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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 7/23/2010 12:24:37 AM , Rating: 2
I'm 35, thanks for asking. My arguments do not fall down at all and I'll elaborate below.

Your arguments all fall down unfortunately. You claim you know for a FACT that states aren't bankrupt but instead you spout rubbish about municipal bonds. If you want to know where I got my figures from, click here:

Rubbish? Do you know ANYTHING about credit ratings and solvency of a municipality? Do you know what a municipal bond is? They represent the borrowing of individual counties via revenue and general obligation bonds. Both are extremely accurate barometers of the financial solvency of any given municipality.

If you take the sum of these in any given state you can get a fair reading of how the state is doing financially. Typically, in a healthy state, these bonds trade around par--as of now, most of these bonds are trading at a premium if the state or municipality is in good or great standing. I can pull up any state in the country whenever I want and look at the inventory of these bonds and see how they are priced. As of now, most are trading at premiums with some exceptions.

If you really want me to, I can go into great detail about how they work, premiums and discounts but I'd rather not. Just trust me on this, muni bonds are an incredibly useful way to gauge municipalities and states. They react nearly instantly to credit/debt problems, even simple things like a county losing school accreditation.


Guess what? Borrowing to make unemployment payments is NOT bankrupt. Try harder than to use BS excuses to justify your accusation. Just because you live in California which IS borderline doesn't mean the rest of the country is.

I don't know how you make the link that teachers are being fired in your city because people are unable to pay their property taxes.

Educate yourself on how our municipalities and States allocate their tax dollars for funding various segments of their budget. You'll do yourself a HUGE favor by doing this.

In my State, our property taxes DIRECTLY go to funding the schools. This is a fact. This is also why in my county, when someone reaches the age of 66, they no longer have to pay the school tax portion of their property taxes (which coincidentally makes up 80%+ of their property taxes). You can't argue with me on this. This is a fact.

Obama understands this and is trying to do something about it. I just hope he succeeds and that it goes far enough.

Obama is a tool and doesn't belong in office. He's destroying everything our men and women have died for to keep so strong and true in our country. It is clear that socialism runs deep in your blood. It is hard for someone like yourself that was not born here to really understand how our country works.

Trust me though, it does work, and a lot of people are happy with how it works right now (aside from all the crap that happened in the last few years that was a direct result of ignorance and congress being asleep). It isn't US and THEM, it is more like...

I work hard for my money, my money, my sweat, my fruits, I get to keep what I earn. If you want to have money, you work hard, you get to keep what you earn. It is capitalism.

If you really think Obama is looking out for America you need to go visit a doctor and get an MRI. He only cares about his own interests and doesn't give a darn about what the Country wants or truly needs. How can you be so naive about this?

I agree the healthcare system needs to be reformed, this is for sure. It doesn't though, need to go to a single pay system where we are dependent on our Government.

RE: There was a time...
By jive on 7/23/2010 9:16:56 AM , Rating: 3
actually you wrote quite good translation of one of the most well known socialistic phrases there is. Due to some very negative connotations to this German phrase I don't write it here though.

Capitalism is an economics of capital not work. What you want is not capitalism but socialism but not through taxes, which is known as the European way.

I applaud your attitude towards work. World really needs more people thinking that way.

RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: There was a time...
By MrBungle123 on 7/23/2010 11:21:30 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with a "Medicare buy in option" is that it would be run by the government. The government does not have to operate in a manner that is fiscally responsible like a private corporation (see $14x10^12 national debt if you don't believe me). Its responsibilities do not lie with investors, its makes the rules by which every other entity must abide, and it can bully the tax payer for more money anytime it needs an infusion of funds, not to mention that the primary objective of those who have the most power within its ranks is to get re-elected not provide the best services. No "free market" can operate in a situation in which it must compete with such an entity. It should be obvious to anyone with an IQ over 4 that understands the definition of the word "propaganda" that any justification for having the government enter the health care industry is rooted in the acquisition of power and money by those in power who at all costs wish to remain so.

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