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Boeing CST-100 spacecraft updates

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DocM    16,615

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Draggendrop    5,747

NASA Orders Second Boeing Crew Mission to International Space Station

 

15-240.thumb.jpg.4465b0f9e9b317f1a3dcb22

This artist's concept shows Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, currently under development for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, docking to the International Space Station.
Credits: NASA

 

Quote

NASA took an important step Friday to establish regular crew missions that will launch from the United States to the International Space Station with the order of its second post-certification mission from Boeing Space Exploration of Houston.

 

"Once certified by NASA, the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon each will be capable of two crew launches to the station per year," said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. "Placing orders for those missions now really sets us up for a sustainable future aboard the International Space Station."

 

This is the third in a series of four guaranteed orders NASA will make under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts. Boeing and SpaceX received their first orders in May and November, respectively, and have started planning for, building and procuring the necessary hardware and assets to carry out their first missions for the agency. NASA will identify at a later time which company will fly a mission to the station first.

 

Boeing met the criteria for NASA to award the company its second mission with the successful completion of interim developmental milestones and internal design reviews for its Starliner spacecraft, United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and associated ground system.

 

Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida is seeing the buildup of the Starliner structural test article, and nearby, the main column of the crew access tower is in place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41. Flight trainers are nearing completion in Boeing’s St. Louis facility and rocket parts are starting to come together in Huntsville, Alabama.  

 

“As our company begins its second century, our Starliner program continues Boeing’s tradition of space industry innovation with commercial service to the space station,” said John Mulholland, vice president and manager of Boeing’s commercial crew program. “We value NASA’s confidence in the Starliner system to keep their crews safe.”

 

Commercial crew missions to the space station will restore America’s human spaceflight capabilities and increase the amount of time dedicated to scientific research off the Earth, for the Earth and beyond. A standard commercial crew mission to the station will carry up to four NASA or NASA-sponsored crew members and about 220 pounds of pressurized cargo. The spacecraft will remain at the station for up to 210 days, available as an emergency lifeboat during that time.

 

“With the commercial crew vehicles from Boeing and SpaceX, we will soon add a seventh crew member to International Space Station missions, which will significantly increase the amount of crew time to conduct research,” said Kirk Shireman, manager for the International Space Station Program. “This will enable NASA and our partners to ramp up the important research being done every day for the benefit of all humanity.”

Orders under the CCtCap contracts are made two to three years prior to actual mission dates in order to provide time for each company to manufacture and assemble the launch vehicle and spacecraft. Each company also must successfully complete a certification process before NASA will give the final approval for flight. Each provider’s contract includes a minimum of two and a maximum potential of six missions.

 

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manages the CCtCap contracts and is working with each company to ensure commercial transportation system designs and post-certification missions will meet the agency’s safety requirements. Activities that follow the award of missions include a series of mission-related reviews and approvals leading to launch. The program also will be involved in all operational phases of missions to ensure crew safety.

http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-orders-second-boeing-crew-mission-to-international-space-station

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DocM    16,615

Moving right. One slip away from a 2018 crewed flight.

 

OFT (orbital flight test): June 2017
CFT (crewed flight test): October 2017 

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Beittil    582

What were the originally scheduled dates?

 

Also, quite tightly packed together those two. Only 4 months for a complete evaluation of the OFT before running the CFT, any slip/item of concern in the OFT alone could easily push the CFT to 2018 indeed. Let alone issues with CFT itself.

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DocM    16,615

They were April and July 2017.

 

Boeing did say they may have trouble with the schedule as they didn't start cutting metal for the engineeing test article until late 2015.

 

So Far SpaceX's uncrewed flight is still on for December 2016 or January 2017 with both Dragon 2 flight vehicles on the factory floor.

Edited by DocM

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Beittil    582

Yeah ok, no surprises there because Boeing certainly wasn't going to be pocketing their own capital into this. We already knew this tho, if CST-100 would lose out on the contracts then Boeing would bury it so hard and so fasts nobody would even know it ever existed :p

 

Glad SpaceX at least has a better 'we are going to build this stuff anyway' mindset :)

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Ike17055    0

Space x has no other business. It has to build this or die ( or at least shrink back to a contract payload launch service.) Boeing has a large portfolio of product lines and a large base of shareholders to justify it's expense to. If commercial space goes away, Boeing simply continues to focus on building value for shareholders through delivering needed aerospace services to customers such as NASA, and DoD as well as airlines workdwide. 

