Space

December 12, 2012

NASA awards contracts in next step toward safely launching American astronauts from U.S. soil

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 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:

  • Boeing, 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 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, 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.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Image courtesy of NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T Pyle

NASA’s Kepler reborn, makes first exoplanet find of new mission

Image courtesy of NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T Pyle The artistic concept shows NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft operating in a new mission profile called K2. Using publicly available data, astronomers have confirmed K2&...
 
 
NASA illustration

NASA, planetary scientists find meteoritic evidence of Mars water reservoir

This illustration depicts Martian water reservoirs. Recent research provides evidence for the existence of a third reservoir that is intermediate in isotopic composition between the Red Planetís mantle and its current atmosphe...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin-built MUOS-3 satellite encapsulated in launch vehicle fairing

Lockheed Martin photograph The U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System-3 satellite (above) is encapsulated in its payload fairings for a scheduled Jan. 20, 2015 launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. MUOS ope...
 

 
NASA photograph

NASA’s Orion arrives back at Kennedy

NASA photograph NASA’s Orion spacecraft returned to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Dec. 18, 2014. The spacecraft flew to an altitude of 3,600 miles in space during a Dec. 5 flight test designed to stre...
 
 

NASA launches new Micro-g NExT for undergraduates

NASA is offering undergraduate students an opportunity to participate in a new microgravity activity called Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams. The deadline for proposals is Jan. 28, 2015. Micro-g NExT challenges students to work in teams to design and build prototypes of spacewalking tools to be used by astronauts for spacewalk training in the...
 
 
launch1

Storm fails to quench liftoff of secret reconnaissance satellite

The fiery launch of an Atlas V (541), among the most powerful of the venerable Atlas family, briefly dispelled the gloom over Californiaís Central Coast on the evening of Dec. 12. A team of personnel from United Launch Allianc...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>