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Thread: American human space capsule

  1. #61
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    "First SpaceX commercial crew test flight could slip to 2019"

    https://spacenews.com/first-spacex-c...-slip-to-2019/

    A SpaceX executive said Oct. 3 that the company’s first commercial crew test flight could be delayed until early 2019 because of paperwork issues.

    In a speech at the 69th International Astronautical Congress here, Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of build and flight reliability for SpaceX, said launching an uncrewed test flight before the end of the year will be a “close call” even though the hardware itself should be ready.

    “We’re working hard to get this done this year,” he said. “The hardware might be ready, but we might still have to do some paperwork on the certification side of it. It’s going to be a close call whether we fly this year or not.”
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    NASA has confirmed, both SpaceX and Boeing will have their test flight and 1st crewed flight next year.

    https://www.chron.com/news/nation-wo...s-13282502.php

    Both SpaceX and Boeing are planning to launch their first crewed missions to space in summer of 2019, NASA announced Thursday -- but, like all space launch plans, these are subject to change.

    The two companies were awarded NASA contracts totaling $6.8 billion in 2014 to build their own crew spacecrafts and conduct missions to the space station. Both initially were expected to launch crewed test flights this year, but the schedules of both companies have slipped.

    When NASA announced the first nine astronauts to fly on these vehicles in August, evidence suggested that the dates would be in 2019. Now, NASA has the schedules nailed down a little more.
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    Next year will a busy year for American human space flight with SpaceX's first uncrewed commercial crew test flight on January 7th. Boeing will have theirs in March. If all goes well the crewed flights will be later in the year.

    https://spacenews.com/first-spacex-c...t-for-january/

    NASA has set Jan. 7 as the date for the launch of the first commercial crew test flight, an uncrewed SpaceX Dragon spacecraft that will start a series of high-stakes missions over the next year.
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  4. #64
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    Hopefully in time to save the Space Station.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    Next year will a busy year for American human space flight with SpaceX's first uncrewed commercial crew test flight on January 7th. Boeing will have theirs in March. If all goes well the crewed flights will be later in the year.

    https://spacenews.com/first-spacex-c...t-for-january/
    There has been a delay of a few months to the schedule

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...ys/2143813002/

    NASA Administrator James Bridenstine said he still expects astronauts will fly from U.S. soil to the International Space Station by the end of next year even though an uncrewed test flight scheduled for Jan. 7 now could slip into the spring.

    Bridenstine's acknowledgment that January is a "very low probability" window is the first time the agency has publicly cast doubt on the timing of the scheduled launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The test flight of the SpaceX rocket and capsule is a key step in NASA's efforts to resume U.S. transport to Earth's orbit nearly a decade after the space shuttle was mothballed.

    The administrator attributed the delay to challenges with several components, including landing parachutes. Some of those systems could be tested without flying them on the initial flight.
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    "Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule completes major propulsion test"

    https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/05/2...opulsion-test/

    Boeing engineers have completed hotfire testing on a flight-like model of the Starliner crew capsule, clearing a major hurdle before a pad abort test and a demonstration flight to the International Space Station later this summer, Boeing announced Friday.

    The service module hotfire testing at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico wraps up a key phase of Starliner’s development. During an earlier round of service module checkouts last June, valves in the craft’s abort engines failed to fully close after a brief burn, resulting in a propellant leak on the test stand at White Sands.

    Boeing halted propulsion testing after the accident, and engineers implemented hardware and software fixes to resolve the valve problem, according to remarks last fall by Chris Ferguson, a Boeing test pilot and former NASA astronaut who will fly on the ship’s first piloted demonstration mission to the space station.

    After making the changes, Boeing restarted the service module hotfire testing.
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    Crew Dragon having blown up, it would appear Boeing's effort will be going first.
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    SpaceX already has done their demonstration flight to the ISS. So unless Boeing is going to do a manned flight really soon, I'm not sure about that "going first" part.

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    I'd guess that before having a manned Crew Dragon flight, SpaceX will have to:
    1. Finish cleaning up the explosion site so they can even collect the pieces;
    2. Do an EXTENSIVE study of what went wrong and figure out a root cause*;
    3. Do a pretty extensive redesign and convince NASA it can never happen again;
    4. Conduct the abort test the explosion was in preparation for;
    5. And fly another uncrewed demo. Perhaps even one not to the ISS.

