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Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) initiative

Triton

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Artist's impression of Boeing capsule concept for NASA's $50 million Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) initiative. The seven-person craft is larger than an Apollo capsule. It can be launched by different rockets and has a cargo variant. Boeing has teamed with Bigelow Aerospace to develop the capsule.

Source: Coppinger, Rob. "PICTURE: Boeing Reveals Commercial Crew Capsule" Flight International February 9, 2010

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/02/09/338035/picture-boeing-reveals-commercial-crew-capsule.html
 

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Kosmos929

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How many times do we have to go in circles to re-invent Apollo? This is worse than the TKS saga.
 

airrocket

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Wow 40 years later we're still flying capsules that splash down...amazing technology leap and from Boeing? I think Boeing needs to page through some of SP pages and find what they have forgotten.
 

archipeppe

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Kosmos929 said:
How many times do we have to go in circles to re-invent Apollo? This is worse than the TKS saga.
Agree, even worste this is a try to revive Orion infact is called "Orion-lite"......
 

Byeman

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archipeppe said:
Agree, even worste this is a try to revive Orion infact is called "Orion-lite"......
LM would be managing an Orion Lite
 

Michel Van

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Kosmos929 said:
How many times do we have to go in circles to re-invent Apollo? This is worse than the TKS saga.
littel Apollo constructor history
North American Aviation => North American Rockwell => Rockwell International => Boeing

Apollo or Gemini like capsules are Most cost efficient way (R&D) to send humans to space.

the rest like lifting body's are expensive in R&D
 

CFE

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Boeing used their Orion proposal as a starting point for their COTS bid, and "Orion-Lite" appears to be similar. I'd love to know the capsule mass and diameter, but I'm guessing it's 4.2-4.5 meters in diameter and 20 tonnes in mass (if Boeing's Crew Exploration & Refinement studies from 2004 are any clue.)

Stick with the Apollo diameter of 3.9 meters and you can probably keep the mass and volume low enough to stick it on a fairly cheap Atlas V 401.
 

Archibald

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The basic Apollo CM had a mass of 6000 kg, but that was 40 years ago and for lunar missions.
An uprated, LEO-only CM should be around 3500-4000 kg. Don't know how much the service module would weight, maybe 2500 kg ? That results in 6500 kg, lighter than Soyuz.
Btw, there's still room to improve the good old Apollo shape. I've found this document recently
http://www.mae.usu.edu/aerospace/publications/Reno_rev_whitmore.pdf

More lift for Apollo during reentry. Why bother with biconics, lifting bodies or wings ?
 

Michel Van

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Archibald said:
The basic Apollo CM had a mass of 6000 kg, but that was 40 years ago and for lunar missions.
An uprated, LEO-only CM should be around 3500-4000 kg. Don't know how much the service module would weight, maybe 2500 kg ? That results in 6500 kg, lighter than Soyuz.
Btw, there's still room to improve the good old Apollo shape. I've found this document recently
http://www.mae.usu.edu/aerospace/publications/Reno_rev_whitmore.pdf

More lift for Apollo during reentry. Why bother with biconics, lifting bodies or wings ?
your right, Archibald
the only thing wat distress me, how they gona squeezing 6 Astronauts in a Apollo CM

see here
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,4268.0.html

 

Byeman

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Orionblamblam said:
airrocket said:
Wow 40 years later we're still flying capsules that splash down...
Most cost efficient way to send humans to space.
for flight rates less than 40 to 60 flights per year
 

mz

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About time!

They could have announced things like these in 2004 and they could be flying now when the shuttle is retired this year.... Instead they just had to have Griffin, ESAS and the Ares / Orion / "Apollo on steroids" debacle.


There's also the SpaceX Dragon. Cargo first, probably crew later.

Orbital's Cygnus has no crew aspirations IIRC. Their vehicle has a solid second stage anyway.
 

carmelo

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airrocket said:
Wow 40 years later we're still flying capsules that splash down...
No,for Orion lite the reentry is with air capture
One of the biggest deviations from NASA's Orion design involves the vehicle's landing system. Whereas NASA plans call for Orion to make an Apollo-style splashdown in the ocean, Bigelow is considering midair retrieval as a safer and more economical means to land the spacecraft following atmospheric re-entry.

