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NASA Commercial Crew (CCtCap) test milestones

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Unobscured Vision    2,657

Yeah, this is just plain "living in ones' own bubble" now. The entire reason that FH has been delayed is down to three factors:

 

a) The technology that makes FH a thing, the Falcon-9, has seen several evolutions in both ecosystem and iteration, both of which make FH a better and more robust machine overall;

b) An abundance of caution and careful planning on SpaceX's part -- not only based upon lessons learned from Falcon-9 but also because they want zero failures on all components whenever and however possible and are going to extraordinary lengths toward that end;

c) The rather annoying and sometimes unreasonable USAF and NASA parameters and requirements that seem to change or be modified whenever it suits those parties' interests ... and this item really tends to hold up the show more than a) and b). In some cases these parameters and requirements have come at times when SpaceX were nearly ready to ship hardware for testing and certification. I'm sure we remember the one or two instances quite well that nearly got SpaceX taken out of the running to launch NRO payloads such as "vertical payload loading", and so forth, when it was rather unreasonable (and costly for SpaceX) to perform such mating and loading procedures back then.

 

So yeah. More instances of NASA, MSFC and FAA people living in their own world. /sigh

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Draggendrop    5,747
22 hours ago, FloatingFatMan said:

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?

 

Going back a bit, but I remember that Apollo 4 and 6 were for launcher and Apollo 7 for capsule, so we had a few tests anyway...but in a "political cold war" race. The real kicker was the first shuttle launch with crew. This was a disaster that was luckily avoided...

 

1) The shuttle could have been autonomous with 2 connections from mid deck to upper deck, but was not done for some reason. Then there was the issue of flying over California and the implied need for crew.

 

2) Acoustic damage to a flap as well as paint stripped off the launcher and covering the windscreen led to the deluge system...acoustic damage was not properly handed.

 

3) Tile damage and a burn through to one undercarriage tub came close to damaging the undercarriage assembly.

 

4) Heat shield damage from acoustics as well as an RCS strut failure.

 

5) Forward external door plate damage due to improper heat tile placement.

 

6) John Young had stated that if the crew had known then, they would have leveled off and ejected.

 

7) Four ground crew died during prep of the mission

 

In hindsight, real dumb idea to put the crew on the first flight.

 

//

 

This situation with SLS is plain silly. NASA is not at fault here, it's a political request...and we dig deeper...one may find a certain "group" trying to keep it relevant before FH flies...

 

FH at 53 tonne....SLS at 70 tonne

 

10 launches of heavy would be 900 million for 530 tonne....SLS will be over 1 billion for a launch of 70 tonne...and the larger SLS will cost more and years further down the road.

 

My take on this...all political and in the end, safety will over ride this and it's fate will be sealed, if not cancellation, then only launching a few for "contrived" science missions.

 

In the end, Not NASA, they are just taking orders...:s 

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Unobscured Vision    2,657

Yep. It's purely political, and not out of necessity. Pet projects for the pork barrel because Washington and the Mil/Gov Contractors said that they needed more money, and only because of that.

 

And of course SLS will be inherently more unsafe by orders of magnitude -- anything that uses Solids is going to be, simply from the lack of abort options as well as the "things that go big-time kaboom" factor -- but they don't wanna talk about that ...

 

Oh, and in a sheer display of "galactically stupid", let's put people in an untested vehicle while we're at it. Yep ... Nothing could possibly go wrong with that. Even though that same brain-trust is screaming to anyone that'll listen that SpaceX's vehicle should be delayed (and already has been) because of the risk to human crews, even though SpaceX has gone over and above to ensure those systems are quadruple redundant in safety. Yep. No fault in the logic tree there. It was a bad idea with the Shuttle, and it's a bad idea with SLS/Orion.

 

Yeah, there's some true politics at work here. If I were SpaceX, I'd be closing up shop and leaving the U.S. market for good, and flying that big fat middle finger as I left telling Uncle Sam to kiss my rear end as I shut the door. That's how truly ###### off I'd be if I were Elon Musk & Co. with the US Government and the whole lot of 'em that have perpetuated this farce. And you know what? I wouldn't blame him at all. With that kind of scratch, SpaceX would already have ITS (BFR and BFS) just about built and we'd be talking about crew rosters and mission sets instead of the complete waste of time and resources that SLS/Orion have turned out being.

