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Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) initiative

Grey Havoc

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Grey Havoc said:
Via Spacedaily, a joint press release from ULA & Boeing: United Launch Alliance and the Boeing Company Unveil the Atlas V Configuration for the CST-100 Starliner Crew Capsule


This new configuration incorporates an aeroskirt aft of the spacecraft, extending the Starliner Service Module cylindrical surface to improve the aerodynamic characteristics of the integrated launch configuration and bring loads margins back to acceptable flight levels.

"Through incredible coordination and continued innovative thinking, the collective team of NASA, Boeing and United Launch Alliance completed three wind tunnel tests in six months to investigate the aerodynamic stability of various configurations and to anchor our analytical predictions. Based on that information, we updated the configuration for the Atlas V Starliner integrated vehicle stack," said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Human and Commercial Services. "This configuration is unique because it combines the Atlas V launch vehicle without a payload fairing with Boeing's Starliner capsule, resulting in different aerodynamic interactions."

The aeroskirt is a metallic orthogrid structure designed to be jettisoned for improved performance. In the unlikely event that an emergency occurs during boost phase of flight, the aeroskirt has venting provisions to control over-pressurization if the Starliner's abort engines are fired. Fabrication of the aeroskirt is scheduled to begin this month at ULA's factory in Decatur, Alabama, following completion of a Production Readiness Review.

"Our testing indicates the solution we chose will sufficiently smooth the air flow around the vehicle during ascent, ensuring crew safety and mission success," said John Mulholland, vice president and program manager of Boeing's Commercial Crew Program.

The ULA team completed the aeroskirt Preliminary Design Review earlier this month. The Atlas V with Starliner has a planned uncrewed flight test in 2018 with operational missions to follow.
 

Grey Havoc

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https://news.slashdot.org/story/16/10/15/0626220/nasa-has-no-plans-to-buy-more-soyuz-seats
 

Grey Havoc

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Grey Havoc said:
http://www.clickorlando.com/news/space-news/spacex-delays-first-crewed-dragon-flight-until-2018
 

fredymac

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLlZJLWEm9E
 

fredymac

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This video looks at recent facility developments at KSC including both commercial and SLS activities.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9MxDez33po
 

Flyaway

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NASA studies extending Boeing commercial crew test flight to support ISS

WASHINGTON — A commercial crew contract modification moves NASA one step closer to using a test flight as an operational mission to maintain a presence on the International Space Station.

NASA announced April 5 that it had updated its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract with Boeing to study potential changes to the second of two test flights of the company’s CST-100 Starliner vehicle, currently intended to carry two people on a short-duration mission to the station.

Those changes, NASA said, would involve adding a third crewmember to flight and extending its mission from two weeks to as long as six months, the typical length of an astronaut’s stay on the ISS. The changes would involve training and mission support for that third crewmember and the potential to fly cargo on both that mission and an earlier uncrewed test flight.
http://spacenews.com/nasa-studies-extending-boeing-commercial-crew-test-flight-to-support-iss/
 

Flyaway

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SpaceX and Boeing spacecraft may not become operational until 2020

A new report provides some insight into the challenges that SpaceX and Boeing are facing when it comes to flying commercial crew missions, and it also suggests both companies may be nearly two years away from reaching operational status for NASA.

The assessment of large projects at NASA, published on Tuesday by the US Government Accountability Office, found that certification of the private spacecraft for flying astronauts to the International Space Station may be delayed to December 2019 for SpaceX and February 2020 for Boeing.

"Both of the Commercial Crew Program's contractors have made progress developing their crew transportation systems, but delays persist as the contractors have had difficulty executing aggressive schedules," the report states.
The GAO report also provides some clarification on the major technical issues each company is working on as it gets closer to test flights into space.

For SpaceX, the top risks identified in the report are fairly well-known and concern the Falcon 9 rocket used to launch Dragon. NASA has concerns about the composite overwrap pressure vessels that led to a catastrophic accident during fueling of the Falcon 9 rocket in 2016. NASA engineers are also tracking the company's changes to the Merlin engines to be used in the Block 5 design of the Merlin rocket.

