Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Boeing CST-100 spacecraft favoured in NASA Space Taxi Decision

A Boeing CST-100 spacecraft is shown near the International Space Station in this artist's rendering of the commercial manned spacecraft for astronauts.

Credit: Boeing

The private spaceflight company Boeing has been hard at work designing a capsule that could deliver NASA astronauts to the International Space Station sometime in the next three years, and pretty soon, everyone will find out if all that hard work has paid off.

NASA is expected to announce its pick (or picks) for a contract that will enable a commercial company (or companies) to fly manned missions to the International Space Station by 2017 any day now, and Boeing's astronaut-carrying CST-100 capsule is in the running.

People working with the commercial spaceflight company's capsule have been working diligently to make sure that they meet their goals ahead of the commercial crew announcement.

"Obviously, we're very anxious to get to the announcement, but the team has just been outstanding," John Mulholland, Boeing commercial crew program manager, told reporters.

Boeing is competing with three other spaceflight companies for the commercial crew contract, technically called the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract (CCtCap).

Sierra Nevada Corp., SpaceX and Blue Origin are also still in the running for the chance to fly humans to the International Space Station from the United States for the first time since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.

At the moment, NASA astronauts fly to space aboard Russian-built Soyuz space capsules.

The upcoming announcement marks the last in a series of awards put in place by NASA in 2010.

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