 

Do I want that scenario? SpaceX leaving U.S. soil out of sheer disgust? Of course not. Could it happen? Unlikely to never. But for anything to truly be any different, things in Washington need to change first. And we've really got some entrenched OldSpace there who are paid very well to make sure that things remain as they are.

 

So, the short answer is OldSpace will make sure that SLS/Orion remains relevant however they can. It'll get built. It'll fly. Hopefully no Astronauts are killed. One thing that is sure to happen -- insane amounts of money are going to be spent, and there's no amount of logic that will prevent it. And the Senator Shelby's and the ULA's and the Boeing's of the world will laugh all the way to the bank about it, while the rest of us "lesser beings" will be left shaking our heads in pure disgust at the whole thing.

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Draggendrop    5,747

The difference here, is that NewSpace doesn't need government contracts...it helps pay the bills for growth...but is not "life or death"

 

SpaceX will plug along, follow all commercial crew milestones...and carry out the commercial crew services.

 

At the same time, the real work gets done behind the scenes for Mars. I actually prefer this method, it takes longer, but SpaceX controls their destiny and have paid in full on their own.

 

All will work out in the end....just wait till we have international involvement in Mars...can't wait.  :)

 

Pssst...."unwind" and try decaf .....  while throwing rocks at things...it helps...:woot:

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Unobscured Vision    2,657

Sorry, sorry. Busy time at Univ. The math is making me crazy. :rofl:

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DocM    16,435

 

 

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IsItPluggedIn    1,684

So after the upgrades/changes to Atlas to make it human rated, will they need to fly 7 flights?

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Draggendrop    5,747

Just my opinion, but I think they are more concerned with RD-180 data. I would also think they could waive the RD-180...long history.

 

The Atlas V has been in a somewhat static state for some time...the 7 flights, if required, would be waived.

 

I would also think that NASA has a sensor package on board all NASA flights as well...I am pretty sure that this is why Orbital was told to use Atlas for the next Cygnus.....I don't think NASA liked parameters with the new engine swap.

 

With SpaceX...too much design change for them to handle. They want a solid block 5...which is where they were going anyway...

 

Then again...I'm just an armchair typist....:D

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DocM    16,435
2 hours ago, IsItPluggedIn said:

So after the upgrades/changes to Atlas to make it human rated, will they need to fly 7 flights?

There is a serious concern in NASA and GAO about flying people Atlas V at all. The issue is the RD-180 engine. GAO calls it “a potential safety risk.”

 

First, whatever insight we have about RD-180 being human rateable comes from the US license to produce it here. That info is somewhat outdated, the US and Russia aren't on the best of terms, the contract limits the infos dissemination, and the license expires in 2022 so absent a new license it's not a long term solution.

 

Also hurting confidence is the partial RD-180 failure during a launch last year - RD-180 shut down several seconds early and the Centaur upper stage saved the mission with just a few seconds of propellant to spare. 

 

As such, they can't close 'black zones,' parts of the S1 burn where the crew could be lost.

 

Second is cost. The head of Boeing's program said 2 years ago Atlas V's cost made their business case hard to close. He flat out stated they were going to talk to SpaceX about flying Starliner on Falcon 9, which has an engine-out capability Atlas V doesn't have, and there were later statements about adding Vulcan to their stable. The working theory has been they'd fly their contracted Atlas V flights then switch to the alternates.

 

 

 

 

Edited by DocM
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DocM    16,435

Surprise to no one: ASAP doesn't seem to be impressed with the idea.

 

http://spacenews.com/safety-panel-raises-concerns-about-crew-on-first-sls-launch/

 


Safety panel raises concerns about crew on first SLS launch

WASHINGTON  A NASA independent safety committee wants NASA to provide a compelling rationale for putting astronauts on the first flight of the Space Launch System, a proposal NASA is currently studying.

