The CCtCAP Competitors, Dragon V2 (SpaceX) and CST-100 (Boeing) are being subjected to the NASA human rating standards. Although I asked the questions: Would the Shuttle meet Human rating standards? Would Soyuz have met Human Rating standards?

The obvious next question is, will Orion be held to the same standards? I mean this in a safety perspective, not in terms of crew size/time on station standards.


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A brief preview to the other two question:

Would the Shuttle meet Human rating standards?

Yes and no. The Shuttle was human rated.

However, the Columbia review board initially was leaning toward recommending an immediate shutdown of the Shuttle program, and if not that, no further use beyond Assembly Complete. The first recommendation didn't make it into their final report. The second did, with an additional recommendation that should NASA should go through a complete recertification of the entire Shuttle program should NASA continue to use the Shuttle beyond Assembly Complete. That would not have been possible with NASA's limited budget. That recommendation was a way to kill the program without saying so explicitly. NASA took that recommendation very seriously. The Shuttle program ended with Assembly Complete.

Would Soyuz have met Human Rating standards?

The Soyuz is a Russian vehicle that docks with the Russian half of the Space Station. They're immune to US internal regulations. Human rating concerns explicitly exclude Soyuz. They're immune.

The obvious next question is, will Orion be held to the same standards?

Yes. Those human rating concerns are a driving issue for the Orion project.

The Orion project has already undergone a pad abort test and has worked toward getting the parachute system human rated. The upcoming Exploration Flight Test-1 will form yet another step toward that human rating. Critical Design Review will be in April, 2015, and that is when human rating concerns become paramount.

At least traditionally, human rating isn't just about the vehicle. It's about the entire end-to-end system. That includes how the vehicle is manufactured, every little piece, every little fastener. If a bolt is bought from a commercial supplier, NASA wanted to see how that supplier kept up to standards. Orion is being held to those old-time standards.

Your question is phrased in a way that is suspicious of those safety ratings. I suspect that if anything, the rules will be relaxed a bit with CCtCap.


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