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Boeing CST-100 spacecraft updates

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Unobscured Vision    2,678
19 minutes ago, DocM said:

:no: Not the thing they should be doing right now, even if it's in the Aircraft side of the business. They can't move those Personnel to the Rocket Division instead? Oh, and there's more bad news in other branches of the Company:

 

Quote

"The company is closing a 290-worker plant in El Paso, Texas, and a 70-employee facility in Newington, Va. It will move about 1,000 defense workers from Kent, Wash., to nearby Tukwila."

Mismanagement. That's what it boils down to. #### rolls downhill. What a waste. I really feel for the people that work there, that have to put up with that crap.

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DocM    16,618

Starliner will have an optional 2.9 kW solar array mission kit by Spectrolab.

 

CST-100_mission-kit.png

 

161117-spectrolab-assembly-of-compound-semi-multi-junction-cells-to-power-boeing-starliner-spacecraft.jpg

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DocM    16,618

 

The GAO Commercial Crew report is out.

 

The largest Starliner risks are the Atlas V's RD-180 engine and its parachutes

 

Quote

The Commercial Crew Program’s top programmatic and safety risks for Boeing are, in part, related to having adequate information on certain systems to support certification. For example, the Commercial Crew Program is tracking a risk about having the data it needs to certify 


Boeing’s launch vehicle, ULA’s Atlas V, for manned spaceflight. The Atlas 
V’s first stage is powered by the Russian-built ULA-procured RD-180 
engine, which has previously been certified to launch national security 
and science spacecraft but not humans. ULA and Commercial Crew 
Program officials have been working to get access to data about the 
engine design, so that they can verify and validate that it meets the 
program’s human certification requirements. The program and Boeing 
report that access to the data is highly restricted by agreements between 
the U.S. and Russian governments. As an alternative, the program has 
stated that it is considering whether to certify the engine based on 
available data, but program officials believe doing so would be a high risk 
for the program. Boeing officials told us that they do not view this as a safety risk because NASA will not certify the engines without reviewing 
the data it needs.

The program is also tracking a risk about having adequate information on the parachute system. In March 2016, Boeing modified its previously approved parachute test plan by replacing six drop tests, which simulate select forces—for example, mass—on the parachute system for one full- scale test event, which simulates all aspects of a parachute system. Through discussions with the program, Boeing has increased the number of full-scale test events to five, with an option for two additional tests if deemed necessary. The program is in the process of reviewing the new test plan to determine if it will generate enough data for the program to evaluate the system. Regardless of whether the program approves 
Boeing’s new parachute test plan, program officials told us that they plan 
to gather additional data on the performance and reliability of both 
contractors’ parachute systems. NASA has several contractual options
available to mitigate this risk, if needed. For example, NASA could 
choose to add additional analyses or parachute tests to the contract.


 

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

Oooooo .... the 180 is now an issue. My goodness.

 

They're never .... EVER .... going to get that data on the engine. Russia likely will not allow it, nor should they. That material is probably the Russian equivalent of "Classified + Protected". That would be like Soviet Russia asking for the plans and all data on the F-1's ... in 1976. "Hey, you're not using that anymore -- mind if we do?". Not gonna happen, for the same reasons.

 

And with the 170-series likely going back into active development and production again (read: updating & upgrading -- the 180 is a direct derivative of the 170), that information is going to go even darker than it was before. And I think it's only proper. Again, think of the Soviets asking for the plans and all data on the F-1 engines in 1976 when they got retired. Not really appropriate.

 

Yes, we are actively using the RD-180 engines today. Think of the time when that deal was made for those engines -- Russia trying to sort itself out still. They had these awesome, great-performing engines that they were willing to sell to us because they needed the money at the time.

 

Things are different in Russia now. A lot better. I applaud that development, I really do. Still doesn't mean we should have special access to Classified/Protected Material "because we really, really need ya to do us a favor on this one".

 

Nope. Russia has no obligation to release the extra data on the RD-180.

 

Atlas-V + Starliner is stuck in the VAB now without an S1 engine -- literally. Not unless NASA capitulates on the extra data thing. And they won't -- because they're NASA.

 

Maybe they can order a few Falcon-9's? /shrug

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DocM    16,618

One of Boeing's crew program managers talked about using Falcon 9 after their first 2 contractually obligated Atlas V missions to help make the business case ($cheaper$.) ISTM for redundancy they'd also want to qualify it on Vulcan-Centaur.

