Boeing, SpaceX Continue to Work Through Technical Challenges on Commercial Crew

Credit: NASA

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Boeing and SpaceX are continuing to work through a number of technical challenges on their commercial crew spacecraft as NASA struggles to process data needed to certify the vehicles, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

There is sufficient schedule uncertainty, in fact, that GAO recommended the space agency continue planning for additional delays in providing crew transport to the International Space Station (ISS).

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Dragon Splashes Down with Scientific Research

After the Candadarm2 grappled the Dragon spacecraft and berthed it on the space station’s Harmony module, OCO-3 was extracted and installed on the exterior of the Japanese Experiment Module-Exposed Facility. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft carrying 4,200 pounds of scientific experiments and other cargo back to Earth departed the International Space Station at 12:01 p.m. EDT Monday, and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 5:48 p.m. (2:48 p.m. PDT).

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OCO-3 Ready to Extend NASA’s Study of Carbon

OCO-3 sits on the large vibration table (known as the “shaker”) in the Environmental Test Lab at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Updated at 12:35 a.m. PDT (3:35 a.m. EDT) on May 10

NASA’s OCO-3 was removed from the Dragon spacecraft and robotically installed on the exterior of the space station’s Japanese Experiment Module-Exposed Facility as of approximately 9 p.m. PDT on May 9 (12 a.m. EDT on May 10). Over the next two days, a functional checkout will be performed and the OCO-3’s Pointing Mirror Assembly (PMA) will be deployed. The PMA and context cameras will then perform an initial survey of OCO-3’s surroundings to make sure nothing unexpected is interfering with its view of Earth.

Updated at 9:10 a.m./p.m. PDT (12:10 p.m. EDT) on May 4

SpaceX CRS-17 launched Friday, May 3, 11:48 p.m. PDT (Saturday, May 4, 2:48 a.m. EDT).

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — When the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3, OCO-3, heads to the International Space Station, it will bring a new view — literally — to studies of Earth’s carbon cycle.

From its perch on the space station, OCO-3 will observe near-global measurements of carbon dioxide on land and sea, from just after sunrise to just before sunset. That makes it far more versatile and powerful than its predecessor, OCO-2.

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Dragon Carries Experiments to ISS

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (CASIS PR) — Early Saturday morning at 2:48 a.m. EDT, a variety of payloads managed by the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory were successfully launched to the space station on SpaceX’s 17th commercial resupply services mission from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Many of the ISS National Lab investigations included on this mission are aimed at improving human health on Earth, with several focused on drug development.

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Stop Aging in Space

Nanoceria (Credit: Gianni Ciofani)

PARIS, 4 May 2019 — Wrinkles, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a clumsy brain are all natural consequences of getting old. As our cells rust over time, a key to fighting chronic disease may be in tiny, smartly designed particles that have the potential to become an anti-ageing supplement. A European experiment seeking innovative antioxidants is on its way to space.

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Rocket Lab Plans First Night Launch on Saturday, SpaceX Scrubs Dragon Flight

 

Electron lifts off with DARPA’s R3D2 satellite. (Credits: Kieran Fanning, Sam Tom)

Rocket Lab has completed the launch readiness review for Electron’s first night launch on Saturday.  The launch window for the flight, which will carry three technology demonstration satellites for the U.S. Department of Defense, opens at 2:00 a.m. EDT (0600 UTC/ 18:00 NZT).

SpaceX scrubbed the launch of a Dragon supply ship to the International Space Station on Friday due to an electrical issue on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship. There was also a helium leak involving the Falcon 9 booster.

The next launch opportunity is Saturday at 2:48 a.m. EDT (0648 UTC).

Techshot Research Equipment Launching Aboard SpaceX Mission CRS-17

Specially Developed Experiment Modules Contain MIT Tissue Chips

GREENVILLE, Ind. (April 26, 2019) – An uncrewed SpaceX cargo resupply spacecraft scheduled to launch to the International Space Station May 1 will contain experiment modules specially-developed by Techshot Inc., for a Massachusetts Institute of Technology tissue chip experiment. Tissue chip devices are designed as accurate models of the structure and function of human tissues such as the lungs, liver, heart and bone.