 

 Simply put, Space X needs NASA more than Boeing does, so yes, it is all in because it has virtually nothing else.  It is not a comparable situation. Boeing would be foolish to build if their customer goes elsewhere or goes away.  Space X had a speculative start due to its private ownership status but quickly gained contracts that have allowed it to continue development.  It can thank NASA for this orimarily. Boeing came to the party late since NASA decided it needed at least one proven reliable contractor until Space X became more established. As far as schedule, Falcon 9 was designed from start for man rating. Atlas V was not. This is a very substantial undertaking and explains most of the difference in the contract awards between the companies. Space X already did it years ago, courtesy of their contracts with NASA. Boeing, through ULA, has to backfill this capability.  It takes time and money.   It thus shapes up like this: ULA continues to provide the most reliable, albeit most expensive launch service for commercial and scientific payloads ( which should in part extend into crew launches once human certification is achieved for this vehicle), but Space X is quickly gaining experience and proving it can achieve lower launch costs.  The competition will be good for taxpayers and may stretch scarce exploration dollars further than they would otherwise go.  NASA has taken a very smart approach to commercial crew service. 

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DocM    16,615
1 hour ago, Ike17055 said:

Space x has no other business. It has to build this or die ( or at least shrink back to a contract payload launch service.) 

Incorrect. They have a Fidelity valuation of $12 billion and climbing due to large launch contracts. Commercial Crew is $2.6 billion.  Far from "no other business."

 

SpaceX has human spacecraft goals beyond servicing ISS, Mars specifically, and SpaceX has said they'd soldier on but slower without Commercial Crew because of their long term goal, Mars. 

 

Commercial Crew has been a way to accelerate the development of  manned systems with help from the NASA centers, then they move on from there with funding from their commercial launches and the Google/SpaceX data satellite constellation - the first two test birds go up this year. 

 

Quote

Boeing has a large portfolio of product lines and a large base of shareholders to justify it's expense to. If commercial space goes away, Boeing simply continues to focus on building value for shareholders through delivering needed aerospace services to customers such as NASA, and DoD as well as airlines workdwide. 

>

 

Boeing is the one who said last year that if they didn't get a Commercial Crew contract CST-100 development would end. They've also admitted having trouble with its business case, and that was before NASA kicked Boeing out of the Commercial Cargo 2 competition - which SpaceX, Orbital and SNC won.

 

Edited by DocM
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Unobscured Vision    2,678

.. interesting first post. Misleading and incorrect, not to mention waaaaay off base.

 

SpaceX has tons of Commercial Customers who have booked launches as far as three years down the road; some have been booked in advance for Falcon Heavy specifically.

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DocM    16,615

Adding another SRB to assure covering the mass issue just kicked their cost/launch up another $6-8m, and the skirt wind tunnel work is critical. 

 

No mention of the abort issue leaked by their outgoing ovely-honest VP though (abort motors crushing S2 and causing a kaboomski directly under the capsule.)

 

The May CCtCap report puts them 6-8 months behind SpaceX for their uncrewed and crewed first ISS flights.

 

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/08/02/boeing-nears-fix-for-cst-100-starliner-design-hitch/

 


Boeing nears fix for CST-100 Starliner design hitch

Boeing says engineers are resolving concerns with the mass and aerodynamic shape of the companys CST-100 Starliner commercial crew carrier, and officials are optimistic the spaceship will be ready to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station in early 2018.

If everything goes well, well meet schedule, said Chris Ferguson, a former space shuttle astronaut and deputy program manager for Boeings CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, in a recent interview with Spaceflight Now. Its the unknown unknowns (were concerned about), but were optimistic.

According to Ferguson, Boeing engineers are wrapping up analyses of two design concerns that combined to trigger a delay in the first CST-100 crewed test flight from late 2017 until February 2018.

One issue involved the mass of the crew capsule, which outgrew the lift capability of the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket selected to put it into orbit.

The CST-100 Starliner will ride an Atlas 5 rocket with two solid rocket boosters and a dual-engine Centaur upper stage, and although Boeing and ULA engineers considered adding a third strap-on motor to compensate for the capsules extra weight, managers now have the spacecraft back under its mass allowance, Ferguson said.

Theres a certain percentage below the lift capability of the Atlas 5 we were aiming for, and then there are natural margins with mass growth allowances that you always put in, just in case you get some surprises at the last minute, Ferguson said.

