What is the best way to come up with results that matter? Make it into a competition and that is exactly what NASA did with Boeing, SpaceX, Sierra Nevada and Blue Origin. The idea is to come up with ‘vehicles’ to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. Boeing has come out on top by successfully completing a critical review of their design.
According to NASA’s spokeswoman Stephanie Martin, the agency was planning to select one or more of the competitors to work on the above mentioned program by the end of August or early September. Martin also confirmed that Boeing has completed a critical design review of the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) program. According to her, NASA was going through the data to ascertain if Boeing has met the success criteria.
The program manager and vice president for Boeing’s commercial space exploration programs, John Mulholland stated that the company did face a number of difficult hurdles while developing the design, however, has received an ‘excellent’ feedback from NASA during the review last month. In his words; ‘From a technical standpoint, the review went very well. To the best of my knowledge we’re the only CCiCAP competitor that was able to complete all of the milestones in the period of performance. You’ve got to be able to stand up at that review and show the analysis and tests that demonstrate that you’re going to be able to meet those requirements.’ He further stated that Boeing is quite confident that it will be able to complete the work on this new spacecraft in time and shall begin the test flights in 2017.
Furthermore, it was disclosed that the Boeing’s vehicle will be launched into space by making use of the Atlas 5 rocket that has been built by the United Launch Alliance (venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp).
Chris Ferguson is the former Space Shuttle Atlantis commander and currently the Boeing Director of Crew and Mission Operations for the Commercial Crew Program and said; ‘We are moving into a truly commercial space market and we have to consider our potential customers – beyond NASA – and what they need in a future commercial spacecraft interior.’
Rachelle Ornan, regional director of Sales and Marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes said; ‘Boeing’s teams have been designing award-winning and innovative interiors for our airplanes since the dawn of commercial aviation. Designing the next-generation interior for commercial space is a natural progression. A familiar daytime blue sky scene helps passengers maintain their connection with Earth.’