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Commercial and US Government Launch Vehicles => Commercial Crew Vehicles General => Topic started by: Chris Bergin on 09/24/2014 11:14 PM

Title: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Chris Bergin on 09/24/2014 11:14 PM
Follow on thread to the massive discussion through to the revealing of the CCtCAP winners:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28699.0

Resources:

Commercial Crew News:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/tag/ccdev/ <--covers through to CCtCAP

L2 Commercial Crew:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=54.0

L2 SpaceX - Covering Dragon:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=60.0
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 09/24/2014 11:40 PM
Thanks Chris. This is a whole new world :)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Darkseraph on 09/25/2014 03:39 PM
Should we worry about those seawater intrusions that have bugged the Dragon V1 on some landings? Doesn't sound good...:/ How is it even getting in?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: kevinof on 09/25/2014 03:50 PM
Why worry. Crewed Dragon won't land on water.

Should we worry about those seawater intrusions that have bugged the Dragon V1 on some landings? Doesn't sound good...:/ How is it even getting in?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: nadreck on 09/25/2014 04:02 PM
Why worry. Crewed Dragon won't land on water.

Should we worry about those seawater intrusions that have bugged the Dragon V1 on some landings? Doesn't sound good...:/ How is it even getting in?

It must be certified to be able to land in water. Also, in the most extreme possible launch conditions (ie the abort). As well any return from orbit that has to take place on an emergency basis the likely hood is a water landing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: kevinof on 09/25/2014 04:15 PM
True but in an emergency are you going to worry about a little water ingress? It hasn't caused any major problems for Space X yet and for all we know they may have already fixed the problem.


Why worry. Crewed Dragon won't land on water.

Should we worry about those seawater intrusions that have bugged the Dragon V1 on some landings? Doesn't sound good...:/ How is it even getting in?

It must be certified to be able to land in water. Also, in the most extreme possible launch conditions (ie the abort). As well any return from orbit that has to take place on an emergency basis the likely hood is a water landing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Mongo62 on 09/25/2014 04:42 PM
Should we worry about those seawater intrusions that have bugged the Dragon V1 on some landings? Doesn't sound good...:/ How is it even getting in?

The water ingress would not be into the pressure vessel itself, for obvious reasons, so it must be either into volumes that are exposed to vacuum in orbit, lying between the pressure vessel and the outer casing, or into empty tanks with an open path between them and the water.

The designers would surely have known about the first case and allowed for it, so it must be the second case. One possible path for water to enter would be through a Draco rocket nozzle, past an open or partly open injector and valve and into one of the hypergolic propellant tanks.

If it had only happened once, I would think that it was an error in procedures where somebody forgot to close the valve after the tank emptied, but since it appears to have happened several times, I'm guessing that it might be a design or manufacturing flaw with the valves, where they do not fully close as commanded when there is significant water pressure on the downstream side of the valve.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 09/25/2014 05:46 PM
Should we worry about those seawater intrusions that have bugged the Dragon V1 on some landings? Doesn't sound good...:/ How is it even getting in?

The water ingress would not be into the pressure vessel itself, for obvious reasons, so it must be either into volumes that are exposed to vacuum in orbit, lying between the pressure vessel and the outer casing, or into empty tanks with an open path between them and the water.

The designers would surely have known about the first case and allowed for it, so it must be the second case. One possible path for water to enter would be through a Draco rocket nozzle, past an open or partly open injector and valve and into one of the hypergolic propellant tanks.

If it had only happened once, I would think that it was an error in procedures where somebody forgot to close the valve after the tank emptied, but since it appears to have happened several times, I'm guessing that it might be a design or manufacturing flaw with the valves, where they do not fully close as commanded when there is significant water pressure on the downstream side of the valve.

All incorrect.  Water was in the pressurized cargo area.  Yes, there should be concern
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 09/25/2014 05:57 PM
Hans recently mentioned that they moved a few "Components" from the internal pressure vessel to the exterior volume occupied by the tanks and Draco engines. This reference was for the cargo Dragon but I imagine similar and more intense efforts are underway for DV2 as well. (As well as potential additional valve redundancies and valve reengineering.)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Mongo62 on 09/25/2014 09:49 PM
I'm guessing that it might be a design or manufacturing flaw with the valves, where they do not fully close as commanded when there is significant water pressure on the downstream side of the valve.

All incorrect.  Water was in the pressurized cargo area.  Yes, there should be concern

If water did not get in through malfunctioning valves, how did it get there? It's a sealed vessel, designed to hold pressure against a vacuum. I repeat that the only mechanism I can think of is water getting past a valve.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 09/25/2014 09:54 PM
They're called "cracks". Slamming an object into the ocean at high speeds tends to make them.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: BrianNH on 09/25/2014 10:00 PM
The advantage of launching unmanned versions of the vessel years in advance of a manned launch is that you can find the problems that you didn't anticipate and fix them.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 09/26/2014 01:11 AM
They're called "cracks". Slamming an object into the ocean at high speeds tends to make them.



nope, not cracks.  But I am not at liberty to say.  keen eyed folks might figure out near the end of the current flight.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 09/26/2014 02:14 AM
They're called "cracks". Slamming an object into the ocean at high speeds tends to make them.



nope, not cracks.  But I am not at liberty to say.  keen eyed folks might figure out near the end of the current flight.
In a vacuum any seals are designed for the interior to be at a positive pressure. When it hits the water the interior is at a negative pressure compared to water.

 Designing seals to handle opposite pressure differences is not easy.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Garrett on 09/26/2014 10:06 AM
They're called "cracks". Slamming an object into the ocean at high speeds tends to make them.
nope, not cracks.  But I am not at liberty to say.  keen eyed folks might figure out near the end of the current flight.
It has been mentioned a few times (on this forum and elsewhere) about pressure equalization valves being opened on purpose when Dragon splashes down, resulting in a short period of seawater incursion:
https://www.google.fr/search?q=spacex+pressure+equalization+valve
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 09/26/2014 03:45 PM
Those valves and the fact that last time due to rough seas, the capsule was towed to port. So it had waves and the water had the pressure generated by the tow. Nothing like what would happen to a crewed flight.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 09/26/2014 05:15 PM
Those valves and the fact that last time due to rough seas, the capsule was towed to port. So it had waves and the water had the pressure generated by the tow. Nothing like what would happen to a crewed flight.

Not valves but related to towing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: deruch on 09/29/2014 02:09 PM
Should we worry about those seawater intrusions that have bugged the Dragon V1 on some landings? Doesn't sound good...:/ How is it even getting in?

How much water are we talking about in total (by volume)?  Has there ever been any definitive statements on that?  As troubling as it may be from an engineering/manufacturing perspective, given the fact that the capsule was floating for 11 hours I'm not too concerned from a human safety perspective.  At least not in respect to the dangers directly posed by sea water intrusions.  What they may mean indirectly will depend on their cause.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Kabloona on 09/30/2014 10:14 PM
Commentary by Rand Simberg on the Commercial Crew selections. I did not see this posted anywhere on NSF but beg indulgence if it's already been posted somewhere:

Good analysis of Boeing and SpaceX's situations and some mention of the SNC controversy:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/388477/boeing-isnt-getting-more-nasa-money-because-its-doing-better-job-spacex-rand-simberg
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 09/30/2014 10:16 PM
Here is a link to a thread on the CCtCap RFP documentation:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32412.msg1257904#msg1257904

I don't know if this has been discussed elsewhere. But I believe that the protest by SNC will put a hold on CCtCap payments until the dispute is resolved.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 09/30/2014 10:25 PM
I believe that the protest by SNC will put a hold on CCtCap payments until the dispute is resolved.

Isn't it stronger than that? NASA cannot even enter into the awarded contracts, much less pay for work performed under them, until the dispute is resolved?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 09/30/2014 10:49 PM
I believe that the protest by SNC will put a hold on CCtCap payments until the dispute is resolved.
Isn't it stronger than that? NASA cannot even enter into the awarded contracts, much less pay for work performed under them, until the dispute is resolved?

Yes.  Contract award may not be completed while the protest is outstanding.  If contracts were awarded, any work incurring USG obligations would be suspended unless there are compelling reasons to do otherwise; none of those would apply in this case.  (FYI.  GAO must resolve within 100 days, although it typically takes less time.  Deadline for this dispute is 5-Jan-2015.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: docmordrid on 09/30/2014 10:58 PM
The next question is, does that prevent SpaceX and Boeing from doing work on their own?  Presumably, one is more likely to do that than the other. How about paying for delayed milestones from CCiCap? Don't both have abort tests that moved right, not just SpaceX?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/01/2014 12:24 AM
The next question is, does that prevent SpaceX and Boeing from doing work on their own?  Presumably, one is more likely to do that than the other. How about paying for delayed milestones from CCiCap? Don't both have abort tests that moved right, not just SpaceX?

This does not prevent Boeing or SpaceX from performing CCtCap-related work--as long as no USG obligations are incurred.  USG obligations include any work by contractors for which any payment is expected or liability incurred, and any work by NASA in support of such; e.g., consulting or other support for Boeing or SpaceX.

In short, if the work was either not part of the CCtCap contract, was at no charge (directly or indirectly) to the USG, and the work did not incur any other liabilities for which the USG might be held accountable, then SpaceX and Boeing would be free to proceed with that work.  No idea what CCtCap-related work by Boeing or SpaceX might fall into that category.

This does not prevent work from proceeding or payments being made under CCiCap.  Essentially the same situation as PlanetSpace protest of CRS, which did not prevent work continuing under COTS.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Kabloona on 10/01/2014 01:34 AM
Its sounds like you're saying the protest should have no effect on SpaceX's pad abort test schedule, correct?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 10/01/2014 09:06 AM
Its sounds like you're saying the protest should have no effect on SpaceX's pad abort test schedule, correct?
Correct as the pad abort is part of CCiCAP, not CCtCAP.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: abaddon on 10/01/2014 03:02 PM
Found this in the avweek article linked in the DreamChaser thread, but I think it's more appropriate here:

Quote
In filing its bid protest on Sept. 26, Sierra Nevada set a 10-day clock running for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to issue a stay of NASA’s decision. Even without a stay, the protest could place a question mark over future work by Boeing and SpaceX as they prepare their CST-100 and Dragon crew vehicles to meet NASA’s deadline of first flights in 2017. The GAO has until Jan. 5, 2015, to make its decision.
http://aviationweek.com/space/sierra-nevada-turns-international-market-dream-chaser

This is the first I have heard of a 10 day clock for an initial stay.  That's five days from now...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/01/2014 03:26 PM
Avweek writer has several points wrong.  It is a 100 day clock not a 10 day clock (10 days is the window in which to file a protest after an award, which SNC did).

GAO does not issue stay; it is the contracting agency's responsibility (i.e., NASA).  The agency (NASA) must be informed of a protest within 1 day of receipt by the GAO.  That is, the GAO informs the agency; the agency then takes the required action, which will vary depending on where things are in the contracting cycle.

The stay is required, immediate, and automatic unless and until "a written finding that urgent and compelling circumstances which significantly affect interests of the United States will not permit waiting for the decision" [see 31 USC 3553]

In short, there will be no work performed under the CCtCap contract until SNC's protest is resolved.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: abaddon on 10/01/2014 04:09 PM
And that's why I come here for good info and avoid reading too much into what the press say.  Thanks joek.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 10/01/2014 09:20 PM


In short, there will be no work performed under the CCtCap contract until SNC's protest is resolved.
Thanks for this post joek. Just want to be sure, did you mean to say "no work performed" or no money paid out?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jcc on 10/01/2014 11:50 PM


In short, there will be no work performed under the CCtCap contract until SNC's protest is resolved.
Thanks for this post joek. Just want to be sure, did you mean to say "no work performed" or no money paid out?

Garret Reisman said SpaceX was already starting the next steps beyond CCiCAP including "bending metal" even before the CCtCAP announcement, so I don't think they will stop now.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: jabe on 10/01/2014 11:54 PM
Garret Reisman said SpaceX was already starting the next steps beyond CCiCAP including "bending metal" even before the CCtCAP announcement, so I don't think they will stop now.
this is something I am not clear of what are they building beyond their current dragon V2?  I wish they will release details of the award (unless i missed it) to see what the next process will be.  time will tell
jb
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/02/2014 12:42 AM


In short, there will be no work performed under the CCtCap contract until SNC's protest is resolved.
Thanks for this post joek. Just want to be sure, did you mean to say "no work performed" or no money paid out?

No payment from NASA and NASA (CCP and ISS) cannot help either partner towards integration or certification.  Both Boeing and SpaceX are continuing to work towards their tCAP milestones.   SpaceX has money flowing in form NASA since they are behind on their milestones but probably have enough money in house anyway to keep pressing.  But in my opinion it is the interaction with NASA that will put things behind.  We will see in a short bit hopefully fi the courts will let them continue while the GAO occurs. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: obi-wan on 10/02/2014 01:20 AM


In short, there will be no work performed under the CCtCap contract until SNC's protest is resolved.
Thanks for this post joek. Just want to be sure, did you mean to say "no work performed" or no money paid out?

No payment from NASA and NASA (CCP and ISS) cannot help either partner towards integration or certification.  Both Boeing and SpaceX are continuing to work towards their tCAP milestones.   SpaceX has money flowing in form NASA since they are behind on their milestones but probably have enough money in house anyway to keep pressing.  But in my opinion it is the interaction with NASA that will put things behind.  We will see in a short bit hopefully fi the courts will let them continue while the GAO occurs.

I don't think "flowing in" is an accurate depiction - as a milestone-based FFP contract, they get paid when they accomplish an agreed-upon milestone. The other option would be a cost-reimbursable contract where they get paid as they spend money. While a cost-reimbursable contract would be issued a stop-work order (because spending money encumbers the government), Boeing and SpaceX are spending their own money anyway. What the SNC protest does is put them at risk, because if they get dropped due to the protest, they never get paid. Each company can stop work because of the risk inherent in the protest, but any money they spend will get paid back if they make the milestone and aren't dropped from the winning companies.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 10/02/2014 01:37 AM


In short, there will be no work performed under the CCtCap contract until SNC's protest is resolved.
Thanks for this post joek. Just want to be sure, did you mean to say "no work performed" or no money paid out?

No payment from NASA and NASA (CCP and ISS) cannot help either partner towards integration or certification.  Both Boeing and SpaceX are continuing to work towards their tCAP milestones.   SpaceX has money flowing in form NASA since they are behind on their milestones but probably have enough money in house anyway to keep pressing.  But in my opinion it is the interaction with NASA that will put things behind.  We will see in a short bit hopefully fi the courts will let them continue while the GAO occurs.

I don't think "flowing in" is an accurate depiction - as a milestone-based FFP contract, they get paid when they accomplish an agreed-upon milestone. The other option would be a cost-reimbursable contract where they get paid as they spend money. While a cost-reimbursable contract would be issued a stop-work order (because spending money encumbers the government), Boeing and SpaceX are spending their own money anyway. What the SNC protest does is put them at risk, because if they get dropped due to the protest, they never get paid. Each company can stop work because of the risk inherent in the protest, but any money they spend will get paid back if they make the milestone and aren't dropped from the winning companies.

I think everyone here understands the CCiCap money is paid for milestones and I interpreted "flowing in" to mean they'll keep getting paid for CCiCap milestones as they hit them.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: su27k on 10/02/2014 03:06 AM
Looks like source selection document is leaked to an anti-SpaceX reporter in WSJ, I wonder how did that happen.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/why-boeing-beat-spacex-in-nasas-space-taxi-contest-1412207046

Nothing surprising, seems in terms of HSF NASA is still very much in the old ways, unlike COTS. Very little information on SNC, author is too busy gloating for Boeing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: GalacticIntruder on 10/02/2014 03:41 AM
Looks like source selection document is leaked to an anti-SpaceX reporter in WSJ, I wonder how did that happen.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/why-boeing-beat-spacex-in-nasas-space-taxi-contest-1412207046

Nothing surprising, seems in terms of HSF NASA is still very much in the old ways, unlike COTS. Very little information on SNC, author is too busy gloating for Boeing.

I basically read it as NASA was too worried about SpaceX's innovation,  their secrecy, independence of NASA and not using NASA/space related COTS hardware as the main negative or risks. I don't see NASA opinions a negative on SpaceX.

A badge of honor IMO. It is labeled New Space for a reason.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/02/2014 03:54 AM
Looks like source selection document is leaked to an anti-SpaceX reporter in WSJ, I wonder how did that happen.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/why-boeing-beat-spacex-in-nasas-space-taxi-contest-1412207046

Nothing surprising, seems in terms of HSF NASA is still very much in the old ways, unlike COTS. Very little information on SNC, author is too busy gloating for Boeing.

I basically read it as NASA was too worried about SpaceX's innovation,  their secrecy, independence of NASA and not using NASA/space related COTS hardware as the main negative or risks. I don't see NASA opinions a negative on SpaceX.

A badge of honor IMO. It is labeled New Space for a reason.

It's a good thing that the Administration fought to have at least two CCtCap companies. DC on Stratolaunch (if it goes ahead) may end up being the cheapest because they won't have to deal with NASA oversight.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Kabloona on 10/02/2014 04:08 AM
Looks like source selection document is leaked to an anti-SpaceX reporter in WSJ, I wonder how did that happen.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/why-boeing-beat-spacex-in-nasas-space-taxi-contest-1412207046

Nothing surprising, seems in terms of HSF NASA is still very much in the old ways, unlike COTS. Very little information on SNC, author is too busy gloating for Boeing.