In a statement at the beginning of the Feb. 23 meeting of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), chairwoman Patricia Sanders said that if NASA decides to put a crew on the first SLS/Orion launch, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), it must demonstrate that there is a good reason to accept the higher risks associated with doing so.

"We strongly advise that NASA carefully and cautiously weigh the value proposition for flying crew on EM-1," she said. "NASA should provide a compelling rationale in terms of benefits gained for accepting additional risk, and fully and transparently acknowledge the tradeoffs being made before deviating from the approach for certifying the Orion/SLS vehicle for manned spaceflight."

"If the benefits warrant the assumption of additional risk, she added, we expect NASA to clearly and openly articulate their decision-making process and rationale."

NASA announced Feb. 15 that it was beginning a study of the potential of adding a crew to EM-1. Under current plans, that mission, scheduled for launch in late 2018, would fly without a crew, with the first crewed flight, EM-2, planned for no earlier than 2021.

That study is in progress and is expected to be completed by late March or early April. Were going back and reevaluating the trades of why we decided what we did regarding not flying a crew on EM-1, said Jason Crusan, director of advanced exploration systems at NASA Headquarters, during a Feb. 23 panel on human spaceflight held by the Royal Aeronautical Society at the British Embassy here. Theres many reason why we decided to do that, a lot of the related to risk posture, and a lot of them related to budget realities.

"Under the current approach, NASA would fly a relatively demanding mission on EM-1 lasting more than 20 days, really pushing the limits of where Orion and SLS can actually perform," Crusan said. "EM-2, with a crew, would be a more conservative mission to test the performance of the life support system. That approach, he said, would be reconsidered if a crew flies on EM-1."
>
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Draggendrop    5,747
19 hours ago, DocM said:

There is a serious concern in NASA and GAO about flying people Atlas V at all. The issue is the RD-180 engine. GAO calls it “a potential safety risk.”

 

First, whatever insight we have about RD-180 being human rateable comes from the US license to produce it here. That info is somewhat outdated, the US and Russia aren't on the best of terms, the contract limits the infos dissemination, and the license expires in 2022 so absent a new license it's not a long term solution.

 

Also hurting confidence is the partial RD-180 failure during a launch last year - RD-180 shut down several seconds early and the Centaur upper stage saved the mission with just a few seconds of propellant to spare. 

 

As such, they can't close 'black zones,' parts of the S1 burn where the crew could be lost.

 

Second is cost. The head of Boeing's program said 2 years ago Atlas V's cost made their business case hard to close. He flat out stated they were going to talk to SpaceX about flying Starliner on Falcon 9, which has an engine-out capability Atlas V doesn't have, and there were later statements about adding Vulcan to their stable. The working theory has been they'd fly their contracted Atlas V flights then switch to the alternates.

 

 

 

 

The following is my opinion on the matter...

There appears to be major agency concerns with "everything and anyone" when it comes to human rated launchers...and a major "fail" in logical business assessments.

Lets pare this down to a somewhat logical approach to a business decision, with rough projection dates.

1) Roscosmos and CNSA have human rated launchers....safe to take them off the table.

2) Who do we have, right now, that have the best possibility of a manned launch...before details, that would be SpaceX with F9 and ULA with Atlas V

3) Who has the best launch record for safety and reliability....that would be ULA with Atlas V...and they got that way with RD-180's, an engine that has been around for 16 years. 

4) The quality of the RD-180's has been called into question at times, with one glitch of note...a very low statistical occurrence when it's history is taken into consideration. Quality is being addressed by the manufacturer. Bottom line...look at ULA's record...it speaks for itself.

5) If there is an issue, state the true issue..is it documentation, trade secrets..what is the core issue with the engine.The RD-180 is dependable and will get the job done, short term, till new launchers are ready. So pick a time frame such as 2020 or 2022, the RD-180 will work until then.The core reason has to be stated because it's doing a great job and earning ULA some major cash for a long time and continues to this day, and several "alphabet agencies" don't seem to have issues with use on their very expensive "secret" payloads...

6) The Vulcan was casually stated for NET 2019. Do we really think it will be ready in time..when the final engine selection still has not been done...that is 2 years away, is anyone willing to bet on that.

