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NASA Commercial Crew (CCtCap) test milestones

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DocM    16,427

With 11 more CRS Round 1 Dragon 1 flights, at least 6 CRS Round 2 Dragon 2's and at least 6 post-certification Crew Dragons (+ 2 certification flights), and god knows how many Red Dragon missions, that new Dragon Hatchery facility is gonna be hopping.

 


Jan. 3, 2017

Mission Awards Secure Commercial Crew Transportation for Coming Years

NASA took another big step to ensure reliable crew transportation to the International Space Station into the next decade. The agencys Commercial Crew Program has awarded an additional four crew rotation missions each to commercial partners, Boeing and SpaceX, to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

The four additional missions will fly following NASA certification. They fall under the current Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts, and bring the total number of missions awarded to each provider to six.

The additional flights will allow the commercial partners to plan for all aspects of these missions while fulfilling space station transportation needs. The awards do not include payments at this time.

"Awarding these missions now will provide greater stability for the future space station crew rotation schedule, as well as reduce schedule and financial uncertainty for our providers," said Phil McAlister, director, NASAs Commercial Spaceflight Development Division. The ability to turn on missions as needed to meet the needs of the space station program is an important aspect of the Commercial Crew Program.

The two commercial spacecraft also will provide a lifeboat capability to allow the astronauts aboard the station to return safely to Earth in an emergency, if necessary.

Returning human launch capabilities to U.S. soil underscores NASAs commitment to the station and the research that the orbiting laboratory makes possible including the advancement of scientific knowledge off the Earth, for the benefit of those on the Earth and to prepare for future deep space exploration.

The Commercial Crew Program will help NASA get full operational use from the national laboratory for scientific research by increasing the number of astronauts on the space station, and allowing the crew members to dedicate more time to research.

The commercial crew vehicles will transport up to four astronauts for NASA missions, along with about 220 pounds of critical cargo to the space station.

More time dedicated for research allows NASA to better understand the challenges of long-duration human spaceflight without leaving low-Earth orbit. As NASA develops the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System rocket for deep space missions, including the journey to Mars, NASA is turning over low-Earth orbit crew and cargo transportation to commercial companies. This two-pronged approach is critical to achieve the agencys exploration goals.

Boeings uncrewed flight test, known as an Orbital Flight Test, is currently scheduled for June 2018 and its crewed flight test currently is planned for August 2018. SpaceXs uncrewed flight test, or Demonstration Mission 1, is currently scheduled for November 2017, followed by its first crew flight test in May 2018.  Once the flight tests are complete and NASA certifies the providers for flight, the post-certification missions to the space station can begin.

Boeing and SpaceX are developing two unique human space transportation systems. They also are upgrading necessary infrastructure, including launch pads, processing facilities, control centers and firing rooms.

Boeing is developing the CST-100 Starliner that will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SpaceX is developing the Crew Dragon to launch on the companys Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Pad 39A at the agencys Kennedy Space Center. Both are located on Floridas Space Coast.

Last Updated: Jan. 3, 2017

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LittleFroggy    130

I just, in the matter of the last two weeks found out we haven't been able to get through the Van allen belts https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/van-allen-probes-spot-impenetrable-barrier-in-space 

 

they have been said to disrupt Computer systems and are heavily radioactive and harmful to humans. is it possible for man to get through these?

 

 

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IsItPluggedIn    1,684

So the Van Allan belts is a barrier for the ultra-fast electrons. Not Physical items. Otherwise we wouldnt have asteroids and the Satellites that have recently visited Pluto/Jupiter.

 

The video is a bit of over exaggeration an the comments not really relevant. There is a lot of radiation that astronauts are subjected to and the goal is to shield than from this, however the radiation will not instantly kill you, similar to nuclear radiation it affected the body over time. So the goal would be to protect the astronauts as much as possible from the radiation that we know will be there. 

