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NASA Commercial Crew (CCtCap) test milestones

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Unobscured Vision    2,344

Not sure, but the above issue that the Advisory Board has is related to that and the reaction the supercooled fuel has on the COPV's -- and they want SpaceX to redesign them with guidance from NASA; which, knowing how NASA Engineers/Management do their DCR (Design Certification Review) process to sign off on new/modified hardware it'd take years. 

 

A COPV isn't just something that can be swapped out. It essentially requires a complete disassembly of the rocket in order to get to the fuel tank(s), then you gotta rip apart the fuel tank(s) in order to get to the COPV's themselves. Once you remove the COPV's you can not use the fuel tank(s) again, because they're damaged beyond repair. Can't use those COPV's again either. Short story, and in plain english, the COPV's are for all purposes bonded to those tanks. Removing them means you destroy the tanks and the COPV's alike.

 

Every single rocket that SpaceX has produced the Advisory Board would like disassembled and the fuel tanks destroyed so that the COPV's can be swapped with a "better design" (as they call it) -- ALL SO IT CAN BE HUMAN-RATED.

 

This will take SpaceX years and cost them BILLIONS

 

Unacceptable, and completely arbitrary. It skews the playing field entirely into OldSpace's favor -- but that was the intention the whole time.

 

So now humans are forced to ride uphill on rockets that are either barely able to do the job (Atlas V) or rockets that are just as likely to explode as they are to send them to Mars and cost billions for each trip uphill (SLS). And OldSpace still wins.

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DocM    13,836

Swapping may be easier than that. There's an access port into the tanks, and the COPV's are connected to the tank by jointed struts (remember CRS-7?) so swapping them out should be simpler.  

 

The plan is if COPV 2.0 doesn't make the ASAP grade they fall back to much heavier metallic tanks. This would cost some payload mass, but Falcon 9 is in the Proton performance class so it shouldn't be that big a hit.

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IsItPluggedIn    1,675

I wonder what would happen at this stage if SpaceX said no.

 

NASA has already stated that they need 2 providers and they are willing to spend the money to have 2 providers. Which means they need 2 rockets, currently they have 1 and a half, with Falcon 9 and a soon to be dead Atlas. If they state that Falcon 9 is not good enough and SpaceX refuse to change it, what would they do.

 

(this is all hypothetical as they wont but....)

 

 

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DocM    13,836

This is where NASA decides if they listen to the ASAP advisory board ot do what it so often has done: all but ignore them. 

 

They're going to fly on Orion with its development  problems, and are already flying on Soyuz with all of Russia's recent quality and historic equipment failures. 

 

 

 

Edited by DocM
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DocM    13,836

Estimated slips because of "evolving" requirements, but SpaceX's Hans Koenigsmann isn't having it.

 

Remember: ASAP is an advisory board and NASA Admin can ignore them, once he's confirmed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,344

Yeah. Academia is seriously questioning NASA's logic with this program in general. It was supposed to be driven by efficiency and "new standards", not by NASA's (or some arbitrary "Advisory Committee" staffed by NASA people) quadruple-redundant and overblown 1970's standards ... and whose standards still weren't anything but "the long way 'round" to get to the same place that Commercial programs could do in 1/10th of the time and for way less cost.

 

Nah ... we're starting to call NASA & contractors out on its' B.S. as a matter of principle in technical reviews and other materials that they're attempting to submit at the research, historical & catalog level. Some of what we're seeing during peer review could be considered ridicule and political dogma -- yes, BIAS -- that favors one company's approach & methodology over another, and/or considers innovation "inappropriate" because those innovations aren't theirs/better/cheaper/whatever. We've caught SpaceX doing this too a little bit, but nothing like Lockheed-Martin and Boeing tend to do. ULA, to their credit, tend to submit very clean stuff although we've noted that in peer review some of their materials appear to be a little ... passionless.

 

(And forgive me, folks, for mentioning the above. A bit off-topic, yes, but pertinent. Stay with me because it'll be relevant to the discussion in a moment.)

