Image above: Lunar Module-1 is being moved into position for mating with Spacecraft Lunar Module Adapter in the Kennedy Space Center’s Manned Spacecraft Operations Building. LM-1 flew on the Apollo 5 mission of Jan. 22, 1968. NASA’s Orion spacecraft is now being built in the same facility, now known as the Operations and Checkout Building. Photo credit: NASA

Image above: This is an artist’s concept depicting the CST-100 under development by The Boeing Company of Houston for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). Image credit: The Boeing Company

Image above: The CCP proposal being developed by Sierra Nevada of Louisville, the Dream Chaser spacecraft, shown in this artist’s concept. Image credit: Sierra Nevada

Image above: The Dragon capsule illustrated in this artist’s concept, is under development by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif. Image credit: Space Exploration Technologies

NASA Takes Strides Forward to Launch Americans from U.S. Soil


On Jan. 22, NASA took a crucial next step toward launching astronauts to the International Space Station from the United States. Beginning the first phase of the Commercial Crew Program’s (CCP) certification efforts, three companies now are conducting activities that will confirm commercial spacecraft are safe to carry crews to the station.

This landmark comes as the agency celebrates the 45th anniversary of an essential stage in sending Americans to the moon.

Launched Jan. 22, 1968, Apollo 5 was the first unpiloted flight of an Apollo lunar module successfully flown from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, establishing the module’s ability to perform as designed. The mission also helped certify that the spacecraft could safely fly with astronauts on its next mission.

Similarly, through May 30, 2014, three companies are working under contract with CCP to develop products to implement the agency’s flight safety and performance standards and requirements. The Certification Products Contracts (CPC) will establish standards across all aspects of commercial crew systems, including design of the spacecraft, launch vehicles, and ground and mission operations.

As the first human spaceflight development program based at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, CCP will provide the U.S. its own transportation capabilities to the International Space Station.

“Throughout the phases of this program, we’ve really been creating a capability for the nation to use for low-Earth orbit transportation,” said Ed Mango, CCP manager at Kennedy. “As we create that capability, then NASA will become a customer so that we can move our flight crew to the International Space Station and continue our critical science.”

Read more: NASA – NASA Takes Strides Forward to Launch Americans from U.S. Soil.

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