Page 29

Frontiers October 2012 Issue

PhOTOS: (Below) In Houston, engineers Jonnathan Medina-Espitia, from left, Melanie Weber, Juan “Tony” Castilleja and NASA’s Lee Morin update the interior configuration of the CST-100 mock-up. (Insets, from left) Tom Mulder, foreground left, and Lynna Wood observe flight simulation; John Wissinger monitors a simulation of the CST-100 automatically docking with the International Space Station; Jason Owens and Sneha Kuruvilla discuss the design of the CST-100 flight software; Joe Finley, product acceptance specialist, examines a CST-100 docking system assembly; Jason Owens studies software code that will control the CST-100 flight computers; Michael Voightmann, left, and Zane Goff work with a CST-100 flight computer. BOB FERGuSON/BOEING stand what the future exploration architecture might be and offer an economical alternative for moving hardware in space, translate that into what kinds of advanced systems we need to beyond Earth orbit. develop in order to support future missions,” Johnston said. “You wouldn’t use solar electric propulsion on manned mis- One such study, being carried out for NASA, is to develop sions; it’s too slow,” Johnston said. “But you might want to use it methods to store cryogenic fuels—liquid oxygen and liquid to create a base—en route to Mars or some other destination— hydrogen—in space for extended periods of time. Cryogenic fuels and continue to supply that base over time.” are commonly used to launch rockets from Earth into space. But In addition to innovative systems for space exploration, in space, there is so far no effective way to store liquid hydrogen. Advanced Space Exploration is developing efficient methods for Cryogenic fuels would be particularly valuable in transporting transporting payloads into Earth orbit. For example, Boeing is astronauts at high speeds to distant locations. working under a U.S. Air Force contract to develop concepts for “Liquid hydrogen tends to permeate its container and it a Reusable Booster System. The program is defining the require- only wants to remain liquid at very, very cold temperatures,” ments and completing conceptual design for a demonstration Johnston said. “We just completed a study contract for NASA system that can autonomously fly back to the launch site after on new storage technology that can be tested in a demonstration a simulated separation of an upper stage. mission in space.” “In the decades ahead, I think we’ll see ourselves going Boeing is also conducting studies related to solar electric to a lot of different places in space and taking on a variety of propulsion, which is much less powerful but far more efficient missions,” Johnston said. “And when we do that, we’ll be using than cryogenic rockets. Small systems using this technology are the infrastructure that we’re putting into place right now.” used in commercial satellite programs. Larger systems would –Bill Seil BOEING FRONTIERS / OCTOBER 2012 29


Frontiers October 2012 Issue
To see the actual publication please follow the link above