Author Topic: Dream Chaser ETA review promotes positives despite anomaly  (Read 43717 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

Follow on from the other thread that was getting out of control on landing gear....opened with the new article I've written:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/10/dream-chaser-eta-positives-despite-anomaly/

Longish article (I'm going to create another one from the media event). Aimed to cover the salient points, pretty much covering nearly all of Mr. Sirangelo statements (less so the follow on questions, because he covered almost everything in the first half).

Don't shout at me for being positive. Yes, I love this vehicle, but I also work a lot with people involved, and the overly positive result is factually correct.

Offline Rocket Science

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Nice one Chris, including the comical left gear deploy!  :D It reminded me of Merury-Redstone on pad chute deploy...  :P We must keep things in perspective sometimes :)

160 kts at touchdown confirmed... We don't need no stinking wings... ;)
« Last Edit: 10/29/2013 10:30 PM by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline Ronpur50

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Fantastic article.  Answered almost all of my questions......except one.

Were the fuzzy dice still hanging? 

If they were, it couldn't have been that bad of a tumble.

Offline rcoppola

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Again, this is a great day for SNC and commercial crew.
And I'll just say it: I would love to see DC ride up on a Falcon 9.
Sail the oceans of space and set foot upon new lands!
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Offline NovaSilisko

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I'm quite impressed that despite hurtling off the runway and tumbling, it was still in one piece (and even operating!). Would it be safe to say that, if this test flight were manned, the pilot would've been okay? Maybe some bumps and bruises, and a bit shaken, but otherwise in good shape.

Offline Chris Bergin

Thanks! :)


Were the fuzzy dice still hanging? 


Yep, there was a mention of that. Apparently they were sticky tapped to the cockpit pretty well.

Offline rickl

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I haven't read the article yet, but will do so shortly.


I was about to comment in the last thread before I found this new one.  I was very happy to see the video.  Dream Chaser flew beautifully!  I'm not an aeronautical engineer or a rocket scientist, but from my layman's perspective, it would have been more worrisome if it had exhibited instability in flight, even if the gear deployed properly and it made a successful landing.


According to Wikipedia, the Boeing X-37 ran off the end of the runway after its first drop test in 2006.


Here is the first X-15 unpowered drop test in 1959, with Scott Crossfield at the controls.  Note the pitch oscillation just before landing.  The Spacecraft Films DVD shows it in more detail.





So all things considered, I'd say the Dream Chaser test was mostly successful.



Nominal now means "Yeehah!!"

Offline Rocket Science

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« Last Edit: 10/29/2013 11:04 PM by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Offline Lee Jay

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Wow, Chris, that was a terrific article!

Online edkyle99

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I've just seen the video released today.  Wonderful to see that everything was hugely successful and that there were no problems except for a tiny anomaly that was so itsy bitsy that it wasn't even worth showing on the video.  Good of them not to insult us with any images of trouble. 

I'm off to watch "M2F2 Crash" on YouTube now, and to ponder the meaning of the following fact.  Russian showed the entire Proton crash this summer, live.  Remember when the USSR hid its failures while NASA showed its problems in full detail?  (For those wondering who is leading in space today -  that (showing it all) was leadership.)

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 10/29/2013 11:25 PM by edkyle99 »

Online Eric Hedman

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Re: Dream Chaser ETA review promotes positives despite anomaly
« Reply #10 on: 10/29/2013 11:13 PM »
I'm not an aeronautical engineer or a rocket scientist, but from my layman's perspective, it would have been more worrisome if it had exhibited instability in flight, even if the gear deployed properly and it made a successful landing.
Agree completely.
Here is the first X-15 unpowered drop test in 1959, with Scott Crossfield at the controls.  Note the pitch oscillation just before landing.
This is exactly what testing is all about.  You do it to find these problems.  It looks like SNC got the flight control laws right for this part of the flight profile.

I'm also glad I had a chance to chat with Scott Crossfield shortly before his death.  He was a very interesting person to talk to.  Test pilots are a special breed.  It takes guts to do the first flight of any aircraft or spacecraft.
So all things considered, I'd say the Dream Chaser test was mostly successful.
I would agree with this especially after reading the article.
« Last Edit: 10/29/2013 11:16 PM by Eric Hedman »

Offline rickl

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Re: Dream Chaser ETA review promotes positives despite anomaly
« Reply #11 on: 10/29/2013 11:14 PM »
Good article, Chris!


And what Rocket Science said about MR-1.


Nominal now means "Yeehah!!"

Offline joek

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Re: Dream Chaser ETA review promotes positives despite anomaly
« Reply #12 on: 10/29/2013 11:19 PM »
Thanks Chris, great article and excellent presentation of the relevant facts.  I am much more optimistic today than yesterday.

This test also appears to show that the autonomous flight control system behaved properly in an off-nominal situation, the integrity of critical systems and structures were retained, and from all indications crew would have survived without serious injury.  While I'm sure SNC did not have that in mind for this test, and undoubtedly would have preferred otherwise, the results speak for themselves.  SNC deserves some serious mojo credits.

