Author Topic: SpaceX Dragon 2 Updates and Discussion - Thread 2  (Read 285610 times)

Online 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 Mafias.

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
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

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 »
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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?

Offline 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).

Online 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 »

Online 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?

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