"NASA program officials told us that they had informed SpaceX that the cracks were an unacceptable risk for human spaceflight," the report states. "SpaceX officials told us that they have made design changes, captured in this Block 5 upgrade, that did not result in any cracking during initial life testing. However, this risk will not be closed until SpaceX successfully completes qualification testing in accordance with NASA's standards without any cracks."

The report also cited two significant issues that Boeing is working regarding the Starliner. In some abort scenarios the company has simulated, the Starliner spacecraft has tumbled. Boeing hopes to put these concerns to rest with a pad abort flight test, which should occur soon.

NASA also has concerns about Starliner's forward heat shield, which protects the parachutes during re-entry but may damage the parachutes as it is pulled away from the spacecraft. "If the (commercial crew) program determines this risk is unacceptable, Boeing would need to redesign the parachute system, which the program estimates could result in at least a six-month delay," the new report states.

On the positive side, the report notes that unlike some of NASA's other large programs also experiencing significant delays, the space agency will not directly bear the cost of these delays. Because the commercial crew program operates under a fixed-price contracting system, its costs are within one to two percent of earlier estimates.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/05/new-report-suggests-commercial-crew-program-likely-faces-further-delays/
 

Flyaway

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Boeing suffers a setback with Starliner’s pad abort test

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/07/boeing-may-have-suffered-a-setback-with-starliners-pad-abort-test/

The engines successfully ignited and ran for the full duration, but during engine shutdown an anomaly occurred that resulted in a propellant leak. "We have been conducting a thorough investigation with assistance from our NASA and industry partners," the statement said. "We are confident we found the cause and are moving forward with corrective action. Flight safety and risk mitigation are why we conduct such rigorous testing, and anomalies are a natural part of any test program."
Boeing officials have apparently told NASA they believe there is an operational fix to the problem rather than a need to significantly rework the Starliner spacecraft itself.
One source indicated that this problem may not affect the uncrewed test flight but that it could delay the crew test.
The company astronaut

Chris Ferguson, the citizen test pilot for the first flight of Boeing’s commercial craft, hopes to make history — and make space more accessible.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/07/24/feature/nasa-trained-boeing-employed-chris-ferguson-hopes-to-make-history-as-a-company-astronaut/
 

Flyaway

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NASA announces astronaut crews for first commercial vehicle flights.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu13IPVFGp0
 

Flyaway

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Article on the announcement.

https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/08/03/nasa-reveals-crews-for-first-flights-of-commercial-spaceships/
 

fredymac

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaOAsUR-o-U
 

Grey Havoc

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https://www.space.com/41520-boeing-cst-100-starliner-first-spacecraft-photos.html

https://www.space.com/41530-boeing-starliner-spacecraft-hangar-photos.html
 

Flyaway

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What The Flight Tests Will Teach Us

https://youtu.be/aoU5P2SSCho

Learn about the first flights of Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon with and without astronauts on board, and what they will accomplish for NASA and its commercial partners.
https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2018/08/31/what-the-flight-tests-will-teach-us/
 

fredymac

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cqJLUB2e2w
 

Grey Havoc

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https://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2018/09/nasa_may_sell_corporate_naming.html
 

Flyaway

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https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2018/10/04/nasas-commercial-crew-program-target-test-flight-dates-4/
Test Flight Planning Dates:
SpaceX Demo-1 (uncrewed): January 2019
 

Flyaway

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https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2018/10/04/nasas-commercial-crew-program-target-test-flight-dates-4/
Test Flight Planning Dates:
Boeing Orbital Flight Test (uncrewed): March 2019
Boeing Crew Flight Test (crewed): August 2019
 

Flyaway

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NASA announced that it bought Soyuz seats for 2017 and 2018 from Boeing last week:

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/additional-crew-flights-boost-space-station-science-and-research/
 

Flyaway

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CENTAUR READY TO LAUNCH FIRST STARLINER

Nov. 29, 2018
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The dual-engine Centaur upper stage that will power Boeing’s first CST-100 Starliner crew capsule into space for its Orbital Flight Test is one step closer to launch.

Inside a ULA launch site test cell, the Centaur has been hoisted upright and attached to the interstage adapter that supports the stage atop the Atlas V rocket’s first stage during the initial minutes of launch. The Launch Vehicle Adapter (LVA) was mated to the forward end of Centaur and provides the mechanical interface to attach Starliner.

