Boeing and Lockheed Martin‘s joint venture United Launch Alliance has updated the aerodynamic configuration of a rocket designed to launch a crew capsule Boeing is building for NASA‘s Commercial Crew Program.
ULA said Thursday the new Atlas V configuration will incorporate an aeroskirt aft of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in efforts to extend the vehicle’s service module cylindrical surface and help manage loads margins to maintain acceptable flight levels.
” The collective team of NASA, Boeing and United Launch Alliance completed three wind tunnel tests in six months to investigate the aerodynamic stability of various configurations and to anchor our analytical predictions,” said Gary Wentz, vice president of human and commercial services at ULA.
ULA noted that the company will begin the fabrication of the aeroskirt this month in Decatur, Alabama, after the new configuration completes a production readiness review.
Boeing changed its original schedule for CST-100 test and development efforts under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract with NASA to address spacecraft production challenges.