Boeing, SpaceX will beat Russia on price for astronaut rides (Update 2)

Boeing, SpaceX will beat Russia on price for astronaut rides (Update 2)
In a Thursday, May 29, 2014 file photo, the SpaceX Dragon V2 spaceship is unveiled at its headquarters, in Hawthorne, Calif. SpaceX and Boeing said Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, that they are on track to carry out their first manned test flights to the International Space Station in 2017. NASA expects to save millions of dollars in launch costs, once its commercial crew program starts flying. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

NASA expects to save millions of dollars sending astronauts to the International Space Station, once its commercial crew program starts flying in a couple of years.

SpaceX and Boeing said Monday that they are on track to carry out their first manned test flights to the space station in 2017. NASA chose the two private companies last September to transport American astronauts to and from the orbiting lab.

U.S. manned launches ended with the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011. Until SpaceX and Boeing begin flying crews from Cape Canaveral, NASA astronauts must continue to hitch rocket rides with Russia.

NASA's commercial crew program manager, Kathy Lueders, said the average price for a seat aboard the SpaceX Dragon and Boeing CST-100 capsules will be $58 million. That compares with $71 million a seat charged by Russia under its latest NASA contract.

"I don't ever want to have to write another check" to the Russian Space Agency after 2017, said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, a former shuttle commander.

"If we can make that date," he said, referring to 2017, "I'm a happy camper."

Unlike the Russian charge, the $58 million per-person cost estimate includes a fair amount of cargo to be flown aboard the SpaceX and Boeing spacecraft, along with four crew members. That price tag is based on a five-year period, Lueders said.

Boeing, SpaceX will beat Russia on price for astronaut rides (Update 2)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks at a briefing Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, in Houston about the future of the commercial crew program to send astronauts to the International Space Station. SpaceX and Boeing said Monday that they are on track to carry out their first manned test flights to the space station in 2017. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

The Russian Soyuz holds a maximum of three people, with at least one a Russian to pilot the craft.

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said the future enhanced Dragon capsule could carry five astronauts—one more than NASA's stipulated four—and still meet all the cargo requirements.

The Hawthorne, California, company, led by billionaire Elon Musk, was the space station's first commercial shipper. It's been successfully delivering supplies since 2012 with the Dragon. Virginia's Orbital Sciences Corp., NASA's other contracted supplier, has grounded its rocket fleet following a launch explosion last fall.

Lueders said the plan is to have two "robust providers" for crew transport, in case one of them ends up grounded by technical problems. NASA awarded SpaceX $2.6 billion for crew transport, while Boeing got $4.2 billion. Each is to provide two to six missions.

Boeing's vice president and general manager for Houston-based space exploration, John Elbon, said an unmanned test flight of the CST-100 capsule in 2017 will be followed a few months later by the first crewed test flight. That first manned mission will include one Boeing test pilot and one NASA astronaut, he said.

Shotwell said the SpaceX unmanned test flight could occur as early as 2016, followed by a crewed flight in 2017. She said the company is still working on the number and makeup of the first crew.

Boeing, SpaceX will beat Russia on price for astronaut rides (Update 2)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks at a briefing Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, in Houston about the future of the commercial crew program to send astronauts to the International Space Station. SpaceX and Boeing said Monday that they are on track to carry out their first manned test flights to the space station in 2017. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

It was the first in-depth public description of the commercial crew effort by NASA and winners SpaceX and Boeing; discussion had been stalled because of a protest lodged by losing competitor Sierra Nevada Corp., developer of the mini-shuttle Dream Chaser. The Government Accountability Office dismissed Sierra Nevada's challenge earlier this month.

Some of NASA's 40-something-member astronaut corps turned out for the event at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Bolden urged "they better start smiling."

While the current astronauts will be the ones flying to the space station on Dragons and CST-100s, it will be the younger, future crop that ends up bound for Mars, he noted.

Boeing, SpaceX will beat Russia on price for astronaut rides (Update 2)
Boeing's vice president and general manager for Houston-based space exploration, John Elbon, left, and SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell speak at a briefing Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, in Houston about the future of NASA's commercial crew program to send astronauts to the International Space Station. SpaceX and Boeing said they are on track to carry out their first manned test flights to the space station in 2017. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

NASA conducted a successful orbital test flight of its new Orion spacecraft last month. That's the capsule that, along with linked habitats, would get crews to and from Mars in the 2030s under NASA's current plan.

Bolden said NASA wouldn't be able to do deep-space exploration if it was still saddled with getting supplies and people to low-Earth orbit.

"We're about going to Mars," he said.


Explore further

Boeing completes first milestone for NASA's commercial crew transportation systems

More information: NASA: www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/crew/

SpaceX: www.spacex.com/

Boeing: www.boeing.com/boeing/defense- … pace/ccts/index.page?

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Jan 26, 2015
I'm surprised it is taking so long and still costs what they project - it is not as though we've never had the capability to ferry astronauts to the ISS before, so we already know exactly what is required of the capsules. So is this just extra profit for the companies involved, or it is like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-style "Misc.explns." line item resulting in 5 times the realistic price?

KBK
Jan 26, 2015
mars in the 2030's. Right

They really are bunch of frozen turds on a work slow down.

Elon and the folks at Tesla, called 'hydrogen' (cars) 'Liedrogen'.

Which is a critical part of why he went forward with the electric cars. He was bone tired of the bullshit and the lies, like the rest of the planet is.

For good reason.

This is more of the same.