 

For anyone who doesn't know, the whole reason that the companies submit the above "stuff" to Universities (technical reviews, historical reports, research & development notes, new breakthroughs that Universities might want to R&D, etc) from time to time is so that they can be peer reviewed. Think of it this way -- you don't want ULA peer reviewing SpaceX's development milestones, right? Universities have unspoken & firm-standing NDA's with everyone -- it's part of Ethics & Practices -- and are considered "holy ground" by all. SpaceX or ULA (for example) can come to appropriately-staffed Universities with Professors and Students who will peer-review anything brought before us. That's a service that Universities provide, for free, because it gives the Students the training on how to handle such materials, the Professors something to teach the Students with, and the Universities the "Industry trust". We might even do the research for them if it's interesting enough. Win-win-win-win, and Deans love it when we complete research for Industry because that means it's a patent that the University gets to cash in on.

 

The deal is that it can be a "three-edged sword", to quote Babylon 5. The companies that get their stuff peer reviewed can and will get papercuts if they aren't playing by the rules -- and generally speaking, we WILL call 'em out on it if they aren't coming to us correctly. Bias is one problem. Cannot have it, at all. Politics and agendas are a no-no too. There's no room for that in Academia.

 

SO ... how does this relate to SpaceX's current problem with the Advisory Board and NASA's logic problem?

 

NASA is micromanaging everything, like usual, and turning this program into another one of IT'S programs. Fully and completely flying in the face of what it was supposed to be doing (which was "get the hell out of the way and let the Companies do what they're gonna do").

 

Now things are beyond the point where SpaceX or LockMart/Boeing/ULA can pull out; which is what they should have done if they'd have known it was gonna turn into this.

 

I agree with the call SpaceX is making. Fly Dragon 2 anyway. Any problems that arise they'll sort out in short order.

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DocM    13,836

Wow....sounds like someone from above (NSC? VP Pence?) told NASA, ASAP etc. to chill on the delays.

 

Space News....

 

Quote

NASA studying commercial crew contingency plans

 

WASHINGTON  NASA is beginning to study a contingency option for maintaining access to the International Space Station should commercial crew vehicle development experience delays, one that would turn test flights of those vehicles into operational missions.

Speaking at the Federal Aviation Administration Commercial Space Transportation Conference here Feb. 8, Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said using the planned crewed test flights as crew rotation missions was one option under consideration should neither Boeing nor SpaceX be certified for regular crew rotation missions by the fall of 2019, when NASAs access to Russian Soyuz spacecraft ends.

"Those test flights might be able to be extended a little bit, fly a little bit longer, maybe fly a little bit of crew, and they could be kind of an operational mission," he said in response to a question after a luncheon speech at the conference. "Thats something were beginning to discuss with both SpaceX and with Boeing."
>

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,344

I'm far more comfortable with SpaceX's vehicle than Boeing's in that scenario. It's quite more feature-complete -- and would already be flying those missions if not for the "delays".

 

And I'm still not sold on ULA's plan in closing those "Black Zones" in the flight profile, either. I probably never will be as long as they're using an Atlas V.

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DocM    13,836

The Centaur upper stage lifting Starliner while having a stainless steel skin thinner than a beer can does seem to be a black hole of a black zone, doesn't it?

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Unobscured Vision    2,344
4 hours ago, DocM said:

The Centaur upper stage lifting Starliner while having a stainless steel skin thinner than a beer can does seem to be a black hole of a black zone, doesn't it?

Talk about an underperformer of an engine ... sheesh. A lactose-intolerant human drinking milkshakes puts out more thrust than those units. :laugh:

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DocM    13,836

Crew Dragon update

 IMG_20180326_151151.thumb.jpg.4ab4df35b4799c46258aadbc1b065f30.jpg

Looks like someone wants Boeing to go first for the crewed launch. Maybe thats why the trunk radiator mount doublers were added late :crazy:

 

IMG_20180326_152421.thumb.jpg.6864a0cc22ff96cbb5112f42110f54f3.jpg

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,344

Uuuuuughhh ... that radiator mounting change (and associated plumbing) would require an almost complete lower internal disassembly (at best) to modify. Figures it'd be something requiring six months to do start-to-finish.