And that article was effectively debunked here by Rand Simberg:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/388477/boeing-isnt-getting-more-nasa-money-because-its-doing-better-job-spacex-rand-simberg
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/02/2014 04:26 AM
Looks like source selection document is leaked to an anti-SpaceX reporter in WSJ, I wonder how did that happen.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/why-boeing-beat-spacex-in-nasas-space-taxi-contest-1412207046

Nothing surprising, seems in terms of HSF NASA is still very much in the old ways, unlike COTS. Very little information on SNC, author is too busy gloating for Boeing.

And that article was effectively debunked here by Rand Simberg:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/388477/boeing-isnt-getting-more-nasa-money-because-its-doing-better-job-spacex-rand-simberg

Rand's good, but I don't see how he debunked today's article in the WSJ back on Sep 19. :)

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 10/02/2014 05:51 AM
Looks like source selection document is leaked to an anti-SpaceX reporter in WSJ, I wonder how did that happen.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/why-boeing-beat-spacex-in-nasas-space-taxi-contest-1412207046

Nothing surprising, seems in terms of HSF NASA is still very much in the old ways, unlike COTS. Very little information on SNC, author is too busy gloating for Boeing.

The article says the document was signed by Gerstenmaier and that it was his decision.  A number of the quotes in the article about why Boeing was better than SpaceX are directly attributed to Gerstenmaier.  He spent his entire career in a culture that NASA's traditional ways of doing things are the best.  It's no surprise that his dings against SpaceX all seem to fall into the category of subjective judgement that the old-school NASA way is better.

SpaceX also got penalized for bidding to do more for less money compared with Boeing on CCiCap.  Boeing bid to do not very much for a lot of money, so it easily met all its milestones on time.  SpaceX bid to do a lot more in the same time for less money and was late.  Never mind that for the next round SpaceX has less to do than Boeing because they're farther along.

This is also the same NASA human spaceflight organization that's building Orion and SLS.  Is it really a surprise they are resistant to change and more comfortable with spending huge amounts of money doing things the way they've always been done?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: MP99 on 10/02/2014 06:53 AM
Looks like source selection document is leaked to an anti-SpaceX reporter in WSJ, I wonder how did that happen.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/why-boeing-beat-spacex-in-nasas-space-taxi-contest-1412207046

Nothing surprising, seems in terms of HSF NASA is still very much in the old ways, unlike COTS. Very little information on SNC, author is too busy gloating for Boeing.
Seems to imply that if snc are successful in their protest, they would replace SpaceX rather than Boeing.

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: MP99 on 10/02/2014 06:55 AM
Looks like source selection document is leaked to an anti-SpaceX reporter in WSJ, I wonder how did that happen.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/why-boeing-beat-spacex-in-nasas-space-taxi-contest-1412207046

Nothing surprising, seems in terms of HSF NASA is still very much in the old ways, unlike COTS. Very little information on SNC, author is too busy gloating for Boeing.

I basically read it as NASA was too worried about SpaceX's innovation,  their secrecy, independence of NASA and not using NASA/space related COTS hardware as the main negative or risks. I don't see NASA opinions a negative on SpaceX.

A badge of honor IMO. It is labeled New Space for a reason.

It's a good thing that the Administration fought to have at least two CCtCap companies. DC on Stratolaunch (if it goes ahead) may end up being the cheapest because they won't have to deal with NASA oversight.
That's only three crew, so doesn't look to meet requirements.

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 10/02/2014 07:20 AM
Looks like source selection document is leaked to an anti-SpaceX reporter in WSJ, I wonder how did that happen.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/why-boeing-beat-spacex-in-nasas-space-taxi-contest-1412207046

Nothing surprising, seems in terms of HSF NASA is still very much in the old ways, unlike COTS. Very little information on SNC, author is too busy gloating for Boeing.
Seems to imply that if snc are successful in their protest, they would replace SpaceX rather than Boeing.

I'm sure that's what Pasztor would like everyone to believe.

But it makes no sense.  If the GAO upholds the protest claim, they have to buy the theory that Boeing's proposal wasn't substantially better than SNC's, just more expensive.  All the points used in the article to say Boeing is superior to SpaceX would also apply to Boeing being superior to SNC.  So if Boeing isn't superior to SNC, it also isn't superior to SpaceX, so Boeing, SpaceX and SNC are all equal and the award would go to SpaceX and SNC based purely on price.

If the GAO buys the points Pasztor is making about Boeing versus SpaceX, the GAO would have to reject the protest by SNC.

In no case, protest approved or protest denied, does SpaceX lose out.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: pospa on 10/02/2014 10:47 AM
I believe that the protest by SNC will put a hold on CCtCap payments until the dispute is resolved.
Isn't it stronger than that? NASA cannot even enter into the awarded contracts, much less pay for work performed under them, until the dispute is resolved?

Yes.  Contract award may not be completed while the protest is outstanding.  If contracts were awarded, any work incurring USG obligations would be suspended unless there are compelling reasons to do otherwise; none of those would apply in this case.  (FYI.  GAO must resolve within 100 days, although it typically takes less time.  Deadline for this dispute is 5-Jan-2015.
And here it is: http://www.nasa.gov/content/boeing-spacex-race-to-station/#.VC0qXWd_sn4

*NOTE: While NASA has awarded this contract, NASA has instructed Boeing and SpaceX to stop performance on the contract while the GAO resolves a protest.*
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/02/2014 10:55 AM

The article says the document was signed by Gerstenmaier and that it was his decision.  A number of the quotes in the article about why Boeing was better than SpaceX are directly attributed to Gerstenmaier.  He spent his entire career in a culture that NASA's traditional ways of doing things are the best.  It's no surprise that his dings against SpaceX all seem to fall into the category of subjective judgement that the old-school NASA way is better.

SpaceX also got penalized for bidding to do more for less money compared with Boeing on CCiCap.  Boeing bid to do not very much for a lot of money, so it easily met all its milestones on time.  SpaceX bid to do a lot more in the same time for less money and was late.  Never mind that for the next round SpaceX has less to do than Boeing because they're farther along.

This is also the same NASA human spaceflight organization that's building Orion and SLS.  Is it really a surprise they are resistant to change and more comfortable with spending huge amounts of money doing things the way they've always been done?


Your post is no better.  You make assumptions about Gerstenmaier that aren't based on fact.  He made the CRS choice, the other commercial crew choices, etc.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/02/2014 11:36 AM
Looks like source selection document is leaked to an anti-SpaceX reporter in WSJ, I wonder how did that happen.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/why-boeing-beat-spacex-in-nasas-space-taxi-contest-1412207046

Nothing surprising, seems in terms of HSF NASA is still very much in the old ways, unlike COTS. Very little information on SNC, author is too busy gloating for Boeing.

I basically read it as NASA was too worried about SpaceX's innovation,  their secrecy, independence of NASA and not using NASA/space related COTS hardware as the main negative or risks. I don't see NASA opinions a negative on SpaceX.

A badge of honor IMO. It is labeled New Space for a reason.

It's a good thing that the Administration fought to have at least two CCtCap companies. DC on Stratolaunch (if it goes ahead) may end up being the cheapest because they won't have to deal with NASA oversight.
That's only three crew, so doesn't look to meet requirements.

Cheers, Martin
True Martin but that would be DC Mk II (my designation) not the orginal DC MK I part of the protests. (yea ok, I like Spitfires) ;D
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/02/2014 11:43 AM
Gerst is a good guy even if DC got shut-out. My issue is with the CC comp framework, new particpants only with an already operational CST-100 on orbit...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/02/2014 01:33 PM

The article says the document was signed by Gerstenmaier and that it was his decision.  A number of the quotes in the article about why Boeing was better than SpaceX are directly attributed to Gerstenmaier.  He spent his entire career in a culture that NASA's traditional ways of doing things are the best.  It's no surprise that his dings against SpaceX all seem to fall into the category of subjective judgement that the old-school NASA way is better.

SpaceX also got penalized for bidding to do more for less money compared with Boeing on CCiCap.  Boeing bid to do not very much for a lot of money, so it easily met all its milestones on time.  SpaceX bid to do a lot more in the same time for less money and was late.  Never mind that for the next round SpaceX has less to do than Boeing because they're farther along.

This is also the same NASA human spaceflight organization that's building Orion and SLS.  Is it really a surprise they are resistant to change and more comfortable with spending huge amounts of money doing things the way they've always been done?


Your post is no better.  You make assumptions about Gerstenmaier that aren't based on fact.  He made the CRS choice, the other commercial crew choices, etc.

Paztor's account is likely onesided, so I will reserve judgment on the selection process until I see the actual selection statement. But what I don't understand is why price was not given more weight in the selection process. The selection criteria were very clear that price was supposed to be the most important factor. Was this followed? I think that is DC's main complaint also. Their proposal was significantly cheaper ($900M) than Boeing's.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Nindalf on 10/02/2014 01:49 PM
Looks like source selection document is leaked to an anti-SpaceX reporter in WSJ, I wonder how did that happen.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/why-boeing-beat-spacex-in-nasas-space-taxi-contest-1412207046

Nothing surprising, seems in terms of HSF NASA is still very much in the old ways, unlike COTS. Very little information on SNC, author is too busy gloating for Boeing.
It wouldn't let me read it (telling me it's for subscribers only), following the link directly from here, but I could get it by going through this:
https://plus.google.com/101878230938393527110/posts/jcmPMbFM8Qc

So now the fight gets dirty.  A document gets leaked, and somehow we only hear the points in Boeing's favor.  I wonder who leaked it, and under what terms.

Apparently "agency officials rated Boeing's bid better across the board", on a contract where the primary selection factor was supposed to be price, and Boeing was the highest bidder by nearly a billion dollars.  That's certainly an interesting appraisal of a non-public document he's not showing us.  Hmm.

And most of the arguments favoring Boeing appear to be along the lines that this is an old NASA contractor, doing things in the old (expensive) NASA contractor way.  Where the whole point of the program was to get away from that method and its costs.  This actually makes me feel like SNC has a very strong case.

Of course, past experience with Boeing being "responsive" can't be counted on here, since their past experience of Boeing is on cost-plus contracts.  This is firm fixed price.  If NASA says, "We're not sure we like this cheap thing, do this expensive thing instead." the past answer was, "Sure, it's your dime." now it'll be, "You want to spend Boeing's money?"  It's not going to go the same way, and extra fat in the contract isn't going to change that, because with a firm fixed price, every dollar they don't spend is profit for them.

It is wise to remember the example of the Delta IV, where Boeing stepped away from the cost-plus contractor model to try and do something in space, in a similar arrangement of an initial development subsidy, and no solid long-term arrangements for what happens after.  After Boeing gambled large amounts of money on the prospect of success and profit in the commercial launch market, and failed miserably, they spun it off into a merged program with their supposed competitor, replacing the intended commercial competition model with a monopoly, recovering their investment from the taxpayer through large cost-plus "capability maintenance" payments, and a share of the monopolistic profits on the grotesquely overpriced sole-provider sales of the competing vehicle that would have crushed them out of the market if they'd stayed separate.

THAT is the Boeing you're dealing with now, NASA.  "Heads I win, tails you lose." Boeing.  "I have altered the deal.  Pray I don't alter it further." Boeing.  With their lobbying power and shamelessness, the potential for them to lose money on this project if they perform poorly is more dangerous to you than it is to them.

As for "complex hardware and software development" remaining to be done at SNC, surely that applies to Boeing as well.  They haven't demonstrated their pusher abort system, and they've got a pop-off heat shield that's never been in space and is going into space precisely once before they trust it not to pop off at the wrong time with people in it (you'd think the Mercury experience would make them hesitate to trust such devices).  Two crucial systems for crew survival are designed to separate from the crew compartment, so there's a serious inherent risk that they'll do so at the worst possible times.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/02/2014 01:52 PM
Of course, past experience with Boeing being "responsive" can't be counted on here, since their past experience of Boeing is on cost-plus contracts. 

Incorrect, Boeing has done many fixed price contracts.


THAT is the Boeing you're dealing with now, NASA.


Again, incorrect.  Not the same group at Boeing.  CST-100 is mostly legacy Rockwell.   The Delta program went to ULA.  But anyways, Delta did many fixed price contracts.

You are completely wrong on all your points.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Kabloona on 10/02/2014 01:55 PM


Paztor's account is likely onesided, so I will reserve judgment on the selection process until I see the actual selection statement. But what I don't understand is why price was not given more weight in the selection process. The selection criteria were very clear that price was supposed to be the most important factor. Was this followed? I think that is DC's main complaint also. Their proposal was significantly cheaper ($900M) than Boeing's.

I don't quite understand the "price is the main factor" thing. It's absurd on the face of it. If NASA has little or no confidence that the offeror can do what he proposes, then price becomes irrelevant. NASA is just not going to select a proposal that they have low confidence in.

I suspect what happened here is that NASA simply had less confidence that SNC would be able to meet their milestones. The WSJ article by Andy Pazstor said NASA rated Boeing "very high confidence", and SpaceX "high confidence." He didn't say how SNC ranked, but I doubt they got a "high confidence."
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 10/02/2014 02:46 PM
{snip}
Of course, past experience with Boeing being "responsive" can't be counted on here, since their past experience of Boeing is on cost-plus contracts.  This is firm fixed price.  If NASA says, "We're not sure we like this cheap thing, do this expensive thing instead." the past answer was, "Sure, it's your dime." now it'll be, "You want to spend Boeing's money?"  It's not going to go the same way, and extra fat in the contract isn't going to change that, because with a firm fixed price, every dollar they don't spend is profit for them.
{snip}

Worse this is a fixed time contract.  Anything that may delay the launch date is going to receive a nasty reception from Boeing's management.  When the managers realise that say changing the shade of blue on the NASA symbol can expose the company to public ridicule they will get awkward.  It is not so much the minutes needed to buy the paint but the week the engineers on the critical path will need to write the report replying to the change request.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/02/2014 02:49 PM


Paztor's account is likely onesided, so I will reserve judgment on the selection process until I see the actual selection statement. But what I don't understand is why price was not given more weight in the selection process. The selection criteria were very clear that price was supposed to be the most important factor. Was this followed? I think that is DC's main complaint also. Their proposal was significantly cheaper ($900M) than Boeing's.

I don't quite understand the "price is the main factor" thing. It's absurd on the face of it. If NASA has little or no confidence that the offeror can do what he proposes, then price becomes irrelevant. NASA is just not going to select a proposal that they have low confidence in.

I suspect what happened here is that NASA simply had less confidence that SNC would be able to meet their milestones. The WSJ article by Andy Pazstor said NASA rated Boeing "very high confidence", and SpaceX "high confidence." He didn't say how SNC ranked, but I doubt they got a "high confidence."

Yes of course. Price is the main factor but it's not the only factor. But the article doesn't say that NASA had little or no confidence in SpaceX's or SNC's proposal. Like I said, I will reserve judgment until I see the selection statement but NASA needs to explain why it decided to spend an extra $900M on Boeing's proposal over the one by SNC. Perhaps this is well explained in the selection statement. It's not well explained in Paztor's article.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 10/02/2014 03:04 PM
Let's say the price rating was 4 for SpaceX, 3 for SNC, and 2 for Boeing and the price confidence rating was 4 for Boeing, 3 for SpaceX, and 2 for SNC.  Usually these two are multiplied together to get the ranking: SpaceX 12, Boeing 8, and SNC 6. So if this was close to the actual numbers used the ranking was the reason why SNC ended up on the bottom.  While the price rating is an objective rating the confidence level in the price is an opinion/subjective rating.

The source selection review of proposals is supposed to be blind in that the proposers name is replace by a number in all documents being reviewed.  This works fine if the reviewers have no past experience with the proposed products.  But since the proposed products are well known to the reviewers the source selection confidence rating will be tainted by the opinions on the proposer rather than the proposal in front of them.  If this tainting of the confidence rating of both the price and technical can be shown to have occurred by the GAO review then the awardee relative rankings of the proposals could be very different than the NASA one in which one or both (not likely to have both) awards are overturned and an new first and second place is designated resulting in a contract cancelation and a new contract award.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: starsilk on 10/02/2014 03:05 PM
Paztor's account is likely onesided, so I will reserve judgment on the selection process until I see the actual selection statement. But what I don't understand is why price was not given more weight in the selection process. The selection criteria were very clear that price was supposed to be the most important factor. Was this followed? I think that is DC's main complaint also. Their proposal was significantly cheaper ($900M) than Boeing's.

hmm. perhaps nobody on the selection committee realized they were supposed to be selecting based on the lowest price? ;)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Kabloona on 10/02/2014 03:13 PM
Let's say the price rating was 4 for SpaceX, 3 for SNC, and 2 for Boeing and the price confidence rating was 4 for Boeing, 3 for SpaceX, and 2 for SNC.  Usually these two are multiplied together to get the ranking: SpaceX 12, Boeing 8, and SNC 6. So if this was close to the actual numbers used the ranking was the reason why SNC ended up on the bottom.  While the price rating is an objective rating the confidence level in the price is an opinion/subjective rating.

The source selection review of proposals is supposed to be blind in that the proposers name is replace by a number in all documents being reviewed.  This works fine if the reviewers have no past experience with the proposed products.  But since the proposed products are well known to the reviewers the source selection confidence rating will be tainted by the opinions on the proposer rather than the proposal in front of them.  If this tainting of the confidence rating of both the price and technical can be shown to have occurred by the GAO review then the awardee relative rankings of the proposals could be very different than the NASA one in which one or both (not likely to have both) awards are overturned and an new first and second place is designated resulting in a contract cancelation and a new contract award.

Past performance is typically a legitimate factor in evaluating proposals. And in this case there is specific mention of past performance in the Gerstenmaier memo cited by Andy Pasztor in the WSJ:

"Based on Boeing's performance on a preliminary contract, NASA concluded it had "very high confidence" in that company's likelihood of delivering what it promised—the highest ranking possible."