"Air-capture is a strategy that has been implemented many times in the past, but never done at weights as high as a capsule," Gold said.

Midair capture was used by the military during World War II to recover gliders and during the 1960s to catch film canisters dropped from Corona spy satellites orbiting overhead.
http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/090814-orion-lite.html
 

Orionblamblam

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Byeman said:
Orionblamblam said:
airrocket said:
Wow 40 years later we're still flying capsules that splash down...
Most cost efficient way to send humans to space.
for flight rates less than 40 to 60 flights per year
Which is an order of magnitude greater than current flight rates.
 

blackstar

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carmelo said:
"Air-capture is a strategy that has been implemented many times in the past, but never done at weights as high as a capsule," Gold said.

Midair capture was used by the military during World War II to recover gliders and during the 1960s to catch film canisters dropped from Corona spy satellites orbiting overhead.
The KH-9 satellite recovery vehicle, used up to 1985, apparently had a gross weight of 2000 pounds and really jerked the recovery aircraft, a C-130. That engineering data is undoubtedly still classified. I don't think it makes sense for crew, or for weights higher than 2000 pounds.
 

Byeman

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carmelo said:
No,for Orion lite the reentry is with air capture

http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/090814-orion-lite.html
The Bigelow Boeing spacecraft is not Orion lite
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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mz

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Thanks! They show it on a Falcon 9 and Atlas V and even on a Delta IV with a few solids. The latter thing is probably some artistic licence. If things like this were started in 2005, they might be quite close to flight status.
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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Here's an interesting piece by Wayne Hale, I'll cut to the chase:

[quote author=http://waynehale.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/the-coming-train-wreck-for-commercial-human-spaceflight/]
Now NASA has released a draft (dated Oct. 8, 2010) of its requirements CCT-REQ-1130 ISS Crew Transportation and Services Requirements. I’d like for you to read it but it is behind NASA’s IT firewall and you must have an ID and password to access it. I have read it and I’m disappointed. The document runs a mind-numbing 260 pages of densely spaced requirements. Most disappointing, on pages 7 to 11 is a table of 74 additional requirements documents which must be followed, in whole or in part. Taken all together, there are thousands of requirement statements referenced in this document. And for every one NASA will require a potential commercial space flight provider to document, prove, and verify with massive amounts of paperwork and/or electronic forms. This, folks is the old way of doing business. This is one of the major reasons why spaceflight is as costly as it is.

[...]

NASA must change or this effort will fail. I am reminded that the US Military’s requirements for its first airplane ran 2 and ½ pages; and the requirements for the NASA’s Gemini capsule ran about two dozen pages. Simple, straightforward requirements and the flexibility to use good industry based standards could allow commercial space flight to be as successful as those programs or the NASA Launch Services program. But we are not on that path.
[/quote]

I guess not a surprise, but if it pans out that way IMHO a huge missed opportunity :(
 

blackstar

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Not a surprise. The paperwork is indeed excessive.

That said, I can also guarantee you that there are a lot of issues that commercial providers will never consider unless NASA requires them. A month or so ago somebody sent me a document concerning abort options for an Orion sent to a 52 degree orbit. Turns out that the abort options are horrible because of the risk of dumping a crew in the North Atlantic a thousand miles from recovery forces and during a storm. This really limits the weather constraints (you gotta have good weather all along the launch path) and increases the rescue forces requirements. He thought it was a really tough set of options, but also added the comment "I bet SpaceX has no idea about things like this).

The overriding question is how much NASA oversight/insight is necessary, and can NASA reduce excessive oversight/insight to achieve that level? There are those who say that NASA should have almost no oversight/insight, and that commercial companies will "self-police" because they don't want to risk losing their business in event of an accident. I think that's balderdash, since companies regularly cut safety corners that can wreck their businesses and there's no reason to believe that space is any different at all. (The common response is to use the analogy of commercial aviation, which is very safe. But that analogy falls apart once you consider the maturity of the industry, the amount of regulation imposed upon it, and a number of examples, like ValueJet, where companies cut corners and people died.)
 

mz

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blackstar said:
The overriding question is how much NASA oversight/insight is necessary, and can NASA reduce excessive oversight/insight to achieve that level?
I think it's a good question. But safety can be done in many ways, and some of the solutions might be overspecified.

