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September 30 – October 6, 2013 / Vol 32, No 39 / Hawai`i Island, USA

27 Sep 2013, 20:46 UTC
September 30 – October 6, 2013 / Vol 32, No 39 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Commercial Human Spacecraft Systems Advancing through CCiCap Program
With the USA purchasing US$60M seats from Russia to launch its astronauts to space, a trio of American aerospace enterprises is advancing systems that will provide the country with this important capacity that was once a source of national pride. Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corp are all on track to complete their Commercial Crew integrated Capabilities (CCiCap) milestones by mid-2014, and potentially begin launch of crews around the middle of this decade. Boeing, which is receiving $460M of NASA seed money through the CCiCap program, is targeting a 3-day test flight of its CST-100 capsule in 2016. Sierra Nevada Corp, on track to receive $227M from NASA, recently conducted successful tests of its guidance, navigation and landing systems, and will soon begin atmospheric drop tests of its Dream Chaser spacecraft. SpaceX ($440M from NASA), which has already been using a human-rated version of their Dragon capsule in its ISS missions, appears to be the closest to achieving human space flight. According to Garrett Reisman (TL), the company’s Commercial Crew project manager, SpaceX could be ready for its 1st crewed test flight in mid-2015. The CCiCap program follows the successful COTS program ...

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