA says it would have to consider options including canceling technology development projects; scrapping several flight demonstrations; eliminating or scaling back annual solicitations for Space Technology Research Grants, NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts and the Small Spacecraft Technology Program; reducing the number of Flight Opportunity program flights and payloads in fiscal 2013 and beyond; and eliminating the Centennial Challenges prize program.
The agency’s science budget would take a relatively modest hit of $51.1 million, as compared to its $4.9 billion fiscal 2013 request. This would result in reducing funding for new Explorer and Earth Venture class missions by 10-15%, and reducing competed research and analysis funding by 2%.
Aeronautics would see a reduction of $7.3 million, as compared to its $551.5 million fiscal 2013 request. And the agency’s construction programs would see a reduction of $251.7 million, as compared to their $619.2 million fiscal 2013 request.
Commercial crew program threatened by budget cuts BY STEPHEN CLARK SPACEFLIGHT NOW Posted: February 23, 2013
Automatic spending cuts due to go into effect March 1 would likely extend U.S. reliance on Russia for human spaceflight, delay development of badly-needed next-generation weather satellites, and force a reduction in radar scans searching for space debris, according to Obama administration officials.
Artist's concept of Boeing's CST-100 commercial crew spacecraft. Credit: Boeing
That's if Congress and the White House don't act to avoid the across-the-board cuts, which will be automatically triggered at the end of next week without a compromise on how to deal with the federal government's budget deficit.
NASA would lose about $894 million fr om its current budget outlook in the period between March 1 and Sept. 30, the end of fiscal year 2013.
According to a letter to the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, the space agency's commercial crew program would suffer the brunt of the budget cuts.
By the second half of 2013, NASA says it will be unable to make payments to companies working on private spaceships under the agency's commercial crew program.
"Overall availability of commercial crew transportation services would be significantly delayed, thereby extending our reliance on foreign providers for crew transportation to the International Space Station," Bolden wrote in a letter to Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
NASA has public-private partnership agreements with Boeing Co., SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corp. to fund the design and testing of commercial spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to the space station. NASA makes payments to the companies upon completion of predetermined development milestones.
Until a commercial provider becomes operational, which NASA projects by 2017, U.S. astronauts will ride Russian Soyuz spacecraft while voyaging to the space station and back to Earth.
Bolden wrote the automatic cuts, known as sequestration, could cause launch delays for NASA's scientific research satellites and potential cancellations of space technology projects, such as advanced communications, radiation protection, nuclear systems and other fields.
The White House and Congress agreed on the sequestration plan in 2011 as part of a compromise to raise the federal government's debt lim it. Sequestration was meant to be a "poison pill" to compel leaders in both parties to reach an agreement to rein in the budget deficit.
But lawmakers could not come to a resolution, and Congress reached a deal Jan. 1 to put off the spending cuts for two months and extend current income tax rates for individuals earning less than $400,000 and households earning less than $450,000.
Sequestration was originally set to go into effect at the beginning of 2013. It impacts all federal discretionary spending, slashing 8.2 percent annually from non-defense government agencies and 9.4 percent from military programs.
Unless Congress and the Obama administration agree on targeted budget cuts - sparing some programs and still hitting others - every corner of the government's military, research and regulatory apparatus will see their funding reduced.
Artist's concept of next-generation GOES weather satellites. Credit: NOAA
NOAA's next-generation geostationary weather observatories, currently scheduled for launch in 2015 and 2017, would face a delay of two or three years if the automatic budget cuts take effect and stay in place.
"This delay would increase the risk of a gap in satellite coverage and diminish the quality of weather forecasts and warnings," said Rebecca Blank, acting Secretary of Commerce.
Defense Department officials say sequestration would be devastating to the military, predicting thousands of furloughs and decreased combat readiness.
Air Force Space Command announced Feb. 8 it would reduce some missile warning and space surveillance operations.
Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force chief of staff, told a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on Feb. 13 that Space Command would curtail observations using secondary radars to monitor for missile attacks and track objects in orbit.
The Air Force uses satellites and a network of ground-based radars for the early warning and surveillance tasks.
"We don't have as much redundancy now in the system and we don't have as much capacity to track objects in orbit," Welsh said.
Even if sequestration takes hold, it could be short-lived. The government's current budget resolution runs out March 27, and Congress must pass another budget by then to avoid a government shutdown. The new budget could include deficit reductions directed at specific programs, instead of across-the-board cuts.