I agree that there's a large wealth of information that the "have done it repeatably" human spaceflight organizations and contractors have. Then again, we shouldn't think of it as some NASA pixie dust magic.

Landing in the North Atlantic is one of the classic issues of abort, even I have heard about. I don't assume it's a good example of "SpaceX surely hasn't thought about this!".
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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We mustn't forget Challenger and Columbia. Safety is as much cultural as it is what's written in the requirements, or on a checklist.

mz said:
blackstar said:
The overriding question is how much NASA oversight/insight is necessary, and can NASA reduce excessive oversight/insight to achieve that level?
I think it's a good question. But safety can be done in many ways, and some of the solutions might be overspecified.
Over specification can not only preclude innovation but can also lead to a box ticking mentality (eg "we've met all the requirements it must be safe") rather than a more critical approach that properly analyses what is being done. The safety culture in some other industries has been changing and moving away from the more prescriptive/tightly defined (usually) process-based standards to standards that are less constraining but which require more explicit safety justification of whatever approach is taken.

mz said:
I agree that there's a large wealth of information that the "have done it repeatably" human spaceflight organizations and contractors have.
Yes this is a difficult balance. Freeing up suppliers whilst ensuring that mistakes aren't repeated and vital issues are not overlooked. Effective oversight/insight is clearly vital. I agree with blackstar that there will be companies that cut corners otherwise (sometimes without even realising the potential impact of doing so).

I think one key thing is focussing as far as practicable on the desired end results rather than the means of achieving them. Of course a desired end result at one level looks like a means of achieving an end result at the next level up! So much easier said than done ...
 

blackstar

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FutureSpaceTourist said:
I think one key thing is focussing as far as practicable on the desired end results rather than the means of achieving them. Of course a desired end result at one level looks like a means of achieving an end result at the next level up! So much easier said than done ...
This is a classic systems engineering issue--in other words, the solution is not found in specifications or rules, but in the experience of the people doing the job who understand how changing one thing can affect something else that seems to have no connection at all to it.
 

Archibald

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That said, I can also guarantee you that there are a lot of issues that commercial providers will never consider unless NASA requires them. A month or so ago somebody sent me a document concerning abort options for an Orion sent to a 52 degree orbit. Turns out that the abort options are horrible because of the risk of dumping a crew in the North Atlantic a thousand miles from recovery forces and during a storm. This really limits the weather constraints (you gotta have good weather all along the launch path) and increases the rescue forces requirements. He thought it was a really tough set of options, but also added the comment "I bet SpaceX has no idea about things like this).
Was surprised about this detail, too. I thought Apollo did not cared about that 30 years ago (because-they-took-more-risk-at-the-time), and I was wrong.
Apollo did his best to avoid high inclination launches, and when forced (ASTP, Skylab), well, the big SPS engine is the back was to be used to literally "jump" over the Northern Atlantic and land farther, in Europe and beyond. CCDev capsules obviously have no big engines on the service module to push them away from the dreaded Atlantic ocean ::) What, no one thought about this problem ?
 

blackstar

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mz said:
Landing in the North Atlantic is one of the classic issues of abort, even I have heard about. I don't assume it's a good example of "SpaceX surely hasn't thought about this!".
Wanna bet? To date, SpaceX has only been dealing with the options for unmanned landing off the coast of California, within sight of land. Their recovery force requirements are very simple. I'd bet that they have barely thought about abort options for crewed launch, let alone downstream issues like launch weather constraints along the flight path, or recovery force requirements along the flight path.
 

mz

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blackstar said:
mz said:
Landing in the North Atlantic is one of the classic issues of abort, even I have heard about. I don't assume it's a good example of "SpaceX surely hasn't thought about this!".
Wanna bet? To date, SpaceX has only been dealing with the options for unmanned landing off the coast of California, within sight of land. Their recovery force requirements are very simple. I'd bet that they have barely thought about abort options for crewed launch, let alone downstream issues like launch weather constraints along the flight path, or recovery force requirements along the flight path.
I could bet on it, though I'm not 100% sure of it, but it would be a good way of getting some money. Of course agreeing on some reasonable terms is probably impossible, how does one define "SpaceX has thought about issue X".

