NASA Commercial Crew (CCtCap) test milestones

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DocM    12,929

Dragon V2 Parachute/Propulsive Landing Test: September 2015

(parachutes to ~10 meters, SuperDraco propulsive touchdown. One of 4 possible landing modes)

Dragon V2 Demo Mission 1: 30 day ISS un-crewed mission, NET December 2016

Dragon V2 Demo Mission 2: 14 day ISS crewed mission, NET April 2017

SpaceX Dragon V2 CCtCap milestones (PDF)....

The Boeing CST-100 milestones have not been released yet.

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DocM    12,929

Boeing's Commercial Crew flight test dates to ISS are finally in, so here's how both schedules play out,

SpX: SpaceX Dragon 2

Boe: Boeing CST-100

Dragon 1: SpaceX Cargo Dragon

SpX-DM1: December 2016, 30 day uncrewed

Boe-OFT: April 2017, 30 day uncrewed

SpX-DM2: April 2017, 14 day crewed

Boe-CFT: July 2017, 14 day crewed

As it stands now SpX-DM2 would overlap the Dragon 1 CRS-14 ISS resupply mission, so there could be 2 Dragons at ISS simultaneously.

It's even possible SpX-DM2 (Dragon 2), CRS-14 (Dragon 1) and Boe-OFT (CST-100) could all be at ISS at the same time. Talk about a photo-op!!

And yes, SpaceX's schedule is currently months ahead of Boeing's.

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Draggendrop    5,175

I don't know if this is the proper thread Doc, but I thought this comparison of 2016 tasks may be interesting...

 

Eve of Launch: 2016 Goals Vital to Commercial Crew Success

 

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/eve-of-launch-2016-goals-vital-to-commercial-crew-success

 

The article has a few bits of info....

 

:)

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DocM    12,929

ShevBottom line: 

 

SpaceX is building 3 flight Crew Dragons, one scheduled to fly to ISS in December,  while Boeing is building a Starliner structural and qualification test article.

 

Also; SpaceX has begun the DragonFly propulsive landing test program at their McGregor, Texas test center using the pad abort test vehicle. She be hoppin'.

Edited by DocM
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Draggendrop    5,175

I'm feeling better about this ...keep the news coming Doc...:D

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DocM    12,929

Both spacecraft have a Lifeboat Mode. They can remain attached to ISS for months as a way to bug out, but  there's no guarantee surviving crew members will be a pilot or capable of flying due to injury. They can dive in, close the hatch, hit the arming and lifeboat buttons and the spacecraft will un-dock, scoot away and go home to a series of programmed landing sites on its own. Primaries: White Sands, Houston Spaceport at Ellington, or KSC. If a pilot decides to take over after the bug out he can.

 

SpaceX's head of vehicle landing techs used to work for NASA and was co-developer of their G-FOLD precision lander landing software. His code is one reason why F9 can land within 1-2 meters of a GPS target, and Crew Dragon gets it too. This is why Musk talks of propulsively  landing one on a helipad. Otherwise: parachutes to land or water with a propulsive assisted touchdown, like Soyuz.

 

Starliners parachutes and air bags system doesnt allow such accuracy, so their primary is White Sands or water. No backup landing system. 

Edited by DocM
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DocM    12,929

HOUSTON (NASA PR)  Suni Williams is one of four astronauts selected to train closely with Boeing and SpaceX as they develop a new generation of human-rated space systems in partnership with NASAs Commercial Crew Program.

 

Williams, Bob Behnken, Eric Boe and Doug Hurley will spend considerable time working with the new spacecraft development teams prior to piloted flight tests.

 

Williams talked recently about some of the expectations of the Commercial Crew Program, which is working with Boeing and SpaceX on their CST-100 Starliner and Crew Dragon systems, respectively, in a unique way focused on safety, reliability and cost-effectiveness.
A veteran of two long-duration missions to the International Space Station, Williams also talked about some of the things that make her career enjoyable and what it takes to become an astronaut.

 

What will make commercial crew a success?

 

Williams: Were heading down this exciting path of commercial crew. Its going to be successful and put to the test when we launch from Kennedy Space Center. Both companies, Boeing and SpaceX, are working hard already, starting to bend metal and actually make spacecraft. Im excited to be part of the first couple of people who will probably fly one of these spacecraft so already weve started down the path. I think the test will be when we put those spacecraft on the launch pad and are ready to light them off and send them to the space station.

 

What excites you about the commercial crew approach to spacecraft development?

 

Williams: We have the opportunity as the commercial crew cadre to go to both Boeing and SpaceX and check out what they're doing and how they're coming along with their spacecraft. I think what's really exciting is seeing the new technologies that they're incorporating into their spacecraft. These are things that are much different from both space shuttle and Soyuz, because they're taking advantage of the technology from the last two decades or so. Some of the ideas are brand new, it makes us think out of the box from how we've done spacecraft and how we've flown spacecraft before. So I'm pretty excited to see these new technologies be incorporated into these new spacecraft.