"In summary, Mr. Gerstenmaier decided that "Boeing's superior proposal, with regard to [the company's] technical and management approach and its past performance," was worth the higher price."
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Nindalf on 10/02/2014 03:19 PM
I don't quite understand the "price is the main factor" thing. It's absurd on the face of it. If NASA has little or no confidence that the offeror can do what he proposes, then price becomes irrelevant. NASA is just not going to select a proposal that they have low confidence in.
What you have to factor in is that NASA's standards have been judged unreasonable, from higher up the food chain.  NASA has been constrained by law to use commercial space transportation services whereever possible.  (And they've also been constrained by law to build the SLS.  It's not that one hand doesn't know what the other is doing, it's just that one hand hates the other and keeps trying to break its fingers.)

They can't just use a supposed commercial acquisition contract as a fig leaf for business as usual, while actually ignoring economy and insisting on their usual level of involvement and control right down to the choices of components used on the vehicles.  They can't just give lip service to treating price as a strong factor in their solicitation, and then make excuses for going with the high bidder.  They have to operate in actual good faith.

SNC's case is that they haven't, and now I think they've got a strong one.

He didn't say how SNC ranked, but I doubt they got a "high confidence."
Because the article is a hatchet job.  Of course SNC also got rated "high confidence".  If it didn't, he'd have said so because it would hurt SNC, just as SNC claimed in their press release that the difference in mission suitability scores was minor, when they're aiming to displace Boeing, who scored higher.

If he comes out and says that SNC got rated as highly as someone who did get a contract, that's fuelling SNC's claim of being adequate for the job and nearly a billion dollar cheaper, which should have been a lock according to the terms of the solicitation.  Public perception matters.  If SNC and SpaceX can whip up outrage over $4.2 billion for a clunky, ugly, primitive, quasi-reusable system which lands like other things crash, and which even the provider doesn't believe in enough to build without a fat NASA contract, when the other options were 2.6 and 3.3 billion for sleek futuristic designs aiming for high reusability and aircraft-like operations, which are going ahead one way or another regardless of government funding, the scandal will likely influence the ultimate outcome (if not of this protest, then of the funding for the program, and its possible cancellation in favor of something with less NASA oversight).

Whether or not there was a quid pro quo arrangement with Boeing representatives to leak this document (and they've certainly been caught with their fingers in the pie before), the content of this article clearly comes from a Boeing supporter trying to manipulate public perception in Boeing's favor with half-truths and tactical omissions.

THAT is the Boeing you're dealing with now, NASA.
Again, incorrect.  Not the same group at Boeing.  CST-100 is mostly legacy Rockwell.
I'm not talking about the engineering team, I'm talking about the whole corporate machine.  You don't deal with one tentacle in isolation from the beast.  As I've posted before, I like the engineering.  I think there's real long-term potential in the modular concept, beyond LEO.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Kabloona on 10/02/2014 03:28 PM
Of course SNC also got rated "high confidence".

Hmmm, you sound awfully sure of your crystal ball.  ;)

We'll find out soon. I don't claim to know. It would certainly bolster SNC's case if they did get a "high confidence." But NASA could then claim that "very high" beats merely "high."

It all comes down to the relative weight of the factors.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/02/2014 03:49 PM

I'm not talking about the engineering team, I'm talking about the whole corporate machine.  You don't deal with one tentacle in isolation from the beast. 

Yes, you do.  The groups are isolated.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 10/02/2014 03:58 PM
Let's say the price rating was 4 for SpaceX, 3 for SNC, and 2 for Boeing and the price confidence rating was 4 for Boeing, 3 for SpaceX, and 2 for SNC.  Usually these two are multiplied together to get the ranking: SpaceX 12, Boeing 8, and SNC 6. So if this was close to the actual numbers used the ranking was the reason why SNC ended up on the bottom.  While the price rating is an objective rating the confidence level in the price is an opinion/subjective rating.

The source selection review of proposals is supposed to be blind in that the proposers name is replace by a number in all documents being reviewed.  This works fine if the reviewers have no past experience with the proposed products.  But since the proposed products are well known to the reviewers the source selection confidence rating will be tainted by the opinions on the proposer rather than the proposal in front of them.  If this tainting of the confidence rating of both the price and technical can be shown to have occurred by the GAO review then the awardee relative rankings of the proposals could be very different than the NASA one in which one or both (not likely to have both) awards are overturned and an new first and second place is designated resulting in a contract cancelation and a new contract award.

Past performance is typically a legitimate factor in evaluating proposals. And in this case there is specific mention of past performance in the Gerstenmaier memo cited by Andy Pasztor in the WSJ:

"Based on Boeing's performance on a preliminary contract, NASA concluded it had "very high confidence" in that company's likelihood of delivering what it promised—the highest ranking possible."

"In summary, Mr. Gerstenmaier decided that "Boeing's superior proposal, with regard to [the company's] technical and management approach and its past performance," was worth the higher price."

Each rating is done by a separate group and has no contact with each other to avoid cross contamination of rating opinions. So the past performance group have no contact with the other raters. Also past performance rating is confidence input to the confidence levels generated on price and technical.

So your argument that because past performance is a rating element that everyone does their rating colored by past performance is wrong.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: kerlc on 10/02/2014 05:23 PM
I don't know whether this has been posted elsewhere already, but I saw this article on spaceflight now.

http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1410/01cctcapprotest/#.VC2JPRbcNzg
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: nadreck on 10/02/2014 05:35 PM
The one point from that article (which, in my not so humble opinion is obviously biased and which obviously cherry picked what to quote based on justifying its headline and slant) that detracts from it's headline and slant is that Boeing and SpaceX were separated by 6% on the score. Does the relatively minor difference in score justify a 50% higher price tag. Or is price part of that score? We need more than just cherry picked and leaked statements to determine this fully, but the articles credibility is question by that inconsistency of the 6% difference - say the difference between a 3.9 and a 3.6 grade point average or less than a quarter of a star in a 5 star rating system.

So what was SNC's score 1 or 2% higher or lower than SpaceX, certainly no more than 6% less than SpaceX if their rhetoric in challenging the decision has any credibility.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: MP99 on 10/02/2014 06:19 PM
Scores are out of 1000. If cost is equivalent to the other two factors, then it is 500/1000, and the other two are 250/1000.

Assume that costs are scored:-
SpaceX: 300
SNC: 250
Boeing: 200

The SFN article says "SNC’s proposal also achieved mission suitability scores comparable to the other two proposals.", so give them all the same arbitrary score. (Doesn't make any difference if they're all zero, or all 250).

SpaceX: 200
SNC: 200
Boeing: 200

SNC claim "In fact, out of a possible 1,000 total points, the highest ranked and lowest ranked offerors were separated by a minor amount of total points and other factors were equally comparable."

To get nearly identical scores (let's assume SNC scored 25/1000 less, and the other two identically), the past performance scores will need to mirror the differences in cost scores. At one extreme, you'd end up with:-

SpaceX: 150
SNC: 175
Boeing: 250

On the other extreme, you'd end up with:-
SpaceX: 0
SNC: 25
Boeing: 100

Neither of these extremes is really reasonable, and the takeaway is that SpaceX & SNC could have been quite close on past performance, but neither really encouraging any particular confidence (per Pasztor's article, but also implied by SNC's press release). So NASA chose one they they could rely on, and the best scoring of the "well, they might get the job done" options.

What will be interesting to watch, is how funding is allocated if Congress appropriates a shortfall from the requested burn rates. Assuming SpaceX is lower on dev costs, do they fully fund SpaceX and pay Boeing the rest of whatever is appropriated? Or fully fund Boeing (as the safe bet), and stretch out SpaceX's development? Or reduce both pro-rata?

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 10/02/2014 06:55 PM
Just release the darn selection document already, NASA. It is already starting to leak. The reluctance to do so isn't exactly giving a favorable impression.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Kabloona on 10/02/2014 06:59 PM

So your argument that because past performance is a rating element that everyone does their rating colored by past performance is wrong.

Not what I said at all. Merely observed that past performance is a legitimate evaluation factor, contrary to what I thought you were saying. Apologies if I misunderstood your post.

So we agree that past performance is a legitimate factor, when appropriately applied, in part of the evaluation. Moving on...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/02/2014 11:54 PM
{snip}
Of course, past experience with Boeing being "responsive" can't be counted on here, since their past experience of Boeing is on cost-plus contracts.  This is firm fixed price.  If NASA says, "We're not sure we like this cheap thing, do this expensive thing instead." the past answer was, "Sure, it's your dime." now it'll be, "You want to spend Boeing's money?"  It's not going to go the same way, and extra fat in the contract isn't going to change that, because with a firm fixed price, every dollar they don't spend is profit for them.
{snip}

Worse this is a fixed time contract.  Anything that may delay the launch date is going to receive a nasty reception from Boeing's management.  When the managers realise that say changing the shade of blue on the NASA symbol can expose the company to public ridicule they will get awkward.  It is not so much the minutes needed to buy the paint but the week the engineers on the critical path will need to write the report replying to the change request.


I don't think that is correct.  the contract is fixed in price and specifies what needs to be delivered.  I think 2017 is a "goal" (NASA has been very careful about that).  I don't think there is any fixed time thing.  However, everyone wants to reach 2017 and of course I am sure both SpaceX and Boeing want to be first for bragging rights.  A more realistic issue is when NASA changes requirements...something they are already doing and will continue to do so.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 10/03/2014 12:35 AM
{snip}
Of course, past experience with Boeing being "responsive" can't be counted on here, since their past experience of Boeing is on cost-plus contracts.  This is firm fixed price.  If NASA says, "We're not sure we like this cheap thing, do this expensive thing instead." the past answer was, "Sure, it's your dime." now it'll be, "You want to spend Boeing's money?"  It's not going to go the same way, and extra fat in the contract isn't going to change that, because with a firm fixed price, every dollar they don't spend is profit for them.
{snip}

Worse this is a fixed time contract.  Anything that may delay the launch date is going to receive a nasty reception from Boeing's management.  When the managers realise that say changing the shade of blue on the NASA symbol can expose the company to public ridicule they will get awkward.  It is not so much the minutes needed to buy the paint but the week the engineers on the critical path will need to write the report replying to the change request.


I don't think that is correct.  the contract is fixed in price and specifies what needs to be delivered.  I think 2017 is a "goal" (NASA has been very careful about that).  I don't think there is any fixed time thing.  However, everyone wants to reach 2017 and of course I am sure both SpaceX and Boeing want to be first for bragging rights.  A more realistic issue is when NASA changes requirements...something they are already doing and will continue to do so.


It is more than bragging rights.  We are rapidly approaching the "You want NASA to buy an extra Soyuz because of ..." point.

The ISS operational people will have to replan because astronauts are not where there need to be.  A repeat of the things they did when Shuttle was retired.

New ideas go into the Mark 2 vehicle.  Extra documents and reports get written after the launch.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/03/2014 04:53 AM
Just want to be sure, did you mean to say "no work performed" or no money paid out?

No work performed that would incur USG obligations and no monies can be paid.  If Boeing or SpaceX want to perform work outside the CCtCap contract, they are free to do so.  NASA is not free to do so and as erioladastra pointed out, that may be the most significant factor ...

No payment from NASA and NASA (CCP and ISS) cannot help either partner towards integration or certification.  Both Boeing and SpaceX are continuing to work towards their tCAP milestones.   SpaceX has money flowing in form NASA since they are behind on their milestones but probably have enough money in house anyway to keep pressing.  But in my opinion it is the interaction with NASA that will put things behind.  We will see in a short bit hopefully fi the courts will let them continue while the GAO occurs.  .

Agree.  And typically in at the start of the contract one of the first items on the agenda is some sort of kick-off sessions which require NASA participation, which would necessarily be on hold.  Not sure what you are referring to by the "courts" here?  The GAO protest process is specifically intended to provide quick resolution to disputes, and does not involve traditional courts; there is no recourse in the short term other than waiting for the GAO, or for NASA to issue a statement that there are compelling reasons why they (NASA) cannot wait for a GAO decision.

I don't think "flowing in" is an accurate depiction - as a milestone-based FFP contract, they get paid when they accomplish an agreed-upon milestone. The other option would be a cost-reimbursable contract where they get paid as they spend money. While a cost-reimbursable contract would be issued a stop-work order (because spending money encumbers the government), Boeing and SpaceX are spending their own money anyway. What the SNC protest does is put them at risk, because if they get dropped due to the protest, they never get paid. Each company can stop work because of the risk inherent in the protest, but any money they spend will get paid back if they make the milestone and aren't dropped from the winning companies.

Careful.  There are milestone payments, and there are also interim, progress or financing payments.  Just because a contract is FPP with milestones and associated payments does not mean there are not other payments made between milestones.  (We don't whether such is the case with CCtCap.)  The difference in payment types has to do with the government's ability to recoup payments in cases such as, e.g., contractor does not make sufficient and timely progress; contractor default or failure to meet milestones; contract termination due to cause.

In any case, at this point--and until this protest is resolved--there are effectively no CCtCap contracts in force (signatures on paper notwithstanding).  Therefore, by definition, no work can be conducted under such a (non-existent) CCtCap contract.  However, again, if Boeing or SpaceX want to proceed with work without a contract, without any expectation of getting paid for such work, without any basis for getting paid for such work, and can do so without incurring any USG obligations, then they are free to do so.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ncb1397 on 10/03/2014 06:02 AM
Quote
In any case, at this point--and until this protest is resolved--there are effectively no CCtCap contracts in force (signatures on paper notwithstanding).  Therefore, by definition, no work can be conducted under such a (non-existent) CCtCap contract.  However, again, if Boeing or SpaceX want to proceed with work without a contract, without any expectation of getting paid for such work, without any basis for getting paid for such work, and can do so without incurring any USG obligations, then they are free to do so.

Does it really matter? The only thing that matters is the following question:

Is there a market for U.S. based safe crew access space?

 If the answer is yes, you would think some business would want to exploit an un-exploited market with zero established competitors. Private enterprise should be clamoring to gain the capability to fulfill the market demands just like in any other industry. Imagine back when Commercial Crew was established if there was already a U.S. company with a proven design that had already flown. It wouldn't be a competition, their competitors would be slaughtered. Not only that, but they could demand a high premium and the government would pay it(just like the EELV market shows). If a business is too focused on government development money and can't see beyond that(i.e. providing actual goods and services where a customer can meet the costs of provision), and they consequently fall behind, this is simply market discipline. If every non-competitive entity was allowed to flourish and thrive, our economy would be vastly inefficient. The car wouldn't have replaced the horse and buggy.

Cutting off the suckling babes from their mother, if only temporarily, may be helpful for them to gain some measure of independance and maturity which is good for a competitive enterprise. If they aren't weened, I'm afraid the end result would be the corporate equivalent of man-children.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: FinalFrontier on 10/03/2014 06:11 AM
Quote
In any case, at this point--and until this protest is resolved--there are effectively no CCtCap contracts in force (signatures on paper notwithstanding).  Therefore, by definition, no work can be conducted under such a (non-existent) CCtCap contract.  However, again, if Boeing or SpaceX want to proceed with work without a contract, without any expectation of getting paid for such work, without any basis for getting paid for such work, and can do so without incurring any USG obligations, then they are free to do so.

Probably safe to assume spacex is proceeding. Fairly certain Boeing is as well though that is a bit more complex.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 10/03/2014 06:54 AM
Quote
In any case, at this point--and until this protest is resolved--there are effectively no CCtCap contracts in force (signatures on paper notwithstanding).  Therefore, by definition, no work can be conducted under such a (non-existent) CCtCap contract.  However, again, if Boeing or SpaceX want to proceed with work without a contract, without any expectation of getting paid for such work, without any basis for getting paid for such work, and can do so without incurring any USG obligations, then they are free to do so.

Probably safe to assume spacex is proceeding. Fairly certain Boeing is as well though that is a bit more complex.

The order to stop work on CCtCAP is now in place.
Not entirely safe to assume SpaceX and Boeing will be proceeding on internal funds. From here http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1410/01cctcapprotest/#.VC5HsUCyFlc (http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1410/01cctcapprotest/#.VC5HsUCyFlc)

Quote from: SFN
NASA announced the winners of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability, or CCtCap, contracts Sept. 16, and Sierra Nevada filed a protest to the GAO on Sept. 26, seeking "a further detailed review and evaluation of the submitted proposals and capabilities," the company said in a statement.

The legal challenge stops any work to be executed under the Boeing and SpaceX contracts, according to Stephanie Schierholz, a NASA spokesperson.

"Pursuant to the GAO protest, NASA has instructed Boeing and SpaceX to stop performance of the CCtCap contract," Schierholz said.

Officials did not say if the work stoppage prevents activities using internal funds.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 10/03/2014 09:43 AM

The order to stop work on CCtCAP is now in place.
Not entirely safe to assume SpaceX and Boeing will be proceeding on internal funds. From here

When they start firing people you know that internal funds have run out.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/03/2014 11:23 AM
(1) It is my opinion that Boeing will perform only minimal activities while the GAO protest works itself out, only enough to maintain the CST-100 staff and facilities in stand-by mode pending the outcome. I say that because it does not like to expend its own funds unless it has a contract in hand. In this case they do but it is in real jeopardy. They will march in place for a while.

(2) It is my opinion that SpaceX will proceed, using internal funding, wrapping as much development  that are CCtCap related as it can into the completion of it CCiCap milestone efforts, because their CCtCap hardware was already under development. SpaceX was already working down this road before the award announcements and had every intention of continuing alone had they not gotten an award.

