Boeing just passed NASA’s second test and is closer to launching astronauts to outer space for NASA in two years. Boeing’s ground support for the space program’s commercial crew program passed the second milestone.
Plans for the future
NASA took roughly three weeks to look closely at the company’s work at the former space shuttle processing facility in Florida’s Space Kennedy Center. Dave Allega, NASA’s commercial Crew Program ground and missions operations office explained, “Along with facility designs, we looked at the operation processes.How would they be using those facilities? What is the flow? How are they going to build up their new spacecraft, get it ready to fly, put it on the launch vehicle and then operate it once it is there? Then, after landing, how will they go recover it and turn it around to go and do it again?”
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Boeing and NASA
The CST-100 spacecraft and the SpaceX Dragon are two funded competitors that will bring astronauts to the International Space Station. This would serve as a replacement for Soyuz flights which send crews to space stations from Kazakhhstan. NASA also wants to review Boeing’s plans for training astronauts and monitoring crew members. Allega added, “The CST-100 will be a more simple vehicle to operate than the space shuttle, but the automation is complicated in and of itself, so we need to understand that automation and so does the crew.When Boeing trains our astronauts, they will have to balance simplicity, and giving the crew everything they need to know to manually operate the spacecraft just in case something goes wrong.”
It was a successful ground segment design review transcended the second milestone in Boeing’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability. In order to meet NASA’s requirement, crews have to be handed over to the agency hours before landing. Boeing has plans to land its spacecraft with airbags and a parachute in the western United States region.