This three-piece combined element is called the OVI stack, or Off-site Vertical Integration, for the Atlas V rocket’s launch campaign. It will be driven to the Vertical Integration Facility and lifted atop the first stage when the time comes.

The Atlas V program evolved to OVI stacking operations in 2015 to improve launch processing techniques and enable schedule efficiencies. This process eliminates several days of lifting operations at the VIF that would require acceptable weather to stack each structure separately.

The Centaur was built at ULA’s manufacturing facility located in Decatur, Alabama. It arrived at Cape Canaveral aboard the Mariner cargo ship on Oct. 19 and spent two weeks undergoing receiving activities at the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center before the short drive to the Delta Operations Center to begin the OVI assembly sequence. The LVA arrived at the Cape on Nov. 12.

Centaur will separate from the interstage adapter during in-flight staging before igniting its twin RL10A-4-2 engines more than four minutes after liftoff. Starliner will be released from the Launch Vehicle Adapter when the spacecraft separates from the Atlas V to conclude the launch.
https://www.ulalaunch.com/missions/atlas-v-starliner-updates
 

TomS

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fredymac said:
Fit tests of Crew Dragon at the Cape.
Wow, they went very 2001 for the crew access arm. Super futuristic and quite a contrast to the very industrial tower.
 

Byeman

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TomS said:
Wow, they went very 2001 for the crew access arm. Super futuristic and quite a contrast to the very industrial tower.
Form over function
 

fredymac

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That's the job description for an architect whether it is a skyscraper an airport terminal or even your house. An enclosed access arm does provide the functionality of weather protection when you step out of the elevator. Off hand, it is far less extravagant than a lot of other structures I see around the world and more appealing than the alternative.
 

Attachments

Flyaway

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SpaceX, Boeing design risks threaten new delays for U.S. space program

NASA has warned SpaceX and Boeing Co of design and safety concerns for their competing astronaut launch systems, according to industry sources and a new government report, threatening the U.S. bid to revive its human spaceflight program later this year.
Two people with direct knowledge of the program told Reuters that the space agency’s concerns go beyond the four items listed, and include a risk ledger that as of early February contained 30 to 35 lingering technical concerns each for SpaceX and Boeing. Reuters could not verify what all of the nearly three dozen items are. But the sources familiar with the matter said the companies must address “most” of those concerns before flying astronauts and, eventually, tourists to space.
 

Flyaway

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Almost Ready: SpaceX has work to do before Dragon is ready to carry crew

Among the thousands of spectators who watched the Falcon 9 launch of the first Crew Dragon spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center in the early morning hours of March 2, few had greater interest in the mission than Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. The two veteran NASA astronauts, with four shuttle flights between them, have for the last few years been part of the commercial crew program, working with Boeing and SpaceX on the design and operations of their vehicles.
 

Flyaway

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NASA and Boeing Extend Starliner Crew Flight Test Duration to Space Station, Target New Flight Dates

NASA and Boeing have agreed to extend the duration of the company’s first crewed flight test to the International Space Station after completing an in-depth technical assessment of the CST-100 Starliner systems. NASA found the long-duration flight to be technically feasible and in the best interest of the agency’s needs to ensure continued access and better utilization of the orbiting laboratory.

The extended duration test flight offers NASA the opportunity to complete additional microgravity research, maintenance, and other activities while the company’s Starliner is docked to station. The mission duration will be determined at a later date.

“NASA’s assessment of extending the mission was found to be technically achievable without compromising the safety of the crew,” said Phil McAlister, director of the commercial spaceflight division at NASA Headquarters. “Commercial crew flight tests, along with the additional Soyuz opportunities, help us transition with greater flexibility to our next-generation commercial systems under the Commercial Crew Program.”
SpaceX Demo-2 Update

NASA also is working with SpaceX to return human spaceflight launches to American soil. The company completed an uncrewed flight test, known as Demo-1, to the space station in March. SpaceX now is processing the same Crew Dragon spacececraft for an in-flight abort test. The company then will fly a test flight with a crew, known as Demo-2, to the station.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program and SpaceX are expected to reevaluate its target test dates in the next couple weeks.
 

