While the Congress-critters of the US guvmint still hassle over Mr. Obama’s FY2011 budget for NASA, aerospace companies Boeing and Bigelow release images of their capsule and space station:
Boeing [NYSE: BA] released artist’s renderings of its Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft during a media briefing with Bigelow Aerospace today at the Farnborough Airshow.
Boeing is maturing the design of its CST-100 spacecraft under an $18 million Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Space Act Agreement with NASA. The CST-100 can carry a crew of seven and is designed to support the International Space Station and the Bigelow Aerospace Orbital Space Complex (as shown in image MTF10-0006-01).
The CST-100 will be bigger than Apollo but smaller than Orion, and be able to launch on a variety of different rockets, including Atlas, Delta and Falcon. It will use a simple systems architecture and existing, proven components. The “100” in CST-100 refers to the 100 kilometers from the ground to low Earth orbit.
The CST-100 also looks smaller than SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, but the Dragon is a multi-purpose vehicle designed not only for humans eventually, but initially for cargo delivery and bringing cargo back, like the shuttle.
The CST-100 is designed just for human taxi service to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
I think that Boeing/Bigelow will be sending folks to the ISS before the government backed Orion.