Status Report

NASA Lessons Learned: International Space Station (ISS) Program/CRV/Schedule Delay

By SpaceRef Editor
October 3, 2003
Filed under , ,

PLLS Database Entry: 1141

Lesson Info

  • Lesson Number: 1141
  • Lesson Date: 01-feb-2000
  • Submitting Organization: HQ
  • Submitted by: David M. Lengyel


International Space Station (ISS) Program/CRV/Schedule Delay

Description of Driving Event:

Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) Schedule Requirement for ISS Crew Greater Than 3

Lesson(s) Learned:

Acquisition of the ISS Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) has been lagging and appears to be facing further delay. The full-crew CRV is needed for long-term safe operation of the ISS with a crew larger than three astronauts.


Take whatever steps are necessary to halt the delays to the CRV program without jeopardizing adequate demonstration of SAFETY of design and certification of human-rating.

Evidence of Recurrence Control Effectiveness:

NASA concurs with the ASAP recommendation. Significant progress has been made in establishing the CRV project in the last year due to commitment at all levels within NASA – from the Administrator, the Office of Space Flight, JSC, the ISS Program Office, and the X-38/CRV Project Office. The original Office of Management and BUDGET (OMB) decision and Congressional markup reduced the project funding in FY 2000, which delayed the start of CRV Phase 1 (engineering development through critical design review). NASA Headquarters successfully argued for the necessity of starting Phase 1 in FY 2000 and obtained OMB concurrence to transfer funding to start this phase in late FY 2000.

The request for proposals for CRV Phase 1 has been released since the last ASAP review. Bids have been received from three offerors and are currently being evaluated. The current evaluation schedule will allow a Phase 1 contract award in the August-September 2000 timeframe, and the funding is in place.

In support of this planned CRV Phase 1 start, the X-38 Project Office has worked with the Langley Research Center (LaRC), Independent Program Assessment Office, to close out all open actions from the LaRC independent assessment (IA). Approximately 90 percent of the 110 “maturity gates” identified by the IA team have been closed to date, and an acceptable status of all of the 110 items is expected prior to a final Headquarters Program Management Council presentation in July 2000. Progress on these items confirms a significant reduction in risk prior to the start of Phase 1.

The X-38/CRV prototype project has successfully completed five atmospheric flight tests and numerous parafoil tests. A major milestone was achieved in January 2000, with the first flight test of the full-scale parafoil for the space vehicle. This parafoil is the size necessary for a CRV carrying seven crewmembers and contains all required design features for a human-rated system. This test was conducted without any anomalies, demonstrating NASA’s clear understanding of all the basic technical issues of parafoil flight as well as our ability to extrapolate from sub-scale testing to full-scale testing. The atmospheric vehicle flight tests have demonstrated many of the new technologies (lifting-body aerodynamics, flight control systems, parafoil deployment, and electromechanical actuators) planned for the CRV. A fifth test is scheduled prior to the end of July 2000, which will confirm performance characteristics of the improved body shape. In addition, the critical element in the CRV navigation system will be tested in space aboard the Space Shuttle on STS-101 in May 2000. A critical CRV technology – global positioning system-based attitude determination – will be demonstrated on this flight. In the aggregate, all of these tests significantly reduce the technology risks of the CRV.

Assembly and testing of the X-38 space test vehicle is proceeding, and the first simplex power-up to the vehicle occurred in March 2000, verifying end-to- end system power. The Space Shuttle program is currently manifesting the X-38 space test for April 2002. This will support a start of CRV Phase 2 (production) at the start of FY 2003, and a CRV operational date in late FY 2005 to early FY 2006, based on final production funding profiles.

NASA remains firm in its commitment to review results from the space test prior to production. NASA has further established decision logic to be used to determine if a space test of the production vehicle will be necessary after the X-38 space test. This decision logic will ensure that critical evaluation and testing are not compromised by the accelerated CRV schedule.

Applicable NASA Enterprise(s):

  • Human Exploration & Development of Space

Applicable Crosscutting Process(es):

  • Manage Strategically
  • Provide Aerospace Products & Capabilities: Implementation

Additional Key Phrases:

  • Aerospace SAFETY Advisory Panel
  • Financial Management
  • Policy & Planning
  • Research & Development
  • Spacecraft

Approval Info:

  • Approval Date: 25-feb-2002
  • Approval Name: Bill Loewy
  • Approval Organization: HQ
  • Approval Phone Number: 202-358-0528

SpaceRef staff editor.