Boeing Fires Back at Critical NASA IG Report on Starliner

A look at the Starliner that will soon fly the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test soon after the dome mate activities at the Boeing Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center. (Credits: Boeing)

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 18, 2019 (Boeing PR) – In response to the Nov. 14 Office of the Inspector General report titled “NASA’s Management of Crew Transportation to the International Space Station,” Boeing today issued the following statement:

“We strongly disagree with the report’s conclusions about CST-100 Starliner pricing and readiness, and we owe it to the space community and the American public to share the facts the Inspector General [IG] missed,” said Jim Chilton, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Launch. “Each member of the Boeing team has a personal stake in the safety, quality and integrity of what we offer our customers, and since Day One, the Starliner team has approached this program with a commitment to design, develop and launch a vehicle that we and NASA can be proud of.”

Specifically, Boeing offers the following responses to the main assertions:

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Starliner Flight Test Mission Taking Shape at Space Launch Complex 41

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V first stage is lifted to the vertical position on Nov. 4, 2019, in the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex 41. (Credit: NASA/Frank Michaux)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket set to launch Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner on its maiden voyage to the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is ready for the mating of Starliner to the top of the launch vehicle.

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NASA Gains Broad International Support for Artemis Program at IAC

Astronauts explore a crater at the lunar south pole. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — When NASA sends the first woman and next man to the surface of the Moon by 2024 as part of its Artemis program, it won’t be going alone. The agency will be leveraging support from commercial partners and the international community as it establishes a sustainable presence on the lunar surface by 2028, paving the way for human missions to Mars.

Speaking at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), held in Washington Oct. 21-25, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine reaffirmed America’s commitment to working with international partners on NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach.

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Senators Introduce NASA Authorization Bill That Extends Space Station Operations to 2030

Sen. Ted Cruz

WASHINGTON (Senate Commerce Committee PR) – Today, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, along with ranking member Kyrsten  Sinema, D-Ariz., and Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash, chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, introduced the NASA Authorization Act of 2019.

This bill expands and improves upon the bipartisan legislation Sen. Cruz introduced in December 2018 and provides the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) the clear direction needed to advance our nation’s space initiatives and investments and assert the United States’ global leadership in the final frontier.

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NASA Opens Previously Unopened Apollo Sample Ahead of Artemis Missions

Pictured from left: Apollo sample processors Andrea Mosie, Charis Krysher and Juliane Gross open lunar sample 73002 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The Moon rocks inside this tube have remained untouched since they were collected on the surface and brought to Earth by Apollo astronauts nearly 50 years ago. (Credits: NASA/James Blair)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA scientists opened an untouched rock and soil sample from the Moon returned to Earth on Apollo 17, marking the first time in more than 40 years a pristine sample of rock and regolith from the Apollo era has been opened. It sets the stage for scientists to practice techniques to study future samples collected on Artemis missions.

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A Virtual Reality Camera Captures Life and Science Aboard the Space Station

A 360 degree view of the interior of the International Space Station. (Credits: Felix & Paul Studios/Time)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — With only minutes until sunrise aboard the International Space Station (ISS), astronaut Nick Hague rushed to shut off the lights in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM). Traveling 17,500 miles per hour, the space station orbits Earth 16 times in 24 hours, so every 90 minutes, the space station experiences a sunrise. For this sunrise, though, the speed of their approach was putting a time crunch on Hague. To capture this moment, timing was everything as he worked diligently to set up the perfect camera shot.

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NASA’s Coating Technology Could Help Resolve Lunar Dust Challenge

Astronaut John Young salutes the flag on the moon during the Apollo 16 mission. (Credit: NASA)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — An advanced coating now being tested aboard the International Space Station for use on satellite components could also help NASA solve one of its thorniest challenges: how to keep the Moon’s irregularly shaped, razor-sharp dust grains from adhering to virtually everything they touch, including astronauts’ spacesuits.

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Boeing Proposes ‘Fewest Steps to the Moon’ for NASA’s Human Lander

Following exploration of the lunar surface by astronauts, the crew lifts off from the moon inside the Ascent Element in this artist concept. The Descent Element remains on the moon having already performed its role of flying the crew from lunar orbit to the surface. (Credit: Boeing)

HOUSTON, Nov. 5, 2019  (Boeing PR) — Boeing [NYSE: BA] today submitted a proposal to NASA for an integrated Human Lander System (HLS) designed to safely take astronauts to the surface of the moon and return them to lunar orbit as part of the Artemis space exploration program.

