Hey Space Placers!
NASA has announced it has selected Boeing and Space-X for the Commercial Crew Transportation Program.
Get details here.
This is a very important date in American spaceflight history as it sets America on the path to having its own access to space since 2011. The first manned flight for both companies is scheduled for 2017.
Tune in today, 9-16-14 at 4 pm EDT to hear who NASA will select as the winner of NASA's Commercial Crew Transportation Program.
This will be interesting to watch live from Kennedy Space Center, Florida as NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and his senior leaders make the announcement.
This is a MAJOR announcement as it will decide between Boeing, Sierra Nevada or Space-X, or a combination of these three, as to who will win the contract to deliver U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
The selection will allow the winner(s) to go full speed on developing their manned spacecraft for the transportation of U.S. astronauts to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and ISS. This is a capability the U.S. has not had since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.
The U.S. (and the other ISS partners) have had to rely on and pay Russia for seats on the Soyuz spacecraft. The U.S. has been paying about $71 MILLION a seat and tensions over the Ukraine has strained U.S.-Russian ties. There has been no real affect on the operation of the ISS as a result although Russia has indicated it will cease ISS participation sooner than the U.S. desires.
Each of the competing companies has their own design:
Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft is very similar to Apollo/Orion;
Space-X will convert its very successful Dragon spacecraft that currently delivers cargo to the ISS into a manned version;
Sierra Nevada has chosen a spaceplane, the Dream Chaser for its design.
You can learn more about the CCP here.
I personally think that NASA will not put all of its manned access to LEO and ISS in just one basket, especially with this being a COMMERCIAL and not government program like Orion/SLS are. It makes sense to have two private companies available in case one goes under and/or has an accident which would ground U.S. astronauts again. We saw this happen with the Challenger and Columbia accidents and cancellation of the program altogether.
NASA cannot afford such a repeat again. The U.S. has to have its own manned access to LEO/ISS AND the ability to go deep into space which NASA's Orion/SLS will give us.
Watch this and get goose bumps like I did…..
More on this tonight.
Sky Guy with GOOSE BUMPS in VA