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DocM    16,618

Working a tiny leak in the S2 engine gas spinup circuit. Doesn't sound serious, not anticipating a delay.

 

Weather now 70%. Largest risk is upper level winds.

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Draggendrop    5,747

For the RD-180 data, pretty sure it will be "signed off" for prior "flight history"...no reason not to, it's proven itself many a time over.

 

:D

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

I'm sure ULA and Boeing is hoping for that outcome. ;) 

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DocM    16,618

1) Starliner pad abort vehicle powered up for the first time.

 

2) 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

.......

:laugh::rofl: ...

When SpaceX is gonna beat them to it? MEH. Bad comedy.

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DocM    16,618

Oopsie....

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

Coming Soon™ ....

 

Yep. Lemme know when Elvis gets here.

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DocM    16,618

Yet another old-space perpetual development program. Milk that budget dry, baby!!

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DocM    16,618
On 9/27/2017 at 8:59 PM, DocM said:

Oopsie....

 

 

And the shoe drops, Starliner is now delayed to as late as 2020. 

 

This effectively merges Starliner's Boe-CFT (Boeing Crewed Flight Test) with Boeing PCM-1 (Boeing Post-Certification Mission #1).

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/nasa-boeing-signal-regular-missions-to-space-station-to-be-delayed-1522984513

 

Quote

NASA, Boeing Signal Regular Missions to Space Station to Be Delayed

 


Revised Boeing contract signals capsule won’t fly with crew until 2019

NASA and Boeing Co. have agreed to turn the initial test flight of the company’s commercial crewed capsule into an operational mission, one of several recent signs officials are hedging their bets on when U.S. spacecraft will start regularly ferrying astronauts to the international space station.

Thursday’s disclosure by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration suggests a previously planned two-person flight, slated for November 2018,  is now likely to occur in 2019 or 2020 and would likely carry one additional crew...{paywalled}

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

:pinch: Yeeesh.

 

Engineering & Fabrication issues by the truckload on this one. The dynamics are so [crappy] with this design that they shouldn't proceed any further (but they will anyway). They're committed so they have to see it through and make it work.

 

I keep saying that this monstrosity is going to kill people. A lot of my colleagues agree that it's a terrible implementation -- way too many hoops to jump through in order to make it function in an already difficult set of tasks.

 

So ... 2020 huh. Wow.

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DocM    16,618
52 minutes ago, Unobscured Vision said:

:pinch: Yeeesh.

>

I keep saying that this monstrosity is going to kill people. A lot of my colleagues agree that it's a terrible implementation -- way too many hoops to jump through in order to make it function in an already difficult set of tasks.

>

 

My biggest concern, well....maybe #2 after Centaur collapsing from aero loads even with the aero-skirt and circular aero-fin additions, is that the ~14 meter long seal between the upper and lower clamshell halves could catastrophically fail. This happening, either in flight or worse while docked at ISS with the hatch open, could be bad. All for ease of access during refurbs.

 

This bird has serious Charlie Foxtrot potential.

Edited by DocM
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Unobscured Vision    2,678
6 hours ago, DocM said:

 

My biggest concern, well....maybe #2 after Centaur collapsing from aero loads even with the aero-skirt and circular aero-fin additions, is that the ~14 meter long seal between the upper and lower clamshell halves could catastrophically fail. This happening, either in flight or worse while docked at ISS with the hatch open, could be bad. All for ease of access during refurbs.

 

This bird has serious Charlie Foxtrot potential.

(Emphasis mine).

 

The problem with that area -- a huge problem -- they're using O-Rings in a set of four (inner, outer, upper and lower) is that they haven't considered the environment the CST is being used in. O-Rings are awful in the cold. They become brittle, fail to expand (as intended), expand unequally, and because of the temperature extremes (very hot in the sunlight then very, very cold due to shadow/vacuum) those things WILL snap/break/fail in short order.

 

Snap the outer ring, the inner ring WILL let loose too.

 

There are plenty of other "showstopper" issues that would keep CST grounded for the next DECADE ... this one is severe enough on it's own.

 

SpaceX would never, ever do things this way. Not in a million years.

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

And I'd like to state for the record that I'm fairly sure that's how they're sealing up the two halves of the CST. That's really the only way they could do it ... O-Rings for the pressure seal then bolts all the way around the radius to clamp it all together firmly. Still going to have some of the O-Ring material exposed to vacuum though.