7) Now we have issues with F9. Block 5 will take care of the design...but...we have issues with fuel/crew procedures...and it appears to be deep rooted.

8) Will New Glenn be ready by 2020 or 2022...I would not bet on those circumstances for what has been accomplished so far.

9) We need 2 launchers which will enable coverage if one is down for an investigation...therefore it doesn't offer much coverage to have F9 lifting CST....nice option but defeats the purpose of a multi launcher capability, unless Atlas V can lift a Dragon 2 as well.

10) Poker time...for a business decision, which one HAS to make for 2019/2020...which way do you go...My money is on F9 and Atlas V with the RD-180's...no brainer.

11) Poker time...for a business decision, which one has to make for 2022...that is not quite 5 years down the road. This is a problem due to Blue origin engines or a selection of AR-1 for Vulcan...and if New Glenn will be ready in time and be human rated. As far as I can tell...correct me if wrong, but Vulcan was intended to be human rated...but then, which engine....this is a real spin of the roulette wheel...just plain guessing.

12) Decision time....short range till 2019/2020, my money is on F9 and Atlas V...period. For a decision on 2022, I would go with my 2020 decision and make another correction when more data available in 2020 on the other two launchers.

13) Bottom line...Does anyone really want to fly?, if so, "can the politics"...the logical decisions for a 2 launcher system is staring at everyone's face.

14) Ulterior stance...do these issues have more politics than what is showing, such as setting up SLS as a backup and justify it with "bull cookies" for excuses about the 2 most obvious choices.

15) My call in the end...If I have major assets at risk, that must launch...easy decision....scrap the politics/silliness and get on with the F9 and Atlas V for now...modify later. Choose wisely or pony up for a slew of Soyuz tickets. 

Conclusion for my opinion...SpaceX runs with Block 5 and NASA chooses when to load crew...because SpaceX is not likely to change from using densified goodies...period. My opinion is that Atlas 5 will have the RD-180 issue waived on the grounds of past and present performance, with a stipulated time frame for re-evaluation of the other launchers. This will enable a 2 launcher system. Boeing will have to ensure CST config for Atlas is acceptable. Last but not least, I was under the assumption that Dragon 2 can abort anywhere and is capable of an emergency re-entry..if so, then Boeing should be held to the same standards which takes that out of the equation.

Have at her guys...your turn, but use logic for a viable business case because "politics" will have an ulterior motive and brings up the phrase..."Be carefull what you wish for...you just may get it!".

 

Pssst...I don't need to hear anyone quote..."you don't understand the politics"...This is a discussion of the best way to get commercial crew up flying....getting buried by politics is a disaster brought on by government departments/agencies when a viable means is available now, for the immediate time frame.

 

:D

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DocM    16,435

16) only one currently flying launcher has first stage engine out capability, Falcon 9, and it has been successfully flight proven during an ISS run. The cargo was delivered to ISS in spite of an engine failure, and it arrived early. Can't get more germane than that.

 

17) only one ISS-bound vehicle has survived a launch vehicle disintegration intact, Dragon, and it survived in spite of not having a launch abort system. That vehicle didn't have parachute software to deploy under such circumstances and was destroyed on impact with the ocean, but now all Dragons do.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Quite true....but just going by the numbers and the probability of loss, Atlas V would be well within boundaries.

 

Don't get me wrong, I am a die hard SpaceX fan, but the numbers for a business case alone, warrant Atlas V's reliability as top notch. Boeing on the other hand, appear to have issues.

 

I feel that Dragon 2 will be the safest by far, but will NASA hold the CST to the same standards.

 

As far as launchers go, from a business perspective, the numbers dictate F9 and Atlas V short term. When the other guys get up to speed....re-evaluation time.

 

We need 2 launchers because (blip) happens and downtime...the other keeps hauling.

 

:D 

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DocM    16,435

I agree we need 2 crew launchers for redundancy, even 3 once New Glenn arrives, but it's certainly be nice if all had the extra margin  engine out provides. 