To me the existence of the problem is a pretty trivial matter. SpaceX employ astronauts that have flown to the ISS so they probably know the land paths of high inclinations and might have even trained for North Atlantic scenarios.

Of course, at this point they are concentrating a lot on just building something that works in much more rudimentary ways. For example they haven't demonstrated stuff that survives re-entry into any location yet. Better yet, even relatively short time functioning spacecraft. I think these things are much higher on the worry list at this point.
 

blackstar

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mz said:
Of course, at this point they are concentrating a lot on just building something that works in much more rudimentary ways. For example they haven't demonstrated stuff that survives re-entry into any location yet. Better yet, even relatively short time functioning spacecraft. I think these things are much higher on the worry list at this point.
Which is my point--they haven't thought about downstream stuff. But my other point is that when you have firms that have never done stuff like this before, and which are relatively small to boot, you cannot DEPEND that they will consider the necessary safety requirements. You cannot simply give them a one-page list of requirements and then bet the human spaceflight program on the hope that they'll remember to accomplish all the other stuff.
 

Triton

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From theworacle via YouTube:
Boeing video animation of the CST-100 crew transportation vehicle being designed with Bigelow Aerospace under NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. The seven-crew CST-100 is bigger than the Apollo capsule, but smaller than NASA's Orion, and is designed to be launched by a range of rockets incoluding Atlas IV, Delta V and Falcon 9.Video shows the capsule operating with Bigelow's planned inflatable-module Orbital Space Complex.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mn_gXEK5XmQ
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Small presentation on CST-100, with shiny graphics. Enjoy!

http://www.ispcs.com/files/tiny_mce/file_manager/presentations/reiley.pdf

plus an article with CG of the capsule atop various launchers.
http://onorbit.com/node/2509
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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NASA has now made public some of it's commercial crew requirements at http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/504982main_CCTSCR_Dec-08_Basic_Web.pdf.

They've clearly been following some of the recent debate:

[quote author=http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/new_space_enterprise/commercial/cctscr.html]
Strategy of Documentation

NASA's overarching strategy for the development of these documents is to ensure that the requirements are not overly burdensome and allow our Commercial Partners the maximum flexibility to develop safe and cost effective human space transportation systems. The 1100-series of documents are in draft form now and, as mentioned in the previous section, we are planning on releasing the documents via an RFI in January and incorporating the feedback we receive from industry before we initially baseline those documents in the Spring 2011.

There are some communities that feel more requirements are appropriate; others feel fewer requirements are better. NASA is attempting to balance these competing interests into the development of a set of documents that will enable our Commercial Partners to apply innovative solutions while leveraging NASA's extensive experience with respect to safe human spaceflight. The current 1100-series incorporates input from NASA's three Technical Authorities (Safety and Mission Assurance, Chief Engineer, and Health and Medical), the International Space Station Program, the Space Shuttle Program, the Launch Services Program, and the Commercial Crew Planning Office. We have spent upwards of thousands of labor hours working through the requirements in order to strike the best balance.

It should be noted that a simplistic "page count" of the 1100-series of documents does not reflect the quality of the requirements or the degree of difficulty in meeting them. The majority of the pages in CCT-REQ-1130 International Space Station (ISS) Crew Transportation Certification and Services Requirements Document are made of up "rationale" and verifications that NASA added to the actual requirements in order for industry to see the "intent" of our requirements and give them the flexibility to meet the requirements in innovative ways. This is a direct result of industry feedback we received from the first RFI we put out last May.

In comparison to the documents used for early NASA human spaceflight programs, such as Gemini, it may appear that the set of requirements has dramatically expanded. In some ways, it has. However, at the time the Gemini requirements were developed, the United States had accomplished only about a half dozen human spaceflights. We now have 50 years and over 150 human missions of experience to leverage in order to enhance the safety and success of any future human space transportation program.

