Author Topic: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2  (Read 473360 times)

Offline Lar

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1000 on: 01/12/2018 04:29 AM »
The ASAP Annual Report specifically calls out parachutes as one of the biggest program risks:

Quote
While there are large uncertainties around the specific numbers resulting
from the analysis, the primary risk drivers identified are the same for both commercial systems:
• MMOD damage during docked phase (affects overall mission requirement)
• Parachute performance (affects overall mission and ascent/entry requirements)

It also has a discussion of the SpaceX COPV qualification, and mentions they are working on alternative helium tanks (sounds like not COPV) as a backup plan if the COPV redesign has trouble getting through qualification.

So why was removing propulsive landing from Dragon (which would have chutes as a backup system only once enough flights were flown) such a good idea again?

Pressure from the congressional Georgia & Colorado (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).s.

and Alabama...

What does Boeing have to do with Georgia and Colorado? It's Lockheed Martin that's big in those states.

What vehicle was it, again, that was *congressionally mandated* to be a backup crew vehicle.. .just in case the plan of record vehicles didn't pan out? Who makes it? I forget[1].

1 - that was sarcasm
"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
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Online docmordrid

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1001 on: 01/12/2018 04:39 AM »
>
What vehicle was it, again, that was *congressionally mandated* to be a backup crew vehicle.. .just in case the plan of record vehicles didn't pan out? Who makes it? I forget[1].

1 - that was sarcasm
I meant to include Alabama, but was interrupted. Its Sen. Shelby has a group of mini-me's in the other two states  House delegations.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2018 04:45 AM by docmordrid »
DM

Offline Rabidpanda

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1002 on: 01/12/2018 06:46 AM »
This seems like sorta tenuous logic. Sure, there are some in congress that might push for Boeing to get as many contracts as possible, but (correct me if I am wrong) there are no financial incentives for Boeing to launch Starliner before Dragon. So why would congress care who launches first?

Online Bynaus

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1003 on: 01/12/2018 07:47 AM »
This seems like sorta tenuous logic. Sure, there are some in congress that might push for Boeing to get as many contracts as possible, but (correct me if I am wrong) there are no financial incentives for Boeing to launch Starliner before Dragon. So why would congress care who launches first?

Because SpaceX launching first would create a narrative that not only are they delivering at half the price of their competitors, but they are also faster...

Whereas Boeing launching first will allow them to say: see, the good old ways are still the best to get something accomplished.

Of course, with the two crewed flights only a weeks apart, rational analysis would say that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things - but getting back to the ISS from US soil has a highly symbolic value (only further amplified through the "bring back the flag" story).

Offline RonM

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1004 on: 01/12/2018 02:20 PM »
What does Boeing have to do with Georgia and Colorado? It's Lockheed Martin that's big in those states.

What vehicle was it, again, that was *congressionally mandated* to be a backup crew vehicle.. .just in case the plan of record vehicles didn't pan out? Who makes it? I forget[1].

1 - that was sarcasm

Ah, but that is if both SpaceX and Boeing fail. If one falls behind, give the flights to the other or buy Boeing owned seats on Soyuz.

This seems like sorta tenuous logic. Sure, there are some in congress that might push for Boeing to get as many contracts as possible, but (correct me if I am wrong) there are no financial incentives for Boeing to launch Starliner before Dragon. So why would congress care who launches first?

Because SpaceX launching first would create a narrative that not only are they delivering at half the price of their competitors, but they are also faster...

Whereas Boeing launching first will allow them to say: see, the good old ways are still the best to get something accomplished.

Of course, with the two crewed flights only a weeks apart, rational analysis would say that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things - but getting back to the ISS from US soil has a highly symbolic value (only further amplified through the "bring back the flag" story).

That's a better conspiracy theory. However, since NASA staff are making scheduling decisions (not Congressional aids), Boeing first was probably decided based on current program status and is subject to change.

Online gongora

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1005 on: 01/12/2018 02:53 PM »
Ah, but that is if both SpaceX and Boeing fail. If one falls behind, give the flights to the other or buy Boeing owned seats on Soyuz.

