SpaceX has its Dragon capsule in orbit right now, and testing is apparently going very well. One of SpaceX’s competitors to get NASA business taking astronauts and cargo into Earth orbit is aerospace giant Boeing. Boeing is also working on its own capsule for crew and cargo called the CST-100. That Boeing space capsule has reached a milestone this week with the successful completion of the software Preliminary Design Review.
The Preliminary Design Review for the software is a very important part of the spacecraft program. The software is used during lunch, orbital maneuvering, docking and separating from the ISS, reentry, and landing. The software is one of the most important components of the spacecraft. Boeing says that the rigorous design process followed in the design of the spacecraft and software will ensure that there is minimal risk of certification noncompliance that would result in a need to redesign the spacecraft delaying the project and running over budget.
Boeing says that with the successful completion of its software PDR, the CST-100 program is on schedule to complete the remaining development milestones the next few months. The team is also on schedule for propellant tank demonstration test and an orbital maneuvering/attitude control engine hot fire test to provide additional data on spacecraft elements. The first test flight for the CST-100 is expected in 2015 to 2016. If all goes well SpaceX, and its Dragon capsule may be ferrying cargo and astronauts the ISS before Boeing has its first flight test.