I believe those 2 divergent paths are a reflection of the internal goals of the respective companies. Boeing is in it for the money only, while SpaceX is in it for the future. Boeing's overriding goal is to return higher stock prices to its shareholders, with or without spacecraft, while Elon's overriding goal is to make mankind a multi-planetary species. Both goals are appropriate for the kind of companies they are. Both are good. Neither are bad. They are just different and each will follow the path that best reflects their different goals.

No bashing of either company is appropriate.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Giovanni DS on 10/03/2014 12:51 PM
Both are good. Neither are bad.

They can make both sense for the involved companies but cash grabs and lofty goals are not even comparable IMHO.

Good or bad depend on the scale of values of the observers.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/03/2014 03:37 PM
Quote
Agree.  And typically in at the start of the contract one of the first items on the agenda is some sort of kick-off sessions which require NASA participation, which would necessarily be on hold.  Not sure what you are referring to by the "courts" here?  The GAO protest process is specifically intended to provide quick resolution to disputes, and does not involve traditional courts; there is no recourse in the short term other than waiting for the GAO, or for NASA to issue a statement that there are compelling reasons why they (NASA) cannot wait for a GAO decision.

It is possible to go to court to allow NASA to proceed while the GAO reviews.  Not sure of all the risk and legal wranglings but it is possible.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/03/2014 05:21 PM
It is possible to go to court to allow NASA to proceed while the GAO reviews.  Not sure of all the risk and legal wranglings but it is possible.

It's generally the reverse ..

An agency may override the automatic stay initiated by a GAO protest by issuing a determination that there are compelling reasons not to wait for completion of the GAO process before allowing contract award or work to proceed.

That is an agency administrative action and no court is involved.  The GAO has no authority to reverse or otherwise prevent an agency override.  The only entity which can reverse an agency override is a Federal Claims Court.

In short, NASA could at any time effectively ignore the GAO (for the moment) and allow work to proceed under CCtCap by issuing an override.  If NASA did so, a petition might then be filed with a Federal Court to reverse NASA's override and prevent work from proceeding (presumably by the protesting party, in this case SNC).

That said, the probability of NASA issuing an override is likely nil as the bar is pretty high for defending such actions, and it would open a whole new can of worms.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: PreferToLurk on 10/03/2014 07:15 PM

The order to stop work on CCtCAP is now in place.
Not entirely safe to assume SpaceX and Boeing will be proceeding on internal funds. From here http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1410/01cctcapprotest/#.VC5HsUCyFlc (http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1410/01cctcapprotest/#.VC5HsUCyFlc)

Quote from: SFN
NASA announced the winners of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability, or CCtCap, contracts Sept. 16, and Sierra Nevada filed a protest to the GAO on Sept. 26, seeking "a further detailed review and evaluation of the submitted proposals and capabilities," the company said in a statement.

The legal challenge stops any work to be executed under the Boeing and SpaceX contracts, according to Stephanie Schierholz, a NASA spokesperson.

"Pursuant to the GAO protest, NASA has instructed Boeing and SpaceX to stop performance of the CCtCap contract," Schierholz said.

Officials did not say if the work stoppage prevents activities using internal funds.

Assuming no internal funds (seems safe for Boeing, iffy for SpaceX), Boeing is completely done with their CCiCap milestones while SpaceX still has a few months of work left.  Wouldn't this imply that the Boeing time table is being pushed to the right, whereas the SpaceX timeline would be minimally impacted?  Or would SpaceX really be pushing CCtCap progress before the abort tests have completed? 

Seems like a potentially savvy move by SpaceX, if intentional, that they can continue work while Boeing is grounded in the event of a protest (which was pretty likely regardless of who lost).

Can anyone speak to the type of work that would be potentially disrupted at SpaceX due to this freeze?   Thanks.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: cambrianera on 10/03/2014 07:55 PM
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/kc-46-first-flight-delayed-to-april-2015-403764/

 ::)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: symbios on 10/03/2014 09:28 PM
SpaceX has 3000 + people working. I do not think Mr Musk is going to let them sit on their arses and do nothing just because of a little snag like this...

PS. Do not know the % of people working in R&D for the Dragon and associated projects.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: R.Simko on 10/03/2014 11:01 PM
Now that the CCtCAP awards have been awarded, even though they are now under protest, I think it's time for a new poll.  We have hundreds of pages of people debating who is ahead in CC.  Well the poll can be a very simple one.

Which company will be the first to fly people to the ISS?

1.  Boeing.
2.  SpaceX
3.  SNC  for those who think they will be successful in their protest.

I know a similar poll created in the past, but I think it was removed, or at least I haven't been able to find it.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: oiorionsbelt on 10/03/2014 11:03 PM
Now that the CCtCAP awards have been awarded, even though they are now under protest, I think it's time for a new poll.  We have hundreds of pages of people debating who is ahead in CC.  Well the poll can be a very simple one.

Which company will be the first to fly people to the ISS?

1.  Boeing.
2.  SpaceX
3.  SNC  for those who think they will be successful in their protest.

I know a similar poll created in the past, but I think it was removed, or at least I haven't been able to find it.
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33739.0
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: SoulWager on 10/04/2014 12:36 PM
Now that the CCtCAP awards have been awarded, even though they are now under protest, I think it's time for a new poll.  We have hundreds of pages of people debating who is ahead in CC.  Well the poll can be a very simple one.

Which company will be the first to fly people to the ISS?

1.  Boeing.
2.  SpaceX
3.  SNC  for those who think they will be successful in their protest.

I know a similar poll created in the past, but I think it was removed, or at least I haven't been able to find it.
I thought SpaceX would send the first commercial crew to the ISS before the CCtCap awards, and that hasn't changed.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Mike Harris-Stone on 10/05/2014 03:40 AM
A very informative article today in the Denver Post on the mechanics of the protest and the various ways it can play out:

http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_26659843/so-sierra-nevada-protested-nasa-space-taxi-contract
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 10/05/2014 06:11 PM
Here's a prediction: During the pause for the review of this award, SpaceX will continue to progress although the rate will be much slower. Boeing, on the other hand will set down tools and wait, costing them the lead that NASA reports they had going into the CCtCAP award.

This is not Boeing hate. Boeing has stated explicitly that progress with CST-100 is tied to government funding. SpaceX have said that they'll proceed at their own pace using their own funding. If the government orders a stop, then Boeing will stop but no-one can stop Elon and his investors spending heir own money on Dragon v.2 and LC-39A if they choose to do so.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/05/2014 06:30 PM
Here's a prediction: During the pause for the review of this award, SpaceX will continue to progress although the rate will be much slower. Boeing, on the other hand will set down tools and wait, costing them the lead that NASA reports they had going into the CCtCAP award.

This is not Boeing hate. Boeing has stated explicitly that progress with CST-100 is tied to government funding. SpaceX have said that they'll proceed at their own pace using their own funding. If the government orders a stop, then Boeing will stop but no-one can stop Elon and his investors spending heir own money on Dragon v.2 and LC-39A if they choose to do so.

If not Boeing hate it clearly still shows a very strong anti-Boeing bias.  You are confusing Boeing's approach here considerably.  Boeing has stated that a commercial market, in their opinion (and hotly debated here - don't need to rehash here again) to sustain development of their vehicle.  Their vehicle, like NASA likes to see, is more (some might say over) engineered than purely commercial development would support in their opinion.  So, yes, until CCtCAP they stated they were depending on government money.  Boeing has NOT stopped as far as I can tell.  Slowed yes, but not stopped.  Also, has I have said many, many times here, right now I personally believe the long pole is going to be integration from NASA.  So even if the companies are making their own progress, they will continue to fall behind on the schedule just because NASA CCP and ISS can't work with them. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 10/05/2014 08:29 PM
right now I personally believe the long pole is going to be integration from NASA.  So even if the companies are making their own progress, they will continue to fall behind on the schedule just because NASA CCP and ISS can't work with them. 

Kenny Todd had what seemed like a perfect opportunity to talk about this in his intro to the recent ISS spacewalk briefing. He touched on the upcoming EVA work that would be done in preparation for docked commercial crew vehicles, and talked like everything was good and on track.

He is Space Station Mission Operations Integration Manager; surely he would be aware? Is NASA prohibited from commenting on this? Or is it just a preference to keep fear, uncertainty and doubt out of sight?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/05/2014 08:53 PM
If not Boeing hate it clearly still shows a very strong anti-Boeing bias. 

No it doesn't. It shows an unbiased view of both Boeing and SpaceX.

Boeing is driven by shareholder value. SpaceX is driven by Elon's dream. Each company will follow the path most appropriate for it. Both paths are good. Neither are bad. They are just different.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 10/05/2014 10:06 PM
I believe Gerst did what he thought was best for NASA. I infer his reasoning to be sound, at least from what has been leaked, reported thus far.

Essentially he selected one company with massive spaceflight heritage both in terms of management and technical experience. He views this as buying down risk and ensuring NASA's needs are met on schedule. (The cost of that buy-down is certainly subject to questioning but not the reasoning behind the selection imo)

Then he selected another company who he believes will be an exceptional partner both in terms of capability and costs but that still needs to mature to the point where their "estimated" timelines become more closely aligned with their "actual" timelines.

Frankly, and in all honesty, I was in a bit of denial with my desire to see two novices re-shape the future of commercial spaceflight. But in retrospect, there was little chance NASA was going to take on that much perceived potential risk. Perhaps this will be amended in future contracts whether crew or cargo.

The major issue remaining for me is that one of the main tenets of CC was to help drive down costs through competition and heaping to create a truly commercial market beyond NASA. I'm not sure in the final analysis the program has achieved those goals in full. Perhaps it was unrealistic to think it could just yet. But i'd like to see how this evolves once the initial CCtCAP contract ends and they compete another round of contracts with systems already developed.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/05/2014 10:23 PM
I believe Gerst did what he thought was best for NASA.

I do not doubt that he did that. The open question is "did he stick to the selection criteria", and "will the GAO agree"?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 10/05/2014 10:31 PM
I believe Gerst did what he thought was best for NASA.

I do not doubt that he did that. The open question is "did he stick to the selection criteria", and "will the GAO agree"?
Yes, it's an interesting question. I suspect if NASA had to do it over, they'd have worded things a  bit differently.
My only point was agree with the end result from their perspective,  not necessarily how they got there.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Wayne Hale on 10/09/2014 06:31 PM
NASA just sent out return to work orders . . . .
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: CraigLieb on 10/09/2014 06:52 PM
NASA just sent out return to work orders . . . .
any public link to that?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Coastal Ron on 10/09/2014 07:27 PM
NASA just sent out return to work orders . . . .

So what does that mean?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 10/09/2014 07:31 PM
Perhaps...
A) NASA found a loop hole that allows them to keep working, or
B) The SNC protest has been pulled or denied early?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 10/09/2014 07:32 PM
An agency may override the automatic stay initiated by a GAO protest by issuing a determination that there are compelling reasons not to wait for completion of the GAO process before allowing contract award or work to proceed.

That is an agency administrative action and no court is involved.  The GAO has no authority to reverse or otherwise prevent an agency override.  The only entity which can reverse an agency override is a Federal Claims Court.

In short, NASA could at any time effectively ignore the GAO (for the moment) and allow work to proceed under CCtCap by issuing an override.

Is this what just happened?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: newpylong on 10/09/2014 08:21 PM
Game on.

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/crew/index.html#.VDbt-vldW9E

"On Oct. 9, under statutory authority available to it, NASA has decided to proceed with the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts awarded to The Boeing Company and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. notwithstanding the bid protest filed at the U.S. Government Accountability Office by Sierra Nevada Corporation. The agency recognizes that failure to provide the CCtCap transportation service as soon as possible poses risks to the International Space Station (ISS) crew, jeopardizes continued operation of the ISS, would delay meeting critical crew size requirements, and may result in the U.S. failing to perform the commitments it made in its international agreements. These considerations compelled NASA to use its statutory authority to avoid significant adverse consequences where contract performance remained suspended. NASA has determined that it best serves the United States to continue performance of the CCtCap contracts that will enable safe and reliable travel to and from the ISS from the United States on American spacecraft and end the nation’s sole reliance on Russia for such transportation. "
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: king1999 on 10/09/2014 09:52 PM
I am relieved. 100 days is too long to hold up even though I kind of support SNC's protest.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: docmordrid on 10/09/2014 10:23 PM
GAME ON indeed - they basically played the 'national interest' card.  Tough one to counter.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/09/2014 10:31 PM
All fine and good... but that doesn’t alter the complaint...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/09/2014 10:40 PM
All fine and good... but that doesn’t alter the complaint...
If I understood it right, it actually increases the contract contingencies, right?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/09/2014 10:49 PM
All fine and good... but that doesn’t alter the complaint...
If I understood it right, it actually increases the contract contingencies, right?
I’m not sure... There may be a mechanism in place to continue work but not the full award. We need to hear from some lawyers here of NSF...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/10/2014 01:11 AM
Perhaps...
A) NASA found a loop hole that allows them to keep working, or
B) The SNC protest has been pulled or denied early?

Neither as I stated earlier.  NASA reviewed the objection and felt the impact and likelihood of their decision being over turned was low.  Now SNC will probably request an injunction, which likely won't do anything though there is always a chance.  If granted then all work would stop until the GAO review is completed by January.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: WindyCity on 10/10/2014 01:36 AM
Now SNC will probably request an injunction, which likely won't do anything though there is always a chance.  If granted then all work would stop until the GAO review is completed by January.

Given NASA's justification for lifting the stop-work order, any move by SNC to request an injunction might appear unpatriotic, putting the company's interests ahead of the nation's. Whether that's true or not wouldn't matter. It's what NASA claims is the case.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/10/2014 07:20 AM
An agency may override the automatic stay initiated by a GAO protest by issuing a determination that there are compelling reasons not to wait for completion of the GAO process before allowing contract award or work to proceed.

That is an agency administrative action and no court is involved.  The GAO has no authority to reverse or otherwise prevent an agency override.  The only entity which can reverse an agency override is a Federal Claims Court.

In short, NASA could at any time effectively ignore the GAO (for the moment) and allow work to proceed under CCtCap by issuing an override.
Is this what just happened?

Yes, that is exactly what happened.  Suprising move IMHO.  Key words and phrases "compelled" and "best serves the United States":
Quote
... These considerations compelled NASA to use its statutory authority to avoid significant adverse consequences where contract performance remained suspended. NASA has determined that it best serves the United States to continue performance of the CCtCap contracts ...

SNC could at this point file a petition with a Federal Claims Court to reinstate the stay and stop work under CCtCap.  NASA must be fairly confident that either: (a) SNC's protest will be denied (insufficient reason in and of itself); or (b) if SNC's protest is upheld, that proceeding in the interim will get them further-faster even if they have to clean up after-the-fact.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: MP99 on 10/10/2014 07:48 AM
If CCtCap only pays on completion of milestones, I don't see any danger that anyone will earn a milestone payment during the protest period. (Or, can someone correct me on that?)

Any risk would therefore seem to be carried by the contractors, in that they would do work that wouldn't be recompensed if they become excluded?

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/10/2014 07:49 AM
Perhaps...
A) NASA found a loop hole that allows them to keep working, or
B) The SNC protest has been pulled or denied early?
Neither as I stated earlier.  NASA reviewed the objection and felt the impact and likelihood of their decision being over turned was low.  Now SNC will probably request an injunction, which likely won't do anything though there is always a chance.  If granted then all work would stop until the GAO review is completed by January.

Sort of.  The basis and finding for such a decision cannot be NASA's judgment of the merits or the probability of a GAO decision will go one way or another--that would make a mockery of the entire process.  NASA's basis and finding must be that of a compelling need to proceed with work under CCtCap regardless of what NASA feels are the merits of the protest  or of what NASA feels will be the GAO's ultimate decision.

In other words, NASA cannot simply state "we think the merits of the protest or the probability of GAO upholding the protest are low, so we are going to proceed".  NASA must find and attest that "regardless of the merits of the protest and the GAO's final ruling, there are compelling reasons to proceed".
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/10/2014 08:04 AM
If CCtCap only pays on completion of milestones, I don't see any danger that anyone will earn a milestone payment during the protest period. (Or, can someone correct me on that?)

There may be interim progress or financing payments between milestones.  We don't know if there are, as those would be in the CCtCap contract details which are not public.  Also, actions by contractors or by NASA which may incur US government liabilities under CCtCap also count, even if no immediate payments are involved.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/10/2014 08:06 AM
I wonder if they'll release the source selection document or list the milestones, or whether the first we'll see of that is the GAO response.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/10/2014 11:16 AM
I wonder if they'll release the source selection document or list the milestones, ...

That is not typically done until the protest has run its course.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: newpylong on 10/10/2014 11:22 AM
SNC doesn't have a leg to stand on and NASA knows it. If transport availability doesn't happen in 2017 (NASA) will be fried. I think they made a calculated decision.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/10/2014 11:40 AM
SNC doesn't t have a leg to stand on and they know it.

No they do not know that! Did Mark tell you that? The people at SNC are high-integrity people and would not stoop to the kind of thing you are suggesting. They took this action because they DO believe they "have a leg to stand on". Whether the GAO concurs or not is yet to be determined.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: newpylong on 10/10/2014 12:32 PM
Ammended because I didn't mean SNC.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Roy_H on 10/10/2014 04:50 PM
I expect the return to work risk by NASA is minimal. If the GAO overturns the contract, then in worst case NASA will be out only 1 milestone payment.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: MP99 on 10/10/2014 05:01 PM
I expect the return to work risk by NASA is minimal. If the GAO overturns the contract, then in worst case NASA will be out only 1 milestone payment.
And some internal resource supporting the participants.