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Draggendrop    5,747

This is an important time for non commercial crew as well....with commercial interests soon to become reality, either on the ISS or independent facilities, we need crew flying as soon as possible...then move on to crewed service/assembly/repair/print  possibilities...but we have to get flying asap. 

 

To be honest, I wish that a SpaceX astronaut would be the first to use Dragon 2, one can dream.

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DocM    16,435

There's nothing stopping SpaceX from making a crewed flight before the CCtCap milestone test flights, they just won't get milestone credit for it

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Draggendrop    5,747

I know it would never happen, but just imagine the first Dragon 2 crewed by a SpaceX crew, pull a few orbits and propulsive land at LZ-1.

 

Then when they get out of the capsule, go on the microphone and state.....any questions now!

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Unobscured Vision    2,657

Yeah, that'd be a sight to behold.

 

"Well .. now that that's out of the way. No, worked great. Not a problem to be had. What's that? I don't know, you'd have to ask Mr. Musk about an adapter for CST-100. I'm not the one who makes those decisions."

 

:laugh::rofl:

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Unobscured Vision    2,657
23 minutes ago, DocM said:

There's nothing stopping SpaceX from making a crewed flight before the CCtCap milestone test flights, they just won't get milestone credit for it

Maybe they should do it anyway, just to show NASA and all the other naysayers up. Start Dragon 2's UTP Missions up on SpaceX's dime, take care of that pesky Certification checklist that NASA can't be bothered to get on the ball with on a timely fashion.

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Draggendrop    5,747

The backlog of commercial customers doesn't afford much time for any "adventures" so far. I imagine if this wasn't the case, put a payload in the trunk and still have fun.

 

SpaceX will have their day...that I am reasonably sure of...just have to get that massive backlog of paying customers launched...and that is a big undertaking along with commercial crew...they have no choice but to up the cadence soon.

 

:D

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Unobscured Vision    2,657

Yeah. That's likely the only reason SpaceX hasn't done so already. That and the OldSpace interests in Washington pulling some kind of stunt like "Antitrust" or "Anti-competitive Business Practice" lawsuit.

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DocM    16,435

Commercial Crew demo flight dates

 

SpaceX-Demo1: uncrewed, November 11-25 2017 (!!)
SpaceX-Demo2: crewed, May 2018 (~30 days)

 

Boeing-OFT: uncrewed, June 2018 (~30 days)

Boeing-CFT: crewed, August 2018 (14 days)

 

Commercial Crew services begin late September, 2018

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Unobscured Vision    2,657

Awesome news! :yes: I'm sure as that date draws closer we'll get information about the full mission itinerary and checklist of things they want to put the Dragon 2 through. Likely it'll be the full monty, starting with the basics (Control, CC-I/O, LS, Diagnostics, etc) ... gonna be mostly for the Engineers and GSS people this time around. If you're a Space Junkie like we are, I know we'll be marathoning the SpaceX streams like it was the Olympics. :D 

 

Can't wait.

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Draggendrop    5,747

 

 

C8B0vE_W0AIR1A6.png

image link

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,657

"Crew Seat Incline CMPLT"?! They needed a milestone for that?! To incline the [expletive] seats in a more-or-less 94~112 degree angle??

......

............

*chortle* .....

 

OH. And now we see who's really behind the wheel (read: ever-so-slowly turning, groaning, rusted gears), folks. It ain't ULA after all ... but since we already knew that ... yeah. Here's my shocked face. If it works then fine, whatever -- but I really think they're "milking Bessie" at this point. Orion PLUS Starliner?? Ugh. Someone's got their hands in the till. This should have been done already.

 

And SpaceX have been nothing but underfunded, stonewalled and hampered from the get-go then expected to be professionals, all the while doing platform upgrades, record breaking, trend setting and R&D -- and they're STILL just about ready to fly Dragon 2 and Falcon Heavy despite all of it. OldSpace can't even get it together under the best of circumstances ... it really goes to show who needs the political climate to shift favorably and who needs the swift kick in their collective rear end, doesn't it?

 

*sigh* Senator Shelby and those who think like him need their heads examined for supporting OldSpace like they do. SpaceX and the other NewSpace companies are the future.

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