Jan 26, 2015
Kind of disappointing that Boeing gets so much more money and still doesn't seem to be doing as much as SpaceX, nor as quickly, apparently. Kinda wish Sierra Nevada got a bit of the money too.

Jan 27, 2015
Kind of disappointing that Boeing gets so much more money and still doesn't seem to be doing as much as SpaceX, nor as quickly, apparently. Kinda wish Sierra Nevada got a bit of the money too.


Because profit is more valuable to them than progress. Once you got a fat profit margin, just sit back and watch it roll in and enjoy the good life - thats Boeing. Even Airbus are more gutsy with their attempt at the A380 plane - it payed off and what a great plane it turns out to be.. When i first heard about it - i thought it was just another concept that would disappear like so many ideas that I hear than never appear.

I think i've heard of 6 super sonic commercial jet concepts in the last 3 years - nothing comes of them though.

SpaceX how ever uses its money to try new things - I like that kind of attitude.. it gives money value for once. Money just sitting in a bank has no value until you use it. Its a just number.

Jan 27, 2015
it's time to stop this nonsense of manned space missions.

our robots now are capable of being controlled in real time by 3d virtual simulators down on earth that beam a high resolution feed.

robots not only can complete the scientific missions, but they don't eat , or need life support systems, or get sick.

for the same weight load, you can , using remote controlled robots and complimentary AI controllers, conduct at least 3x as many scientific experiments , many of them in the vacuum of space itself if desired. it makes no sense to have a whole cabin filled with breatheable nitrox if at best, that nitrox is only necessary for the ambient gas as part of a specific experimental setup which requires a very limited volume of 02.

half of all the weight on these missions, is water, nitrox, food, and human related machinery like 100 million dollar toilets weighing a few hundred pounds to vaccum up shit and urine and recycle the water content

NONE OF THIS IS NECESSARY .

Jan 27, 2015
I'm surprised it is taking so long and still costs what they project - it is not as though we've never had the capability to ferry astronauts to the ISS before, so we already know exactly what is required of the capsules. So is this just extra profit for the companies involved, or it is like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-style "Misc.explns." line item resulting in 5 times the realistic price?

In both cases, they are developing vehicles with more capability than merely reaching ISS. Compare the cost to that of STS missions, in 2015 dollars. Cheaper. And if we end up with safer vehicles, it would be hard to place a value on not losing lives. I don't doubt there's bureaucratic fat that could be trimmed. I don't see it as a huge problem though.

KBK
Jan 27, 2015
Lets be truthful, no bullshit... for a second, and see where that gets us.

Always good to try again, as the cost of not doing so, is high:

the missing Trillions at the pentagon, announced on sept.10/2001, the missing 2.2 trillion (approx $2.9 trillion in 2015 dollars), that was funneled into black ops. Most specifically, black ops space programs.

What the USA has, is a public face of a cover story for a space program.

They flipped a nickel at the public who's idea of progress is measured in 1960's ideas on space exploration.

Meanwhile, high level physics, marched on at the lighting speed of the WWII technology race, which practically had biplanes at the start, and the emergence of jet engines, at the end. that's bi-planes (lowest tech) to jets (highest tech) in 10 years.

That pace never slowed, it just went underground, and black.

The public space program, this one... is just a cover story. Trillions went missing, year after year.... Into the 'other' programs.

cjn
Jan 27, 2015
KBK:
The public space program, this one... is just a cover story. Trillions went missing, year after year.... Into the 'other' programs.


Not to defecate on your tin foil hat, but the GDP of the USA in 2001 was only $10T, with 18% of GDP spent by the Federal Government. That works out to total Federal spending of ~$1.8T. Because the total spending on all Federal personnel, programs, services, and entitlements was less $2T, there is no way that "[t]rillions went missing, year after year" -because there wasn't enough money to support it.
Source:
http://www.usgove...ng_chart

Now, if you want to rationally argue that the DoD likely has capabilities that extend well beyond what is known in the public sphere -that is probably accurate.

Jan 27, 2015
Great, just in time to start dismantling the Space Station.

Jan 28, 2015
@teslaberry

Im not sure what planet you're on but
it's time to stop this nonsense of manned space missions.

our robots now are capable of being controlled in real time by 3d virtual simulators down on earth that beam a high resolution feed.

its TOTALLY wrong.

There is a delay when controlling anything over a long distance, controlling a robot on the moon from Earth will have a delay of a few seconds but a tele-operated robot on Mars.. that delay is HUGE which is why current robots have to be programmed in advanced each day to know where to go and what to do, this makes them very slow.

Sending people to these places can yield 100's of times the results a robot would get.

Jan 28, 2015
@cjn there is no way that "[t]rillions went missing, year after year" -because there wasn't enough money to support it.
Who did that accounting? Anderson Cooper LOL?

In any case not sure I want my tax roubles subsidizing commercial space programs for Americans, especially with they trying to constantly start shit along the border

Jan 31, 2015
@teslaberry

Im not sure what planet you're on but
...
its TOTALLY wrong.

There is a delay when controlling anything over a long distance, controlling a robot on the moon from Earth will have a delay of a few seconds but a tele-operated robot on Mars.. that delay is HUGE which is why current robots have to be programmed in advanced each day to know where to go and what to do, this makes them very slow.

Sending people to these places can yield 100's of times the results a robot would get.


There is one ultimate robot that is almost limitless in its versatility, adaptability and finesse, it's called a human and can't be replaced in the (near) future even if you look at mechanical issues like self repair and molecular engineering allone (forgetting about AI that's even further out).

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