Making an impact with the largest exhibit at this year’s National Space Symposium here in Colorado Springs, is a mock-up of Boeing’s CST-100 spaceship. The 14.8 ft-wide vehicle splits open on a hinge to reveal the seating for up to seven astronauts. In some configurations the capsule will carry a combination of crew and cargo, and is designed to remain in low-Earth orbit for up to six months. Developed to carry crew to the International Space Station, each capsule will be able to fly 10 times.
(All photos Guy Norris)
..and in another section of the exhibit is a model of what the first crewed CTS-100 is designed to be launched on in 2015 or 2016 – a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5.
Boeing is meanwhile preparing to attempt a repeat of this month’s first successful parachute drop test of the CTS-100. Following release from a helicopter on April 3, the capsule descended by parachute for a landing on the Delamar Dry Lake Bed near Alamo, Nev. Three main parachutes deployed to slow the vehicle’s descent before six airbags inflated for touchdown. A further series of landing airbag tests are planned for May, with a forward heat shield jettison test set for June. Later in the same month Boeing also plans to conduct a hot fire test of the orbital maneuvering/attitude control system.