They're already getting Boeing's Soyuz seats, that's what pushed out the need for Commercial Crew to late 2019.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2018 02:53 PM by gongora »

Offline envy887

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1006 on: 01/12/2018 03:04 PM »
I really wonder what happened here that SpaceX's manned flight suddenly falls behind Boeing's flight :X

I somehow doubt that Elon would be cool with it that Boeing gets to steal the show like that :P

No, not Boeing stealing the show. NASA giving the "first" to Boeing. This has been suspected from day 1 of CCtCAP given that NASA ultimately decides when a CCP mission goes to fly.
However, rest assured, a delay of Boeing's Crew Flight Test to 2019 is coming within the next few months.

Boeing is a world class aerospace company that employs a lot of really smart, experienced engineers... and so is SpaceX. What they are both trying to do is incredibly hard. When was the last time a new US human spacecraft design was flown?

What incentive could NASA possibly have for manipulating the schedule such that SpaceX is forced to fly after Boeing?

SS1, SS2, and New Shepard are technically new US human spacecraft designs. Orbital is obviously tougher, though I think that the meeting NASA standards vs. commercial spaceflight is actually the tougher of the two difficulty increments. And even the suborbital designs have taken years and $100s of millions with no human flights.

Offline Rabidpanda

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1007 on: 01/12/2018 08:08 PM »
This seems like sorta tenuous logic. Sure, there are some in congress that might push for Boeing to get as many contracts as possible, but (correct me if I am wrong) there are no financial incentives for Boeing to launch Starliner before Dragon. So why would congress care who launches first?

Because SpaceX launching first would create a narrative that not only are they delivering at half the price of their competitors, but they are also faster...

Whereas Boeing launching first will allow them to say: see, the good old ways are still the best to get something accomplished.

Of course, with the two crewed flights only a weeks apart, rational analysis would say that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things - but getting back to the ISS from US soil has a highly symbolic value (only further amplified through the "bring back the flag" story).

Congress may exert a lot of influence over NASA when it comes to big decisions involving a lot of $$$ (SLS, etc) but I have a hard time imagining that they are expending political capital to sabotage NASA's commercial crew flight schedule in order to make Boeing look good (when no money is at stake).

Maybe we should avoid automatically assuming that NASA (or Congress) is sabotaging SpaceX whenever Dragon 2 gets delayed. SpaceX has been very successful with Falcon 9, but that doesn't mean they are incapable of fault. There a million things that might have gone wrong during Dragon 2 development - poor upper management decisions, inadequate resources (manpower and/or funding), costly redesigns (beyond what we already know about) are all possibilities. 

Boeing has been working on Starliner for a long time (since 2010!). They have a lot of resources and a lot of experience developing space hardware. Just because they are 'old space' doesn't mean that they can't deliver. There is no rule written in stone that they must fly after SpaceX because 'old space' = bad and 'new space' = good.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1008 on: 01/12/2018 08:26 PM »
This seems like sorta tenuous logic. Sure, there are some in congress that might push for Boeing to get as many contracts as possible, but (correct me if I am wrong) there are no financial incentives for Boeing to launch Starliner before Dragon. So why would congress care who launches first?

Because SpaceX launching first would create a narrative that not only are they delivering at half the price of their competitors, but they are also faster...

Narrative doesn't matter where it counts most, in winning contracts. To win contracts you have to be able to demonstrate competency, and both Boeing and SpaceX have been able to do that. Then, after you have demonstrated competency, price becomes a deciding factor too. But if you're not competent to perform a service, then it doesn't matter what your price is.

And except for very limited situations (i.e. how the SLS came to be), Congress does not have a say in contract awards.

Quote
Whereas Boeing launching first will allow them to say: see, the good old ways are still the best to get something accomplished.

As of today the ISS program will end in 2024, so the contracts Boeing and SpaceX have are it. There is nothing else to compete for. So I'm not sure what, if anything, the ability to boast would help with.

