Boeing awarded first commercial human spaceflight mission
NASA issued a task order as part of Boeing’s $4.2 billion Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract recently to include the company’s first-ever service flight to the International Space Station. The award marks the first time in human spaceflight history NASA has contracted with a commercial company for a human spaceflight mission.
“This occasion will go in the books of Boeing’s nearly 100 years of aerospace and more than 50 years of space flight history,” said John Elbon, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s Space Exploration division. “We look forward to ushering in a new era in human space exploration.”
Boeing was selected in September 2014 to build and fly the United States’ next passenger spacecraft, the Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100. The Commercial Crew Transportation System (CCTS) is being developed in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program which aims to resume U.S.-based flights to space by 2017.
As part of the tCap contract with NASA, Boeing is guaranteed at least two and potentially six service flights after completing human certification.
The company has successfully demonstrated to NASA that the Commercial Crew Transportation System has reached design maturity appropriate to proceed to assembly, integration and test activities.
“We’re on track to fly in 2017, and this critical milestone moves us another step closer in fully maturing the CST-100 design,” said John Mulholland, vice president of Commercial Programs. “Our integrated and measured approach to spacecraft design ensures quality performance, technical excellence and early risk mitigation.”
The CST-100 can transport up to seven passengers or a mix of crew and cargo to low-Earth orbit destinations like the International Space Station (ISS) and the Bigelow planned station.