By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Aerospace
Aerospace giant Boeing has unveiled a new capsule spaceship for NASA that can transport people to and from space stations.
American aerospace giant Boeing has unveiled new renderings of a new capsule spaceship that can transport passengers to and from space stations.
The spacecraft, called the Crew Space Transportation-100, or CST-100, is part of an $18 million contract with NASA to replace the iconic space shuttle when the last of the fleet is retired in 2011.
Boeing unveiled the design of the spacecraft on Monday.
The ship can carry up to seven people and will be sized somewhere between the larger Orion spacecraft and smaller Apollo capsule.
The good news: the spacecraft has been designed to accommodate several kinds of boosters, including United Launch Alliance's Atlas and Delta models and SpaceX's Falcon model.
It will use a simple systems architecture and existing, proven components, Boeing says.
The importance of the short-haul capsule -- the "100" stands for the 100 kilometers, or 62 miles, from ground to low-Earth orbit -- is that it not only that it replaces the space shuttle for NASA astronauts, but provides a vehicle for private spaceflight, which aligns with President Barack Obama's call for the commercialization of space travel.
To demonstrate this, Boeing has also partnered with Las Vegas-based commercial space firm Bigelow Aerospace, which is building a commercial space station called the Orbital Space Complex for launch in 2014. (See it in the second image at right.)
Jul 20, 2010
Don't need a space capsule. That is so 60ish. Boeing needs to make the space shuttle better, not dispose of the technology. Solve the form and tile problem, and you have a fantastic space craft.
Capsule, are we living in the late 60 - early 70s again!? COme on NASA, I know that OBAMA has basically killed the space program; but we need a shuttle!
I have always had a dream of having a capsule to shoot people off to faraway places!!! If you ever flew Amsterdam to San Francisco, you would understand how frustrating sitting in an aircraft for more than 14 whole hours !!! So Boeing...Please consider using a capsule to make long journeys short...
One step forward and two steps back. From falling out of the sky into the water and hoping the parachute works to controlled flight and able to land practically anywhere, and now back to uncontrolled falling out of the sky.... Doing away with the space shuttle is the stupidest thing the U.S. has done in its history of space exploration...and guess whose watch it was on......
I think this is all to the good - if it comes off. The more options to reach LEO - for both cargo and humans - the better. With no disrespect to the engineers at MSFC, it's becoming apparent how much faster and more cheaply private companies can create hardware outside the normal cost-plus framework (yes, even while acknowledging that Orion is designed for ambitious mission requirements than CST-100 and Dragon). When Apollo ended in 1975, the U.S. had no means for human access to LEO for six years. We face another such window again, albeit perhaps for less duration if the Senate bill passed yesterday becomes reality. It would be desirable that this not happen again in the future should NASA's program of record run into troubles again. More to the point, it makes a better argument for getting NASA out of LEO access and back to beyond earth orbit exploration.
Getting there is no longer a high tech obstacle. Getting home Safely & Repeatedly is the big concern. If they use expendable launch vehicles (ELVs) do the have to splash down and get "at sea" retreavel like 40-50 years ago, again?
>For now, the CST-100 will launch from Florida, but Boeing has >yet to indicate what kind of rocket will get it there. I can't see why they need a rocket to get it to Florida.
It may replace the shuttle for people, but not cargo. But I think we've learned that people do not have to accompany large cargo items. I think mission creep got into the original shuttle; let's hope it doesn't show up here.
This is crazy. I never thought i would see people traveling to space but I guess that is my narrow vision. Who knows that slippery slope this will lead too but then again we are already on said slippery slope so there's no turning back now. -California Solar Engineering www.calsolareng.com