 

As for the computer systems, due to all of the new technologies going into Orion and newer satellite a lot of the components have never been tested with the specific type and amount of radiation they may be exposed to. So it "may" cause issues however we are unsure. The comments in the video talking abut Apollo are not really relevant due to the outdated technology that was used back then compared to now.

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DocM    16,427

Yeah, a little overblown. Manned spacecraft passed through this "barrier" twice on every Apollo mission, and communication satellites and deep space & interplanetary probes do likewise.

 

Do the computers need radiation hardening or, like SpaceX does, multi-level redundancy with voting logic? Absolutely!! 3 voting processors in each computer, 3 voting computers in each control system. Or more. They believe in overkill. 

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,656

And there are sections of the belts that are a lot thinner and much less harmful than the "full monty" parts. During Apollo/Saturn, TLI and TEI trajectories were plotted in such a way where spacecraft spent as little time as possible in the VAB region(s) -- they plot through the thinnest and least active of these areas to minimize the exposure. That, in conjunction with how the CM was designed, helped a great deal.

 

image-of-Apollo-11-and-van-allen-belts.g

So there we go. The Van Allen Belts are manageable, so far as spaceflight is concerned.

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DocM    16,427

 

NASA: 17 Commercial Crew Things to Track in 2017 
By Steven Siceloff,
NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida

 

Throughout 2017, NASA and its commercial crew partners, Boeing and SpaceX, will make major steps touching every area of space system development and operations, from completing flight-worthy spacecraft and rockets to putting the finishing touches on launch pads to performing detailed countdown and flight rehearsals.

 

Here is a look at 17 things you should track for in 2017:

 

1.    Structural Test Article: Boeing begins 2017 with its CST-100 Starliner Structural Test Article at the company’s Huntington Beach, California, facility for testing that will push, pull and apply pressure to the spacecraft, qualifying that the design will be able to withstand the intense conditions encountered during spaceflights.

 

2.    Structural Qualification: SpaceX is on pace to complete structural qualification of the Crew Dragon capsule and trunk in early 2017. The company built the Crew Dragon Qualification Vehicle to prove its design will hold up to the rigors of spaceflight.

 

3.    Starliner Prototype: Boeing will wrap up assembly of its Starliner prototype, Spacecraft 1, which is slated to go through ground verification testing before flying in a pad abort test from White Sands, New Mexico. Production of two additional Starliners will ramp up in 2017 in preparation for two test flights – first without a crew to the International Space Station and then with one Boeing and one NASA astronaut on board. All three spacecraft are being manufactured in the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

 

4.    Complete Manufacturing: SpaceX also will complete manufacturing of three Crew Dragons that are currently in early phases of assembly. These spacecraft will perform Demonstration Mission 1, flight test without crew, Demonstration Mission 2, flight test with a crew aboard, and the company’s first crew rotation mission.

 

5.    Software Systems: Both companies' robust autonomous software systems will continue to be put to the test to ensure everything works exactly as planned throughout all phases of the mission.

 

6.    Starliner Thrusters: The Starliner thrusters – from small maneuvering jets to large engines that would fire in an emergency to push the spacecraft and astronauts out of danger – will be qualified and acceptance tested in the fall during the service module hot fire test.

 

7.    Draco and SuperDraco: The Draco and SuperDraco thrusters for SpaceX's Crew Dragon are on pace to complete static-fire qualification testing in the first few months of 2017. SpaceX produces both thrusters in-house. The smaller Draco thrusters maneuver the spacecraft while it's in orbit and provide small adjustments. The SuperDracos, which are 3D printed, are much larger and produce enough thrust to lift the Crew Dragon out of danger in case of an abort situation. The company expects to complete propulsion system validation testing by demonstrating capability in all phases of flight using a dedicated module by the second half of 2017.

 

8.    Parachute Tests: Boeing will start off 2017 with its parachute qualification test series in New Mexico and more advanced drop testing at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. Boeing plans to place an instrument-laden human-like test dummy inside its mockup for drop tests that will verify that the Starliner's airbags will absorb enough of the force of landing to keep astronauts safe. The landing tests will be performed using a gantry that drops the mockup onto a dirt pad.

