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Michael Sheetz+ Your Authors @thesheetztweetz Space Reporter @CNBC | pitches [email protected] | DM for cell, WhatsApp, Signal, ProtonMail | formerly @DJNF @ESTribune | alumnus @TheKingsCollege May. 15, 2020 2 min read + Your Authors

NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) is now having the second part of its quarterly meeting, including updates on the Commercial Crew Program.


Panel member Paul Hill: "The Commercial Crew Program is tracking a list of weekly work that must be closed" before Demo-2, although that is "no way unprecedented."

Hill: SpaceX has added a 3rd supporting landing site for Demo-2 "as a way to increase landing site availability and launch probability."

Hill: NASA's Commercial Crew program manager Kathy Leuders told the panel just last week about SpaceX Demo-2 that "we're not going to rush, we're going to launch when we're ready."

Hill: The SpaceX Crew-1 "training schedule has been impacted by COVID-19 as you might expect, largely due to the various social distancing complications," although the company has taken steps to continue training.

Retired Lt. Gen. and NASA astronaut Susan Helms:

Boeing's Starliner OFT-2 flight is not yet scheduled but is likely to occur later this year.

Helms: "NASA's Commercial Crew office has also initiated a series of actions intended to strengthen the oversight" of Boeing's Starliner program.

NASA's safety panel: The Human Landing Systems (HLS) program "has much to learn from the experience of the Commercial Crew program."

"It is critical for both safety and mission assurance the right balance be struck between serving as an exacting overseer a development partner and as a demanding customer of a service ... that has developed sometimes painfully over the course of the Commercial Crew Program."

Dr. George Nield breaks down the SpaceX bid for HLS:

"There are actually 3 different Starship variants that will be used: a tanker Starship, a propellant storage Starship, and a human landing system Starship," each carried to LEO by the Super Heavy booster.

Nield notes that "NASA will have lots of choices" with how to move forward after the 10 month HLS study contract process, depending on which ones it wants to continue developing.

Nield on HLS: "NASA will be able to benefit from a tremendous amount of innovation, creativity, and diversity of design ... We will have a chance to see the companies challenge one another, both for safety and performance and see what design approach works best."

ASAP chair Pat Sanders on NASA's Artemis program: A Congressional continuing resolution "would add risk to an already aggressive development" schedule due to the increased funding necessary to make the 2024 astronaut lunar landing deadline.

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