Space Taxis by 2017-Compliments of Boeing & SpaceX

Applied Technology Institute (ATICorses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. We think the news below would be of interest to our readers. NASA has selected Boeing and SpaceX to resume U.S. human spaceflight. The two companies are newly contracted to become NASA’s space taxis, flying American astronauts to and from the […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATICorses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. We think the news below would be of interest to our readers. NASA has selected Boeing and SpaceX to resume U.S. human spaceflight. The two companies are newly contracted to become NASA’s space taxis, flying American astronauts to and from the International Space Station, and eventually ending the county’s reliance on Russia for transport. Since the shuttle program was retired [in 2011], NASA crew members have been hitching rides on Russian Soyuz spacecraft, at a cost of $70 million per seat.  The agency typically purchases six seats per year. NASA’s partnership with the companies is part of the Commercial Crew Program. The program is intended to help private companies develop spacecraft to carry astronauts into low Earth orbit by 2017. Once built, the seven passenger shuttle capsules will be owned by the private companies, not NASA. Both companies will design crafts and undergo safety testing before manned flights are booked. Once certified, each company will launched an estimated two to six missions. Boeing is set to build three of its CST-100 — seven passenger — crafts at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. Space X will build its first passenger craft, since its existing SpaceX Dragon delivers only cargo to the space station currently. Space X Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft for cargo in 2012. The contracts with NASA are worth $6.8 billion. Boeing has the larger share with $4.2 billion, and Space X receives $2.6 billion.


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NASA’s Space Launch System: Future Of Human Space Flight Or $500 Million Waste?

The Space Launch System, or SLS, is a Shuttle-Derived heavy launch vehicle being designed by NASA, following the cancellation of the Constellation Program, to replace the Space Shuttle. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 envisions the transformation of the Ares I and Ares V vehicle designs into a single launch vehicle usable for both crew and cargo. It is to be upgraded over […]
The Space Launch System, or SLS, is a Shuttle-Derived heavy launch vehicle being designed by NASA, following the cancellation of the Constellation Program, to replace the Space Shuttle. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 envisions the transformation of the Ares I and Ares V vehicle designs into a single launch vehicle usable for both crew and cargo. It is to be upgraded over time with more powerful versions. On September 14, 2011, NASA announced that it had selected the design of the new Space Launch System. NASA declared that it would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and provide the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S. That caused very mixed reactions. Some say that SLS is the only viable option to maintain America’s leadership in human space flight. Yet others maintain that it will never stay within its budget or schedule, and in the end will be cancelled.  Which in its turn could be detrimental to any new innovative programs attempting to lower costs by using commercial firms to fly astronauts into space. What is your opinion? Read more here


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Russia’s Soyuz Crash + US Shuttle Program Retirement= International Space Station Abandoned. How did it come to this?

Last week’s Soyuz crash was just the latest in a series of embarrassing mishaps for Russia’s space industry, which is plagued by quality problems and an ageing workforce. With no other way to get astronauts into orbit, the operation of the International Space Station is now in question. The people in the Altai Mountains of Siberia […]
Last week’s Soyuz crash was just the latest in a series of embarrassing mishaps for Russia’s space industry, which is plagued by quality problems and an ageing workforce. With no other way to get astronauts into orbit, the operation of the International Space Station is now in question. The people in the Altai Mountains of Siberia (where the crash occurred) are regarded as frugal and tough. In late summer, many live from harvesting berries and cedar nuts. They are also used to having burned-out rocket stages crash in the wilderness after spacecraft launches. When, in the middle of last week, a large ball of fire was seen in the sky above the taiga, residents of the village of Karakoksha were not alarmed.  They apparently just went back to sleep. After a malfunction, a Russian Soyuz rocket had crashed along with an unmanned cargo spacecraft named Progress. The explosion was heard even 100 kilometers (62 miles) away. This accident couldn’t have come at a worst time.  It shuttered public confidence in the aging Russian technology which is crucial to the future of manned spaceflight since NASA shut down the Space Shuttle program in July.  Russia remains the only country that is able to regularly put humans into space. Permanent operation of the International Space Station (ISS) is now impossible without the Soyuz rocket, which went into service in its current form in 1973 and had previously been the most reliable rocket of all time. Until officials figure out what went wrong with Russia’s essential Soyuz rockets, there will be no way to launch any more astronauts before the current residents have to leave in mid-November. Abandoning the space station, even for a short period, would be an unpleasant last resort for the world’s five space agencies that have spent decades working on the project. Astronauts have been living aboard the space station since 2000, and the goal is to keep it going until 2020. Even if the space shuttles still were flying, space station crews still would need Soyuz-launched capsules to serve as lifeboats, Suffredini said. The capsules are certified for no more than 6 1/2 months in space, thus the need to regularly rotate crews. Complicating matters is the need to land the capsules during daylight hours in Kazakhstan, resulting in weeks of blackout periods. NASA wants American private companies to take over crew hauls, but that’s three to five years away at best. Until then, Soyuz capsules are the only means of transporting astronauts to the space station. What is your opinion?  Do you think that International Space Station will be abandoned?


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