    I don't expect to see a manned Dragon going to the ISS in less than two years. And I wouldn't be surprised to see the contract cancelled if NASA isn't satisfied.

    *Which may be difficult. It sounds as if the evidence is pretty fragmentary.
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    Not that it matters much on the overal timescale, but they have already collected the pieces. The cleanup is now handling the contaminated soil.

    The rest of the timescale will depend on what the root cause it is, and whether it requires a new unmanned (ISS) flight or not. Let's hope they can clearly identify the root cause in the first place. And that things don't go BOOM at Boeing as well.
    Last edited by Nicolas; 2019-May-28 at 08:53 AM.

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    The Orlando Sentinel had an update about the explosion investigation a few days ago.

    More than a month after a SpaceX astronaut capsule exploded during a test, Elon Musk’s rocket company and NASA have released an updated plan for the future of the program.

    NASA said Tuesday that SpaceX had multiple versions of the spacecraft that exploded, called Crew Dragon, already in production and it is going to use those to fill the gap created by the April 20 accident.

    A version of Crew Dragon that was on a test stand at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Landing Zone 1 exploded when SpaceX was testing its SuperDraco engines — the thrusters that push the capsule away from the rocket in the case of an emergency.

    It was the same capsule that was next scheduled to perform an in-flight abort test, a key step before NASA puts two of its astronauts in Crew Dragon for a test mission to the International Space Station.

    With that capsule destroyed, NASA will now use the spacecraft that was supposed to go on the crewed ISS test mission instead for the in-flight abort test. The version of Crew Dragon that was meant to fly on SpaceX’s first true operational mission to the ISS will fly the crewed test mission.
    And yes, it also sounds like the cleanup is just about complete.
    “Teams have completed work to ensure the site is safe and are focusing on the root cause analysis, which will determine the impact to commercial crew flights tests,” NASA said.
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    The impression I'm getting, and this may or may not be the case, is that SpaceX is more willing to fail than national space programs. They go out and bust prototypes, dust themselves off, and try again. A consequence of their funding being marginally more reliable, I suppose; they have a bit more leeway to learn from failures.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The impression I'm getting, and this may or may not be the case, is that SpaceX is more willing to fail than national space programs. They go out and bust prototypes, dust themselves off, and try again. A consequence of their funding being marginally more reliable, I suppose; they have a bit more leeway to learn from failures.
    I think it more of a question of not having to face re-election (and yes, I know NASA administrators aren't elected, but their ultimate boss is, as well as the Congress, which approves the budgets).

    And I think it may be a "cultural" thing. Even among corporations, there are some that are more risk-adverse (usually more mature businesses) and others that are risk-taking. There are pros and cons to both cultures.

    I also think NASA's culture (and that of the United States) has changed over time, from more risk-taking to risk-adverse. I suspect there are books written on this topic.
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    As long as humans aren't endangered, there are libraries written about the more risky development approaches. Fail fast, agile approaches like SAM (which are not necessarily risk-taking, but in a more general sense they do allow and even assume that early versions will not be good and later iterations will improve that), rapid prototyping (similar to fail fast: build a quick and dirty prototype to quickly identify methods that do and don't work)...

    The most extreme culture of "fail until you don't" is programming, where it's most often a lot faster and easier to compile code that doesn't work until it does, rather than trying to program pieces of code that should work first time. Of course you limit what you can, by using proven snippets of code. There is a more significant cost penalty when you apply this in hardware, so you will see far less "BOOM" than "Software error 123".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    As long as humans aren't endangered, there are libraries written about the more risky development approaches. Fail fast, agile approaches like SAM (which are not necessarily risk-taking, but in a more general sense they do allow and even assume that early versions will not be good and later iterations will improve that), rapid prototyping (similar to fail fast: build a quick and dirty prototype to quickly identify methods that do and don't work)...

