Author Topic: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis  (Read 169228 times)

Offline Lar

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #440 on: 01/12/2018 01:09 AM »
can SpaceX (if ready earlier) tell NASA they are ready and ask to go sooner?

Pretty sure that the power dynamic here (and it's far from technical, very political) assumes that NASA tells SpaceX when they are ready to go. SpaceX can probably request some sort of review, but I doubt they have an ability to assert that they are "ready" with any real consequences.

I interpreted the question from Lar as being whether if SpaceX were to hit their internal milestones earlier than planned, if NASA would be able to do their oversight tasks earlier too?

In other words, once the slip to the right is announced is NASA still able to move their schedule of events back to the left? Or now that August 2018 has been announced for the non-crew flight, nothing earlier can be supported?

What I was driving at was... suppose a miracle happens and SpaceX actually is early, way early, on readiness for either flight. If NASA says no, you can't go earlier, could SpaceX then tell the media, "we're ready, but are being held back so Boeing gets to go first" to counter the political power dynamic? Probably not.


Who goes first is a little longterm importance. I expect Dragon 2 will fly more crew (both for NASA and commercial) due to the lower cost of the vehicle and rocket in the next 5-6 years.
Tell that to the Alabama (sorry, need to stop here for a second and just say that I have to use stupid words to get my point across. I know that means I must have a weak argument, but that's why I use bad words)., or Andy at WSJ, if Boeing manages to go first.
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Online gongora

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #441 on: 01/12/2018 01:12 AM »
Read the ASAP report.  I don't think we have to worry about SpaceX being ready earlier than the new schedule.

Offline Lar

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #442 on: 01/12/2018 01:28 AM »
Read the ASAP report.  I don't think we have to worry about SpaceX being ready earlier than the new schedule.
We may have slightly different views of the accuracy level of modern ASAP reports...
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online gongora

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #443 on: 01/12/2018 01:34 AM »
Read the ASAP report.  I don't think we have to worry about SpaceX being ready earlier than the new schedule.
We may have slightly different views of the accuracy level of modern ASAP reports...

They're one of the few windows we have into this process.  At the NAC meeting they mentioned that the Commercial Crew Program was letting ASAP take the point on some of these issues.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #444 on: 01/12/2018 04:13 AM »
{snip}

An inspection of the outside of the capsule a couple of days before departure may be reassuring. Keeping the strike detection avionics and loss of pressure detectors operating whilst docked may be useful.

There are no strike detection avionics.  An inspection of the outside of the vehicle pre-departure would identify damage to reentry TPS that could wave-off undocking.
{snip}

The BEAM module was fitted with distributed impact detection system (DIDS) connected by wireless. DIDS could be inserted into Dragon 2, Starliner and Dream Chaser either on the ground or when they reach the spacestation.

NASA Engineering and Safety Center Technical Assessment Report on
Distributed Impact Detector System (DIDS) Health Monitoring System Evaluation
Distributed Impact Detector System Evaluation
« Last Edit: 01/15/2018 11:40 PM by Lar »

Online gongora

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #445 on: 01/12/2018 03:41 PM »
[Ars Technica] Boeing, SpaceX have razor-thin margins to fly crew missions in 2018
Quote
...
Two sources, neither of which was affiliated with Boeing or SpaceX, told Ars that the space agency is considering the unorthodox step of lengthening the first crew test flights to the station such that astronauts launched might stay a few months on board the station, rather than making a a flight up to the orbiting laboratory, and returning shortly thereafter.

These sources also indicated that although the race between Boeing and SpaceX remains too close to call, NASA’s change in schedules this week may be more than symbolic. Because of Boeing’s long association with NASA, the space agency is in some respects more comfortable with the way Boeing does things, and the company may therefore be at least a few months ahead of SpaceX in the 21st-century race to space.
...
« Last Edit: 01/12/2018 03:41 PM by gongora »

Offline woods170

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #446 on: 01/13/2018 05:52 PM »
[Ars Technica] Boeing, SpaceX have razor-thin margins to fly crew missions in 2018
Quote
...
Two sources, neither of which was affiliated with Boeing or SpaceX, told Ars that the space agency is considering the unorthodox step of lengthening the first crew test flights to the station such that astronauts launched might stay a few months on board the station, rather than making a a flight up to the orbiting laboratory, and returning shortly thereafter.