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Hermes to Bring Asteroid Research to the ISS

Hermes Cassette-1 experiment. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Asteroid researchers on Earth will soon gain a powerful new way to remotely conduct experiments aboard the International Space Station. The device, called the Hermes Facility, is an experiment station that can communicate with scientists on the ground and give them the ability to control their studies almost as if they were in space themselves. Hermes will be carried to the space station aboard the SpaceX CRS-17 ferry flight.

Hermes is the creation of Dr. Kristen John, a researcher with the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC). John and her research team developed Hermes as a way to study how samples of simulated asteroid particles behave in microgravity and the vacuum of space.
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NASA to Broadcast Next Space Station Resupply Launch, Prelaunch Activities

A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launches to the International Space Station at 1:16 p.m. EST Dec. 5, 2018, on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft, on its 16th mission for NASA under the agency’s Commercial Resupply Services contract, carries more than 5,600 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies. (Credits: NASA Television)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting no earlier than 4:21 a.m. EDT Tuesday, April 30, for the launch of its next resupply mission to the International Space Station. Live coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency’s  website Monday, April 29, with prelaunch events.

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Multiple Regenerative Medicine Payloads Ready for Flight to ISS U.S. National Laboratory

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., April 22, 2019 (CASIS PR)  – The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory is finalizing more than a dozen payloads for launch to the orbiting laboratory aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. Many of these payloads are aimed at improving human health on Earth, with several focused on drug development and screening. Research concepts include commercial companies leveraging microgravity to improve drug delivery systems, other government agencies funding transformative science, and academic inquiry to enhance fundamental knowledge of diseases on Earth.

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NASA to Provide Coverage of SpaceX Commercial Crew Flight Test

Crew Dragon for DM-1 mission with Falcon 9 booster. (Credit: SpaceX)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the SpaceX Demo-1 flight test to the International Space Station for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, which is working with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil for the first time since 2011.

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NanoRacks Completes 15th CubeSat Mission on International Space Station

HOUSTON, January 31, 2019 (NanoRacks PR) — NanoRacks successfully completed the 15th CubeSat Deployment mission from the Company’s commercially developed platform on the International Space Station. Having released five CubeSats into low-Earth orbit, this mission marks NanoRacks’ 190th CubeSat released from the Space Station, and the 228th small satellite deployed by NanoRacks overall.

The CubeSats deployed were launched to the Space Station on the 16th contracted resupply mission for SpaceX from the Kennedy Space Center in December 2018.

NanoRacks offered an affordable launch opportunity, payload manifesting, full safety reviews with NASA, and managed on-orbit operations in order to provide an end-to-end solution that met all customer needs.

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12 Projects Selected from Space Station Rodent Research Reference Mission Solicitation

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), December 17, 2018 (CASIS PR) – The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory today announced a series of selected concepts in association with its Request for Proposals (RFP) for investigators to access biological specimens from its Rodent Research Reference Mission-1, Applications for Spaceflight Biospecimens.

On SpaceX’s recent 16th commercial resupply mission, 40 mice of two different age groups were sent to the orbiting laboratory for comparison with age-matched ground controls as part of this reference mission. Awardees from this RFP will have the ability to evaluate spaceflight biospecimens once they are returned to Earth as well as ground controls.

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NanoRacks Delivers Educational Research, CubeSats, and Novel Medical Science to the Space Station

A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launches to the International Space Station at 1:16 p.m. EST Dec. 5, 2018, on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft, on its 16th mission for NASA under the agency’s Commercial Resupply Services contract, carries more than 5,600 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies. (Credits: NASA Television)

Cape Canaveral, Fla. (NanoRacks PR) – Last weekend, Dragon, the spacecraft from the sixteenth SpaceX contracted resupply mission, berthed with the International Space Station carrying educational experiments, CubeSats, and industry science research from NanoRacks’ customers into orbit. Within this mission, the NanoRacks team delivered payloads for four of the Company’s commercial platforms on Space Station.

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