Crew Dragon for DM-1 mission with Falcon 9 booster. (Credit: SpaceX)
by Douglas Messier
In its annual report issued last week, NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) pushed back against complaints that the space agency has bogged down the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) with unnecessary bureaucratic paperwork.
“It should be recognized by all parties, both internal and external to NASA, that the certification process is not merely a ‘paperwork’ process; it involves considerable detailed technical activity by both NASA and the partners,” ASAP said.
“It is the completion of NASA’s technical certification of the design, combined with a mission-specific flight readiness review, that assures the crew will fly on an adequately risk-managed spacecraft,” the report added.
The document goes on to describe the certification process that NASA is using for Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, which are each scheduled to fly uncrewed and crewed flight tests to the International Space Station (ISS) this year.
The comprehensive certification process includes the submission of test data, measurements and analysis by the companies to NASA for review and validation, the report stated. In some cases, NASA employees witness tests or conduct physical inspections of hardware.
ASAP said the process ...