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Commercial Crew Update, Early 2017 Edition

An extensive and informative article by Chris Gebhardt, for NASASpaceFlight, on the recent Commercial Crew update given to the NASA Advisory Council.

On Boeing’s progress:

Since the last NAC update, Boeing has completed wind tunnel testing of the launch vehicle adapter skirt, conducted International Docking Adapter and NASA Docking System testing at the Johnson Space Center, successfully dropped tested the parachutes and tested their deployment sequence, hot fired the launch Abort Engines with their new propellant valves, completed acceptance testing and RL–10 hot fire of the CFT engines, and performed quality testing at the Langley Research Center for the landing airbag system.

Moreover, the version 8.0 software release has been completed, gaining specific note from Ms. Lueders who praised Boeing, saying that “It’s one of the few programs I’ve seen where the software is actually running ahead of the hardware.”

And on SpaceX:

Moreover, according to the NAC presentation from the CCP, “Completion of ECLSS (Environmental Control and Life Support System) system testing and successful suit milestone testing in Q4 CY2016 provides confidence that designs are closing and on a good trajectory for cert/qual.”

According to Ms. Lueders, the fact that SpaceX completed their suit milestones in 2016 “really built up a lot of confidence amongst the team” who had been nervous about the suit milestone.

From an infrastructure standpoint, SpaceX has completed the crew access arm and white room critical design reviews and has also completed the pad 39A design reviews including fluid systems, environmental control systems, emergency egress system, and hydraulics upgrades.”

If you’re interested in Commercial Crew, make some time to read the entire article.