 

9.    Parachute Development: SpaceX plans to finish development testing of its Crew Dragon parachute systems in early 2017. The Crew Dragon will use a four-parachute configuration for landing in the water. The company plans to complete qualification testing of the parachutes after the summer.

 

10.    Spacesuits: Boeing and SpaceX each designed their own spacesuits for flight, based on the systems of their respective spacecraft and NASA’s stringent requirements. Throughout 2017, both companies will subject their suits to rigorous testing in multiple circumstances that might be encountered in space. SpaceX has completed spacesuit development testing and will build the training and flight suits for its crewed demonstration flight and first crew rotation mission after astronauts are assigned to missions. The spacesuits are not designed for spacewalking, but are meant to fill the role of the orange partial-pressure suits astronauts wore during space shuttle launches and returns. They are meant to keep air flowing to the astronaut in case of depressurization and meet a host of special capabilities.

 

11.    Starliner Factory: Boeing will add to its Starliner manufacturing complex at Kennedy early in 2017 when it opens a Hazardous Processing Facility that will allow for the safe fueling of Starliner spacecraft with maneuvering system propellants before the spacecraft is taken to the launch pad for liftoff.

 

12.    Crew Access Tower: Work is nearing completion on a new structure built specifically for the needs of astronauts climbing into Boeing's Starliner as it stands atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida. In 2017, the 200-foot-tall Crew Access Tower and Crew Access Arm will see installation and testing of emergency escape systems. ULA's complex is one of the most active on the Space Coast, and construction of the systems needed to support crew launches has taken place between launches.

 

13.    Launch Complex 39A: SpaceX has overhauled the historic Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy and built new support structures for the company's line of Falcon rockets. The Crew Access Arm, currently under construction, will be connected in the spring to provide a bridge from the fixed service structure to the Crew Dragon spacecraft so astronauts can board before launch. The launch pad will be put to the test when SpaceX launches its Falcon 9 from the pad in early 2017. It will mark the first flight off of Pad 39A since the final space shuttle mission in 2011.

 

14.    Atlas V Production: United Launch Alliance will continue production of the two Atlas V rockets that will lift Starliners into orbit on flight tests with and without crews aboard. Building its rockets at a plant in Decatur, Alabama, the company will begin building the boosters for operational Starliner missions, as well.

 

15.    Falcon 9 Production: SpaceX will build up the Falcon 9 rockets that will launch Crew Dragons into orbit for the flight tests of its systems. SpaceX builds its rockets, Merlin engines and Crew Dragon spacecraft at the company's factory and headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

 

16.    Flight Test: SpaceX is slated to make its first flight test – without a crew – in November 2017. Flying to the space station using its automated guidance and navigation systems, the Crew Dragon will dock there on its own and remain for a time before detaching and parachuting back to Earth and landing in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Cape Canaveral. The mission will be a dress rehearsal for a later flight test that will include astronauts.

 

17.    Space Station: The advances are not limited to Earth, either. Astronauts on the International Space Station will continue modifications in 2017 tailored for new vehicles, including commercial crew spacecraft.

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IsItPluggedIn    1,684

Thanks for the update Doc. That update does sound very political trying to make it look like both are working to the same time frame. But the most telling thing is point 16, as there is not one for Starliner. But im excited to see both of them launch, hopefully they are on time or early, not delayed. 

 

Now I could go for some social commentary.

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Actually, I am impressed, that through under funding, feature creep and bureaucracy, that SpaceX has not "blown a forehead blood vessel".

 

:D 

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Unobscured Vision    2,656

Not to mention ULA dragging the entire Program behind several years just maintain the appearance of staying relevant to it. SpaceX won this one by several miles.

 

[EDIT] In fact, SpaceX outright "skunked" them by letting it go this long ... the Aerospace equivalent of the -- drumroll -- PARTICIPATION TROPHY. *guffaw*

Edited by Unobscured Vision
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DocM    16,427

Boeing hurt themselves by waiting until they got a contract before cutting metal, which means paper and inventory milestones until early last year.

