Companies wishing to take over the job of flying NASA astronauts to the International Space Station have some new guidelines to ponder. NASA has released a 39-page document outlining what will be needed to certify commercial crew transportation systems.
The agency wants any spaceships flying its astronauts to be an order of magnitude safer than the space shuttles, which are being retired in 2011 after two or possibly three missions. The document states that the risk of losing a crew during launching or landing on a commercially provided spaceship should be no more than one-in-1,000. It also calls for manual override systems and some remote operational capabilities.
NASA is not the only government entity looking to certify space vehicles for commercial flights. The FAA has oversight of space travel that does not involve NASA. FAA, which is looking to develop a similar set of guidelines, is expected to closely follow NASA’s lead in this effort.
The document, called the Commercial Crew Transportation System Certification Requirements for NASA Low Earth Orbit Missions, can be found here.
Image: Artist rendering of a proposed space taxi by Boeing. Credit: Boeing