Another point of comparison is NASA's Launch Services Program (LSP). The LSP model was one of the inputs used by the Commercial Crew Planning Office in establishing its strategy for insight/oversight and safety. While the LSP model is excellent for its purposes, it has some clear distinctions from commercial crew that make wholesale adoption of the LSP approach to commercial crew unworkable. The primary difference is the LSP is not a development program, it is a services program. All the launch vehicles used by LSP were developed according to some standards and requirements, mostly Air Force and DOD requirements and standards.

However, the Air Force and DOD do not have "human" spaceflight requirements and standards. Only NASA has those and we have to make those requirements and standards available to the Commercial Providers to guide their design and development efforts. We are scrubbing those requirements to ensure they are truly necessary and we are allowing industry to substitute their standards in many instances. Successful spaceflight systems today use a pedigree of requirements and standards developed and adapted throughout spaceflight history.
[/quote]
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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Now that the 2011 budget is sorted, NASA has announced its CCDev2 awards:

[quote author=http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/apr/HQ_11-102_CCDev2.html]
NASA Awards Next Set Of Commercial Crew Development Agreements

WASHINGTON -- NASA has awarded four Space Act Agreements in the second round of the agency's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev2) effort. Each company will receive between $22 million and $92.3 million to advance commercial crew space transportation system concepts and mature the design and development of elements of their systems, such as launch vehicles and spacecraft.

The selectees for CCDev2 awards are:
-- Blue Origin, Kent, Wash., $22 million
-- Sierra Nevada Corporation, Louisville, Colo., $80 million
-- Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Hawthorne, Calif., $75 million
-- The Boeing Company, Houston, $92.3 million

"We're committed to safely transporting U.S. astronauts on American-made spacecraft and ending the outsourcing of this work to foreign governments," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "These agreements are significant milestones in NASA's plans to take advantage of American ingenuity to get to low-Earth orbit, so we can concentrate our resources on deep space exploration."

The goal of CCDev2 is to accelerate the availability of U.S. commercial crew transportation capabilities and reduce the gap in American human spaceflight capability. Through this activity, NASA also may be able to spur economic growth as potential new space markets are created.

Once developed, crew transportation capabilities could become available to commercial and government customers.

"The next American-flagged vehicle to carry our astronauts into space is going to be a U.S. commercial provider, [my emphasis]" said Ed Mango, NASA's Commercial Crew Program manager. "The partnerships NASA is forming with industry will support the development of multiple American systems capable of providing future access to low-Earth orbit."

These awards are a continuation of NASA's CCDev initiatives, which began in 2009 to stimulate efforts within U.S. industry to develop and demonstrate human spaceflight capabilities. For more information about NASA's Commercial Crew Program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration
[/quote]
 

Grey Havoc

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Via Slashdot: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1381&doc_id=233226


Diagram from Blue Origin patent application 20110017872, "Sea Landing of Space Launch Vehicles
and Associated Systems and Methods."




The two-stage rocket from Blue Origin patent application 20100326045, "Multiple-Use Rocket Engines
and Associated Systems and Methods."




One of the recoverable engines from Blue Origin patent application 20100326045, "Multiple-Use Rocket Engines and Associated Systems and Methods."

[IMAGE CREDITS: DesignNews]​
 

Grey Havoc

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http://thehill.com/policy/finance/250322-nasa-signing-490m-contract-with-russia

This maneuver by Bolden could backfire on NASA, big time.
 

flanker

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How is this a "maneuver"? They have been forced to buy more Soyuz seats because Congress has frankly been a bunch of retards.
 

Moose

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Yeah, Grey, I'm not seeing where you're going with your comment. Bolden has been consistent on this for years now, and has already had to buy more Soyuz seats after the underfunding of CCDev slipped the program's flights from this year to 2017. If anything he was too low profile about it last time, because funding continued to get stripped from the program afterward with only minimal public scrutiny.

Additionally, as Bolden points out in his statement, the proposed funding levels would already effectively put the program on ice for a year. So there's not much room for a backlash. About the only way it could get worse is if the Congressional Republicans zero out funding entirely, which they are pretty unlikely to do.
 
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