United Launch Alliance is preparing hard for the return of manned missions from it’s Air Force station in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The space company’s CEO, Tory Bruno said that human spaceflight can inspires public and scientists in a way which no other activities does. He said that it means so much to them to have human spaceflight from American soil, returning Americans to space. This means a lot to him and his team as well.
ULA has been associated with NASA in its Commercial Crew program which will take American astronauts into space on the missions launched from the U.S. soil. Ever since the space shuttle in 2011 has retired, the U.S. has been dependent on the Russian Soyuz rockets, to get astronauts to the International Space Station. The Russian Soyuz rockets are launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
NASA has come up with the names of nine American astronauts who will be crewing the test flights and the first missions of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The Starliner will launch from a ULA Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliances’s Space Launch Complex 41 located in Cape Canaveral
Bruno said that they have added a Crew Access Tower which allows the astronauts to arrive at the height above the ground from where they enter their capsule. It is also equipped with a Crew Access Arm which swings out with its White Room and thus allows them to get access to the capsule and then pull away. This lets the rocket to take off and leave.
White Rooms have been a longstanding feature of human spaceflight. There are specially designed areas that helps stop contaminants from getting inside the spacecraft. The White Rooms are also used by Astronauts to make the final phone calls to their families before going into space.
There is also an escape system that has a sophisticated zipline-type technology. This enables astronauts and launch pad personnel to quickly evacuate the tower in the unlikely event of an accident and move to a separate area at a safe distance.
Ths crew members for the Starliner test flight include Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson and NASA astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu-Mann. The crew of the first Boeing mission to the International Space Station will include NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Suni Williams.
Boeing has plans to do make an uncrewed flight test of its CST-100 Starliner maybe this year or early next year.