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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 FaaR on 7/22/2010 12:24:01 PM , Rating: 0
"Your jealousy of America oozes out of your pores."
Right. And criticize Israel in any way, and you're immediately a Nazi anti-semite.

Your attitude is as unproductive as it is illogical.

Americans are not overtaxed by any definition of the word, but if you want to pay less taxes I suggest you start cutting where it really matters - in the military. Throwing away hundreds of billions every year at the private corporations of the military-industrial complex is a complete waste. Most other government overhead is peanuts in comparison to what upholding your own version of the roman empire is costing you.


RE: There was a time...
By MrBlastman on 7/22/2010 12:31:45 PM , Rating: 2
Our military helps keep us free. It helps zealots who want to destroy us to think otherwise.

Oh, and I'm forgetting the most important thing--it helps us pay for our weaponry that the whole world depends on when they call us to bail them out... over and over again.

So yes, our funding of the military is needed for the well-being of the whole planet. ;)

I am proud to be an American. I am not proud of our current president though.


RE: There was a time...
By Spuke on 7/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: There was a time...
By MrBlastman on 7/22/2010 2:49:17 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Our military can more than keep us free by not being a permanent fixture in anywhere except Japan.


That I agree with.

quote:
IMO, the US military should only be deployed when someone's poop shoot needs to be stomped into the ground (I do support pre-emptive strikes..it's just good strategy). And we don't need a permanent foreign presence to do that.


This too. We need our military, but it doesn't need to be everywhere, all the time. I'm pretty tired of having play police officer (which, my other post contained sarcasm about) everytime the rest of the world needs to be saved. It is like--they hate our military, yet, they cry for us the minute they are hurting and expect us to help them out.

Pretty sick, right? I'm all for having our troops at home except in instances where they need to be deployed, such as Afghanistan. It would be a crime though, to demilitarize America and let it go to waste within our borders.


RE: There was a time...
By Spuke on 7/22/2010 4:02:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Pretty sick, right?
It is and it's time for that sh!t to end. Doesn't mean we can't have allies and it doesn't mean we can't help when asked but the status quo is BS.


RE: There was a time...
By YashBudini on 7/22/2010 6:34:31 PM , Rating: 1
"Our military helps keep us free. "

But I feel trapped by $400 toilet seats and $600 hammers. Unchecked spending is the jail that binds us all.


RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: There was a time...
By Spuke on 7/22/2010 2:13:11 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Most other government overhead is peanuts in comparison to what upholding your own version of the roman empire is costing you.
Tell me how many other countries are in the "American Empire" where a correlation to the Roman Empire would be valid?

quote:
hrowing away hundreds of billions every year at the private corporations of the military-industrial complex is a complete waste.
I agree wholeheartedly, and quite frankly, I think you'll see a permanent change in the years to come. My prediction is a massive withdrawal after we bail out of Iraq (maybe after Afghanistan) from most, if not all, foreign countries. I think it's already happening. When Sec of Defense and various military leaders say we don't need certain things when historically they would've never said such things is a sign that there is a major change in thinking.

I personally believe that our only required presence is in Japan where we have pledged to provide for their defense. Thus allowing them not to have to spend a ton of money on their own military (yes they have one but it would need to be MUCH bigger if they were on their own). Everyone else doesn't need our presence.

The US has an active program of closing bases not just domestically, but in foreign countries too. It's a long time consuming process because Congress wants to gauge socioeconomic impacts and etc and I understand why this needs to be done locally but why does that matter overseas. Just close down and leave. I doubt we'll have that much impact on the economy in other countries.

I'm really not a fan of permanent foreign military bases and other Americans feel the same way. Hell, there are quite a few Americans that don't think we should be involved at all in foreign affairs. Some think we shouldn't even trade with other countries. I'm not that hardcore. A reduction in foreign involvement, especially when it clearly has nothing to do with us, would be nice.

PS - You can take the UN headquarters somewhere else too.


RE: There was a time...
By Obujuwami on 7/22/2010 3:44:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
PS - You can take the UN headquarters somewhere else too.


I too agree with this, send it to someplace neutral, like Switzerland, and free up the space for us. The country is neutral, has a low terrorism rate, and has great chocolate for the fat cat ambassadors who take a hefty check for doing not so much.

It would also cut down on all the political spying and other crap that we have to deal with.


RE: There was a time...
By Solandri on 7/22/2010 5:42:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Americans are not overtaxed by any definition of the word, but if you want to pay less taxes I suggest you start cutting where it really matters - in the military. Throwing away hundreds of billions every year at the private corporations of the military-industrial complex is a complete waste. Most other government overhead is peanuts in comparison to what upholding your own version of the roman empire is costing you.

Historically, U.S. military spending is near all-time lows relative to other government spending. The bulk of U.S. government spending has been social programs since the mid-1970s.
http://gravitron5.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/dist...

You might want to actually read up on what the U.S. government is paying for, and what future projected costs are; instead of taking for granted the left-wing rhetoric that military spending is the root of all our fiscal ills. The sword of Damocles hanging over our heads is not defense spending. It's entitlement programs. If current budgetary trends continue, by 2025 you could completely eliminate military spending and the federal budget would still be running a deficit because of the increased cost of social programs.
http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=3521&type=0
http://www.cbo.gov/publications/bysubject.cfm?cat=...

We pay lots of smart people at the Congressional Budget Office to summarize these numbers for us. Please, go read them. Educate yourself.


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