Friday, September 30, 2011
Commercial Crew May Be Ready in Three Years
The Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser. Image source: Sierra Nevada Corp. via NASA.gov.
Space.com reports that companies vying for NASA's commercial crew contract believe they can begin flying in as soon as three years.
"We believe we'll be ready in three years," said Gwynne Shotwell, president of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (also known as SpaceX) ...
Shotwell's estimate of three years before the first manned flight of SpaceX's Dragon capsule was the most aggressive, but her colleagues laid out similar timeframes.
Sierra Nevada Corp. chairman Mark Sirangelo, for example, said his company's Dream Chaser — which looks a bit like a miniature space shuttle — should be ready for crew-carrying operations by 2015. Boeing's John Mulholland also marked 2015 for the operational start of that firm's CST-100 vehicle.
Blue Origin, which was set up by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, has been pretty tight-lipped about its plans. But the company's Rob Meyerson gave some specifics today.
"In our proposal, with the government funding that we laid out, we believe between 2016 and 2018," Meyerson said.