Boeing Refines CST-100 Commercial Crew Capsule Approach

By Mark Carreau
Source: Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

While the CST-100 control panel layout is considered proprietary, pilot astronauts will board with electronic flight bags — tablet computers that serve as electronic instrument management devices that eliminate the paper-based reference materials of the space shuttle era. Any switches, or knobs, serve a backup control function, Ferguson said.

The soft blue tones of internal illumination come from the Boeing Sky Interior light-emitting diode scheme introduced on later models of the 737.

While Boeing is comfortable with the ACES as a flight pressure suit for crewmembers, the company has agreed to listen to competing proposals before selecting a vendor.

Boeing is working toward the “rent-a-car” rather than the “taxi” model for commercial crew operations, meaning that NASA personnel, rather than company astronauts, would fly the CST-100. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V with a dual-engine Centaur upper stage will propel astronauts into orbit from Cape Canaveral on initial missions, though Boeing’s design will accommodate other launch vehicles that demonstrate equal reliability, according to Mulholland.

Flight crews will likely spend about 2 1/2 hr. in the Boeing spacecraft prior to liftoff, comparable to shuttle operations. Boeing is planning a flight day one rendezvous and docking capability with the space station, rather than the shuttle’s day-three berthing. Russia introduced a day-one, four-orbit, rendezvous-and-docking profile earlier this year.

The CST-100 is designed to remain docked to the ISS for up to 210 days.


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