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An artist rendering of the upcoming Crew Space Transportation CST-100 spacecraft  (Source: Boeing)

Cutaway view of the CST-100 capsule  (Source: Boeing)

  (Source: Boeing)
Craft is expected to offer commercial service in the place of the retired Space Shuttle

Boeing recently received a lot of press for the X-37B, a spacecraft it designed for NASA that has been passed off to the U.S. Air Force and further refined into a fully operational vehicle.  It turns out that was certainly not the only spacecraft the company is cooking up.

Under a $18M USD contract with NASA Boeing is building a capsule craft called the Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100.  The craft can hold up to seven crew members.  It simplifies matters by reusing existing components and architecture from past capsule designs -- meaning that NASA will likely save on repair costs.

Size wise, the craft is bigger than an Apollo program capsule, but smaller than the planned Orion spacecraft which is NASA's official shuttle replacement.  It can launch aboard a variety of rockets, including the Atlas, Falcon, and Delta designs.

The plan will be to use the craft to ferry passengers and supplies to and from the International Space Station.  The craft will also likely service future upcoming commercial space stations, including those of Bigelow Aerospace Orbital Space Complex.  Bigelow is designing high-strength inflatable space stations which it plans to use in a commercial space hotel venture.

Competition in the field is tight, so Boeing has its work cut out for it.  In February, NASA gave $50M USD to Blue Origin, Boeing, Paragon Space Development Corporation, Sierra Nevada Corporation and United Launch Alliance to develop craft that could ferry passengers or freight to the ISS.  And while they have not officially tossed their hats in the ring, Virgin Galactic, makers of the space tourism craft SpaceShip One, and SpaceX, makers of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle both could design passenger craft to service the station at some point.

Ultimately, Boeing seems to be going for the right approach -- mixing affordability with an adequate design and flexibility.  How the design works out, though, remains to be seen.  Ultimately the results will prove a part of the critical test of whether President Obama's plans to denationalize the U.S space industry are feasible.



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RE: There was a time...
By MrBlastman on 7/22/2010 12:14:05 PM , Rating: 3
Where has that spending on the people helped? I don't see it. Pray tell me how pissing trillions of dollars down the drain into the people's pockets (here's a hint--that money Obama promised, VERY LITTLE of it has ended up in OUR pockets) has helped our economy.

The fact of the matter is, the ONLY thing that can help our economy is the people and businesses themselves. The people need to spend in order to get the wheels turning again.

Inspire the people and the people will take action. Hand them money and crap and they'll sit on their behinds and do nothing.

NASA costs pennies to fund in the grand scheme of things and produces technologies over time (albeit slowly, but, we took how many thousands of years to discover nuclear power?) that help change and improve society, sometimes indirectly.

Employing census workers, though, does not.


RE: There was a time...
By Dr of crap on 7/22/2010 1:01:21 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but I have to agree here.
We piss away FAR to much money on programs dreamed up by politicians that only go so far as to get them elected again, and are a drain on us.
Way to many social programs.
And yes I'm sure most of you can point out how these programs are helping out a few people, yet the opposite is true as well. I'm sure there's A LOT of misuse and many people that do not need these programs are in them!
And you know how the govt works - 10 people to do the job that could be done by 1 or 2!
The work programs of FDR is what we need to kick start a better country!


RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/2010 2:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And you know how the govt works - 10 people to do the job that could be done by 1 or 2!


Um, I hate to break this to you, but the huge corp I work for has that very same problem you attribute to government. Through various mergers and acquisitions, it has grown so big, that left hand has completely detached from the right hand's body, and the layers of management and bureaucracy make government look nimble. This is a "free market" result, when government allows the Sherman AntiTrust Act to go unenforced.

And by the way, why wouldn't you consider FDR's "work programs" to be social programs? Seems to me, they were created for the social good of putting people to work. Yep, more government "socialism". Seems to me that the free market should have started building hydro-electric dams and interstate tollways, rather than the government "socialism" doing that under FDR, right?


RE: There was a time...
By yomamafor1 on 7/22/10, Rating: -1
"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan














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