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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 TechIsGr8 on 7/23/2010 2:08:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Perhaps the reason you have a job over here is because our lower taxes create more wealth to invest in ideas that create more jobs


Yeah, that's why the US effective unemployment rate is up over 20%, because the tax breaks we've given the wealthy for the past 30 years have gone right into American jobs. Certainly those wealthy folks haven't moved their HQ to Bermuda or the Middle East to avoid paying American taxes. And certainly the wealthy have reinvested all that money right back into creating new corporations right here in America, which has just resulted in so much work, and so many jobs, that we just can't find enough workers to fill them.

If you study history, you would learn that government spending, and government regulation, has been responsible for the biggest eras of growth in the US. Removing regulations and lowering corporate taxes, along with lowering taxes on the wealthy, have gutted America's ability to compete in the global marketplace. Hey, here's an idea, why don't you open up a clothing store right across the street from WalMart. I'm sure you'll be able to compete with their low prices, after all the free market is perfect, and you'll thrive.


"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller














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