CST-100 is Boeing's entry for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Commercial Crew Development program, which aims to spur efforts within the private sector to develop safe, reliable, and cost-effective space transportation capabilities. The idea behind the program is to turn over the business of taking NASA astronauts into low-Earth orbit to the private sector, thereby freeing up NASA's budget for deep-space missions and opening the doors for an American space-tourism industry. While CST-100's primary mission would be to transport four NASA crew members to the ISS, the remainder of its seven seats would be open for private space tourists.
In advance of the first manned mission, Boeing will conduct two unmanned flights to test the capsule's safety features in an emergency. The first will put the ship into orbit; the second will take CST-100 partway into space before practicing an abort. All three missions will use Atlas V rockets equipped with emergency detection systems as CST-100's launcher.
"Our approach is to produce a reliable spacecraft built on existing simple systems and then integrate that with a proven launch vehicle, all focused on putting in place a very safe system - one that will be reliable and that can be operational as soon as practical so that we can start flying U.S. crew from U.S. launch sites post the shuttle era," said John Elbon, vice president and program manager of Boeing's Commercial Crew Programs.
Perhaps those involved in the tests might look to ISO 11231:2010, Space systems - Probabilistic risk assessment (PRA), developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The standard provides basic requirements and procedures for the use of probabilistic risk assessment techniques to assess safety or mission risk and success in space programs and projects.
ISO 11231:2010 can be applied to all international space projects involving the design of space vehicles used to transport people in space, as well as space and non-terrestrial planetary stations inhabited by humans. The standard also applies to space and launch vehicles powered by or carrying nuclear materials.
ISO 17399: 2003, Space systems -- Man-systems integration, may also be a useful source of guidance in helping the project to take off. The standard defines requirements for manned space flight vehicles, habitat structures, and flight crew training, as well as all equipment that interfaces with flight crew members. Applicable to any manned space flight program, the requirements in this standard cover space system launch, re-entry, on-orbit, and extraterrestrial environments. ISO 17399 also addresses the field of human factors relating to space habitats and the space environment.
Both standards were developed by ISO technical committee 20, Aircraft and space vehicles, and its subcommittee 14, Space systems and operations, with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) serving as the ANSI-delegated secretariat.
If all goes as planned, CST-100 will be ready for commercial service starting in 2016, and space tourists will be able to buy tickets to the final frontier. All aboard for outer space!