Quote
Of course, with the two crewed flights only a weeks apart, rational analysis would say that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things - but getting back to the ISS from US soil has a highly symbolic value (only further amplified through the "bring back the flag" story).

It will be a historic footnote, and definitely worth bragging rights. But rapidly that milestone won't matter - performing to contract will matter. Just look at the SpaceX Dragon Cargo - everyone is focused on the current flight (#13 currently at the ISS), not rehashing that SpaceX beat Orbital Sciences. And BTW, Orbital is doing pretty good with Cygnus, and no one harps on the fact that they were #2 to space with their cargo vehicle.

As a SpaceX fan I will be THRILLED to have two Commercial Crew vehicles in operation, and competition is GOOD!  :)
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Roy_H

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1009 on: 01/25/2018 05:49 AM »
Dragon 2 discussion carried over from General Falcon and Dragon Discussion thread.


Emphasis mine.

Propulsive landing of Crew Dragon was baselined in the SpaceX proposal that won them the CCtCAP contract.

So, NASA accepted a proposal to do propulsive landing on Crew Dragon.

Quite soon after the CCtCAP contracts had been awarded NASA started having second thoughts and directed SpaceX to conduct parachute landings on initial CCP missions.

Why did NASA change its mind AFTER they signed the CCtCAP contract with SpaceX?

That is the main question for me.

(I don't think the following is a rehash, if it is I apologize)

Maybe what changed their mind is all the first stage landing failures. SpaceX had pretty good testing before the first droneship landing attempt, all the Grasshopper and F9R-Dev1 flights, plus several simulated landing on water using real first stages. But even with all these preparations, they still manage to crash several first stages on the droneship before getting it right. Maybe after observing this sequence of events (the timeline seems to fit, CCtCAP was awarded on 9/16/2014, the last water landing occurred on 9/21/2014, first droneship landing attempt occurred on 1/10/2015), NASA was convinced that SpaceX wouldn't be able to nail the Dragon 2 landing on the first try.

I would think that there would be a simple solution. NASA could simply not have any valuable downmass for the first propulsive landing or two. NASA went years without this capability, surely they could work around a couple of flights?
 
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Online guckyfan

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1010 on: 01/25/2018 09:52 AM »

I would think that there would be a simple solution. NASA could simply not have any valuable downmass for the first propulsive landing or two. NASA went years without this capability, surely they could work around a couple of flights?

I have made that argument before. To which Jim replied that all downmass on Dragon is very valuable and NASA can not allow risking it.

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1011 on: 01/25/2018 12:54 PM »

I would think that there would be a simple solution. NASA could simply not have any valuable downmass for the first propulsive landing or two. NASA went years without this capability, surely they could work around a couple of flights?

I have made that argument before. To which Jim replied that all downmass on Dragon is very valuable and NASA can not allow risking it.

Dragon is the only way that science (the main reason for ISS) can get back to earth.  Every down flight opportunity is needed.
Bad planning on NASA's part
« Last Edit: 01/25/2018 12:54 PM by Jim »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1012 on: 01/25/2018 01:04 PM »
They can try testing propulsive landing in concert with parachutes during a splashdown.

But anyway, this NASA conservatism frees SpaceX up to pursue much bigger fish. And so it doesn't bother me at all.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1013 on: 01/25/2018 01:20 PM »
They can try testing propulsive landing in concert with parachutes during a splashdown.



Not feasible.  They don't work together.

Online saliva_sweet

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1014 on: 01/25/2018 01:29 PM »
They can try testing propulsive landing in concert with parachutes during a splashdown.



Not feasible.  They don't work together.

That's really unfortunate. The Dragon 2 launch escape system as finally implemented makes the LAS tower look like a brilliant invention. The superdracos along with their huge fuel tanks become such a useless pain in the backside right after launch.

edit: To clarify, I was hoping there would be a path towards Soyuz style land landings at least. But apparently not.
« Last Edit: 01/25/2018 01:35 PM by saliva_sweet »

Offline woods170

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1015 on: 01/25/2018 02:06 PM »

I would think that there would be a simple solution. NASA could simply not have any valuable downmass for the first propulsive landing or two. NASA went years without this capability, surely they could work around a couple of flights?