These sources also indicated that although the race between Boeing and SpaceX remains too close to call, NASA’s change in schedules this week may be more than symbolic. Because of Boeing’s long association with NASA, the space agency is in some respects more comfortable with the way Boeing does things, and the company may therefore be at least a few months ahead of SpaceX in the 21st-century race to space.
...

Emphasis mine.

Unsurprising. Something along these lines has been expected ever since CCtCAP started.
Remember: NASA was uncomfortable with how SpaceX does its engineering and that's why they burdened the CCtCAP task-package with an "alternative standards" task.
In short: SpaceX had to work with NASA to "translate" their way of working into something that was understood by NASA.

This added well over a year worth of additional work to the SpaceX work package.

Than add in that NASA had a late change-of-mind about how Crew Dragon is supposed to land (shift from propulsive landing to all-parachute), which required substantial beefing-up of Crew Dragon's sea-worthiness (another full year of additional work), and it becomes perfectly understandable why SpaceX's initial lead over Boeing is now completely gone.


The prime reason for all of this that NASA does NOT follow the COTS model for CCP. In stead of setting high-level requirements only, as under COTS, NASA is deeply involved in every detail-requirement as well.
Basically, under CCP NASA is much more acting like how they run things on Orion and SLS.

The result: CCP is being dragged, by NASA, into one delay after another.

What I hear from sources is that there is frustration over this at both SpaceX and Boeing. Because NASA is not just being hard on SpaceX, they are making things difficult for Boeing as well.

Offline scdavis

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #447 on: 01/13/2018 06:31 PM »
This sounds similar to my experience leading development on an industrial controls product that requires Functional Safety certification. Industry standard process for Functional Safety is extremely waterfall (don’t start the next step until previous step is fully done, verified, validated, signed off). If you try to veer from this process to something more agile, you are on the hook to prove your process guarantees a properly functioning product. If you follow the standard process you get a check mark, no problem.

The same problem appears if you try to deliver a technical innovation versus standard state of the art. Do what everyone else has done - you get a pass. Do something new ... you have to prove it is safe, and the benefit of doubt is on you. Pursuing this path is immensely risky to the project as the certifying body can decide *at the very last step* to deny certification even if they gave you preliminary approval in an early step.

Result for my team? A technically easy project we could perform in several months with extremely high quality becomes a several year effort with very high costs. I am not convinced at all that quality is better for all that time and money. Several innovative ideas that would be great for customers are too risky to pursue due to risk of certifying bodies rejecting at the last step. Tons of wasted effort and turn backs because we can’t work in a properly iterative and agile manner. On the positive side, we get to fund salaries for lots of third party consultants and certifying bodies. Nice jobs program for them.

In the last 20 years the software industry has learned much better ways of creating quality software. The Safety processes appear mired in ‘80s industry best practices.

I don’t have direct knowledge of space industry or NASA culture... but it smells the same.

The SpaceX process and technology are unfamiliar to the certifying body (NASA). Thus SpaceX faces doubt and burden of proof at every turn. This is not to say NASA is bad or biased, but that they haven’t learned yet how to take advantage of new best practices, while holding on to what is good in more traditional practices. Honestly it’s a difficult problem. General industry hasn’t completely solved it either.

Offline CapitalistOppressor

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #448 on: 01/15/2018 10:37 PM »
NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel Releases 2017 Annual Report
Quote
The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), an advisory committee that reports to NASA and Congress, has issued its 2017 annual report examining NASA's safety performance over the past year and highlighting accomplishments, issues and concerns to agency and government officials.

The report, released Thursday, is based on the panel's 2017 fact-finding and quarterly public meetings; "insight" visits and meetings; direct observations of NASA operations and decision-making processes; discussions with NASA management, employees and contractors; and the panel members' own experience.

“It is clear to the panel that NASA is at a critical juncture in human spaceflight development and that this is a time to retain focus on program details; to maintain a sense of urgency while not giving in to schedule pressure and to continue with program plans without neglecting, shortchanging, or deleting program content essential to safety and mission assurance,” said ASAP Chair Patricia Sanders.

The 2017 report highlights activities of the past year, and includes assessments of the agency’s:

Exploration Systems Development
Commercial Crew Program
Deep space exploration
International Space Station operations
Aeronautics missions and air operations, and
Enterprise protection
The report reiterates the need for constancy of purpose as NASA is on the verge of realizing the results of years of work and extensive resource investment.

