Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Test (OFT)


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OFT = Orbital Flight Test

 

Un-crewed, like Crew Dragon DM-1 earlier this year.

 

NASA...

 


Oct. 24, 2019

MEDIA ADVISORY M19-116

NASA Invites Media to Boeing Orbital Flight Test Launch for Commercial Crew

Media accreditation is open for Boeings uncrewed Orbital Flight Test (OFT) to the International Space Station, as part of NASAs Commercial Crew Program.

The launch of Boeings Starliner spacecraft on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is targeted for Dec. 17 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida.

The flight test will provide valuable data on the end-to-end performance of the Atlas V rocket, Starliner spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, and landing operations. The data will be used as part of NASAs process of certifying Boeings crew transportation system for carrying astronauts to and from the space station.

Media prelaunch and launch activities will take place at neighboring NASAs Kennedy Space Center and CCAFS.

Media accreditation deadlines are as follows:

International media without U.S. citizenship must apply by 11:59 p.m. EDT Sunday, Oct. 27, for access to Kennedy media activities.
U.S. media must apply by 4 p.m. EST Friday, Nov. 15.
All accreditation requests should be submitted online at:

https://media.ksc.nasa.gov
>

 

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/sigh .... :no: 

 

This SM and capsule needs massive changes to it's Recovery and Retropropulsion systems. It's going to kill people.

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I'm hoping the skirt over the upper portion of the Centaur upper stage does its job; preventing aerodynamic loads from crushing the Centaur.

 

Setup: Starliner masses about 13,000 kg. The heaviest payload Atlas V has previously orbited was a Cygnus cargo vehicle at 7,492 kg.

 

Payoff: the Atlas V N22 (no fairing, 2 solid boosters, 2 engine Centaur) has insufficient deltaV to both insert Starliner into orbit and for Centaur to re-enter for disposal. 


As a result, Starliner is inserted into a sub-orbital trajectory and must burn its service module engines to make orbit.

Edited by DocM
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Yep. I'm of the opinion that the Atlas needs to be the N552 variant with custom flight software to adjust for black zones + g-load alleviation. That's the only way to get it uphill with fuel margins. Throw the damned kitchen sink at getting it into the parking orbit.

 

/sigh ...

 

Seriously, this is how they're gonna do it, huh.

 

We said before -- YEARS AGO -- that this spacecraft was going to be too much for an Atlas V as they described doing it. Effing jokers.

 

I'd feel better about it if they'd use a Delta 4 Heavy. Get it human rated (build in the needed systems and safeties, etc) and use that. Atlas V isn't the rocket for the job.

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2 hours ago, Unobscured Vision said:

>

I'd feel better about it if they'd use a Delta 4 Heavy. Get it human rated (build in the needed systems and safeties, etc) and use that. Atlas V isn't the rocket for the job.

 

I believe "the plan" is to only fly Starliner on Atlas V until Vulcan-Centaur V is ready. They've even sized Vulcan-Centaur V's tanks etc. so the Crew Access Arm wouldn't need extensive mods for Boeing' Starliner or Sierra Nevada Corp's Dream Chaser.

 

Note: Centaur V is a 5.4 meter diameter Centaur upper stage vs. the existing 3 meter Centaur III.

 

Mass to LEO

 

Vulcan-Centaur V (2 SRBs): 14,300 kg

Vulcan-Centaur V Heavy (6 SRBs): 27,900 kg

 

Pushing Starliner to LEO would be no problem.

 

And let's be honest here; Vulcan is actually Delta V with a fuel switch from liquid hydrogen to methane - a re-branding.

Edited by DocM
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Are they still building Vulcan? I have not heard anything about it for a while. If i remember correctly they were trying to get funds from the airforce to build it.

 

 

If they are having such issues with a 522 why not use the 542 or 552, is there a technical issue or does it just cost them more?

 

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1 hour ago, IsItPluggedIn said:

Are they still building Vulcan? I have not heard anything about it for a while. If i remember correctly they were trying to get funds from the airforce to build it.[/quote]

 

Slowed because of Blue Origin's BE-4 methane engine being stuck in development hell. For many months they couldn't run it higher than 70%, and, Blue being Blue, their process is tortoise-like.

Quote

 

If they are having such issues with a 522 why not use the 542 or 552, is there a technical issue or does it just cost them more?

 

Its an N22, "No" fairing.

 

Adding solid rocket boosters (SRBs) incrementally increases risk to the crew, remember Challenger?  Never know when one will do this (which is why SpaceX avoids solids like the plague),

 

 

Edited by DocM
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6 hours ago, Unobscured Vision said:

Vulcan-Centaur ... gah I'd love for them to get away from that stupid assed Centaur engine. 1950's tech. 

 

Centaur V is essentially a 5.4m ACES stage minus the Integrated Vehicle Fluids hardware (Rousch Racing 6 cylinder piston engine for pumping and generation - running off ullage gases, etc.) Two tank lengths, depending on the mission requirements; 11.7 m (standard) or 13.6 m (Centaur V Long) 

 

RL-10 has evolved. The RL10C-X is a largely 3D printed by prototype of  RL10C-1-1, Vulcan-Centaur's engine.

 

 

RL10C-3 will be used for SLS's Exploration Upper Stage.

 

RL10C-5-1 will be used for Northrop-Grumman's Omega upper stage.

 

Edited by DocM
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  • 1 month later...

Well, that didn't go well at all.