Cheers, Martin
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Todd Martin on 10/10/2014 06:01 PM
I do not see why SNC would want to file an injunction in Federal Court to stay the work being done by Boeing & SpaceX while the GAO protest is being considered.  SNC is not being harmed by this interim work.  If SNC lands a CCtCAP contract as a result of their protest, they could still get every penny they asked for.

Even if there was a minor harm to SNC by the resume work order, there is still a corresponding benefit in that SNC is no longer considered by some as obstructing progress in US manned spaceflight.

It is NASA that is taking the financial risk in issuing a resume work order and that decision must have been balanced by the certain financial & schedule loss in a 100 day delay. 

As a SNC supporter, I am glad NASA chose to issue the resume work order.  It solves a number of problems while allowing the GAO protest process to continue.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 10/10/2014 06:46 PM
GAME ON indeed - they basically played the 'national interest' card.  Tough one to counter.

nothing played

Bolden's announcement performance, and now this NASA action speak volumes.

Not even waiting until the election. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: AncientU on 10/10/2014 07:03 PM

It is NASA that is taking the financial risk in issuing a resume work order and that decision must have been balanced by the certain financial & schedule loss in a 100 day delay. 


SpaceX still had time on their meter from CCiCAP, so their critical path work would likely not be impacted by anything like 100 days.  Since they are on a timeline that is ahead of Boeing by a couple years, NASA's 'national interest' argument in replacing the Russian taxi service is somewhat hollow, except in the case SpaceX fails badly (and Boeing overachieves).

On the other hand, Boeing was ready to lay off 200 plus workers if they didn't get selected/funded -- they are the ones with financial and schedule risk if NASA doesn't resume work.  (With the original announcement delays and this extra protest delay, this could have summed to tens of millions.) 

Wouldn't be too surprising if Boeing weighed in and forced NASA's hand.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: SWGlassPit on 10/10/2014 08:04 PM
Even with SpaceX still having uncompleted CCiCap milestones, a stop-work order would still put a delay in the works, as they would not be able to do any work that would have been funded by a CCtCap milestone.  With the "back to work" order, the CCiCap and CCtCap milestones can be worked in parallel.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: AncientU on 10/10/2014 09:01 PM
Even with SpaceX still having uncompleted CCiCap milestones, a stop-work order would still put a delay in the works, as they would not be able to do any work that would have been funded by a CCtCap milestone.  With the "back to work" order, the CCiCap and CCtCap milestones can be worked in parallel.

Having NASA involved witnessing work or reviewing anything would be delayed for sure.  I would suspect that there is work that could continue at risk toward a CCtCAP milestone during the stop work and still get credited fully when the applicable milestone is achieved after the stop work was lifted. The risk would be that they wouldn't get reimbursed if they were de-selected, but SpaceX has stated that they'd go ahead -- at a slower pace -- without NASA funding. 

The 100 day delay of the protest wouldn't translate one-for-one into SpaceX schedule impact is all I'm speculating.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/10/2014 09:47 PM
GAME ON indeed - they basically played the 'national interest' card.  Tough one to counter.

There are two types of cards: "urgent and compelling circumstances"; or in the "best interests of the United States".  The latter is a weaker card, the one which NASA played,  the one most difficult to defend, and the one most often overturned--it is by no means synonymous with national security or national defense.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 10/10/2014 10:21 PM
GAME ON indeed - they basically played the 'national interest' card.  Tough one to counter.

There are two types of cards: "urgent and compelling circumstances"; or in the "best interests of the United States".  The latter is a weaker card, the one which NASA played,  the one most difficult to defend, and the one most often overturned--it is by no means synonymous with national security or national defense.

Three years ahead the CC spacecraft are unlikely to have a planed launch date but they may have a planned launch quarter year and possibly even a launch month.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/10/2014 10:43 PM
Three years ahead the CC spacecraft are unlikely to have a planed launch date but they may have a planned launch quarter year and possibly even a launch month.

So they may.  But in cases where need and urgency have been used to override a GAO protest stay, the time frame in question has typically been months, not years.  If NASA is stating that a 100 day delay in a multi-year program is make-or-break, there are more serious problems.

More likely IMHO is that NASA feels that a 100 day delay will result in far longer knock-on delays due to, e.g., personnel being layed off or repurposed and that it will take much longer than 100 days to restart.  The source of such warnings (or threats) is unknown, but I'd hazard a guess that it comes from the incumbents, and one in particular.  YMMV.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/10/2014 11:14 PM
Anyone remember when the CC announcement was supposed to be first made? Where was the sense of urgency then?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Coastal Ron on 10/10/2014 11:19 PM
Three years ahead the CC spacecraft are unlikely to have a planed launch date but they may have a planned launch quarter year and possibly even a launch month.

I would think NASA knows when the window would open for the first Commercial Crew flight based on the current crew rotation schedule, and would want both of their providers to be shooting for that earliest possible need date.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 10/10/2014 11:21 PM
It's a smart move. Why stop both SpaceX and Boeing from progressing when only one of them could potentially be relieved of its' current contract. There would be some economic fallout if one of the contracts were ultimately reversed but in the grand scheme of the entirety of the program, it's a risk well worth taking.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/10/2014 11:36 PM
I would think NASA knows when the window would open for the first Commercial Crew flight based on the current crew rotation schedule, and would want both of their providers to be shooting for that earliest possible need date.

That is a far cry from asserting a "compelling need" or "national interest" (or whatever) as the basis for a GAO protest override.  Something more must be in play as the basis for NASA issuing such an override.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/10/2014 11:41 PM
It's a smart move. Why stop both SpaceX and Boeing from progressing when only one of them could potentially be relieved of its' current contract. There would be some economic fallout if one of the contracts were ultimately reversed but in the grand scheme of the entirety of the program, it's a risk well worth taking.

Because the rules prohibit NASA from playing that game.  If NASA does attempt to play that game (which would be stupid), they will be handed their head on a platter.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 10/11/2014 12:07 AM
It's a smart move. Why stop both SpaceX and Boeing from progressing when only one of them could potentially be relieved of its' current contract. There would be some economic fallout if one of the contracts were ultimately reversed but in the grand scheme of the entirety of the program, it's a risk well worth taking.

Because the rules prohibit NASA from playing that game.  If NASA does attempt to play that game (which would be stupid), they will be handed their head on a platter.
Pardon, I honestly don't understand. What rules? What game? I'm just saying that regardless how the protest turns out, with allowing continued work, at least one system will remain on schedule. I'm not saying NASA's reasoning for full steam ahead is completely sound but it keeps the train a hummin and at least half that train is guaranteed to make into station. (pun intended)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/11/2014 12:36 AM
It's a smart move. Why stop both SpaceX and Boeing from progressing when only one of them could potentially be relieved of its' current contract. There would be some economic fallout if one of the contracts were ultimately reversed but in the grand scheme of the entirety of the program, it's a risk well worth taking.
Because the rules prohibit NASA from playing that game.  If NASA does attempt to play that game (which would be stupid), they will be handed their head on a platter.
Pardon, I honestly don't understand. What rules? What game? I'm just saying that regardless how the protest turns out, with allowing continued work, at least one system will remain on schedule. I'm not saying NASA's reasoning for full steam ahead is completely sound but it keeps the train a hummin and at least half that train is guaranteed to make into station. (pun intended)

NASA cannot assume that one system--or any system--would remain on schedule based on the GAO's final decision.  NASA cannot base an override decision on whether one system--or any system--will remain on track based the GAO's final decision.

If NASA were to say or imply that their decision was based on an assumption or assertion that at least one system would remain on track regardless of the GAO's ultimate decision, then NASA would be admitting that their override decision was based on reasons other than those allowed.

If NASA's override decision is based on any basis other than allowed, then that override decision is effectively null and void (assuming anyone objects).  No court or the GAO would uphold it, and those responsible for attempting such a charade would likely see the chopping block.  Again, I don't think NASA would be so stupid as to make such a mistake. 

Hope that helps.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/11/2014 11:33 AM
I expect the return to work risk by NASA is minimal. If the GAO overturns the contract, then in worst case NASA will be out only 1 milestone payment.

Not correct.  I know there is money at authority to proceed and at least one partner has 3 milestones by the end of the year.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/11/2014 12:47 PM
Since Boeing has a lock on the project and they have the money, they can go on ahead on their own dime... Oh wait...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: AncientU on 10/11/2014 01:13 PM
I expect the return to work risk by NASA is minimal. If the GAO overturns the contract, then in worst case NASA will be out only 1 milestone payment.

Not correct.  I know there is money at authority to proceed and at least one partner has 3 milestones by the end of the year.

Are the milestones and payments available -- open to the public?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Roy_H on 10/11/2014 02:23 PM
I expect the return to work risk by NASA is minimal. If the GAO overturns the contract, then in worst case NASA will be out only 1 milestone payment.

Not correct.  I know there is money at authority to proceed and at least one partner has 3 milestones by the end of the year.

True, could be more than 1 milestone, and I also assume that the GAO decision will not take the full 100 days.

Why do some posters think SpaceX is at risk? The protest is clearly based on the financial argument of saving taxpayers money and that will only happen if SNC replaces Boeing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Nindalf on 10/11/2014 03:25 PM
Why do some posters think SpaceX is at risk? The protest is clearly based on the financial argument of saving taxpayers money and that will only happen if SNC replaces Boeing.
Rather, it is based on the solicitation specifying that the price factor would be the most important consideration.  If that had not been the case, they couldn't have argued on general principles that the award should be overturned because it would save taxpayer money.

The bid was put in based on the solicitation.  If the solicitation had put a premium on design conservatism or additional services, SNC might have made a different proposal.  Inconsistency between the criteria given in the solicitation and the criteria used to make the decision would be grounds to overturn the award.

For instance, the determining factor may have been that Boeing bid a non-reuse approach, while SNC bid reuse, and the NASA decision-makers, despite judging SNC's approach highly likely to succeed, decided to throw cost considerations out the window and spend another billion dollars for a hair more confidence that the non-reuse approach would deliver.

This would be inconsistent with the solicitation criteria, which describe an emphasis on price, and if they had known the actual criteria which would be applied, SNC might also have bid a non-reuse plan.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/11/2014 07:16 PM
Are the milestones and payments available -- open to the public?
No.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/11/2014 07:29 PM
Rather, it is based on the solicitation specifying that the price factor would be the most important consideration.

Not quite, and that meme needs to be squashed:
Quote from: CCtCap RFP NNK14467515R
M.1   SOURCE SELECTION AND EVALUATION FACTORS—GENERAL
...
(e)   Relative Order of Importance of Evaluation Factors: Mission Suitability and Past Performance, when combined, are approximately equal to Price.  The Price factor is more important than Mission Suitability, which is more important than Past Performance.
NB: Mission Suitability and Past Performance, when combined, are approximately equal to Price.

edit: To be clear, Price is the most important factor (or tie-breaker) only if you assume that the evaluation of Mission Suitability and Past Performance are also equal.  I would not make such an assumption.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Hauerg on 10/11/2014 07:59 PM
Rather, it is based on the solicitation specifying that the price factor would be the most important consideration.

Not quite, and that meme needs to be squashed:
Quote from: CCtCap RFP NNK14467515R
M.1   SOURCE SELECTION AND EVALUATION FACTORS—GENERAL
...
(e)   Relative Order of Importance of Evaluation Factors: Mission Suitability and Past Performance, when combined, are approximately equal to Price.  The Price factor is more important than Mission Suitability, which is more important than Past Performance.
NB: Mission Suitability and Past Performance, when combined, are approximately equal to Price.

edit: To be clear, Price is the most important factor (or tie-breaker) only if you assume that the evaluation of Mission Suitability and Past Performance are also equal.  I would not make such an assumption.

???
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/11/2014 08:17 PM
???
Price is not the sole, primary, or overriding evaluation factor--as some seem to claim--but one of several evaluation factors.  Given that SNC (presumably) had a lower evaluated price than, e.g., Boeing, then it is likely SNC lost based on other evaluation factors: Mission suitability and Past Performance.  Hope that makes sense.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/11/2014 09:11 PM
???
Price is not the sole, primary, or overriding evaluation factor--as some seem to claim--but one of several evaluation factors.  Given that SNC (presumably) had a lower evaluated price than, e.g., Boeing, then it is likely SNC lost based on other evaluation factors: Mission suitability and Past Performance.  Hope that makes sense.

That is true but imo you went too far in the opposite direction.
NASA itself stated that price would be given double value over all the other factors.
Mind you that does not say that price is primary - there is no primary - only that price is 2x more important than any other "single" factor.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/11/2014 10:46 PM
NASA itself stated that price would be given double value over all the other factors.

NASA never stated or implied that price was double the value of all other factors (and I have never claimed otherwise).

As far as I can tell, the "price above all" meme has grown from an inaccurate reading of the evaluation factors and conflation of the total Mission Suitability score with the Mission Suitability: Technical, Crew Safety and Mission Assurance subfactor score (or something like that).

In short, one could reasonably assert that Price is approximately twice the weight of the Mission Suitability: Technical, Crew Safety and Mission Assurance subfactor score.  However, asserting that Price is approximately twice the weight of the Mission Suitability total score is incorrect.

Quote from: CCtCap RFP
M.1   SOURCE SELECTION AND EVALUATION FACTORS—GENERAL
...
(e)   Relative Order of Importance of Evaluation Factors: Mission Suitability and Past Performance, when combined, are approximately equal to Price.  The Price factor is more important than Mission Suitability, which is more important than Past Performance.
... or that Price is is approximately equal to ...
Quote
M.2   MISSION SUITABILITY FACTOR
...
Mission Suitability Subfactors (Scored Elements)Weight (Points)
Subfactor 1: Technical, Crew Safety and Mission Assurance525
Subfactor 2: Management Approach400
Subfactor 3: Small Business Utilization75
Total1000
... plus ...
Quote
M.4   PAST PERFORMANCE FACTOR
...  The Past Performance evaluation is an assessment of the Government’s confidence in the Offeror’s ability to perform the solicitation requirements by assigning a confidence rating to the overall Past Performance factor.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: NovaSilisko on 10/11/2014 11:22 PM
Quote
M.4   PAST PERFORMANCE FACTOR
...  The Past Performance evaluation is an assessment of the Government’s confidence in the Offeror’s ability to perform the solicitation requirements by assigning a confidence rating to the overall Past Performance factor.

Seems to me this really is one of the more important points for the outcome we got, and the selection makes a lot more sense when you take it into account.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/11/2014 11:44 PM
Unfortunately past performance skews the results against any new participants in the industry... So what was the point of a competition? Assign a contract and get on with it...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 10/12/2014 12:03 AM
past performance skews the results against any new participants in the industry... So what was the point of a competition?

The apparent point of the competition was to apply some pricing pressure on the established market participants. Personally I assume that had SNC not been competing, Boeing's offer would have been different and its price would have been even higher than what they bid. So maybe the competition worked just as intended?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/12/2014 12:08 AM
Unfortunately past performance skews the results against any new participants in the industry... So what was the point of a competition? Assign a contract and get on with it...

In cases with no history the evaluation must be neutral; per FAR 15.305(a)(2)(iv) (http://www.acquisition.gov/far/current/html/Subpart%2015_3.html); incorporated by reference in the CCtCap RFP:
Quote

In the case of an offeror without a record of relevant past performance or for whom information on past performance is not available, the offeror may not be evaluated favorably or unfavorably on past performance.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TomH on 10/12/2014 12:24 AM
Unfortunately past performance skews the results against any new participants in the industry... So what was the point of a competition? Assign a contract and get on with it...

In cases with no history the evaluation must be neutral; per FAR 15.305(a)(2)(iv) (http://www.acquisition.gov/far/current/html/Subpart%2015_3.html); incorporated by reference in the CCtCap RFP:
Quote

In the case of an offeror without a record of relevant past performance or for whom information on past performance is not available, the offeror may not be evaluated favorably or unfavorably on past performance.

How does that work? Does a favorable prior performer get positive points, an unfavorable prior performer negative points, and a new offeror zero points? If another metric, how is it set up?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/12/2014 12:31 AM
past performance skews the results against any new participants in the industry... So what was the point of a competition?

The apparent point of the competition was to apply some pricing pressure on the established market participants. Personally I assume that had SNC not been competing, Boeing's offer would have been different and its price would have been even higher than what they bid. So maybe the competition worked just as intended?
I'd of given Boeing 8B five years ago and would be flying today...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/12/2014 01:00 AM
How does that work? Does a favorable prior performer get positive points, an unfavorable prior performer negative points, and a new offeror zero points? If another metric, how is it set up?

Yes, more-or-less. Past performance is not numerically scored, but is expressed as a confidence level.  If past performance information is available and relevant, it would typically be expressed on a scale of, e.g., "low" (negative) to "high" (positive).  Those without a history would typically be graded "unknown", or "neutral".

A negative confidence level works against you; a positive confidence level works for you.  All other things equal, the competitor with the highest confidence level wins, with "unknown" or "neutral" being the equivalent of zero.  However, an "unknown" or "neutral" confidence level cannot be used as the sole basis for acceptance or rejection.

However, past performance and confidence level cannot be divorced from other evaluation factors.  A proposal which has a very high price and a very high confidence level does not necessarily get a pass vs. a proposal with a lower price and a lower confidence level.  That is where fuzzy interpretations of timeliness, need, and "value to the government" comes into play, and where disputes due to such fuzzy interpretations arise.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: vt_hokie on 10/12/2014 01:03 AM
Unfortunately past performance skews the results against any new participants in the industry... So what was the point of a competition? Assign a contract and get on with it...

