Space news took center stage this week at Boeing and its subsidiary, Tapestry Solutions, after NASA unveiled the first nine astronauts to crew commercial spacecraft to and from the International Space Station (ISS). The news hit very close to home for Tapestry’s San Luis Obispo (“SLO”) office because one of the astronauts, Victor Glover, is a graduate of SLO’s California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly).
Like Glover, Tapestry has a close connection with Cal Poly – the alma mater for the majority of the software engineering and testing talent at its SLO office. Although Tapestry’s Cal Poly alumni aren’t flying spaceships, they’re grounded in Southern California developing software for military, government and commercial customers around the world.
The engineering team at the 140-person SLO facility supports software development for products including ICODES load planning / yard management solutions for the U.S. Transportation Command, as well as Tapestry’s GOLDesp MRO & Supply. GOLDesp is a leading tri-service software that also supports IT maintenance and supply activities for the International Space Station under the Boeing administration. Each month, GOLDesp handles over 25,000 transactions monthly supporting 2,000+ assets for the ISS.
Glover: Destined for Spaceflight
Glover is the fourth Cal Poly graduate to become an astronaut, according to The Tribune. After earning his bachelor’s degree in engineering at Cal Poly in 1999, Glover went on earn three masters degrees while serving in the Navy. He has served as a Navy commander, aviator and test pilot with almost 3,000 hours flying more than 40 different aircraft.
In a recent Tweet, Glover (@VicGlover) said: “I am overwhelmed and humbled to be a part of the @SpaceX team for my first flight! Feeling extremely grateful that the agency and our leadership have confidence in these crews to be part of such a critical mission. This is a big step for @NASA and for our Nation! #LaunchAmerica”
Meet ‘Fergie’ with Boeing’s Starliner Crew
Also making headlines is Boeing’s CST-100 crew, including Boeing’s very own Chris Ferguson (“Fergie”) who will fly missions alongside NASA’s Eric Boe and Nicole Mann. Ferguson has been an integral part of the Starliner program since retiring from NASA and joining Boeing in 2011. He spent more than 40 days in space for NASA during three shuttle missions. (Source: Boeing)
Ferguson hopes to make history as the first private citizen to launch to orbit on a commercially operated rocket, reports the Washington Post. Mann will also make history as the first female astronaut on the inaugural crewed flight of a new U.S. spacecraft.
Mann is a U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and pilot of the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet, while Boe is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who was a test pilot on the Boeing F-15. Boe will be making his third trip to space.
The nine astronauts will be among the first Americans to launch into orbit from U.S. soil since NASA’s space shuttle program shut down in 2011. Since then, NASA has depended on Russia’s Soyuz rockets and spacecraft to transport American astronauts to the ISS at a hefty price: upward of $70 million per seat.
Boeing aims to launch its CST-100 Starliner capsule on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in mid-2019 if everything goes according to plan.