 

Why use test pilots for the first commercial crew missions?

 

Williams: This will be the first time in a generation that we are going to launch a new [human-rated] spacecraft. I think what goes hand-in-hand with putting the right people on the first couple of missions to really shake out the spacecraft and make sure that theyll be ready to fly for the next generation of folks who are going to be flying these for quite some time. Part of that is putting test pilots on the first couple missions. As part of the test pilot curriculum, we learn a lot about the rigors and the methodology of testing in a very stepwise fashion, looking to approach the boundaries step by step and not jumping out too fast too quickly and exceeding any boundaries of the vehicle or the human in the loop.

 

I think part of the methodology of selecting test pilots for the first couple flights is based on the rigors that we learned in test pilot school. So to look at these spacecraft in a wide variety of aspects and really go down the path and make sure theyre really good for the next generation.

 

Will only test pilots be able to fly these spacecraft?

 

Williams: After the first couple missions of each spacecraft, I dont think were going to have to have test pilots as the prime operator of either of the commercial crew vehicles. I think the idea is to make sure all of the bugs are worked out as much as possible and be able to turn those spacecraft over to anybody in the astronaut office to be able to fly.

 

The commercial crew missions will allow astronauts twice as much time for research. 

 

Describe conducting experiments on the International Space Station.

 

Williams: Conducting research on the space station is very interesting and sometimes challenging. Its a whole different kind of laboratory than here on the ground. Of course, were doing similar experiments than we do on the ground but we have to do them in space which means theres different processes, different materials, theres different considerations  things float around  so you have to be a little bit worried how youre actually putting the experiment together. Sometimes they take a little bit longer, sometimes theyre just observational experiments where we set up and then we make observations just using the background of microgravity to see how it affects the experiment. But its challenging, so one more crewmember up on the space station helping out is going to probably double the amount of space research that were doing right now.

 

What do you take with you when you go to space?

 

Williams: So Ive been to space two times and I always like to take something that reminds me of home. My first mission I wasnt sure how much stuff I could take or what I could take, you know its always the first time, so I took a little paper cutout of my dog and I had him inside of my crew notebook. My second time I knew a little more about how much space I had so I had a little stuffed animal of him, so I got to have him inside my sleep station and slept with him every night.

 

For the next mission, I dont know, I dont think I can take anything bigger than the stuffed animal I already had so I might have to get one more stuffed animal. I actually left my little stuffed guy up there with one of my crewmates who was staying on the space station so this time if I take a stuffed Gorby I think I might have to bring him back home with me.

 

What does it mean to work at NASA and be an astronaut?

 

Williams: Working for NASA and being an astronaut is really exciting, and its fun first and foremost. I have never felt like I have a job. I go to work every day and its something new and exciting and sometimes it means actually getting on a rocket and going to space. There are a lot of cool things we do and its not only just us who are astronauts who are working for NASA. Its people who are doctors and scientists and engineers and veterinarians who all work together to make up a space mission that eventually allows us to get up on a rocket and go do experiments in space up on the space station.

 

When did you begin to think you wanted to be an astronaut?

 

Williams: When I was a kid I was thinking about what I wanted to do when I grow up, I think everybody thinks about that. My dads a doctor, so I was thinking maybe I want to be a veterinarian, but I really just didnt know, honestly, when I was a little kid. I didnt even really know when I was graduating from high school. So I had the opportunity to go to the Naval Academy, and after that I learned how to fly airplanes and helicopters. That led me to be interested in engineering and being interested in learning how to test fly aircraft. Later, test pilot school brought me down to NASAs Johnson Space Center and thats the first time I ever met an astronaut, John Young. He talked about landing on the moon and I thought, wow, he had to fly something like a helicopter to land on the moon and maybe I have those skills too. That was the very first time I thought about being an astronaut.

 

What should this new class of astronauts expect?

 

Williams: Were getting ready to have a new class of astronauts, a new selection in 2017. Im so excited for them, theyre going to have a big path of stuff to do in front of them. First of all, theyll probably be long-duration astronauts living on the International Space Station flying up there on commercial crew vehicles or Soyuz and then probably flying on the Orion spacecraft thats going to take them farther than low-Earth orbit. So I would suggest for them, of course, to prepare and get ready.

 

What advice do you have for anyone selected to become an astronaut?

 

Williams: So for the next group of astronauts thats going to be selected in 2017, I would give you a couple of pieces of advice: First of all, buckle your seatbelt, its going to be a wild and crazy ride. Youre going to be working with teams all over the world and youre going to be going to places that are just beyond what we are doing today. So, get ready for that adventure, stay healthy and get ready.