Weve identified all the necessary items that will get us back below the line for mass, Ferguson said. Of course, when you go do that kind of work you have to go back and revisit some of the drawings and some of the designs. Id say about half of it came pretty easy. The other half was a challenge. but weve got an engineering solution for all the fixes needed to get us back underneath the line.

Ferguson said Boeing has a model of the Atlas 5 rocket and CST-100 Starliner in a wind tunnel to verify a change to capsules outer shape devised to overcome higher-than-expected aerodynamic launch loads discovered in testing.

They had one issue, a non-linear aerodynamic loads issue, where they were getting some high acoustic loads right behind the spacecraft, said Phil McAlister, head of NASAs commercial spaceflight development office in Washington.

Atlas 5 rockets carrying the Boeing crew ship will encounter different aerodynamic and acoustic environments than on normal satellite launches. The CST-100 Starliner will not fly inside a nose shroud on top of the Atlas 5, as other payloads do.

Theyre in the final phase of some wind tunnel testing, McAlister told members of the NASA Advisory Councils human spaceflight subcommittee last week. They think theyve got a good solution by putting on an extended skirt behind the capsule. We think thats a pretty good solution, too, but we really want to see some of that final wind tunnel test data come through.

Nevertheless, Ferguson said he was happy to have a solution for the mass and aerodynamic issues.

I think weve got them under control, Ferguson told Spaceflight Now. The good news is there are no additional large problems that have arisen in the last six months, so maybe were at the point where weve investigated everything, and we finally have a design were confident in.

Inside the CST-100 assembly facility at NASAs Kennedy Space Center, technicians are finishing work on a structural test article of the crafts weld-less crew module and readying it for shipment across the country to a Boeing site in Huntington Beach, California.

Engineers there will add the spacecrafts outer skin and heat shield.

Its really going to start looking like a spaceship when it gets out there, Ferguson said. It will be out there until late this year going through a series of shock and vibration (tests).

Meanwhile, components of the first flight-worthy CST-100 spaceship are arriving at KSC for assembly of a capsule destined to fly on a pad abort test next year. That capsule is dubbed the qualification test vehicle, and it will be the first Starliner unit to include the avionics, computers and many of the other systems needed for flight.

The qualification capsule will not have the environmental control and life support systems required to support human passengers, Ferguson said.

The avionics, the items that have to go through qualification, the pumps and fans, they start showing up here in late summer, and then well integrate them into the first spacecraft that we fire up and see how it performs as an integrated system, Ferguson said.

The first power-up of a CST-100 spaceship on the ground is expected late this year, with tests continuing into 2017.

Hopefully, if everything goes well, its just a matter of following the instructions that we set forth to assemble the remaining two which will become the Orbital Flight Test and Crewed Flight Test vehicles, Ferguson said, referring to the spaceships that will launch on Boeings unpiloted and piloted demo flights.

The CST-100 qualification unit is not expected to fly into space, but Ferguson said Boeing has the ability to upgrade it for orbital missions if required.

Qualifying each CST-100 component, both individually and at the full spacecraft level, is one of the big jobs on the Boeing teams docket, and that work does not get the attention of a flight test.

Weve got about 200 avionics boxes that need to go through their own level of qualification, Ferguson said. That qualification is done at the vendor. What we do is we being all the systems together, so they all sing, and then we say, Hey, Im happy with the way this subsystem works  the electrical system or the environment system.'

 

 

 

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

It took them three months to figure that out and fabricate Wind Tunnel articles for the new skirts?! LMAO. Ladies and gentlemen, this is where Mil/Gov goes to work when they're done being Mil/Gov -- but they don't stop being Mil/Gov. 

 

My niece could have told them the best way to eliminate aerodynamic anything is build a fairing or a shell. And she's fourteen. 

 

And the "let's just add another booster to the Atlas V" solution .. To paraphrase Doctor Who ...

 

200_s.gif

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DocM    16,615

Every time I think of an Atlas V or Vulcan launching a Starliner with crews using GEM solids (they recently switched) I think of the 1997 Delta II oopsie.

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

Anytime anything using Boosters launches I'm reminded of kabooms. There's just too much that can go wrong. I was at Vandy when one of the Titan IV's was launching, and we felt the acoustic and overpressure shock hard. The General was not happy when he came upstairs ... lot of people lost their CS Jobs over that one.

