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Thread: Atlas V: Boeing Starliner OFT (un-crewed test flight)

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    Atlas V: Boeing Starliner OFT (un-crewed test flight)

    Commercial Crew: Boeing Starliner OFT (un-crewed test flight to ISS)

    Launch Readiness Review completed

    Date: December 20, 2019
    Time: 0636 Eastern (1136 UT)
    Pad: KSC LC-41 (ULA's pad)

    Roll-out and integration video

    https://youtu.be/Zm5rrAdI-W4

    The cylindrical skirt below the spacecraft's service module is intended to protect the 0.508mm Centaur upper stage tanks from being crushed by hypersonic shockwaves, something discovered in the wind tunnel. Boeing did paper milestones first, waiting to cut, bend & test metal.

    The 13,000 kg Starliner will be the heaviest payload ever orbited by Atlas V, the previous record being a 7,492 kg Cygnus cargo vehicle.

    Starliner_with_skirt1640.jpg.b04f8a4dead50d4bf0363f0d469ff271.jpg

    post-10859-0-64895600-1573670780.jpeg
    Last edited by docmordrid; 2019-Dec-13 at 08:22 AM.

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    Interesting about the skirt protecting the Centaur. I recently saw a video by Scott Manley in which he mentioned that Centaur stages are usually included within the payload fairing; presumably that's why. It's a pressure-stabilized system like the original Atlas, something I hadn't known.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    This is what happened when an older Atlas depressurized on the pad

    https://youtu.be/imkdz63agHY

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    Yes, that's also in the Scott Manley video I mentioned. It's quite amazing that someone back in the early 1950's was inspired to answer the question "How can we save weight?" with "Let's make our rocket into a balloon!"
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    Where R-7 was strong enough to walk on, so the saying goes.

    The West thought to shave weight off every little thing.

    The Russian answer? Make the rocket bigger.

    Starliner Atlas isn't exactly a looker...

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    I saw it! A little over one minute after launch, I saw it from my location just east of Atlanta, Georgia. A thick white plume about 5 to 7 degrees above the southeastern horizon heading north. It got dimmer as it went on, but the plume persisted for several minutes. There’s gonna be a lot of UFO reports this morning!

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    Launch

    S2

    SECO

    S2 sep

    Starliner is in an elliptical trajectory

    In 15 min Starliner does an orbital insertion and circularization burn (Atlas V is deltaV limited)

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    Uh-oh...off nominal insertion, and there are clear problems. The launch controller is arm waving.

    They've pointed the solar panels at the sun to recharge, but something's seriously wrong.
    Last edited by docmordrid; 2019-Dec-20 at 12:45 PM.

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    "Assessing options"

    Webcast ended

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    Jim Bridenstine ✓ @JimBridenstine (NASA Administrator)
    Starliner in stable orbit. The burn needed for a rendezvous with the ISS did not happen. Working the issue.

    https://twitter.com/JimBridenstine/s...02471701962752

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    Boeing can’t buy a break.

    From Space News:

    The Starliner spacecraft separated from the Centaur nearly 15 minutes after liftoff, having been placed into a suborbital trajectory designed to permit safe aborts for the Starliner during ascent. Four orbital maneuvering and attitude control thrusters on the Starliner were scheduled to fire 31 minutes after liftoff to put the spacecraft into an initial orbit.

    However, that burn did not take place at planned. NASA and Boeing commentators said the spacecraft suffered an “off-nominal” orbital insertion and was in a “stable” orbit with electrical power, but didn’t specify the orbital parameters. Spacecraft controllers “are assessing options,” they said.

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    Press release

    https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcre...iner-update-2/

    Despite launching successfully at 6:36 a.m. EST Friday on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner is not in its planned orbit. The spacecraft currently is in a stable configuration while flight controllers are troubleshooting.

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    It sounds like the 4 main engines didn't fire to do the insertion, Atlas V not having enough deltaV to do it with margins. Someone noted constant thruster firings, which may have been enough to get into a low, but stable orbit.

    Now they need to see if there are enough consumables for a minimal mission and landing.

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    Yeetch...

    Scott Manley @djsnm
    Starliner was pointed at 90 degrees to prograde while they were trying to perform insertion.

    https://twitter.com/djsnm/status/1208006636746330120

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    Another set of TLEs: 187x222 km, epoch 13:20UTC

    Oh ferchrissake - a mission clock error. How and hell do you get the avionics messed up at this late stage? That spacecraft was swinging around like a gate in a hurricane.

