Boeing has signed an agreement with NASA’s Mission Operations Directorate at Johnson Space Center, Texas, to collaborate on mission planning, training and flight operations for the company’s Commercial Space Transportation-100 spacecraft.
Under the new arrangement, which Boeing negotiated under its current Phase 2 NASA Space Act Agreement for Commercial Crew Development, Boeing will begin discussions with the MOD on integrating launch operations and the company’s own mission control facility at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., with training and real-time operations at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“Adding MOD to our team leverages NASA’s experience in crewed space operations to ensure mission success for our CST-100 spacecraft,” said Chris Ferguson, director of Crew and Mission Operations for the Boeing Commercial Crew Program. “As we continue to mature our spacecraft design, MOD technical support will ensure the CST-100 is built with the operators in mind.”
Later this year, Boeing intends to enter into a larger agreement with the MOD to provide end-to-end flight operations from the command and control facility in the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center, the site where NASA managed the Apollo missions and all 135 flights of the space shuttle.
“Colocating initial CST-100 flight operations with the International Space Station flight control facility in the Mission Control Center will facilitate a seamless transition to regularly scheduled CST-100 operations with the space station,” Ferguson said. “Working with MOD on Boeing’s mission operations also will help NASA retain key proficiencies for future human spaceflight operations.”
The CST-100 is a reusable capsule-shaped spacecraft based on flight-proven subsystems and mature technologies. The system can transport up to seven people, or a combination of people and cargo. Boeing has designed the spacecraft to be compatible with a variety of expendable rockets to enable competition and reduce cost over the program life cycle. The company has selected United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V launch vehicle for initial test flights that will begin as early as 2015.
Boeing is continuing to develop the system design at its Houston and Huntington Beach, Calif., sites and is making preparations to manufacture, assemble and test the CST-100 spacecraft in the former Orbiter Processing Facility-3 at Kennedy Space Center.
Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program includes the design, manufacture, test and evaluation, and demonstration of an integrated Commercial Crew Transportation System — comprised of the CST-100 spacecraft, launch vehicle, and ground and mission operations for NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program. The Boeing system will provide crewed flights to the International Space Station and also support the Bigelow Aerospace orbital space complex. The program is based on Boeing’s experience and innovation evolved from more than 50 years of human spaceflight and nearly 100 years of commercial aviation.