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Kathy Lueders: NASA, Industry Work Toward Commercial Spacecraft Checkpoints

International Space StationContractors have worked to meet technology development targets under a NASA-run project to build commercially-operated craft that would transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corp., SpaceX and Blue Origin completed a series of milestones in developing private human space transportation systems as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, the space agency said Friday.

“This year, we’ll see hardware testing, flight demonstrations and the award of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract,” said Kathy Lueders, a NASA acting program manager.

Boeing and the United Launch Alliance designed an integrated emergency detection system and adapter for a launch vehicle as part of Boeing’s CST-100 crew capsule, according to NASA.

NASA says the CST-100 underwent simulation tests that sought to demonstrate how the spacecraft’s computer system would automatically transfer control to a pilot.

A Sierra Nevada-led team conducted system design and database evaluations of the company’s Dream Chaser spaceplane using data from an initial free-flight test held in October.

SpaceX is slated to test ground technology and launch abort systems for its Dragon spacecraft in the coming months, while Blue Origin is working to meet system requirements under the second round the NASA program.

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