    Jim Bridenstine @JimBridenstine
    Update: #Starliner had a Mission Elapsed Time (MET) anomaly causing the spacecraft to believe that it was in an orbital insertion burn, when it was not. More information at 9am ET: https://t.co/wwsfqqvLN7

    https://twitter.com/JimBridenstine/s...20657583341569

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    Boeing seems to have a consistent problems flying their crafts around.
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    https://youtu.be/21X5lGlDOfg


    Coming home to White Sands in 48 hrs.

    75% props, will do what tests they can.

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    *sigh*

    Sounds like it won’t be able to rendezvous with ISS. Hopefully it will still be able to land normally.

    Oh, well. SpaceX had their teething problems and so is Boeing. I am annoyed it will delay them, but I bet SpaceX is quietly celebrating - I would say it is now near certain they will get a crew to the station first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by docmordrid View Post
    https://youtu.be/21X5lGlDOfg


    Coming home to White Sands in 48 hrs.

    75% props, will do what tests they can.
    Good. Sounds like they can still do the planned landing.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

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    NBC: do you find it striling that in 2019 with sophisticated automation, that the wrong clock was used

    Commercial Crew: we missed something, it was the handoff from launcher to craft where the timer anomaly surfaced

    Boeing: yes there was an anomaly, we don't know why. The craft is in a good enough orbit for us to diag and complete whatever tests we can.

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    I've always been skeptical that Starliner would be able to catch up to Crew Dragon. This is Starliner's 1st orbital flight attempt while SpaceX has launched many Dragon's to orbit. Granted, not so many Crew Dragons, but close enough. It's the differences in program management. Old school vs SpaceX's approach of testing by flying real missions at a brisk pace. By the time a Crew Dragon carries people into orbit SpaceX will have already accomplished about 20 successful Dragon missions, most to the ISS, and already has something like 18 under its belt. Boeing will has had how many with Starliner?

    Don't get me wrong. I'm hoping for the best for Starliner. I just think it's got some serious catching up to do.

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    From the Atlas burning in a "flatter" trajectory to spacecraft software issues, this is not a "good" day for Boeing.

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    The flatter trajectory is intentional for Commercial Crew missions to reduce G loads and close black zones.

    Since this was an avionics issue related to the mission timer the question came up if Boeing uses a triple redundant voting logic system like Crew Dragon does. Doesn't sound like it.

    AP; Is there any impact to SpaceX plans?

    Bridenstine : Important to maintain dissimiilar redundancy. The other system can keep going forward in the face of one system anomaly.
    [NOTE: "the other" being SpaceXs Crew Dragon]

    Both prividers are crticially important to the future architecture of commercial spaceflight (repeated 2x) ... there may be additional companies launching crew in the future...[goes off into the weeds...]

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    I wonder if NASA will now require an in-flight abort test, or if they’ll still consider simulation sufficient?
    Personally, I’m not getting a good vibe regarding Boeing’s software verification these days.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    I wonder if NASA will now require an in-flight abort test, or if they’ll still consider simulation sufficient? Personally, I’m not getting a good vibe regarding Boeing’s software verification these days.
    You and me both. I mean....jeezzzz.

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    I don't believe that an inflight abort would be necessary, but I'm not one of the administrators in NASA. I agree with the software concerns along with the system checks prior to launch as I think this should have been caught on the pad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bknight View Post
    From the Atlas burning in a "flatter" trajectory to spacecraft software issues, this is not a "good" day for Boeing.
    It's all relative. For this year, this is probably a meh day for Boeing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glom View Post
    It's all relative. For this year, this is probably a meh day for Boeing.
    I wouldn't think so as it seems to me that NASA will require another unmanned flight and further delay them from launching astronauts to the ISS.

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    Scott Manley Fly Safe has reported and said that ultimately, the primary objectives of the mission cam still be achieved because ISS docking wasn't one of them. If it returns safely to White Sands in a couple of days, then the demonstration requirements have been met.

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    Scott Manley's initial assessment and video. The Starliner apparently flew through a communication dead zone just as it was given instructions to change attitude and initiate the burn to achieve orbit. But burn took places 7 minutes later than planned and all the while Starliner burned fuel to try to maintain attitude.

    https://youtu.be/4QKr4-tNtPc

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