Print 12 comment(s) - last by Bubbacub.. on Aug 8 at 4:25 AM

Boeing is part of the ULA partnership that makes the Atlas V rocket chosen

With the last shuttle flight over, the work to build the replacement for getting astronauts into space is well underway at NASA. The key player for the shuttle replacement is Boeing. Boeing has been working on the CST-100 crew capsule and has announced that it has chosen the rocket to launch the capsule.

Boeing has chosen the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket to launch its Crew Space Transportation CST-100 spacecraft. The choice isn’t exactly surprising given that Boeing is a member company with the ULA as is Lockheed Martin. ULA will provide the launch services for orbital flight assuming NASA chooses Boeing for a development contract with sufficient funds.

"This selection marks a major step forward in Boeing's efforts to provide NASA with a proven launch capability as part of our complete commercial crew transportation service,” said John Elbon, vice president and program manager of Commercial Crew Programs and the source selection official for Boeing.

Boeing will not start the detailed design work to integrate the CST-100 with the Atlas V rocket. The work will include refining the launch abort operations of the rocket to meet the requirements for crew safety that NASA uses. The crewed launch and other testing are expected to take place in 2015.

"We are pleased Boeing selected the Atlas V rocket and believe it is the right vehicle to help usher in the new commercial era in human spaceflight,” said George Sowers, ULA vice president of Business Development. “The Atlas V is a cost-effective, reliable vehicle and ULA stands ready to support Boeing's commercial human spaceflight program."

Being will start with wind tunnel testing of the Atlas V and the CST-100 capsule later in 2011. The results of the testing will be used to finish a preliminary design review of the integrated capsule and launch vehicle in 2012.

Boeing unveiled the CST-100 in July of last year. The capsule can transport up to seven crew to the ISS.

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This Could Be...
By mmatis on 8/5/2011 1:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
interesting. The basic Atlas V, like the basic Delta IV, does not have enough lift capability to safely put this size crew in orbit. Strap-ons are available to augment payload capability, but they add SIGNIFICANT risk and would seem to be inadequate for 7 crew to ISS. Atlas V Heavy straps 3 cores together (as does Delta IV Heavy) but has not flown yet. Looks like things might get interesting.

RE: This Could Be...
By Bubbacub on 8/7/2011 4:00:34 PM , Rating: 2
i think they are planning on using the 402 variant of the rocket. i.e. 4m fairing and no SRBs.

tbh a van sized airtight cone of metal with a special coating on the bottom shouldn't really weigh more than 3-4 tonnes.

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