 

Launch: OK

 

After separation Starliner lost track of the mission elapsed time and began overcorrecting its position. Swung around like a tire swing in a tornado. Not helped by a comms problem with NASAs TDRS system, which delayed the ground controllers from taking over. The mission manager was arm waving like an angry Italian.

 

Used up 25% of its propellants, and was in a low orbit which needed raising.

 

It's not likely to go to ISS. They'll do what tests they can before trying to come down, landing at White Sands on Sunday.

 

Charly Foxtrot.

Edited by DocM
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What surprised me most about this whole ordeal is how they were framing it so that this, depending on checking of some milestones still, might still qualify Starliner to proceed with its manned test flight rather than having to redo OFT because of the missed ISS rendezvous... 

 

Like... Wtf mate, how... 

 

If NASA had some stones they should just be like..let's try that again in a few months guys and girls... 

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49 minutes ago, FloatingFatMan said:

Time for them to phone Elon and ask him how it's done... :p

 

Well ... it wasn't too many months ago when a Crew Dragon blew itself up on a test stand.  Not really sure of the significance of this failure ... like if it had been crewed could the mission still have been successful.  I'm sure more information will be forthcoming and remedies put in place.

 

With that said ... not entirely sure why Starliner exist (aside from appeasing a few lawmakers).  Riding up on a Starliner will cost NASA more than hitching a ride on Soyuz (Per astronaut --- estimated $90M vs. the Soyuz $86M ... Crew Dragon is estimated to be $55M) [Source] But whatever....

 

...don't even get me started on the cost of SLS.  🙄

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This is why testing happens, folks. Likely to be a problem with the flight software ...

 

I'd hate to think that it was because of insufficient dV and the spacecraft was attempting to correct the orbit itself ...

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14 hours ago, Jim K said:

Well ... it wasn't too many months ago when a Crew Dragon blew itself up on a test stand.  Not really sure of the significance of this failure ... like if it had been crewed could the mission still have been successful.  I'm sure more information will be forthcoming and remedies put in place.

 

Replaced the titanium check valve with a <other material> burst disc which can be replaced after use.

 

The real issue was a materials incomparability between NTO and titanium, which was portrayed in old NASA papers as a non-self propogating ignition. As such, NTO and titanium have been used together for decades. However,  those uses were at a fraction of the pressure in the SuperDraco system.  

 

14 hours ago, Jim K said:

 

With that said ... not entirely sure why Starliner exist (aside from appeasing a few lawmakers).  Riding up on a Starliner will cost NASA more than hitching a ride on Soyuz (Per astronaut --- estimated $90M vs. the Soyuz $86M ... Crew Dragon is estimated to be $55M) [Source] But whatever....

 

Dissimilar redundancy. Two systems so one can back up the other if a failure grounds one.

 

IMO a better choice would have been Dream Chaser as the second system, not Starliner. Even less similar to Crew Dragon, and IMO should be groomed for replacing Starliner after proving itself in Commercial Resupply Services 2.

 

SNC says they plan to enter the next round of Commercial Crew.

14 hours ago, Jim K said:

 

...don't even get me started on the cost of SLS.  🙄

 

Oh Gawd...what a Charlie Foxtrot that one is 😵

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Apparently the thrusters doing emergency rapid firings was enough to overheat their sensors, which were then turned off. "So far, they're all working..." doesn't exactly leave me with the warm & fuzzies. Makes one wonder how well they'll work for this mornings re-entry attempt. 

 

Space News...

 

Quote

Starliner mission to end with Sunday landing

>
What caused the problem with the mission elapsed timer remains under investigation. Jim Chilton, senior vice president for Boeing's space and launch division, said the timer is initialized by getting data from the Atlas 5 rocket prior to liftoff. "Our spacecraft needs to reach down into the Atlas 5 and figure out what time it is," he said. "We reached in and grabbed the wrong coefficient."

Chilton added that it appeared to be an issue with Starliner's systems and not the Atlas 5. Exactly why the spacecraft got the wrong time value, he said, is unknown. "If I knew, it wouldn't have happened," he said, citing "extensive testing" done prior to launch. "We are surprised. A very large body of integrated tests, approved by NASA, didn't surface this."

That timer problem also affected the spacecrafts propulsion system. The heavy use of attitude control thrusters shortly after the spacecraft separated from the Centaur, caused by the spacecraft having the wrong time and thus thinking it was in a different phase of the mission, put a lot of duty cycles on those thrusters, Chilton said. Sensors in those thrusters started reporting errors or providing intermittent data.

Controllers confirmed that the problems were with the sensors, and not the thrusters themselves, by turning off the sensors and performing thruster burns, using the spacecrafts guidance system to determine if the thruster performed as expected. "So far, they're all working, so we think we heated up some sensors by stepping on the gas hard," he said.
>

 

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Someone found this November quote WRT Atlas V and payload communications; this was the first time.

 

https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/11/06/ula-begins-stacking-unique-atlas-5-rocket-for-starliner-test-flight/

 


"Electrically, one of the unique things about this mission is that the launch vehicle and spacecraft are going to be talking to each other," Weiss said in a recent interview. "We normally don't have that. They will be sharing data throughout (the) flight."

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They said: "Per Boeing's Jim Chilton, the "mission elapsed timer" on the Starliner spacecraft was 11 hours off."...

It looks like Boeing's software programmers works in India and use Time Zone of India...

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