Congress established the panel in 1968 to provide advice and make recommendations to the NASA administrator on safety matters after the 1967 Apollo 1 fire that claimed the lives of three American astronauts.

For more information about the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, and to view the 2017 report, visit:
http://oiir.hq.nasa.gov/asap

(found via a Tweet from Marcia Smith)

My sense from reading this is that SpaceX will not ever be certified to fly crew on Falcon 9. 

They clearly do not want to have crew aboard while fuel is loaded.  And their concerns regarding the COPV's do not sound like the sort of issue that is going to be resolved any time soon.

They clearly note that there is only a requirement for a single certified provider, and there seem to be digs aimed at SpaceX throughout.

The only positive for SpaceX is the fact that administrators may decide to move forward with them anyways, but ASAP doesn't look to be on board at all.

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #449 on: 01/15/2018 11:22 PM »
NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel Releases 2017 Annual Report
Quote
The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), an advisory committee that reports to NASA and Congress, has issued its 2017 annual report examining NASA's safety performance over the past year and highlighting accomplishments, issues and concerns to agency and government officials.

The report, released Thursday, is based on the panel's 2017 fact-finding and quarterly public meetings; "insight" visits and meetings; direct observations of NASA operations and decision-making processes; discussions with NASA management, employees and contractors; and the panel members' own experience.

“It is clear to the panel that NASA is at a critical juncture in human spaceflight development and that this is a time to retain focus on program details; to maintain a sense of urgency while not giving in to schedule pressure and to continue with program plans without neglecting, shortchanging, or deleting program content essential to safety and mission assurance,” said ASAP Chair Patricia Sanders.

The 2017 report highlights activities of the past year, and includes assessments of the agency’s:

Exploration Systems Development
Commercial Crew Program
Deep space exploration
International Space Station operations
Aeronautics missions and air operations, and
Enterprise protection
The report reiterates the need for constancy of purpose as NASA is on the verge of realizing the results of years of work and extensive resource investment.

Congress established the panel in 1968 to provide advice and make recommendations to the NASA administrator on safety matters after the 1967 Apollo 1 fire that claimed the lives of three American astronauts.

For more information about the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, and to view the 2017 report, visit:
http://oiir.hq.nasa.gov/asap

(found via a Tweet from Marcia Smith)

My sense from reading this is that SpaceX will not ever be certified to fly crew on Falcon 9. 

They clearly do not want to have crew aboard while fuel is loaded.  And their concerns regarding the COPV's do not sound like the sort of issue that is going to be resolved any time soon.

They clearly note that there is only a requirement for a single certified provider, and there seem to be digs aimed at SpaceX throughout.

The only positive for SpaceX is the fact that administrators may decide to move forward with them anyways, but ASAP doesn't look to be on board at all.

ASAP doesn't certify anything, it is advisory only.  The administrator can ignore any or all of its advice without need to justify him/herself.  And it's my impression that NASA's Commercial Crew office has the final say on how the program goes forward with both providers, not ASAP.
-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)

Offline CapitalistOppressor

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #450 on: 01/16/2018 02:14 AM »
NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel Releases 2017 Annual Report
Quote
The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), an advisory committee that reports to NASA and Congress, has issued its 2017 annual report examining NASA's safety performance over the past year and highlighting accomplishments, issues and concerns to agency and government officials.

The report, released Thursday, is based on the panel's 2017 fact-finding and quarterly public meetings; "insight" visits and meetings; direct observations of NASA operations and decision-making processes; discussions with NASA management, employees and contractors; and the panel members' own experience.

“It is clear to the panel that NASA is at a critical juncture in human spaceflight development and that this is a time to retain focus on program details; to maintain a sense of urgency while not giving in to schedule pressure and to continue with program plans without neglecting, shortchanging, or deleting program content essential to safety and mission assurance,” said ASAP Chair Patricia Sanders.

The 2017 report highlights activities of the past year, and includes assessments of the agency’s:

Exploration Systems Development
Commercial Crew Program
Deep space exploration
International Space Station operations
Aeronautics missions and air operations, and
Enterprise protection
The report reiterates the need for constancy of purpose as NASA is on the verge of realizing the results of years of work and extensive resource investment.

Congress established the panel in 1968 to provide advice and make recommendations to the NASA administrator on safety matters after the 1967 Apollo 1 fire that claimed the lives of three American astronauts.