I have made that argument before. To which Jim replied that all downmass on Dragon is very valuable and NASA can not allow risking it.

Dragon is the only way that science (the main reason for ISS) can get back to earth.  Every down flight opportunity is needed.
Bad planning on NASA's part

Well, this one of few times that I fully agree with you.

From the COTS final report (page 32 and 33):
Quote from: NASA
Although cargo return for scientific research samples and crew (Capabilities C and D) were “desired,” they were not as necessary at the time of the selection, particularly considering that other routes to crew transportation were available from the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the Orion crew capsule being developed under the Constellation Program. Boeing proposed all four capabilities, with crew as an unfunded option, but Orbital’s proposal of only capabilities A and B fit better within the needed portfolio of commercial transportation services.

What NASA failed to foresee is that Orion would never actually fly to the ISS, courtesy of the collapse of CxP.

Had RocketPlane Kistler not failed in round 1 of COTS, there would have been two (2) systems capable of returning cargo to Earth, regardless of what came of Orion.
In round 2 of COTS NASA then chose the system with least capabilities (Orbital's Antares/Cygnus) in stead of the Boeing offer. The former had no cargo return capability (Capability C) whereas the latter did have Capability C.

So yeah, bad planning on NASA's part.
« Last Edit: 01/25/2018 02:08 PM by woods170 »

Offline Jim

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1016 on: 01/25/2018 02:17 PM »

I would think that there would be a simple solution. NASA could simply not have any valuable downmass for the first propulsive landing or two. NASA went years without this capability, surely they could work around a couple of flights?

I have made that argument before. To which Jim replied that all downmass on Dragon is very valuable and NASA can not allow risking it.

Dragon is the only way that science (the main reason for ISS) can get back to earth.  Every down flight opportunity is needed.
Bad planning on NASA's part

Well, this one of few times that I fully agree with you.


Its been more than a few ;-)

Offline IntoTheVoid

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1017 on: 01/25/2018 08:00 PM »

I would think that there would be a simple solution. NASA could simply not have any valuable downmass for the first propulsive landing or two. NASA went years without this capability, surely they could work around a couple of flights?

I have made that argument before. To which Jim replied that all downmass on Dragon is very valuable and NASA can not allow risking it.

What bugs me, is that with the big difference in contract awards, what could have been done if the situation were accurately known at the time of bidding. They could have bid $700M of Dragon 2 certification flights and still been cheaper than Boeing. If the certification flights were all/mostly used boosters and mostly didn't rendezvous with ISS, to avoid visiting vehicle bottlenecks, they could probably fly these out pretty quickly. And with propulsive landing the primary objective the Dragons probably wouldn't have needed to be fully kitted out until the final flight or two.

Oh well. Missed opportunity.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1018 on: 01/25/2018 11:07 PM »
They can try testing propulsive landing in concert with parachutes during a splashdown.



Not feasible.  They don't work together.
Would, in principle, work for a Soyuz-style cushion. In fact, they once showed this in a CGI sequence at some talk somewhere (landing in the desert).

But anyway, full propulsive landing almost certainly isn't going to happen because it's require adding in the ballast sled again, requiring a significant redesign. So there's not really any point in trying a test like that  unless they want to land in the desert Soyuz-style.
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Ictogan

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Re: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2
« Reply #1019 on: 01/26/2018 10:22 AM »
They can try testing propulsive landing in concert with parachutes during a splashdown.



Not feasible.  They don't work together.
Would, in principle, work for a Soyuz-style cushion. In fact, they once showed this in a CGI sequence at some talk somewhere (landing in the desert).

But anyway, full propulsive landing almost certainly isn't going to happen because it's require adding in the ballast sled again, requiring a significant redesign. So there's not really any point in trying a test like that  unless they want to land in the desert Soyuz-style.
Was the ballast sled really removed? It's not like it wouldn't be useful for reentry during parachute landings.

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