where does it say that the drop tests are piloted?
Well, here's 2:
Johnson Space Center, Houston
03.12.13 RELEASE : J13-007 NASA Astronaut Lee Archambault Leaving Agency HOUSTON – NASA astronaut Lee Archambault is leaving the agency, ending a 15-year career that included more than 27 days in space, including a flight as commander of space shuttle Discovery.
Archambault will join Sierra Nevada Corp. as a systems engineer and test pilot. He will work on the company’s Dream Chaser Space System, being developed in conjunction with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Archambault was the pilot of space shuttle Atlantis on STS-117 in 2007, a mission vital to the construction of the International Space Station. Two years later he commanded the space shuttle Discovery on STS-119.
“Lee’s leadership and experience have been assets to our office,” said Bob Behnken, chief of the Astronaut Office. “In his role as chief of our Exploration Branch, he’s pushed for excellence in the design of our next crew vehicles as we progress during this critical development phase. His combination of technical knowledge, operational experience and critical thinking will be very hard to replace.”
Archambault earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Illinois-Urbana. He then served in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot. He flew combat missions in the Middle East during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Archambault joined NASA as an Air Force astronaut in 1998. He filled many technical roles during his NASA career including working as a support astronaut at Kennedy Space Center, a capsule communicator (CAPCOM) for STS-121 and finally serving within the Astronaut Office as the chief of the Exploration Branch.
Archambault retired from the U.S. Air Force as a colonel in 2012 after more than 27 years of service. He has logged more than 5,000 flight hours in more than 30 types of aircraft.
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This morning I had the privilege of attending a presentation by Todd Mosher at SNC. The ETA is undergoing a lot of work in prep for shipment to Edwards, so we couldn't get a tour. They asked us to leave camera's/phone's in our cars so no pix, sorry.
Here is my run down of the presentation:
A lot of the presentation was, as expected, history of SNC, history of DC/HL-20 (including a mention of BOR-4), what is DC, and what is CCDev/CCiCap. There were many questions and I got a chance to corner Todd after the event to ask some more. I didn't take a notebook, so this is from my (poor) memory.
Someone asked how many they plan to build. His reply went from wildly optomistic to nominal. 2-4 for NASA/ISS CCiCap but if the market gets bigger with Bigelow, etc. and other countries wanting to send up their own astronauts for cheap, they could see selling many seats and building many DCs.
When asked, he wouldn't talk much about the green RCS. I was a little surprised there. He kinda waffled a bit, then started talking about the hybrid mains. Is that some kind of IP? He did talk a lot about the low-G re-entry and immediate access to science payloads returning from micro-G due to green prop.
LM is helping with structures and is manufacturing the composite core of the flight articles in Michoud as well as man-rating requirements and verification. Some systemsy stuff WRT man-rating and verification, but they are not being contracted as a Systems overseer/helper/savior or anything like that. Things are going well.
Heli-lift will not complete drop testing and they are looking into alternative higher altitude carry vehicles. Forgot to ask about self ferry. Said WK2 is a perfect fit, but that VG is focused on tourism and has plenty to do on their own. Didn't sound frustrated in any way but obviously seemed to indicate they would've very much liked to have gone that route.
Since some of the drop tests will be auto and an advertised capability is to auto land, I asked if they could do a full mission profile autonymously. He said it is possible for DC to do autodocking but that isn't developed. DC will be piloted for now but they hope to add that in the future. First orbital flight will be uncrewed but is a free-flyer with no ISS interaction.