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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 MrBungle123 on 7/23/2010 11:41:39 AM , Rating: 2
The trouble with people like you MrBlastMan, is you have been raised to think that every man should fend for himself and not care about his neighbor; that any kind of social-service is fascist and un-American, but by neglecting social responsibilities like providing health-care for all and giving benefits to the poor, you're simply creating a system of US and THEM; those that have and those that have not.

When are you leftist big government types going to actually go out and learn the roots of your own philosophy? Small government conservatives, libertarians, and any other groups usually associated with right wing American politics are polar opposites to fascists, NAZI's, etc...

First of all, a small "let everyone fend for themselves" bare bones government cannot be oppressive because it will lack the power to oppress its people.

Next lets look at the National Socialist German Workers Party (the NAZI party in case you are so ignorant that you have no idea what that means).

These are items from their 25 point platform:

7. "We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens."

Does this really need any explaining? It fits almost perfectly with the philosophy of any leftist progressive; they want the government to help. Those on the right want the government to leave them alone.

13. "We demand the nationalization of all associated industries."

Who is calling for the nationalization of industries?! [Big oil, car companies, banks] Oh, that would be the leftist democrats and their radical voting base.

14. "We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries."

Who has on numerous occasions called for "windfall profits taxes" and the confiscation of wealth from the rich to run socialist programs? It’s NOT the right it’s the left... people like you.

15. "We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare."

Again who wants to cut down on entitlement programs? The tea party folks, the libertarians, the conservatives. Who wants to expand these programs? The leftists... Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Democrats, etc...

The reason why those of us on the right believe that a big welfare state is fascist and un-American is because it IS fascist and un-American! Take away the racist genocide and NAZI philosophy and left wing progressive philosophy are almost in lock step!

RE: There was a time...
By TechIsGr8 on 7/23/2010 2:01:11 PM , Rating: 2
MrBungle123, you're getting all your "facts" from right wing websites and media pundits. The terrible lefty democrats had a big problem with bailing out corporations, which was pushed by your president ("W") in his last year in office. And I certainly remember Bushie's breathless demand for your tax money to bail out big corporations. Seems to me, that action was more socialistic than anything Obama has done. And it seems to me that Obama's "socialism" for the car companies was limited to a loan, something which the free market was unwilling to do. Same thing with nuclear power plants. The free market will not fund loans for nukes, nor will the free market insure nuke plants. The right wing seems all hot and bothered about wanting nuclear power, yet that requires the government to financially back them. So, who is a socialist, the "lefties" or the "righties". Seems both sides have blood on their hands.

Oh, and let's not forget, your president ran up $4 trillion in debt, creating a much larger federal government than any other president in the past 30 years. So, how in Heaven's name can you use the phrase "leftist big government", without falling into depressive self-loathing for being so disingenuous and misleading?

RE: There was a time...
By MrBungle123 on 7/23/2010 11:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
how in Heaven's name can you use the phrase "leftist big government", without falling into depressive self-loathing for being so disingenuous and misleading?

It's pretty easy... See I don't confuse terms I use them when they are appropriate. You seem to think that Republican = Conservative and based on this belief you conclude that I approved of everything "dubya" did. I don't, in fact he did more to piss me off in his last 4 years than he did that made me happy.

He lost me when he pushed for amnesty for illegal's along with that back stabbing election year conservative duche McCain. His 700 Billion Dollar TARP program was a sham; nothing more than a way for those in power to transfer untold amounts of wealth to their cronies via corporate welfare.

What you've allowed yourself to do is fall into the trap of believing that Democrat = Liberal and Republican = Conservative... this is simply not true. The two extremes are the statist super left that places all their hopes, dreams, and aspirations in government and its ability to save them from all pain fiscal, physical, and otherwise... then there is the anarchist super right that would have no government what so ever. with true left being 100 and true right being 0 you will find me ideologically at about 15. Neither major party represents me, as of lately they have both been far too left as far as I'm concerned. The Dems just happen to be wrong more often and as such deserving of more of my criticism, don't think that just because I didn't openly attack them in my last post that I don't have my issues with the Republicans.

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