Exactly.  The outcome basically just reinforced my cynical suspicion all along that this "commercial" program was little more than a charade that would inevitably lead to more or less what we could have had by awarding a cost plus contract to the entrenched establishment without wasting all this time pretending to want to spur innovation.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/12/2014 01:25 AM
Exactly.  The outcome basically just reinforced my cynical suspicion all along that this "commercial" program was little more than a charade that would inevitably lead to more or less what we could have had by awarding a cost plus contract to the entrenched establishment without wasting all this time pretending to want to spur innovation.

Forget for a moment the term "commercial", and instead consider replacing it with the term "competitive", as in the "Competitive Crew Program".  Does that make you happier?  And on what basis do you assert that a cost+ (presumably sole-source?) contract would have lead to a better result?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/12/2014 01:26 AM
Unfortunately past performance skews the results against any new participants in the industry... So what was the point of a competition? Assign a contract and get on with it...

Exactly.  The outcome basically just reinforced my cynical suspicion all along that this "commercial" program was little more than a charade that would inevitably lead to more or less what we could have had by awarding a cost plus contract to the entrenched establishment without wasting all this time pretending to want to spur innovation.
It is endemic with the ever shifting priorities that come with Presidential election cycles and the changing of the NASA Administrator. Throw in the congressional meddling and we have a disjointed space program with the goal posts being frequently moved resulting in wasted time and money. Russia seems to always be consistent whether is under the U.S.S.R or the current regime... It might not be innovative but is rarely has gaps in space access...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/12/2014 10:14 AM
However, asserting that Price is approximately twice the weight of the Mission Suitability total score is incorrect.

The last sentence in my post explicitly stated:
Quote
Mind you that does not say that price is primary - there is no primary - only that price is 2x more important than any other "single" factor.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/12/2014 10:20 AM
I'd of given Boeing 8B five years ago and would be flying today...

No they wouldn't. Atlas still isn't human rated yet, in spite of the relatively easy technical requirements to do so. Without SNC and SpaceX in the mix Boeing and ULA would have had absolutely no pressure to get it done. It would have been business as usual, drawn out as long as possible and get as much taxpayer money for it as possible.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/12/2014 11:40 AM
I'd of given Boeing 8B five years ago and would be flying today...

No they wouldn't. Atlas still isn't human rated yet, in spite of the relatively easy technical requirements to do so. Without SNC and SpaceX in the mix Boeing and ULA would have had absolutely no pressure to get it done. It would have been business as usual, drawn out as long as possible and get as much taxpayer money for it as possible.
Then that fly’s in the face of NASA selection due to “past performance” which they appear to give them high marks... Or is that just based on the “legacy companies” they swallowed up over the years which then should have no bearing on selection...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/12/2014 12:17 PM
Unfortunately past performance skews the results against any new participants in the industry... So what was the point of a competition? Assign a contract and get on with it...

SNC could and did bring in experienced subcontractors, that helps getting around this.

Past performance is always a consideration.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/12/2014 12:20 PM

Exactly.  The outcome basically just reinforced my cynical suspicion all along that this "commercial" program was little more than a charade that would inevitably lead to more or less what we could have had by awarding a cost plus contract to the entrenched establishment without wasting all this time pretending to want to spur innovation.

Wings do not equate to innovation. 
Also, SNC's "innovation" bit it in the arse, they had to re-engine the vehicle.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/12/2014 12:36 PM
Unfortunately past performance skews the results against any new participants in the industry... So what was the point of a competition? Assign a contract and get on with it...

SNC could and did bring in experienced subcontractors, that helps getting around this.

Past performance is always a consideration.
I agree with you Jim but should it not include "on time and within budget"?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/12/2014 12:49 PM

I agree with you Jim but should it not include "on time and within budget"?

I think you mean "should include"

And SNC past experience for other projects always came in on time and within budget?



Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/12/2014 01:54 PM

I agree with you Jim but should it not include "on time and within budget"?

I think you mean "should include"

And SNC past experience for other projects always came in on time and within budget?
Fair point Jim, unfortunately the sample size for human rated spacecraft is rather small.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 10/12/2014 04:47 PM
I'd of given Boeing 8B five years ago and would be flying today...

No they wouldn't. Atlas still isn't human rated yet, in spite of the relatively easy technical requirements to do so. Without SNC and SpaceX in the mix Boeing and ULA would have had absolutely no pressure to get it done. It would have been business as usual, drawn out as long as possible and get as much taxpayer money for it as possible.

don't you think the politics of the RD-180 hurt that process?

When it comes to use of taxpayer money this program is no different.  Lot's of unneeded bells, and whistles on some of the designs.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: WindyCity on 10/12/2014 06:06 PM
This discussion both fascinates and perplexes me. From the public statements I have read from SNC and NASA, the justifications for SNC’s filing the appeal with the GAO and for NASA’s resume work order appear straightforward: SNC has viewed the documents showing NASA’s reasons for selecting Boeing and SpaceX. The company believes that its system scored competitively on safety, reliability, and cost against those other aerospace concerns; more than that, it believes that it outperformed at least one of its competitors. Therefore, it believes that empirical grounds exist for overturning NASA’s decision.  There is no publicly announced basis at present for determining which criteria played the most significant role in either NASA’s selection decision or SNL’s appeal. As for NASA’s order to resume work, it put forward the justification that national interest outweighed the financial risk of having its selection decision overturned by the GAO. The agency asserts that for the 2017 deadline for transitioning from the Soyuz to a commercial orbital transport service to be sustained, a delay of at least 100 days would constitute a serious setback. Until all the facts become public, what reasons are there to second-guess any of the public statements of the parties to the dispute?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TomH on 10/12/2014 06:56 PM
How does that work? Does a favorable prior performer get positive points, an unfavorable prior performer negative points, and a new offeror zero points? If another metric, how is it set up?

Yes, more-or-less. Past performance is not numerically scored, but is expressed as a confidence level.  If past performance information is available and relevant, it would typically be expressed on a scale of, e.g., "low" (negative) to "high" (positive).  Those without a history would typically be graded "unknown", or "neutral".

A negative confidence level works against you; a positive confidence level works for you.  All other things equal, the competitor with the highest confidence level wins, with "unknown" or "neutral" being the equivalent of zero.  However, an "unknown" or "neutral" confidence level cannot be used as the sole basis for acceptance or rejection.

However, past performance and confidence level cannot be divorced from other evaluation factors.  A proposal which has a very high price and a very high confidence level does not necessarily get a pass vs. a proposal with a lower price and a lower confidence level.  That is where fuzzy interpretations of timeliness, need, and "value to the government" comes into play, and where disputes due to such fuzzy interpretations arise.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/12/2014 09:44 PM
I'd of given Boeing 8B five years ago and would be flying today...

No they wouldn't. Atlas still isn't human rated yet, in spite of the relatively easy technical requirements to do so. Without SNC and SpaceX in the mix Boeing and ULA would have had absolutely no pressure to get it done. It would have been business as usual, drawn out as long as possible and get as much taxpayer money for it as possible.

False argument and not sure what data you are basing it on.  Human rating the Atlas is not relatively easy.  Most of the steps to getting there is a LOT of analysis, which Boeing and ULA have been doing.  I wont' disagree that if more money had been put to the effort it would be further along.  But easy, no, far from it.  Also, equally critical is NASA has a significant role in the human rating and until CCiCAP, really not fully engaged in it.

I suspect what you are trying to say is that if was Boeing solo there would be no incentive to do it as fast or cheaply as has been done so far.  That may well be a true statement (I don't think there is any data one way or the other but fair argument to postulate).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/12/2014 10:25 PM
The agency asserts that for the 2017 deadline for transitioning from the Soyuz to a commercial orbital transport service to be sustained, a delay of at least 100 days would constitute a serious setback.

In my opinion NASA's assertion is bogus and I call it BS. There are 2 companies involved, one of which is already proceeding to manned flight with or without NASA's money. So a 100 day delay would not affect that company in any way. The other company has made no bones that without the NASA contract it would likely shut down its spacecraft effort and let the people involved in it go. That is the only setback - that company won't go forward without NASA's money promised up front.

In my opinion this entire thing reeks of corruption at the highest level of NASA, that company and both their Congressional lackeys.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 10/12/2014 11:14 PM
The agency asserts that for the 2017 deadline for transitioning from the Soyuz to a commercial orbital transport service to be sustained, a delay of at least 100 days would constitute a serious setback.

In my opinion NASA's assertion is bogus and I call it BS. There are 2 companies involved, one of which is already proceeding to manned flight with or without NASA's money. So a 100 day delay would not affect that company in any way. The other company has made no bones that without the NASA contract it would likely shut down its spacecraft effort and let the people involved in it go. That is the only setback - that company won't go forward without NASA's money promised up front.

In my opinion this entire thing reeks of corruption at the highest level of NASA, that company and both their Congressional lackeys.

Try something simpler.  The capsules are due to launch in 2017, that is only 3 years away.  NASA is currently planning when the new capsules will take astronauts the ISS.  If the spacecraft developments are late then NASA will have to pay for an extra Soyuz.  A 100 day delay may be sufficient to miss the launch window since history shows other delays can be expected.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: WindyCity on 10/13/2014 01:09 AM
The agency asserts that for the 2017 deadline for transitioning from the Soyuz to a commercial orbital transport service to be sustained, a delay of at least 100 days would constitute a serious setback.

In my opinion NASA's assertion is bogus and I call it BS. There are 2 companies involved, one of which is already proceeding to manned flight with or without NASA's money. So a 100 day delay would not affect that company in any way. The other company has made no bones that without the NASA contract it would likely shut down its spacecraft effort and let the people involved in it go. That is the only setback - that company won't go forward without NASA's money promised up front.

In my opinion this entire thing reeks of corruption at the highest level of NASA, that company and both their Congressional lackeys.

Serious charges. I infer that the corruption you're referring to involves the selection of Boeing over SNC. You didn't spell it out, so if I'm wrong, please clarify.

You certainly could be right. I've had the same suspicion. However, the key point of my post was that no publicly available evidence that I'm aware of exists at this time to sustain such a theory. Absent a study of the documents that lay out the basis of NASA's selection decision, it simply is not possible to conclude that Boeing's political influence, corrupt or otherwise, led NASA to decide as it did. Thus, I think it serves no constructive purpose to speculate in an incriminatory manner about Boeing's or NASA's roles in the down-select process.

That said, I too am concerned about the decision. I was among the many who felt that SNC and SpaceX outpaced Boeing's entry. I was shocked when I saw that the CST-100 beat out the Dream Chaser. The tax-paying public deserves a full accounting of what happened.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: WindyCity on 10/13/2014 01:12 AM
In my opinion NASA's assertion is bogus and I call it BS. There are 2 companies involved, one of which is already proceeding to manned flight with or without NASA's money. So a 100 day delay would not affect that company in any way. The other company has made no bones that without the NASA contract it would likely shut down its spacecraft effort and let the people involved in it go. That is the only setback - that company won't go forward without NASA's money promised up front.

In my opinion this entire thing reeks of corruption at the highest level of NASA, that company and both their Congressional lackeys.

Try something simpler.  The capsules are due to launch in 2017, that is only 3 years away.  NASA is currently planning when the new capsules will take astronauts the ISS.  If the spacecraft developments are late then NASA will have to pay for an extra Soyuz.  A 100 day delay may be sufficient to miss the launch window since history shows other delays can be expected.

So you're defending NASA's rationale of "national interest" for ordering Boeing and SpaceX to resume work?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 10/13/2014 02:05 AM
In my opinion NASA's assertion is bogus and I call it BS. There are 2 companies involved, one of which is already proceeding to manned flight with or without NASA's money. So a 100 day delay would not affect that company in any way. The other company has made no bones that without the NASA contract it would likely shut down its spacecraft effort and let the people involved in it go. That is the only setback - that company won't go forward without NASA's money promised up front.

In my opinion this entire thing reeks of corruption at the highest level of NASA, that company and both their Congressional lackeys.

Try something simpler.  The capsules are due to launch in 2017, that is only 3 years away.  NASA is currently planning when the new capsules will take astronauts the ISS.  If the spacecraft developments are late then NASA will have to pay for an extra Soyuz.  A 100 day delay may be sufficient to miss the launch window since history shows other delays can be expected.

So you're defending NASA's rationale of "national interest" for ordering Boeing and SpaceX to resume work?

Yes.  NASA now has a difficult deadline about 4 years away.  If it misses that deadline it will cause international embarrassment for both NASA and the USA.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/13/2014 02:14 AM
I think the international embarrassment for both NASA and the USA ship sailed years ago when we gounded our fleet and had to "go hat in hand to Russia"....
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Mike Harris-Stone on 10/13/2014 04:19 AM
While I wouldn't be surprised at politics being involved in Boeing's selection, I do buy NASA's assertion that 100 days would jeopardize the launch deadline.  Part of my job involves software project management.  While this isn't nearly as complex as dealing with new manned spacecraft, any delay ripples through the chain of work.  3 months is a long time and with the possibility of further legal action, it could go longer.  I read in Motley Fool that SNC was on the receiving end of a contract dispute from Beechcraft over providing combat aircraft for Afghanistan and it took a year to resolve (which it did in SNC's favor).  Also, those who would argue that the company's involved can keep working are forgetting NASA itself.  For the project to stay on course, NASA needs to keep moving too.  Of course political pressure could have been applied to NASA to keep going, but I can't imagine it was just that.  Three years is short when you factor in the need for test flights and the whole host of unknowns that can still come up.

This is just my 2 cents.  I mentioned the reinstatement to my Dad and he said "of course."  Maybe some here know the situation much better, and maybe know something more than I do, but I can take it at face value.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/13/2014 07:06 AM
A concern over 100 days means that there is no margin built in a program that will be 2 years behind due to lack of full presidential requested funding by Congress. If it means buying another Soyuz ride for 70M compared to the CC program in the billions, so be it in search of the truth...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 10/13/2014 07:41 AM
Human rating the Atlas is not relatively easy.  Most of the steps to getting there is a LOT of analysis, which Boeing and ULA have been doing.  I wont' disagree that if more money had been put to the effort it would be further along.  But easy, no, far from it.  Also, equally critical is NASA has a significant role in the human rating and until CCiCAP, really not fully engaged in it.
This flies directly in the face of Jim who stated that human rating launchers is actually not all that difficult, nor all that expensive, as it is mostly a paper exercise.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: su27k on 10/13/2014 12:27 PM
Another article based on source selection document:

http://aviationweek.com/space/why-nasa-rejected-sierra-nevadas-commercial-crew-vehicle

I wonder what they meant by SpaceX has "the least robust approach for addressing the actual specific feedback on the Phase 1 products that are the foundations of certification in this second phase.", and what are the "problems not yet well understood, and design trades made late in the development process"
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/13/2014 12:36 PM
The agency asserts that for the 2017 deadline for transitioning from the Soyuz to a commercial orbital transport service to be sustained, a delay of at least 100 days would constitute a serious setback.

In my opinion NASA's assertion is bogus and I call it BS. There are 2 companies involved, one of which is already proceeding to manned flight with or without NASA's money. So a 100 day delay would not affect that company in any way. The other company has made no bones that without the NASA contract it would likely shut down its spacecraft effort and let the people involved in it go. That is the only setback - that company won't go forward without NASA's money promised up front.

In my opinion this entire thing reeks of corruption at the highest level of NASA, that company and both their Congressional lackeys.

Try something simpler.  The capsules are due to launch in 2017, that is only 3 years away.  NASA is currently planning when the new capsules will take astronauts the ISS.  If the spacecraft developments are late then NASA will have to pay for an extra Soyuz.  A 100 day delay may be sufficient to miss the launch window since history shows other delays can be expected.

The 1st company I mentioned plans to be flying manned in 2016, a year ahead of the ISS crew flight. NASA is in no danger - unless it doesn't trust the 1st company? In that case then why did they get a contract in the first place?

No, this is about taking care of old friends - nothing more.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rpapo on 10/13/2014 01:10 PM
Another article based on source selection document:

http://aviationweek.com/space/why-nasa-rejected-sierra-nevadas-commercial-crew-vehicle

I wonder what they meant by SpaceX has "the least robust approach for addressing the actual specific feedback on the Phase 1 products that are the foundations of certification in this second phase.", and what are the "problems not yet well understood, and design trades made late in the development process"
Interesting article.  Bill G sounds a lot like Jim in his assertions.

It would seem that NASA found something during the previous phase that they think will require significant rework by SpaceX.  On the other hand, SpaceX has considerable padding in their schedule too.

Odd the article would say that the Dragon Crew launch would take place from LC40.  I was under the impression they were planning on using LC39A for crewed launches.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/13/2014 01:24 PM
Yeah, crew will be from 39a. The article is wrong.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/13/2014 01:45 PM
The agency asserts that for the 2017 deadline for transitioning from the Soyuz to a commercial orbital transport service to be sustained, a delay of at least 100 days would constitute a serious setback.

In my opinion NASA's assertion is bogus and I call it BS. There are 2 companies involved, one of which is already proceeding to manned flight with or without NASA's money. So a 100 day delay would not affect that company in any way. The other company has made no bones that without the NASA contract it would likely shut down its spacecraft effort and let the people involved in it go. That is the only setback - that company won't go forward without NASA's money promised up front.

In my opinion this entire thing reeks of corruption at the highest level of NASA, that company and both their Congressional lackeys.

Try something simpler.  The capsules are due to launch in 2017, that is only 3 years away.  NASA is currently planning when the new capsules will take astronauts the ISS.  If the spacecraft developments are late then NASA will have to pay for an extra Soyuz.  A 100 day delay may be sufficient to miss the launch window since history shows other delays can be expected.

The 1st company I mentioned plans to be flying manned in 2016, a year ahead of the ISS crew flight. NASA is in no danger - unless it doesn't trust the 1st company? In that case then why did they get a contract in the first place?

No, this is about taking care of old friends - nothing more.