    The most extreme culture of "fail until you don't" is programming, where it's most often a lot faster and easier to compile code that doesn't work until it does, rather than trying to program pieces of code that should work first time. Of course you limit what you can, by using proven snippets of code. There is a more significant cost penalty when you apply this in hardware, so you will see far less "BOOM" than "Software error 123".
    Like evolution on a budget. Try a bunch of stuff, and go with whatever lives.
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    FOUR (not three) webpages that compare (using illustrations and data) the Dragon, Starliner, and Orion with the old Apollo, plus other crewed spacecraft past and present.


    https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017...aiden-flights/

    https://www.quora.com/How-spacious-i...Apollo-capsule

    https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/in...?topic=38594.0

    https://everydayastronaut.com/crew-dragon-vs-starliner/
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2019-May-29 at 03:40 PM.

  17. #77
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    Different conceptual versions of the Orion from 2005 to date. The two-solar-panel (long rectangles) is the oldest, from 2005 (then called the CEV). Round solar panels is from 2006.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    As long as humans aren't endangered, there are libraries written about the more risky development approaches. Fail fast, agile approaches like SAM (which are not necessarily risk-taking, but in a more general sense they do allow and even assume that early versions will not be good and later iterations will improve that), rapid prototyping (similar to fail fast: build a quick and dirty prototype to quickly identify methods that do and don't work)...

    The most extreme culture of "fail until you don't" is programming, where it's most often a lot faster and easier to compile code that doesn't work until it does, rather than trying to program pieces of code that should work first time. Of course you limit what you can, by using proven snippets of code. There is a more significant cost penalty when you apply this in hardware, so you will see far less "BOOM" than "Software error 123".
    What's SAM?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    What's SAM?
    Successive Approximation Model

    I had to look it up.

    One of a number of agile project management and product management approaches.

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    The most difficult thing about these processes is the following: you let one of your employees create version 1. You review it, find a whole load of things that should be different, and then you have to reassure that colleague that you are honestly happy with his work. They must get their mind around the idea that their "horrible" version 1 actually was a big step towards the final product and, with all its faults, saved the project a lot of time. You never asked to create perfection, you asked to create a first step fast.

    We apply these kind of approaches to loads of stuff at work. Even writing newsletters. Colleague writes version 1. I completely rewrite it, but it's only thanks to version 1 that I was able to quickly mangle it into something closer to what it should be.

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    A US Government Accountability Office has requested NASA to develop a contingency plan to maintain access to the station after next September.

    https://spacenews.com/gao-recommends...l-crew-delays/

    A new Government Accountability Office report called on NASA to develop a contingency plan to maintain access to the station after next September should commercial crew vehicles suffer additional delays.

    The June 20 report by the GAO noted that both Boeing and SpaceX are making progress on the development of their commercial crew vehicles, including an uncrewed test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft in March. But a number of technical issues, coupled with a history of delays, didn’t give the organization confidence the companies would be able to maintain their current schedules.

    “Both contractors have made progress building and testing hardware, including SpaceX’s uncrewed test flight,” the report stated. “But continued schedule delays and remaining work for the contractors and the program create continued uncertainty about when either contractor will be certified to begin conducting operational missions to the ISS.”
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  22. #82
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    "NASA watchdog report sharpens debate over cost of SpaceX vs. Boeing spaceships"

    https://www.geekwire.com/2019/nasa-w...p-cost-debate/

    Boeing is in line to get paid substantially more per seat than SpaceX for astronaut trips to the International Space Station, in part because it negotiated an increase in what was meant to be a fixed-cost contract, NASA’s Office of the Inspector General says in a watchdog report.

    The 53-page report, issued Thursday, estimates the per-seat cost for flights on Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule at $90 million, which would be more than the $84 million or so that NASA has been paying the Russians for rides on their Soyuz spacecraft. In contrast, the price for a seat on a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule was estimated at $55 million.
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  23. #83
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    Surely this must be a totally different "NASA" than the one that was questioning the way SpaceX was spending its taxpayers money, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    Surely this must be a totally different "NASA" than the one that was questioning the way SpaceX was spending its taxpayers money, right?
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    Which is why SpaceX is moving on from the "strings attached" Crew Dragon to Starship, which is better suited for BEO and will be developed with as little NASA involvement as possible. More like Falcon Heavy, which was developed on SpaceX's dime then offered.
    Last edited by docmordrid; 2019-Nov-18 at 03:27 AM.

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