Edited by Unobscured Vision
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DocM    16,615

This one?

 

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

No, and I mistyped. Happens when I'm distracted and typing too quickly. The NOSS-3 / SLDCOM launch on a Titan IV.

 

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

j/k      Meanwhile in a backroom at NASA, astronauts are playing a game of "straws", to see who has to go on the initial Starliner.....:s

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IsItPluggedIn    1,684

That whole thing reminds me of when im talking to a client and everything is going wrong. " Well that wasnt supposed to happen, but im confident the fix I put in for the problem I didnt know what going to happen will fix the issue that i dont understand. Umm it will work I swear........ Dont yell at me"

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DocM    16,615
1 hour ago, IsItPluggedIn said:

That whole thing reminds me of when im talking to a client and everything is going wrong. " Well that wasnt supposed to happen, but im confident the fix I put in for the problem I didnt know what going to happen will fix the issue that i dont understand. Umm it will work I swear........ Dont yell at me"

Pretty much.

 

The problem is that while acquired parts of Boeing built the Apollo CM Starliner is based on, hardly anyone from that era is still around.  Now they're taking bits and pieces off the shelf and trying to chicken wire them together.

 

One quirk that bugs me is the pressure vessels clamshell structure makes for a 14  meter circumferential pressure seal, which adds needless and expensive structure and a potential failure mode WRT a pressure loss.

 

_CST-100_Starliner_1_1280.thumb.jpeg.6e3

Edited by DocM
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DocM    16,615

 

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Beittil    582

That tower definitely wont be winning any beauty prizes, but I suppose it is efficient like that :D I guess the shaft part isn't that bad, but once it starts bulging out in several directions... eew.

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DocM    16,615

 

 

 

 

 

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DocM    16,615

And if the heat shield and its backbone don't jettison as required for airbag deployment?

 

Boeing engineers recently evaluated the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft’s ability to withstand the shocks and other challenges of landing on the ground with a series of drop tests at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. Hoisted using a gantry at Langley that’s tested everything from private planes to the lunar lander of Apollo, a Starliner mockup with a full-size airbag system in place was released from about 30 feet to see how it behaved when contacting the Earth.



 

The airbags have been designed to absorb much of the impact. A nominal Starliner mission, such as those planned to take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station during Commercial Crew Program flights, is to end with the spacecraft touching down on land in the American southwest where ground support teams can more easily reach the spacecraft and crew than if they splashed down in water.

The Starliner was already tested in water-landing scenarios in the same gantry. All the results will be used by Boeing to confirm the designs of the landing systems and by NASA to certify the systems for use during upcoming flight tests without and then with a crew aboard.

 

post-10859-0-76141900-1472267423.jpg

 

post-10859-0-42208100-1472267443.jpg

 

post-10859-0-97434800-1472267494.jpg

 

 

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Draggendrop    5,747
3 minutes ago, DocM said:

And if the heat shield and its backbone don't jettison as required for airbag deployment?

 

 

 

 

post-10859-0-76141900-1472267423.jpg

 

post-10859-0-42208100-1472267443.jpg

 

post-10859-0-97434800-1472267494.jpg

 

 

This does not inspire confidence. There is no reason, other than cost, that they could not have pushed this off an aircraft, at altitude, and observed the landing behavior with chutes. They could also have tested ejected heatsheild mockup at the same time and retrieved the sensor data for analysis.

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DocM    16,615

They have tested parachutes using this boilerplate, which was built by Bigelow Aerospace.

 

There are actually TWO heat shields which need to be jettisoned for a nominal landing: one being the Forward heat shield and the other the Base heat shield. 

 

Jettisoning the Forward heat shield allows the parachutes to be deployed. This requires the firing of 4 thrusters.

 

Jettisoning the Base heat shield allows the air bags to be deployed.

 

The Forward was tested off a jig in 2012 (image bottom)

 

Both the Forward and Base are being deployed off a Starliner Test Article this summer. 

 

SpaceX tested their 3 parachute rig from a test article in 2014, and no heat shield needs to be jettisoned - just a breakaway panel which gives when the parachute fires. The 4 parachute rig was tested a couple of weeks ago.

 

2012 Forward HS test (jig)

 

681626main_Jettisontest.jpg

 

Edited by DocM
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Draggendrop    5,747

Neat...didn't know that.

 

It does seem troubling that jettisoning introduces so much more that can go wrong...Murphy's Law.

 

:s

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