Orbital COTS flight to ISS in Dec; Bolden pushes affordability & sustainability

Orbital Sciences is scheduled to launch the Taurus II/Cygnus system for the first docking and delivery of (token) cargo to the ISS on December 14th. A “risk reduction” test flight will take place sometime before then: Launch Date Set For First Orbital COTS Demo – Aviation Week === Bolden emphasizes affordability in presentation at AIAA meeting in Orlando: NASA Projects Need Realism, Bolden Says – Aviation Week

> Commenting on the forthcoming completion of the space shuttle program and the emergence of commercial human spaceflight services, Bolden emphasizes that NASA is “not walking away from human spaceflight.” Commercial companies such as SpaceX and Orbital Sciences will “provide access to space, while NASA does exploration, which is expensive and risky and dangerous. We want to be able to continue human exploration of the universe far beyond low Earth orbit [LEO], and that is NASA’s role.”

Bolden drives home the point that NASA’s initiatives to support commercial resupply of the space station and its longer-term focus on exploration are essentially symbiotic. “We have got to get commercial entities to get stuff to the station. That’s critical, because we won’t go anywhere if we don’t get beyond LEO. My job is to facilitate success of commercial entities while NASA does the job of exploring — it’s a partnership. It just takes incremental steps, but have faith — we’ll get there.”

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