 

OTOH, SpaceX has been flying and refining Dragon since 2010 and started testing the SuperDraco escape/landing thrusters in 2012.

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Beittil    570

Which is exactly why Elon won't make SpaceX public for a while... he gets to pick his own investors and dictate them the terms, not the other way around. 

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Draggendrop    5,747

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:)

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

 

:(

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Emn1ty    4,025
2 hours ago, Draggendrop said:
:(

It happens, as long as they don't make a habit of it it's all good.

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DocM    16,427

As much NASA not doing certifications in a timely manner as anything, 6 months instead of the contractual 2 months, and adding requirements & functions on the fly. Add those to the issues both providers have inevitably run into and here we are.

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Unobscured Vision    2,656

Yep. As much as I'm gung-ho for safety and reliability, this is truly getting ridiculous now. NASA can't spare the people needed to do the inspections and certs?? Should take a few weeks per Provider, maximum. And being NASA, they'll have checklists. LOTS of them. If something isn't up to par, tally it up at the end and give 'em three months to address it.

 

They wouldn't like me if was NASA Administrator ... :rofl:

 

"And knock off the feature creep. We're looking at you, Managers. You've already delayed things by two years, by my count. Don't force Administration to "drain the swamp" inside your offices too, because that can be arranged. Do your ####### jobs like you've got a purpose. NO EXCUSES. Arrange for those Certification Inspections and get this #### done already."

 

Might not be PC, and certainly not NASA-PC, but threaten their cushy jobs and they'll actually move their rear ends. Instead of having "Focus Groups" and burning up coffee makers.

 

Maybe I'd even pull surprise visits on-site with the REAL people who know what's going on ... you know, the ones doing the work? I'd rather deal with them anyway. Get accurate status reports, and more importantly you find out what they need in order to finish the job in a reasonable amount of time .. and not have to listen to some Company Rep who blows glitter and unicorns and basically lies to ya the whole time other than the fact it's actually in-work.

 

Oh ... hehe ... and our guy Marty and the Wonder Workers? They'd be offered positions to help get things back on-track. I'd make Marty an offer he couldn't refuse ... :D 

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Draggendrop    5,747

 

 

 

 

 

:woot:

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DocM    16,427

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,656

Tell 'em, Gwynne. :yes:

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Draggendrop    5,747
7 hours ago, Unobscured Vision said:

Tell 'em, Gwynne. :yes:

She is a diamond ...... one of the best hires that SpaceX made...

 

note..Elon made a twitter account for her, but she doesn't like to tweet...

 

https://twitter.com/gwynneshotwell?lang=en

 

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

 

 

 

Exactly....

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DocM    16,427

Considering one of those block 5's will be the un-crewed Crew Dragon mission, that's 6 before late 2018. No sweat.

 

And the whole idea of SLS flying an Orion crew early makes the above even more ridiculous. Especially given all the mission critical items on Orion which aren't near ready yet.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Also heard that a few booster segments have flaws and require recasting, with additional expense. The ESA module which was due last month won't arrive till summer...but everything is fine with SLS.

 

I am beginning to think that some believe this silliness. Once FH flies...going to be tough to justify cost/lift mass.

 

edit...just found some of the references...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This has gotten a bit out of control. Must be a "last ditch" to keep SLS going...this is really out of character.

 

At the rate NewSpace is plugging along...some questions will be answered sooner than a few want them answered.

 

:s

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DocM    16,427



Jeff Foust @jeff_foust

Dittmar: makes no sense to take capabilities like SLS and stand them down to wait for

 

Delusional. 

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FloatingFatMan    18,196
4 hours ago, Draggendrop said:

 

 

 

Exactly....

Not just SLS/Orion... Just how many Apollo/Saturn 5's of the same configuration did NASA launch before they started putting people in them, hmm?

 

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