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DocM    12,929

Translation: moving SpaceX's flights right, bunching the big milestone payments to occur closer to the start of FY2018 which is funded over the request.  

 

Early underfunding strikes again.

 

 

 

Edited by DocM

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Unobscured Vision    2,163

Glad to see the calendar; not glad to see everything moving to the right. Darn it. Barring SpaceX from funding the Dragon 2 flights on their own dime, this is going to keep happening; and I'm starting to think this ... *stuff* ... is happening on purpose to buy Boeing more time to get things sorted with CST. SpaceX, Falcon 9 and Dragon 2 have all been ready to do the Test Flight itinerary for a while now. November/December was the timeframe, and I'd love for them to be able to get there.

 

/sigh

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Draggendrop    5,175

Then again, if push comes to shove, is there anything stopping SpaceX from doing their own exploratory testing while staying away from the ISS exclusion zone....They can complete what needs to be done on their own "dime" and recover it later.

 

:D

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Unobscured Vision    2,163

Not sure. Citing NASA-set milestones and approvals at each step to proceed onward, seems like Dragon 2 would be ready to have an unmanned ETF-1 by now. SpaceX is the only one to answer that.

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DocM    12,929

NASA needs the $$ to validate their progress, so whatever they do before wouldn't necessarily count, unless SpaceX picked up the tab.

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Draggendrop    5,175

I would certainly want SpaceX to have a capsule up before Boeing and the coverage that goes with it, but if being hindered by bureaucracy is a problem....a few cores laying around...a capsule which needs testing.....mmmm test launch, and "surprise, it works"!

 

Wishful thinking   :D

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DocM    12,929

The last NASA milestone schedule shifted both the Boeing and SpaceX crewed flights to mid-2017, but it appears only SpaceX is on track to meet their new date.

 

Boeing CST-100 Starliner crewed flight slips to 2018. The Starliner is too heavy and the Atlas V still has issues with acoustics. 

 

http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/05/boeings-first-flight-slips-its-now-up-to-spacex-to-wean-nasa-off-russia/

 

Boeings first crewed Starliner launch slips to 2018

 

The delay means only SpaceX can wean NASA off Russian transportation by next year.

 

NASA has pinpointed next year as the time when its dependence upon Russia to fly its astronauts to the International Space Station will finally end.

 

However, one of the two companies now slated to provide that service, Boeing, has said it will not be able to launch a crewed mission of its Starliner spacecraft until 2018 at the earliest.

 

In a report that first appeared in GeekWire, chief executive officer of Boeings defense, space and security division, Leanne Caret, told investors: Were working toward our first unmanned flight in 2017, followed by a manned astronaut flight in 2018." The company has been struggling to limit the mass of the spacecraft and acoustic issues related to its launch vehicle, a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.

 

After an intense competition with other providers, Boeing received $4.2 billion in 2014 to finalize development of the Starliner capsule, and SpaceX received $2.6 billion to finish development of its Dragon capsule. A spokesman for SpaceX told Ars Wednesday night that the company remains on track for crewed missions in 2017.
>

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Unobscured Vision    2,163

Who else saw this coming? There was no way Boeing was going to meet the timeline; while SpaceX has been literally begging to have the timeline ramped up. Dragon 2 is ready, and has been ready for quite some time now, for an unmanned qualification flight. NASA are the ones holding up the show. FACT. And now we know why ...

 

Let's get the Pad Abort Test, and the In-Flight Abort Test done already. The sooner it's done, the sooner SpaceX and Dragon 2 can do the UQ Flight 1. After that, assuming there are no issues, MF1 in 1H 2017. Let's get her on the Launch Pad, folks. PLEASE. 

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DocM    12,929

The Dragon 2 pad abort test was done last year, and the flight abort test was moved to after the uncrewed ISS mission.

 

The Skyliner weight issue is no surprise. Regardless of the ULA spec sheets, the heaviest payload Atlas V has flown was the last Cygnus CRS mission at 7,492 kg. Falcon 9 routinely tosses Dragon CRS missions  massing well over 10,000 kg.

Edited by DocM
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Beittil    373

Well, I guess we are now seeing the huge advantage of SpaceX over Boeing. Where SpaceX owns both the rocket and the spaceship, not to mention that the rocket in question was designed from the very beginning to carry astro's and thus will not have the acoustics issues that Atlas now has nor the weight issues with the spaceship because they were designed to be made for each other!

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DocM    12,929

The version being an Atlas V 412, I'm wondering if the acoustics is at least partly because it uses a solid booster, 

 

400 series

1 AJ-60A (GEM 63 later) booster (thrust oscillations?)

Dual Engine Centaur (DEC, which rarely flies)

 

Atlas V changing to a GEM 63 graphite-epoxy cased solid is notable because a GEM 40 case failure caused the big Delta II explosion in 1997.