 

I bet it failed on them when they were pressure testing their test article; thus the massive delay. A two year slide is likely because they have to address a catastrophic design flaw affecting the entire line, not just a single unit.

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DocM    16,618
1 hour ago, Unobscured Vision said:

>

I bet it failed on them when they were pressure testing their test article; thus the massive delay. A two year slide is likely because they have to address a catastrophic design flaw affecting the entire line, not just a single unit.

 

Not just straight-up vacuum testing but the thermal vacuum tests done after the spacecraft has all its systems, usually done later in the game. 

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Unobscured Vision    2,678
8 hours ago, DocM said:

 

Not just straight-up vacuum testing but the thermal vacuum tests done after the spacecraft has all its systems, usually done later in the game. 

Sure, sure. Imagine that ... they get the test article in an Environment Simulator, fire it up, and suddenly it's explosive decompression or the test article's internal pressure dropped to the same thing as external because the O-Rings didn't function (because Physics). Everyone scratching their heads, and half of them fully expecting it to go that way because they knew better.

 

Thermal testing probably wouldn't change it either. As we know, thermals are what make O-Rings expand thus make them do their jobs. No heat = no O-Ring function. I bet what they have been counting on was a slow rotation of the spacecraft to warm up that exposed portion of the O-Ring, however slight, enough to make it expand and then seal that Outer O-Ring through transference and conduction. Not really a bad idea, but it shouldn't have been banked on.

 

That's why I keep saying that they're jumping through too many hoops at once. They introduce additional inefficiencies into their design this way.

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DocM    16,618

That the thermal loads on the seal are asymmetrical is the real problem, and a barrel roll is just a band aid. 

 

They could install hearing elements along the seal, covering 10° or so each with temp. sensors and a controller, but the power drain vs. Starliner's puny batteries and solar array (none in standard trim) are problematic. Too bad they didn't install conformal solar arrays on one side of the service module :whistle:

Edited by DocM
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Beittil    583

I just _REALLY_ hope NASA will stop try and find stupid excuses to keep SpaceX behind Boeing on the timeline... just let em go already :x

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Unobscured Vision    2,678
57 minutes ago, Beittil said:

I just _REALLY_ hope NASA will stop try and find stupid excuses to keep SpaceX behind Boeing on the timeline... just let em go already :x

It's not NASA as such, but ULA/Boeing/LockMart's implanted and loyal "former" employees who are in positions that are open for these kinds of things to occur. It falls short of corruption, but we gotta call it that because that's really what it is. "Preferential treatment", "abuses", and such are a hallmark of Mil/Gov Contracting sadly. SpaceX and other NewSpace companies are finding this out all too well. They have to endure it if they want to change the system though.

 

Please understand that things are changing. Former loyalists who were once die-hards and people who are never part of that club are getting sick of how things have gone, and now they're finally getting their turns in those management positions where they can effect change. These things take time.

 

Ten years from now we won't even recognize the internal politics of NASA. The OldSpace companies won't be nearly as prevalent a presence as they are now. The "Sea Change" is well underway.

 

Garbage projects like SLS/Orion and CST-100 will be relegated to the pile of "what the hell was THAT?". SLS will hopefully never fly with humans on-board, and CST-100 needs to be cancelled. Orion? Eh, who's to say. It's outdated, certainly.

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DocM    16,618

Re: Orion

 

A classic bait and switch, it's been sold as a "Mars vehicle" but it's only good for 3-4 weeks in space, tops. In reality, a Mars architecture would use Orion to taxi crewmembers to a Mars Transfer Vehicle which would enter Mars orbit and use a  lander/ascent vehicle to visit the surface.

 

Orion is a also barely capable of doing cislunar missions - it's bloated mass overwhelms its prop mass.  Given a few  service module upgrades and either  Starliner or Crew Dragon would run rings around Orion for much less money.

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

Yep. Completely oversold, a complete underperformer. Loser all-around. Only thing that could possibly turn it into a halfway capable Cislunar worker would be a new Service Module with 4x the all-around capability and solar arrays that are 3x the size -- AND NOT CIRCULAR -- or make the systems more efficient across-the-board. NASA would be astounded what can be done with a 24v/12v bus nowadays, if they could be bothered to investigate it.

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