Flyaway

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SpaceX likely to win NASA’s crew competition by months, for billions less

SpaceX has had its own technical challenges with the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon parachutes, but it now appears likely to deliver a finished product to NASA before Boeing by several months, for less money. It seems plausible that SpaceX will, in fact, fly crew into space before Boeing flies a Starliner demo mission. Had NASA issued a sole-source contract to Boeing for commercial crew, not only would the agency have had a single provider with a higher price, it probably would have had to wait longer for that product.

The implication here for NASA, as it looks to extend human spaceflight from low-Earth orbit into deep space, seems clear. If the agency is serious about lunar landings by 2024, it has a lot of contracts to set soon: for Gateway modules, for lunar lander components, for spacesuits, and for rockets to get all of that material into lunar orbit. The lesson from commercial crew is that healthy competition among providers is good, commercial contracts can lead to lower prices, and just because a company has a long history of spaceflight success doesn't mean they'll necessarily perform better than the new kids on the block.
 

Flyaway

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My uninformed speculation is the most we’ll see from the program for the rest of the year is the unmanned flight test of Starliner much later on. That said it’s hard to even say on the abort testing let alone anything else at this stage other than I am pretty certain we will not see any people going into space on either craft this year.
 

Byeman

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SpaceX likely to win NASA’s crew competition by months, for billions less

SpaceX has had its own technical challenges with the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon parachutes, but it now appears likely to deliver a finished product to NASA before Boeing by several months, for less money. It seems plausible that SpaceX will, in fact, fly crew into space before Boeing flies a Starliner demo mission. Had NASA issued a sole-source contract to Boeing for commercial crew, not only would the agency have had a single provider with a higher price, it probably would have had to wait longer for that product.

The implication here for NASA, as it looks to extend human spaceflight from low-Earth orbit into deep space, seems clear. If the agency is serious about lunar landings by 2024, it has a lot of contracts to set soon: for Gateway modules, for lunar lander components, for spacesuits, and for rockets to get all of that material into lunar orbit. The lesson from commercial crew is that healthy competition among providers is good, commercial contracts can lead to lower prices, and just because a company has a long history of spaceflight success doesn't mean they'll necessarily perform better than the new kids on the block.
Yeah, right
 

Flyaway

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Boeing completes tests of Starliner thrusters

WASHINGTON — Boeing has completed ground testing of the thrusters for its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle, nearly a year after a setback in earlier testing of those thrusters.

In a statement, Boeing said it completed hot-fire testing May 23 of the spacecraft’s entire propulsion system, including various thrusters, fuel tanks and related systems within a “flight-like” service module of the spacecraft. Those tests took place at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico.

A series of tests demonstrated thruster firings for in-space maneuvers, high-altitude aborts and low-altitude aborts. The company said the tests were all successful.
 

Flyaway

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NASA could see more delays for SpaceX and Boeing private space flights

When NASA awarded Boeing and SpaceX contracts to develop vehicles that can take astronauts to the ISS, it was hoping they'll be done by 2017. Unfortunately, both companies grappled with technical challenges that forced them to delay their timelines. A new Government Accountability Office report even wants NASA to prepare for even more delays, as neither company is near to meeting all the agency's requirements for manned spaceflight.
 

sferrin

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Station mission planning reveals new target Commercial Crew launch dates

"More so, while SpaceX and NASA continue to investigate the cause of the Crew Dragon’s anomaly suffered on 20 April during a static fire test of the SuperDraco thruster system, the revised FPIP now shows a new planning date target for SpaceX’s crewed DM-2 mission.

DM-2 is now tentatively planned for 15 November 2019. The flight would see NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley perform a 7-day test flight of the Dragon capsule before returning to Earth on 22 November.

According to the document, this would be followed one week later by the work-to launch date of Starliner’s CFT mission, which will see Mike Finke, Nicole Mann, and Chris Ferguson launch on 30 November 2019 and dock to the International Space Station on 1 December for the start of five months of on-Station operations."

 

Grey Havoc

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November 2019. Is the Tyrell Corporation involved?
;)
 
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