Edited by DocM
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Unobscured Vision    2,163
15 hours ago, DocM said:

The Dragon 2 pad abort test was done last year, and the flight abort test was moved to after the uncrewed ISS mission.

 

The Skyliner weight issue is no surprise. Regardless of the ULA spec sheets, the heaviest payload Atlas V has flown was the last Cygnus CRS mission at 7,492 kg. Falcon 9 routinely tosses Dragon CRS missions  massing well over 10,000 kg.

It was my understanding that the Pad Abort Test needed to be done while on top of the Rocket that would be used to launch it, sitting on the Launch Pad (to test the Integration Release System in that scenario)? Of course I remember the Abort Test they conducted using the Dragon 2 by itself ... and it was a thing of beauty. :yes: 

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Unobscured Vision    2,163
10 hours ago, DocM said:

The version being an Atlas V 412, I'm wondering if the acoustics is at least partly because it uses a solid booster, 

 

400 series

1 AJ-60A (GEM 63 later) booster (thrust oscillations?)

Dual Engine Centaur (DEC, which rarely flies)

 

Atlas V changing to a GEM 63 graphite-epoxy cased solid is notable because a GEM 40 case failure caused the big Delta II explosion in 1997.

Well, it's not going to get CST off the pad without Boosters. Not enough grunt.  If it does, there's gonna be a problem ... as in this kind of problem ...

Yep ... no bueno.

 

So, ULA needs to figure something out. Are they going to bite the bullet and use a Delta Heavy? That's gonna be like going after a Wasp nest with a flame thrower ... so .. yeah. I dunno. /shrug

 

They could always hire SpaceX! :woot::rofl:

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DocM    12,929

With ULA cancelling Delta IV Medium there's a problem using Delta IV Heavy. With 2 launchers sharing infrastructure costs DIVH cost up to $400m a launch. Without DIVM cost sharing, a DIVH launch could rise to $800m to $1B per launch. Ouch.

 

Falcon 9 could easily lift Starliner having almost 2x the core thrust as Atlas V, but they lose having a backup booster.

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DocM    12,929

Another Starliner issue brought up by the fired ULA guy earlier this year; 

 

possible heat shield damage during a  launch abort causing trouble if it's an abort to orbit, or high enough a re-entry is needed.

 

We’re working on getting it certified, and so right now, with Boeing, per the contract, we’re going through the human spaceflight organisation and looking at all the single point failures, all the redundancy, how things work, modifying the launch rockets primarily to meet their needs. It’s also interesting because the Boeing design doesn’t have an escape tower, it basically has four thrusters on the bottom of their capsule or the service module that will eject them off if there’s a bad day. And so there’s different things that the backpressure will tear apart, the backpressure of those thrusters if you have the wrong structural load will cause it to impinge on the capsule at very high altitudes, damages the heat shield, that will cause it to have a problem on reentry,

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Unobscured Vision    2,163

"Red Rover, Red Rover, this is Fido. We've got a Charlie Foxtrot inbound. Repeat, Charlie Foxtrot inbound." :no: 

 

That'll get a cab canned, in of itself. SpaceX designed Dragon 2 like they did to prevent the backpressure thing from happening; and Boeing went and copied them but copied them the wrong way. Blargh ...

 

The CST drama unfolds at a rapid pace now ... sheesh. Two months from now it's going to already be cancelled due to the severe flaws in the design. Boeing, LH/M and ULA Lobbyists are going to be burning up their favors in Washington to not have their respective companies' rear ends handed to them over this, yet another debacle. First the RD-180 mess, then Orion, now this. 

 

Candle's getting pretty low, fellas. Better think about how you're gonna replace it; 'cause times are about to change. Hate to see ya get shut out in the wintertime without a coat.

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DocM    12,929

NASA has of course known about this, and IMO combined with an obvious unusable lower corners volume because of the sidewall angle (aka: attic effect), is likely why they were eliminated from CRS-2 so early.

 

Space News has also broken that the Atlas V + Skyliner stack has problems with ascent aerodynamic loads.  

 

Sheesh....

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Unobscured Vision    2,163

Yeesh. Load-bearing problems were seen in Orion too, but internally. Cracked the pressure vessel from stress during proof testing before they even got to the rated load. Had this occurred during launch or reentry the PV would have breached and Capsule likely would have popped like a balloon. And whom has been building Orion? Lockheed-Martin.

 

orionassembl.png

Boeing isn't likely to be so forthcoming about what's gone wrong, since CST is a Commercial Vehicle rather than a publicly-funded one; but it's a good bet that we'd see a lot of the same names on the Engineering Team(s). Follow the trail of ineptitude ... /sigh

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