For more information about the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, and to view the 2017 report, visit:
http://oiir.hq.nasa.gov/asap

(found via a Tweet from Marcia Smith)

My sense from reading this is that SpaceX will not ever be certified to fly crew on Falcon 9. 

They clearly do not want to have crew aboard while fuel is loaded.  And their concerns regarding the COPV's do not sound like the sort of issue that is going to be resolved any time soon.

They clearly note that there is only a requirement for a single certified provider, and there seem to be digs aimed at SpaceX throughout.

The only positive for SpaceX is the fact that administrators may decide to move forward with them anyways, but ASAP doesn't look to be on board at all.

ASAP doesn't certify anything, it is advisory only.  The administrator can ignore any or all of its advice without need to justify him/herself.  And it's my impression that NASA's Commercial Crew office has the final say on how the program goes forward with both providers, not ASAP.

Agree that that is the case, as I mentioned in my post. 

I'm just saying I suspect the administrators are going to be under enormous political pressure to decertify the Falcon 9 for HSF because ASAP isn't on board. 

I don't think the vehicle gets certified under those conditions.  Especially with all the other forces trying to game this in Boeings favor.

Given that neither Falcon 9, nor Dragon, are a part of SpaceX's long term plans they should start thinking about extricating themselves from the contract with the minimum losses possible. 

To my knowledge, SpaceX didn't bid the contract with the expectation of making major changes to Falcon 9, and given how much they underbid Boeing SpaceX needs to be careful not to get into a situation where their efforts to satisfy NASA is damaging them financially.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #451 on: 01/16/2018 02:18 AM »
Everyone stopped listening to ASAP about 30 years ago... if they ever.

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline woods170

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #452 on: 01/16/2018 07:50 AM »
Everyone stopped listening to ASAP about 30 years ago... if they ever.



ASAP has in fact quite a bit of influence. Everytime ASAP raises a "concern" NASA (almost) automatically starts looking into this "concern" via dedicated teams. And quite a few of those result in additional/new action. For CCP alone at least four high-level requirements have been added/modded after ASAP raised "concern".

And sometimes NASA initiates action all by itself in anticipation of ASAP making a fuss over something.

For example: NASA and SpaceX cooperating on COPV 2.0 is a direct result of expecting ASAP to raise concern. This is to actually "head off" ASAP.

So yes, technically speaking ASAP only gives advice. But practically speaking ASAP advice is not often ignored.

Offline Jim

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #453 on: 01/16/2018 11:07 AM »

I'm just saying I suspect the administrators are going to be under enormous political pressure to decertify the Falcon 9 for HSF because ASAP isn't on board. 


Not at all.

Offline Jim

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #454 on: 01/16/2018 11:08 AM »

Given that neither Falcon 9, nor Dragon, are a part of SpaceX's long term plans they should start thinking about extricating themselves from the contract with the minimum losses possible. 


They can't without defaulting.

Online AncientU

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #455 on: 01/16/2018 01:45 PM »
[Ars Technica] Boeing, SpaceX have razor-thin margins to fly crew missions in 2018
Quote
...
Two sources, neither of which was affiliated with Boeing or SpaceX, told Ars that the space agency is considering the unorthodox step of lengthening the first crew test flights to the station such that astronauts launched might stay a few months on board the station, rather than making a a flight up to the orbiting laboratory, and returning shortly thereafter.

These sources also indicated that although the race between Boeing and SpaceX remains too close to call, NASA’s change in schedules this week may be more than symbolic. Because of Boeing’s long association with NASA, the space agency is in some respects more comfortable with the way Boeing does things, and the company may therefore be at least a few months ahead of SpaceX in the 21st-century race to space.
...

Emphasis mine.

Unsurprising. Something along these lines has been expected ever since CCtCAP started.
Remember: NASA was uncomfortable with how SpaceX does its engineering and that's why they burdened the CCtCAP task-package with an "alternative standards" task.
In short: SpaceX had to work with NASA to "translate" their way of working into something that was understood by NASA.

This added well over a year worth of additional work to the SpaceX work package.

Than add in that NASA had a late change-of-mind about how Crew Dragon is supposed to land (shift from propulsive landing to all-parachute), which required substantial beefing-up of Crew Dragon's sea-worthiness (another full year of additional work), and it becomes perfectly understandable why SpaceX's initial lead over Boeing is now completely gone.