Correct - I don't think NASA believes the 2016 date and you shouldn't either.  You can measure that multiple ways.  Past performance has been pretty clear (and not trying to fault SpaceX - this is hard work and they should be commended for where they have gotten, but they have been over optimistic, as all aerospace companies are).  WHat they submitted in CCiCAP, especially CPC.   But most importantly, and I have repeatedly stated this multiple times but it seems to be getting lost on many folks here is how long it will take NASA to integrate a human rated vehicle into the CCP and ISS programs.   Now, I won't say that is good or bad but it is the reality.  NASA would be very hard pressed to support the critical work needed for a single human vehicle to be ready in 2017 for one company.  I do not believe NASA has allocated the resources todo that for TWO companies.   So my point is that even if SpaceX was, in their opinion, ready to launch a crew in 2016 I don't believe they can be ready by NASA's standards by then.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/13/2014 01:47 PM
A concern over 100 days means that there is no margin built in a program that will be 2 years behind due to lack of full presidential requested funding by Congress. If it means buying another Soyuz ride for 70M compared to the CC program in the billions, so be it in search of the truth...

Yes, you are correct that funding, and NASA trying to deal with TWO companies will be the biggest factor - but 100 days is a HUGE amount fo time.   Even without the inevitable burps and issues along the way throwing away 3 months certainly guarantees at least one more launch provided by Soyuz.  That is significant money and political/national prestige there.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/13/2014 01:54 PM
Correct - I don't think NASA believes the 2016 date and you shouldn't either.

The 2016 flight will not be a NASA flight. It will be a SpaceX vehicle likely with a SpaceX crew on a SpaceX mission to shake down the vehicle.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/13/2014 01:58 PM
A concern over 100 days means that there is no margin built in a program that will be 2 years behind due to lack of full presidential requested funding by Congress. If it means buying another Soyuz ride for 70M compared to the CC program in the billions, so be it in search of the truth...

Yes, you are correct that funding, and NASA trying to deal with TWO companies will be the biggest factor - but 100 days is a HUGE amount fo time.   Even without the inevitable burps and issues along the way throwing away 3 months certainly guarantees at least one more launch provided by Soyuz.  That is significant money and political/national prestige there.
Like I said above in post #168 "that ship has sailed" and Joe the plumber is the US couldn't care less...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/13/2014 02:25 PM

The 1st company I mentioned plans to be flying manned in 2016, a year ahead of the ISS crew flight. NASA is in no danger - unless it doesn't trust the 1st company? In that case then why did they get a contract in the first place?

No, this is about taking care of old friends - nothing more.

If you are reffering to SpaceX and flying manned in 2016.  Has SpaceX ever delivered a project on time? 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: AncientU on 10/13/2014 04:34 PM

The 1st company I mentioned plans to be flying manned in 2016, a year ahead of the ISS crew flight. NASA is in no danger - unless it doesn't trust the 1st company? In that case then why did they get a contract in the first place?

No, this is about taking care of old friends - nothing more.

If you are reffering to SpaceX and flying manned in 2016.  Has SpaceX ever delivered a project on time?

Isn't/wasn't 2016 the target date for NASA/LM/Boeing to deliver IOC for SLS/Orion?
Maybe SpaceX picking up human space flight responsibilities isn't needed, then...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/13/2014 04:41 PM

Isn't/wasn't 2016 the target date for NASA/LM/Boeing to deliver IOC for SLS/Orion?
Maybe SpaceX picking up human space flight responsibilities isn't needed, then...

Orion first crew flight isn't scheduled until around 2021.  Orion isn't a backup to the Commercial crew contract. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/13/2014 04:45 PM

Isn't/wasn't 2016 the target date for NASA/LM/Boeing to deliver IOC for SLS/Orion?
Maybe SpaceX picking up human space flight responsibilities isn't needed, then...

Orion first crew flight isn't scheduled until around 2021.  Orion isn't a backup to the Commercial crew contract. 

It was supposed to be. That's how badly NASA completely screwed it up - royally.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/13/2014 04:55 PM

It was supposed to be. That's how badly NASA completely screwed it up - royally.

Which is why the Boeing bid was accepted for the Commerical Crew Contract.  Boeing know's how to deliver large Aerospace contracts ontime.  SpaceX hasn't delivered a project on time.  NASA needed to have a commercial crew contract partner that can deliver ontime and not be distracted by other things, like the President of the company going around and talking about colonizing Mars etc.  Boeing is expensive but they will deliver on time and have the Aerospace project management skills that SpaceX and SNC lack.  They also don't have all the distractions that SpaceX has.  Not saying that SpaceX will not deliver on time but if they do, it will be a first.  SpaceX needs to demonstrate better project management skills and planning that it has so far in its company history if it wants to compete in the same space as the big firms like Boeing for govt contracts.     
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 10/13/2014 05:06 PM

It was supposed to be. That's how badly NASA completely screwed it up - royally.

Which is why the Boeing bid was accepted for the Commerical Crew Contract.  Boeing know's how to deliver large Aerospace contracts ontime.  SpaceX hasn't delivered a project on time.

When did Boeing last deliver a large Aerospace contract ontime?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/13/2014 05:07 PM

It was supposed to be. That's how badly NASA completely screwed it up - royally.

Which is why the Boeing bid was accepted for the Commerical Crew Contract.  Boeing know's how to deliver large Aerospace contracts ontime.  SpaceX hasn't delivered a project on time.

When did Boeing last deliver a large Aerospace contract ontime?

They haven't - not in living memory.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ncb1397 on 10/13/2014 05:09 PM

It was supposed to be. That's how badly NASA completely screwed it up - royally.

Boeing is expensive but they will deliver on time and have the Aerospace project management skills that SpaceX and SNC lack.  They also don't have all the distractions that SpaceX has. 

Boeing has more distractions. SpaceX is tightly focused around launch vehicles and a few specific spacecraft designs. In fact, commercial crew itself is a distraction from Boeing's 5,000 airliner backlog.

Quote
Boeing know's how to deliver large Aerospace contracts ontime. [snip] Boeing is expensive but they will deliver on time and have the Aerospace project management skills that SpaceX and SNC lack.

Boeing doesn't deliver every project on time. Statistically it is far from assured.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/13/2014 05:29 PM

They haven't - not in living memory.

You must have a short memory.

You can look at the 777 airliner and 747 development for well managed projects and delivered on time.  The Delta-IV and the SaturnV-SIC stage.  The F-18 Super Hornet was also delivered on time. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Norm Hartnett on 10/13/2014 05:38 PM
In my opinion NASA's assertion is bogus and I call it BS. There are 2 companies involved, one of which is already proceeding to manned flight with or without NASA's money. So a 100 day delay would not affect that company in any way. The other company has made no bones that without the NASA contract it would likely shut down its spacecraft effort and let the people involved in it go. That is the only setback - that company won't go forward without NASA's money promised up front.

In my opinion this entire thing reeks of corruption at the highest level of NASA, that company and both their Congressional lackeys.

Never attribute to corruption that which is adequately explained by bureaucratic risk aversion.

(Norm's corollary to Hanlon's Razor)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/13/2014 05:45 PM

They haven't - not in living memory.

You must have a short memory.

You can look at the 777 airliner and 747 development for well managed projects and delivered on time.  The Delta-IV and the SaturnV-SIC stage.  The F-18 Super Hornet was also delivered on time. 

No they weren't. You need to look at the "original" schedule, not the ones that were published close to delivery of the product.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/13/2014 05:51 PM

No they weren't. You need to look at the "original" schedule, not the ones that were published close to delivery of the product.

Sure share with me the original schedule then since it appears that you are in the know and I am wrong. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 10/13/2014 05:54 PM

They haven't - not in living memory.

You must have a short memory.

You can look at the 777 airliner and 747 development for well managed projects and delivered on time.  The Delta-IV and the SaturnV-SIC stage.  The F-18 Super Hornet was also delivered on time. 
You have a long and rather selective memory.  The 777 went into customer service 19 years ago, the same year the Super Hornet first flew.

The 747, and the Saturn first stage. were designed in the 1960s.  I'd be amazed if anyone responsible for managing these projects is still at Boeing.

About the Delta-IV, "The first flight of Delta 4 has been delayed several times this year because of various technical problems. It was originally supposed to have flown before the Atlas 5."  from a Seattle paper, http://www.seattlepi.com/business/article/Boeing-has-a-lot-riding-on-the-Delta-4-rocket-1100684.php

 The 787, a much more recent yardstick of ability to deliver on time, was several years late.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/13/2014 05:55 PM
Boeing doesn't deliver every project on time. Statistically it is far from assured.

Nothing is assured but Boeing has the history and experience that Space doesn't.   

http://aviationweek.com/space/why-nasa-rejected-sierra-nevadas-commercial-crew-vehicle

Commenting on the two winning capsule concepts, Gerstenmaier clearly singles out the Boeing design for most praise, being “the strongest of all three proposals in both mission suitability and past performance. Boeing’s system offers the most useful inherent capabilities for operational flexibility in trading cargo and crew for individual missions. It is also based on a spacecraft design that is fairly mature in design.” He also points to Boeing’s “well-defined plan for addressing the specific issues from Phase 1,” and says of the three bidders Boeing “has the best management approach, with very comprehensive and integrated program management, and an effective organizational structure, further ensuring they will be able to accomplish the technical work in a manner that meets NASA’s standards.” Phase 1, the Certification Products Contract (CPC), covered hazard reports, plans for verification, validation and certification.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/13/2014 06:02 PM
You have a long and rather selective memory.  The 777 went into customer service 19 years ago, the same year the Super Hornet first flew.

The 747, and the Saturn first stage. were designed in the 1960s.  I'd be amazed if anyone responsible for managing these projects is still at Boeing.

About the Delta-IV, "The first flight of Delta 4 has been delayed several times this year because of various technical problems. It was originally supposed to have flown before the Atlas 5."  from a Seattle paper, http://www.seattlepi.com/business/article/Boeing-has-a-lot-riding-on-the-Delta-4-rocket-1100684.php

 The 787, a much more recent yardstick of ability to deliver on time, was several years late.

The problem is that SpaceX has never delivered on time.  NASA rated Boeing's technical, management and past performance to be superior to SpaceX. 

SpaceX needs to demonstrate the ability to more closely meet project deadlines and not be years off in it's deliverable dates.   

Quote
Discussing costs, Gerstenmaier says that “although SNC’s price is lower than Boeing’s price, its technical and management approaches and its past performance are not as high and I see considerably more schedule risk with its proposal. Both SNC and SpaceX had high past performance, and very good technical and management approaches, but SNC’s price is significantly higher than SpaceX’s price.”

 Touching on why Boeing received a $4.2 billion contract, versus $2.6 billion for SpaceX, he adds “I consider Boeing’s superior proposal, with regard to both its technical and management approach and its past performance, to be worth the additional price in comparison to the SNC proposal.”
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 10/13/2014 06:05 PM
A concern over 100 days means that there is no margin built in a program that will be 2 years behind due to lack of full presidential requested funding by Congress. If it means buying another Soyuz ride for 70M compared to the CC program in the billions, so be it in search of the truth...

Yes, you are correct that funding, and NASA trying to deal with TWO companies will be the biggest factor - but 100 days is a HUGE amount fo time.   Even without the inevitable burps and issues along the way throwing away 3 months certainly guarantees at least one more launch provided by Soyuz.  That is significant money and political/national prestige there.
Like I said above in post #168 "that ship has sailed" and Joe the plumber is the US couldn't care less...

Half true.  Joe the plumber is not interested in what NASA hopes to do at the ISS in ~4 years time.  He knows that the Shuttles were cancelled because one crashed and has accepted that there will be a delay before the replacement flies.  In 4 years time, when the replacement does not fly, he will be less forgiving.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: SWGlassPit on 10/13/2014 06:19 PM
Half true.  Joe the plumber is not interested in what NASA hopes to do at the ISS in ~4 years time.  He knows that the Shuttles were cancelled because one crashed and has accepted that there will be a delay before the replacement flies.  In 4 years time, when the replacement does not fly, he will be less forgiving.

To be completely true, Joe the plumber thinks NASA was cancelled altogether.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: cambrianera on 10/13/2014 06:45 PM
Boeing is already late on the KC-46 tanker.
http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2024732896_boeingtankerxml.html
And this happens with an old and very well known airplane.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/13/2014 07:00 PM
Boeing is already late on the KC-46 tanker.
http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2024732896_boeingtankerxml.html
And this happens with an old and very well known airplane.

The USAF delivery date is in 2017 for the first operational aircraft.   It cannot be late for a contract delivery date that is still in the future.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: cambrianera on 10/13/2014 07:11 PM
"Boeing said Wednesday that the first test plane for its KC-46 Air Force aerial-refueling tanker program is expected to fly in late November or early December.

That’s a delay of two months or more beyond the projection Boeing’s leadership gave in July, when Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith predicted on an earnings call with analysts that first flight would be late in the third quarter."

I don't know if they will recover, but now Boeing has a delay (i.e. it's late) on a projection done in July.
And originally the first flight was foreseen for April 2014, go figure.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 10/13/2014 07:11 PM
brovane mentioned this quote from the leaked source selection document:
Quote
Of the three bidders Boeing “has the best management approach, with very comprehensive and integrated program management, and an effective organizational structure, further ensuring they will be able to accomplish the technical work in a manner that meets NASA’s standards.”

This is ultimately the fundamental justification for selecting Boeing. The Boeing program management culture will mean NASA can do its job vis-a-vis CST more easily than it can for the other offerers.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: AncientU on 10/13/2014 08:07 PM
brovane mentioned this quote from the leaked source selection document:
Quote
Of the three bidders Boeing “has the best management approach, with very comprehensive and integrated program management, and an effective organizational structure, further ensuring they will be able to accomplish the technical work in a manner that meets NASA’s standards.”

This is ultimately the fundamental justification for selecting Boeing. The Boeing program management culture will mean NASA can do its job vis-a-vis CST more easily than it can for the other offerers.

This seems to imply the most NASA-like management culture is the best... Seriously?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: WindyCity on 10/13/2014 09:21 PM
Maybe NASA simply didn't want to stick two feet into the future, so it chose to keep one foot in the past. Boeing's design struck the selectors as safe, stodgy, reliable, and predictable—Apollo redux. SpaceX's capsule design has futuristic elements (the SuperDraco's and propulsive landing on terra firma), but still has a parachute. It's a technological advancement over Boeing's concept, but it's not "out there". The Dream Chaser, on the other hand, is a mini-Shuttle, and two Shuttles crashed because of failed heat shielding. It's riskier than the other two, or so I imagine the selectors saw it. NASA is a conservative culture. It doesn't go out on limbs, even though, tragically, it occasionally cuts corners.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: vt_hokie on 10/13/2014 09:40 PM
Essentially why the upstart newcomers barely had a chance, and we might as well have avoided the time wasting charade and awarded Boeing a cost-plus contract years ago. The whole "commercial crew" thing was largely a farce.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/13/2014 10:02 PM
Essentially why the upstart newcomers barely had a chance, and we might as well have avoided the time wasting charade and awarded Boeing a cost-plus contract years ago. The whole "commercial crew" thing was largely a farce.

Well SpaceX has been given a seat at the table so I am not sure if you can call it a waste of time.  SNC just had to many variables in their design and NASA didn't feel comfortable with selecting them and SpaceX.  The biggest problem that SNC had was they where up against SpaceX which brought a complete package of launch vehicle, capsule and a lower bid to the table.  Which I suspect a chunk of that higher price was the vehicle development costs and that a Atlas-V just costs more money than a Falcon9v1.1. 

Quote
Discussing costs, Gerstenmaier says that “although SNC’s price is lower than Boeing’s price, its technical and management approaches and its past performance are not as high and I see considerably more schedule risk with its proposal. Both SNC and SpaceX had high past performance, and very good technical and management approaches, but SNC’s price is significantly higher than SpaceX’s price.”

I also thing that NASA has been backed into a corner because of continued budget cuts to the commercial crew contract.  Originally NASA already wanted the new capsules flying by now.  The cuts had forced a slowdown in the program.  NASA has to get something ready by 2017 which means they cannot take a chance and select two upstarts and have them both fail.  Now if SpaceX falls on it's face Boeing is their as old reliable.  Not saying that SpaceX but it has to be in the back of some people's mind at NASA.  So with the contest down to Boeing and whoever else SNC coulnd't beat SpaceX so they lost. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Nindalf on 10/13/2014 10:08 PM
NASA has to get something ready by 2017 which means they cannot take a chance and select two upstarts and have them both fail.  Now if SpaceX falls on it's face Boeing is their as old reliable.  Not saying that SpaceX but it has to be in the back of some people's mind at NASA.  So with the contest down to Boeing and whoever else SNC coulnd't beat SpaceX so they lost.
If this is their actual reasoning, then we can expect SNC to win their case.

This is simply not what the solicitation described, and they're required to maintain consistency between the selection criteria given in the solicitation and the selection criteria actually applied.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/13/2014 10:10 PM
brovane mentioned this quote from the leaked source selection document:
Quote
Of the three bidders Boeing “has the best management approach, with very comprehensive and integrated program management, and an effective organizational structure, further ensuring they will be able to accomplish the technical work in a manner that meets NASA’s standards.”

This is ultimately the fundamental justification for selecting Boeing. The Boeing program management culture will mean NASA can do its job vis-a-vis CST more easily than it can for the other offerers.

From the bits and pieces I have been able to read their was enough subjective parts in the selection process scoring that essentially NASA could select Boeing despite the higher bid by Boeing.  Any GAO investigation is going to get into this and since it is subjective they are going to have a hard time second guessing NASA.  Dealing with this type of items it will be hard for GAO to come away with the conclusion that NASA was wrong in it's selection of Boeing. 

