Wednesday, December 07, 2011

What Would a Taxi to the ISS be Like?

What say you wanted to start a business shuttling space crew members into space, say to the ISS. It is no mystery that many companies are in the chase for a piece of this lucrative prize.

Andrew Chaikin, author for the Air & Space Smithsonian, spoke with the head of the NASA's Commercial Crew Program, Ed Mango. What came out of the conversation was a fascinating article called Certified Safe. here are some of the high points.

First is the basic requirements:
  • NASA’s basic requirements for commercial crew vehicles include being able to dock with the ISS within 48 hours after launch, remain docked to the station for 210 days with minimal maintenance, and return to Earth within 4 to 8 hours after undocking.

The maximum sustained G load is 3g. There are allowances for MaxQ however 3g will be the maximum sustained load the crew will have to endure.

Safety limits on the system shall not drop below 1 in 500 for loss of crew on either the accent or decent stage of the mission.

The article is really hard to stop reading! It contains a conversation on escape systems, design, selection and much more.

If you are interested in a peek behind the curtain of how the next delivery system to the ISS might look, check out this Air & Space article HERE

The photo is the Sierra Nevada Corporation's "Dream Chaser"- one possible contender for NASA's future crew transport to the space station.

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