 

Anything to trip SpaceX up huh ... pricks. Once the design is finalized Boeing & Co. know they've lost the farm so any and all dirty tricks, shenanigans, lackeys and tools-of-ill-repute are being employed now.

 

Sheesh.

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Unobscured Vision    2,344

Check this out. Absolutely disgusting how this crap is being allowed to take place. Double standard much?

 

NASA studies extending Boeing commercial crew test flight to support ISS

Article link | SpaceNews.com website

Quote

WASHINGTON — A commercial crew contract modification moves NASA one step closer to using a test flight as an operational mission to maintain a presence on the International Space Station.

 

NASA announced April 5 that it had updated its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract with Boeing to study potential changes to the second of two test flights of the company’s CST-100 Starliner vehicle, currently intended to carry two people on a short-duration mission to the station.

 

Those changes, NASA said, would involve adding a third crewmember to flight and extending its mission from two weeks to as long as six months, the typical length of an astronaut’s stay on the ISS. The changes would involve training and mission support for that third crewmember and the potential to fly cargo on both that mission and an earlier uncrewed test flight.

(....)

In the statement, NASA said that it was approached by Boeing last year about the contract change. SpaceX’s CCtCap contract is not affected by the change. “If SpaceX submits a proposal for their crewed flight demonstration, the agency will review it through the normal procurement process,” NASA spokesperson Cheryl Warner said April 6.

 

.... of course SpaceX's contract isn't affected. Multiverse forbid that there be a level playing field.

 

/sigh ... just when it looked like things were finally changing.

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Beittil    431

Tbh... I do not see anything shocking here. Because right after the piece you emphasized it says "If SpaceX submits a proposal for their crewed flight demonstration, the agency will review it through the normal procurement process,". Which seems to me like the same thing Boeing did and got into the works.

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Unobscured Vision    2,344

Which could take 6-12 months.

 

I think the best course of action for SpaceX to take is to accelerate their efforts on Dragon 2, push NASA for earlier dates on Certification/Review milestones whenever SpaceX is ready for them (to avoid waiting needlessly for those inspection dates, chewing up more time that could be used fixing anything that crops up) and try to beat that 2020 deadline. At this point Boeing wins simply by attrition when before they were behind by YEARS.

 

I don't find this at all happening by coincidence or happenstance. None of it.

 

SpaceX should have had this launched by 2016-2017; and it's been by one dirty run of interference or another that it hasn't happened yet. I promise you. Foul games are afoot.

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IsItPluggedIn    1,675

I think SpaceX should release details about the process. Every time they put anything into review, update a website with that detail, so that everybody can see how long it is taking NASA to "review" their milestones, this will put pressure on NASA as people outside of the process will see that SpaceX is waiting on them. Which has been a lot of the issues, from what I have read.

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DocM    13,836

YOWZA!!!! 

 

Brent Jett: NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), and a former astronaut.

 

 

Edited by DocM
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DocM    13,836

 

 

 

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DocM    13,836

Commercial Crew simulators....

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,344

Yep. SpaceX, as usual, delivering what is promised -- OldSpace, as usual, delivering the narcolepsy. Can't be bothered to dream a little.

 

Haven't heard of anybody who wants to fly on Orion or Starliner. Everyone wants Dragon 2 or BFS. OldSpace isn't doing anything to attract newcomers in the Apprenticeship or Internship programs either. Big signing bonuses? Feh ... nobody wants to work there because there are literally NO projects of interest going on in ULA, Boeing or LockMart unless your thing is Military hardware. Even the Satellite industry is shifting massively towards the Commercial and Civilian sectors (SpaceX's Starlink, Iridium, etc) because that's where the growth is.

 

SpaceX, Blue, and other NewSpace ventures (as well as Industry Partners) are hiring and recruiting like there's no tomorrow right now. If you've got any kind of Engineering or Physics degree that's compatible with AeroSpace you can almost name your salary and get hired in. THAT'S how badly the skills are needed.

 

Labor? SpaceX needs that too, in all areas. BFS/BFR won't build itself -- but you'd better be the best of the best at what you do, and be able to prove it. 

 

It's a really heady time right now for AeroSpace. Wide open. :jump:

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