One bit I was previously confused about that they clarified is that this is the last SNC CCDev2 milestone, not the ETA test flight milestone in the CCiCap SAA (which presumably include manned flights).
« Last Edit: 10/29/2013 11:28 PM by joek »

Offline Lurker Steve

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Re: Dream Chaser ETA review promotes positives despite anomaly
« Reply #13 on: 10/29/2013 11:29 PM »
I've just seen the video released today.  Wonderful to see that everything was hugely successful and that there were no problems except for a tiny anomaly that was so itsy bitsy that it wasn't even worth showing on the video.  Good of them not to insult us with any images of trouble. 

I'm off to watch "M2F2 Crash" on YouTube now, and to ponder the meaning of the following fact.  Russian showed the entire Proton crash this summer, live.  Remember when the USSR hid its failures while NASA showed its problems in full detail?  (For those wondering who is leading in space today -  that (showing it all) was leadership.)

 - Ed Kyle

We didn't get video of the SpaceX first stage falling apart when it hit the water either.
This isn't NASA. They get to decide what video they want to release.

I'm more interested in how long DC was able to stay upright on just a single wheel and the skid strip.

Offline vt_hokie

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Re: Dream Chaser ETA review promotes positives despite anomaly
« Reply #14 on: 10/29/2013 11:31 PM »

We didn't get video of the SpaceX first stage falling apart when it hit the water either.
This isn't NASA. They get to decide what video they want to release.

This aspect makes me less supportive of the "commercial crew" program in general.  Personally, I think they'd generate more good will by just being open, and also avoid overly pessimistic rumors and speculation when in fact the actual situation might be much more positive than censoring things would imply. 

We don't get to see the cool stuff that goes on at places like Groom Lake, and our inept government has left our space program an empty shell of its former self, so I think some of us are just frustrated and starved for some actual progress that involves seeing some hardware in flight!
« Last Edit: 10/29/2013 11:34 PM by vt_hokie »

Offline NovaSilisko

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Re: Dream Chaser ETA review promotes positives despite anomaly
« Reply #15 on: 10/29/2013 11:38 PM »
I was wondering how long it'd take before that argument found its way to this thread...

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Dream Chaser ETA review promotes positives despite anomaly
« Reply #16 on: 10/29/2013 11:43 PM »

We didn't get video of the SpaceX first stage falling apart when it hit the water either.
This isn't NASA. They get to decide what video they want to release.

This aspect makes me less supportive of the "commercial crew" program in general.  Personally, I think they'd generate more good will by just being open, and also avoid overly pessimistic rumors and speculation when in fact the actual situation might be much more positive than censoring things would imply. 

We don't get to see the cool stuff that goes on at places like Groom Lake, and our inept government has left our space program an empty shell of its former self, so I think some of us are just frustrated and starved for some actual progress that involves seeing some hardware in flight!
When it comes to release of information we have to change our mindset. This is a competition where the goal naturally is to win. Each player is jockeying for position and public perception (remember that ad about some other company just making noise). The last thing you are going to do is to provide ammunition for your competitor and to what end, so that they can run an ad of their vehicle and your vehicle having a bad day. It just good business sense... We just have to get used to the world of commercial spaceflight... We’ll survive...  Who knows, it might show up in a book someday...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
~Rob, Physics instructor, aviator, vintage auto racer

Offline rickl

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Re: Dream Chaser ETA review promotes positives despite anomaly
« Reply #17 on: 10/29/2013 11:47 PM »
Of course, all of us genuine enthusiasts want to see the full video, or better yet, live coverage; but unfortunately, the companies have to worry about hostile members of Congress and a generally ignorant and sensation-seeking news media.


SNC will eventually release the full video, after they have a couple of completely successful flights under their belt.
« Last Edit: 10/29/2013 11:49 PM by rickl »
Nominal now means "Yeehah!!"

Offline robertross

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Re: Dream Chaser ETA review promotes positives despite anomaly
« Reply #18 on: 10/29/2013 11:53 PM »
Super article Chris. Very objective, as you are known for.

I was more surprised (overjoyed) that despite the landing issue, this note:

“It provided us with data on how strong the vehicle is. We were able to get into the vehicle quite soon after (the crash) and the pressure vessel/crew compartment was completely untouched by the incident."

So, even though it had one heck of a thump, it would likely have been 100% survivable with crew on board (realizing it is just a ETA though). That's unintentional failure testing at its finest: passing.

Also glad the runway was undamaged. That's an important overlooked point. I bet it would be on their dime if it did.
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Offline Lee Jay

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Re: Dream Chaser ETA review promotes positives despite anomaly
« Reply #19 on: 10/29/2013 11:53 PM »
Of course, all of us genuine enthusiasts want to see the full video, or better yet, live coverage; but unfortunately, the companies have to worry about hostile members of Congress and a generally ignorant and sensation-seeking news media.

Bingo.

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