Saturday, July 30, 2011
Next ISS Crew Trains for Commercial Cargo Deliveries
ISS Expedition 29 crew members train in a mockup facility at Johnson Space Center. NASA astronaut Dan Burbank is center. Photo source: NASA.
Aviation Week reports that crew members of Expedition 29 are training to work with the SpaceX Dragon and Orbital Cygnus once they arrive at the International Space Station in the upcoming months.
The first of NASA’s new commercial cargo ships is expected to make a trial run to the station in December. A successful docking of the Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Dragon capsule would clear the way for the company to begin working on its 12-flight, $1.6 billion station cargo resupply missions for NASA in 2012.
[Expedition 29 astronaut Dan] Burbank says the crew also received training to handle berthing with NASA’s second cargo resupplier, Orbital Sciences Corp., which expects to debut its Cygnus capsule with a docking at the space station in early 2012, possibly before Burbank and his crewmates return to Earth in mid-March. Orbital Sciences holds a second NASA cargo resupply contract worth $1.9 billion for eight Cygnus flights.