The prime reason for all of this that NASA does NOT follow the COTS model for CCP. In stead of setting high-level requirements only, as under COTS, NASA is deeply involved in every detail-requirement as well.
Basically, under CCP NASA is much more acting like how they run things on Orion and SLS.

The result: CCP is being dragged, by NASA, into one delay after another.

What I hear from sources is that there is frustration over this at both SpaceX and Boeing. Because NASA is not just being hard on SpaceX, they are making things difficult for Boeing as well.

This is the crux of the issue.  NASA is taking a program that had potential to innovate and reduce costs (using proven* COTS model) and remaking it in their own image.  (What the USAF was yanked back from doing in Falcon certification.)

If NASA had chosen the winning bidders, Spacex/Dragon 2 and AtlasV/Dream Chaser, and operated the program using the COTS model -- allowing innovation and new ways of analyzing tests/producing results -- we'd already be delivering astros to the ISS and landing them on land with at least one of the programs, and the second wouldn't be far behind.

Instead, we are regressing in technology, delaying without end, and running up a huge tab (especially with additional Russian seats being purchased).  In the end, SpaceX for one will abandon the Dragon 2/land-in-the-ocean technology except for expensive NASA 'missions' to the ISS.  Boeing will not likely sell commercial flights either, so NASA will bear the full inflated cost burden of this transportation system.

*Look at the innovation and continuous progression in technology demonstrated by Falcon and Dragon (which could include Dragon propulsive landings if that wasn't stove-piped into a different management/contracting approach) under the COTS model.  The cost improvement (cited as 8::1 in reference below) has been completely lost.
http://www.nss.org/docs/EvolvableLunarArchitecture.pdf
« Last Edit: 01/16/2018 02:00 PM by AncientU »
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Offline envy887

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #456 on: 01/16/2018 02:50 PM »
I'm just saying I suspect the administrators are going to be under enormous political pressure to decertify the Falcon 9 for HSF because ASAP isn't on board. 

I don't think the vehicle gets certified under those conditions.  Especially with all the other forces trying to game this in Boeings favor.

Given that neither Falcon 9, nor Dragon, are a part of SpaceX's long term plans they should start thinking about extricating themselves from the contract with the minimum losses possible. 

To my knowledge, SpaceX didn't bid the contract with the expectation of making major changes to Falcon 9, and given how much they underbid Boeing SpaceX needs to be careful not to get into a situation where their efforts to satisfy NASA is damaging them financially.

SpaceX isn't going to back out of a NASA contract. NASA provides the majority of their revenue, and I don't think they have a viable business without the commercial crew contract.

As long as they can prove the vehicle and spacecraft design and operating procedures meet qualification standards, it will fly.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #457 on: 01/16/2018 03:59 PM »
I smell a slip...
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Offline Jim

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #458 on: 01/16/2018 04:08 PM »

This is the crux of the issue.  NASA is taking a program that had potential to innovate and reduce costs (using proven* COTS model) and remaking it in their own image.  (What the USAF was yanked back from doing in Falcon certification.)

If NASA had chosen the winning bidders, Spacex/Dragon 2 and AtlasV/Dream Chaser, and operated the program using the COTS model -- allowing innovation and new ways of analyzing tests/producing results -- we'd already be delivering astros to the ISS and landing them on land with at least one of the programs, and the second wouldn't be far behind.

Instead, we are regressing in technology, delaying without end, and running up a huge tab (especially with additional Russian seats being purchased).  In the end, SpaceX for one will abandon the Dragon 2/land-in-the-ocean technology except for expensive NASA 'missions' to the ISS.  Boeing will not likely sell commercial flights either, so NASA will bear the full inflated cost burden of this transportation system.

Once again, wrong.  COTS was only good for Tang, T-shirts and toilet paper.  It was never good enough for anything else.  So, it was not "proven", it was only good for high risk items.

Falcon 9 was still not good enough to launch NASA or DOD spacecraft after COTS.  Falcon 9 had to certified for Jason-3 and it is being recertified for TESS and still will have to go through some more certification for the next NASA launch when ever that is. 

Online gongora

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #459 on: 01/16/2018 04:15 PM »
Falcon 9 had to certified for Jason-3 and it is being recertified for TESS and still will have to go through some more certification for the next NASA launch when ever that is.

late 2020, I'm sure they will need an updated certification by then

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