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Cygnus Vehicle Delivers Crucial Components for Upcoming Spacewalks

The Cygnus NG-12 cargo vehicle hangs out after arriving to the International Space Station on 4 November. (Credit ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The Cygnus NG-12 cargo vehicle was berthed with the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday.

The latest resupply mission includes over 4 tonnes of science experiments, crew supplies, and station hardware. It also crucially includes components essential for the series of spacewalks taking place this month.

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Turkey Looks to Send Astronaut to Space Station with Russians

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On October 31, 2019, Roscosmos State Corporation Director General Dmitry Rogozin met with Turkish Ambassador to Russia Mehmet Samsar.

The parties discussed the topical questions of the mutually beneficial cooperation in space, noting the high potential and importance of the subject in the Russo-Turkish relations.

The meeting resulted in an agreement to start preparing a frame intergovernmental agreement between the countries on space. The Turkish delegation also reconfirmed the plans mentioned earlier to organize Turkish cosmonaut training in the Zvyozdny gorodok.

How ISS is Helping Pave the Way for the Moon

The moon from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The International Space Station is a stepping stone for NASA’s Artemis  program that will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. As the only place for conducting long-duration research on how living in microgravity affects living organisms, especially humans, as well as testing technologies to allow humans to work at the Moon, the space station serves as a unique asset in the effort establish a sustainable presence at the Moon.

Missions to the Moon will include a combination of time aboard the  Gateway, on the lunar surface, and in multiple spacecraft including Orion and the human landing system. The skills and technologies developed to explore the Moon will help build the capabilities needed for future missions to Mars. Here are some of the ways this orbiting laboratory is contributing to the path forward to the Moon and Mars.

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JAXA Developing New Water Recovery System to Create Drinking Water from Urine

New water recovery system. A key feature is that it does not require maintenance by the astronauts. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Right now, work is underway on a construction plan for a moon-orbiting space station called Gateway. The goal is to be able to use Gateway as a base for conducting manned explorations to the moon, Mars and other planets lying further beyond.

However, in order to expand the areas in which human beings can venture into, we need to minimize the amount of supplies such as water, food, and research materials that must be transported from Earth to the target destination. This new water recovery system announced in July 2019 will make a significant contribution toward achieving this.

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Virgin Galactic Crew and Customers to Receive Space Pins from the Association of Space Explorers

Chief Astronaut Trainer Beth Moses floats in the cabin as David Mackay and Michael “Sooch” Masucci pilot VSS. Unity. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

WASHINGTON (Virgin Galactic PR) — Crew and customers who fly to space on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, will be awarded space pins by the Association of Space Explorers (ASE).

The first pin was presented to Virgin Galactic Chief Astronaut Instructor, Beth Moses, at the International Astronautical Conference in Washington DC.

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Glavkosmos to Assist India with Heating, Life Support Systems for Gaganyaan Spacecraft

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Glavkosmos JSC, part of Roscosmos State Space Corporation, and Human Space Flight Centre of Indian Space Research Organization (HSFC of ISRO) on Friday signed a contract to review a project to assess the possibility of using Russian flight equipment in life support systems and providing thermal regime for the manned spacecraft Gaganyaan.

Dmitry Loskutov, Director General of Glavkosmos, and Dr. Unnikrishnan Nair, Head of the HSFC, signed the contract. The signing ceremony was held in the presence of Deputy Director General for international cooperation of Roscosmos State Space Corporation Sergey Savelyev.

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Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Goes Public With Extravagant Promises to Keep

Richard Branson wears the SpaceShipTwo flight suit. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

After 15 years of making extravagant but unkept promises to fly more than 600 “future astronauts” to space, Richard Branson must now please an entirely new group of people who are usually much shorter on patience: shareholders.

Following the completion last week of a merger with Social Capital Hedosophia (SCH), the British billionaire’s Virgin Galactic suborbital “space line” will begin trading under its own name on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Monday.

Going public now is an unusual move for a space tourism company that hasn’t flown a singlet tourist to space since Branson announced the SpaceShipTwo program in 2004. Some might see it has putting the cart before the horse.

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