Quote
Commenting on the two winning capsule concepts, Gerstenmaier clearly singles out the Boeing design for most praise, being “the strongest of all three proposals in both mission suitability and past performance. Boeing’s system offers the most useful inherent capabilities for operational flexibility in trading cargo and crew for individual missions. It is also based on a spacecraft design that is fairly mature in design.” He also points to Boeing’s “well-defined plan for addressing the specific issues from Phase 1,” and says of the three bidders Boeing “has the best management approach, with very comprehensive and integrated program management, and an effective organizational structure, further ensuring they will be able to accomplish the technical work in a manner that meets NASA’s standards.” Phase 1, the Certification Products Contract (CPC), covered hazard reports, plans for verification, validation and certification.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/13/2014 10:13 PM
If this is their actual reasoning, then we can expect SNC to win their case.

This is simply not what the solicitation described, and they're required to maintain consistency between the selection criteria given in the solicitation and the selection criteria actually applied.

They don't have to come right out and say it.  However if you are grading on technical and management approach and past performance Boeing is getting the higher grade.  If they can bring in such arguments like past performance in the grading then yes it can be a subjective part of the equation and they can rank a company higher based on it's previous performance. 

Quote
“I consider Boeing’s superior proposal, with regard to both its technical and management approach and its past performance, to be worth the additional price in comparison to the SNC proposal.”
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/13/2014 10:51 PM

Isn't/wasn't 2016 the target date for NASA/LM/Boeing to deliver IOC for SLS/Orion?
Maybe SpaceX picking up human space flight responsibilities isn't needed, then...

Orion first crew flight isn't scheduled until around 2021.  Orion isn't a backup to the Commercial crew contract. 

It was supposed to be. That's how badly NASA completely screwed it up - royally.

Nope - can't blame NASA really for that - I think that is pretty squarely on congress.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/13/2014 11:00 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbuQ7mAFeZQ

You can actually see a politician thinking. Enjoy.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/13/2014 11:20 PM

Isn't/wasn't 2016 the target date for NASA/LM/Boeing to deliver IOC for SLS/Orion?
Maybe SpaceX picking up human space flight responsibilities isn't needed, then...

Orion first crew flight isn't scheduled until around 2021.  Orion isn't a backup to the Commercial crew contract. 

It was supposed to be. That's how badly NASA completely screwed it up - royally.

Nope - can't blame NASA really for that - I think that is pretty squarely on congress.

I don't know about that. Orion is the long tent in the pole. You can't really say that Orion is being underfunded by Congress.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: vt_hokie on 10/13/2014 11:42 PM
It seems to me that if NASA cannot tolerate additional technical and schedule risk, the entire commercial crew program was completely unjustified.  Could we not have arrived at the obvious "safe" solution years ago by awarding Boeing a traditional cost-plus contract?  I don't even see this as having put any cost pressure on Boeing, given the disparity between its award and the award that went to SpaceX. 

Again, the whole thing seems like a time and money wasting charade to me, and I feel like we're throwing away most of the long-term potential that investing in the upstarts provided in order to meet a short-term mission requirement. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/13/2014 11:58 PM
It seems to me that if NASA cannot tolerate additional technical and schedule risk, the entire commercial crew program was completely unjustified. 

How are you drawing that conclusion?  The entire commercial crew program has stimulated a lot of new development. 

If you just look at the Commercial Orbit Transportation Services program for the investment of $800 Million in money the US has two new launch vehicles and to cargo spacecraft. 


Could we not have arrived at the obvious "safe" solution years ago by awarding Boeing a traditional cost-plus contract?  I don't even see this as having put any cost pressure on Boeing, given the disparity between its award and the award that went to SpaceX. 
Again, the whole thing seems like a time and money wasting charade to me, and I feel like we're throwing away most of the long-term potential that investing in the upstarts provided.

We could have arrived at a obvious "safe" solution years ago if Congress was willing to fund the development of both Orion Capsule and a Earth Orbit capsule at the same time.  How are we throwing away the long term potential in the investment in the upstarts?  SpaceX has had remarkable success and is bringing commercial launch services back to US shores.   



Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/14/2014 12:17 AM
Again, the whole thing seems like a time and money wasting charade to me, and I feel like we're throwing away most of the long-term potential that investing in the upstarts provided in order to meet a short-term mission requirement. 

What says SNC has long-term potential?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: vt_hokie on 10/14/2014 12:42 AM

What says SNC has long-term potential?

SNC had goals beyond ISS crew transport and had aims for a true commercial future beyond ISS.  CST-100 seems to be a one trick pony, and an expensive one at that. 

But maybe the question is, if it didn't have potential, why did we invest a couple hundred million dollars in it only to add it to the long list of abandoned programs?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/14/2014 12:49 AM
It seems to me that if NASA cannot tolerate additional technical and schedule risk, the entire commercial crew program was completely unjustified. 

How are you drawing that conclusion?  The entire commercial crew program has stimulated a lot of new development. 

If you just look at the Commercial Orbit Transportation Services program for the investment of $800 Million in money the US has two new launch vehicles and to cargo spacecraft. 


Could we not have arrived at the obvious "safe" solution years ago by awarding Boeing a traditional cost-plus contract?  I don't even see this as having put any cost pressure on Boeing, given the disparity between its award and the award that went to SpaceX. 
Again, the whole thing seems like a time and money wasting charade to me, and I feel like we're throwing away most of the long-term potential that investing in the upstarts provided.

We could have arrived at a obvious "safe" solution years ago if Congress was willing to fund the development of both Orion Capsule and a Earth Orbit capsule at the same time.  How are we throwing away the long term potential in the investment in the upstarts?  SpaceX has had remarkable success and is bringing commercial launch services back to US shores.   
The mess all started with CxP with Orion on Ares 1 with all its associated problems and Griffin has stated on record that he had all the money he needed...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Roy_H on 10/14/2014 12:53 AM
TBH I was shocked at the high amounts awarded to both Boeing and SpaceX, but then I put it in the context that they received half of the funding in previous rounds vs Obama's recommendations. So now they have to play catch-up. Has CONgress approved this funding? Or is there a real possibility that this will get cut in half too.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/14/2014 12:57 AM
Or is there a real possibility that this will get cut in half too.

It's an almost certainty.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/14/2014 12:59 AM
TBH I was shocked at the high amounts awarded to both Boeing and SpaceX,

Were not the amounts awarded based on what the companies bid for the contract?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/14/2014 01:02 AM
Or is there a real possibility that this will get cut in half too.

It's an almost certainty.

Oh that would be funny.  Congress we cut your funding in half.  NASA ok, we are dropping Boeing and going single source with SpaceX because at 1/2 funding we can still afford SpaceX but not Boeing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Nindalf on 10/14/2014 01:12 AM

What says SNC has long-term potential?

SNC had goals beyond ISS crew transport and had aims for a true commercial future beyond ISS.  CST-100 seems to be a one trick pony, and an expensive one at that. 

But maybe the question is, if it didn't have potential, why did we invest a couple hundred million dollars in it only to add it to the long list of abandoned programs?
Boeing seems pretty cozy with Bigelow.  I don't really know of any commercial customers SNC has lined up.

As for being a one-trick pony, that seems unfair to CST-100.  Dream Chaser is heavily specialized for taking people to and from LEO stations (and accordingly, in some ways it would do it better than either of the capsules).  CST-100 is a modular design that would be easier to adapt to other purposes.

Notably, even in the base design CST-100 is suitable for providing stationkeeping/reboost delta-V for the station it's docked with.  Additional services weren't supposed to be a determining consideration, but there's a pretty good case for NASA and other station operators to prefer the CST-100 even for that reason alone.  Its heat shield is also protected behind the propulsion module (and, being detachable, may even be replaceable in orbit), which is one reason I think it's likely to be the best lifeboat of the three.

I think we could argue the relative technical merits of the three candidates forever and not pick a clear winner.  They're good at different things, and I think it's a shame if all three don't get developed.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: vt_hokie on 10/14/2014 01:18 AM

I think we could argue the relative technical merits of the three candidates forever and not pick a clear winner.  They're good at different things, and I think it's a shame if all three don't get developed.

That's the real problem, which is a bigger picture issue that gets beyond the scope of this thread.  Our whole human spaceflight policy is a disaster, and it's hard not to just give up in disgust.  We need some real leadership in high places to champion the human spaceflight program, and to care not just about keeping contractors fed but to care about the actual mission(s) and performance. 

Certainly it seems as if the amount of money going into projects is inversely proportional to their payoff these days, and I think the projected SLS/Orion flight rates are so ridiculously low that it's almost comical.  I have to think something's gotta give, as our current path is insane, with commercial crew vehicles being developed for 6 flights and then nothing else, and Orion/SLS being developed at insane cost levels with no actual mission and no money for a lunar lander, mission module, or anything that would make Orion remotely useful.  It's just nuts.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/14/2014 01:19 AM
Oh that would be funny.  Congress we cut your funding in half.  NASA ok, we are dropping Boeing and going single source with SpaceX because at 1/2 funding we can still afford SpaceX but not Boeing.

That would be taking action.. no, what'll happen is they'll just whine a lot and then change nothing. The schedules will blow out and when it becomes apparent that none of the providers will fly before the end of life of the ISS (or the heat death of the universe), the entire program will be cancelled with a lot of "I told you so" from the usual suspects in Congress.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/14/2014 02:31 AM

SNC had goals beyond ISS crew transport and had aims for a true commercial future beyond ISS.  CST-100 seems to be a one trick pony, and an expensive one at that. 


SNC goals are meaningless in this context.  As for one trick ponies, look no further than DC.  CST-100 has more utility and adaptability.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/14/2014 03:34 AM

That would be taking action.. no, what'll happen is they'll just whine a lot and then change nothing. The schedules will blow out and when it becomes apparent that none of the providers will fly before the end of life of the ISS (or the heat death of the universe), the entire program will be cancelled with a lot of "I told you so" from the usual suspects in Congress.


The total proposal is 4.2+2.6 so around 7 Billion.  However that includes both development and operational expenses.  I think for Boeing's proposal it is up to 4.2 which would cover several manned test flights and up to 6 crew flights.  So potentially cuts could happen and still finish the development of the capsule.  The wild card is SpaceX and Musk because of their focus beyond just making money.  With the funding from NASA, even partial. Musk could just decide to push ahead and complete development at the original schedule just to tweak Boeing and Jeff Bezos.  There is bragging rights for the first private company to get a crew into orbit and recover them successfully and I bet that Musk want's those bragging rights.  That is one thing that Billionaire's love and that is bragging rights.  Certainly Musk isn't going to let Bezo's Blue Origin get that milestone first.  For a Billionaire their is only so many  super cars and luxury jets you can buy.  However having a Space Company that has done something only 3 other nations has done, gives you bragging rights at the next cocktail party.  For Boeing it is all business and dollars and cents for Musk and SpaceX it is more than that.  Which makes it a big variable because Musk has no board etc. to report to, he has complete control of SpaceX.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/14/2014 05:37 AM
Been hearing this "Musk could go it alone" fairy tale for years now. Hasn't happened. If anything, they're behind where NASA would like them to be, not ahead, and for the same reasons.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: llanitedave on 10/14/2014 06:01 AM
The Dream Chaser, on the other hand, is a mini-Shuttle, and two Shuttles crashed because of failed heat shielding.

Challenger did not crash because of failed head shielding.  Please be more careful in your assertions.
Title: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 10/14/2014 06:08 AM
Been hearing this "Musk could go it alone" fairy tale for years now. Hasn't happened. If anything, they're behind where NASA would like them to be, not ahead, and for the same reasons.

Aren't you the same QuantumG who posted recently that "NASA was holding SpaceX back"? A sudden change of opinion?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 10/14/2014 06:30 AM
Been hearing this "Musk could go it alone" fairy tale for years now. Hasn't happened. If anything, they're behind where NASA would like them to be, not ahead, and for the same reasons.

Aren't you the same QuantumG who posted recently that "NASA was holding SpaceX back"? A sudden change of opinion?
Actually, with those two statements, QuantumG is saying the same thing twice. He has not changed opinion IMO.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/14/2014 07:44 AM

It was supposed to be. That's how badly NASA completely screwed it up - royally.

Which is why the Boeing bid was accepted for the Commerical Crew Contract.  Boeing know's how to deliver large Aerospace contracts ontime.  SpaceX hasn't delivered a project on time.  NASA needed to have a commercial crew contract partner that can deliver ontime and not be distracted by other things, like the President of the company going around and talking about colonizing Mars etc.  Boeing is expensive but they will deliver on time and have the Aerospace project management skills that SpaceX and SNC lack.  They also don't have all the distractions that SpaceX has.  Not saying that SpaceX will not deliver on time but if they do, it will be a first.  SpaceX needs to demonstrate better project management skills and planning that it has so far in its company history if it wants to compete in the same space as the big firms like Boeing for govt contracts.     
Are you serious? Boeing never deliver under budget and on time maybe last time at Apollo time. Why so much project was canceled in the last 35 years,because over budget not because delay(Ventura star, spaceplane,). Spacex is first company that deliver little bite late but on budget. Spacex is probably the only company that in next 10 years deliver all components that NASA wants to have to explore our solar system.
-Earth to orbit heavy lunch.
-spacecraft able to and on mars or together solar body and deliver significant payload
-interplanetary vehicle
-new better spacesuit
-reusable system
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rpapo on 10/14/2014 10:42 AM
(Ventura star, spaceplane,).
Please keep your facts straight.  Though I agree Boeing tends towards cost and schedule overruns (and they are not the only one by far), VentureStar was a Lockheed-Martin project, not one of Boeing's.  That particular project died largely because it was too ambitious.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/14/2014 11:44 AM
Been hearing this "Musk could go it alone" fairy tale for years now. Hasn't happened. If anything, they're behind where NASA would like them to be, not ahead, and for the same reasons.

Where would NASA like SpaceX to be at this time from a manned spacecraft perspective right now? 

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: guckyfan on 10/14/2014 12:23 PM
Been hearing this "Musk could go it alone" fairy tale for years now. Hasn't happened. If anything, they're behind where NASA would like them to be, not ahead, and for the same reasons.

Where would NASA like SpaceX to be at this time from a manned spacecraft perspective right now?

Three years ahead of Boeing instead of only two and ready to fly crew as soon as the new docking adapter is installed.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/14/2014 02:28 PM
Are you serious? Boeing never deliver under budget and on time maybe last time at Apollo time. Why so much project was canceled in the last 35 years,because over budget not because delay(Ventura star, spaceplane,). Spacex is first company that deliver little bite late but on budget. Spacex is probably the only company that in next 10 years deliver all components that NASA wants to have to explore our solar system.
-Earth to orbit heavy lunch.
-spacecraft able to and on mars or together solar body and deliver significant payload
-interplanetary vehicle
-new better spacesuit
-reusable system

If Boeing performs so poorly as you are asserting then why did NASA associatte administrator William Gerstenmaier write this in a internal document about the contract award?  If you are serious that must mean SpaceX really sucks as far as program management, because NASA thinks they are worse than Boeing in this category.   So what say you?

Quote
Commenting on the two winning capsule concepts, Gerstenmaier clearly singles out the Boeing design for most praise, being “the strongest of all three proposals in both mission suitability and past performance. Boeing’s system offers the most useful inherent capabilities for operational flexibility in trading cargo and crew for individual missions. It is also based on a spacecraft design that is fairly mature in design.” He also points to Boeing’s “well-defined plan for addressing the specific issues from Phase 1,” and says of the three bidders Boeing “has the best management approach, with very comprehensive and integrated program management, and an effective organizational structure, further ensuring they will be able to accomplish the technical work in a manner that meets NASA’s standards.” Phase 1, the Certification Products Contract (CPC), covered hazard reports, plans for verification, validation and certification.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/14/2014 02:33 PM
That bolded portion is basically the definition of "subjective."
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/14/2014 03:47 PM
That bolded portion is basically the definition of "subjective."

It is subjective but it is the conclusion of NASA's evaluation board on the matter, which is what counts in the commercial Crew selection.  There were enough subjective areas like management competence, project management, organizational structure, technical maturity, ability to stick to a timetable. The higher ranking by Boeing in these areas put it ahead of SNC, despite the price difference.  I doubt that the GAO is going to over-rule NASA and say that SNC should have been more highly rated in these subjective areas.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/14/2014 03:51 PM
Some congressmen ask Bolden, why not use Orion for commercial crew purposes?
http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/42165smith-to-bolden-why-not-orion-for-commercial-crew
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: AJW on 10/14/2014 04:09 PM
The original Constellation program overview in 2006 included Orion support for the ISS with 6 crew, 210 day stay time, lifeboat, and pressurized cargo capabilities.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: obi-wan on 10/14/2014 05:48 PM
Some congressmen ask Bolden, why not use Orion for commercial crew purposes?
http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/42165smith-to-bolden-why-not-orion-for-commercial-crew

Read the whole article - Smith and Pallazo (sp?) are saying replace one of the Commercial Crew vehicles with Orion. Then read Gerst's document - would they replace the "clearly superior" bid, regardless of cost? I am just old enough and cynical enough to think that this may be the opening shot in the battle for the ultimate dream of Congress (and some at NASA, and some on this site): two ways to get into space - in a Boeing capsule on top of a Lockheed launch vehicle, or in a Lockheed capsule on top of a Boeing launch vehicle.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: vt_hokie on 10/14/2014 06:05 PM

Read the whole article - Smith and Pallazo (sp?) are saying replace one of the Commercial Crew vehicles with Orion. Then read Gerst's document - would they replace the "clearly superior" bid, regardless of cost? I am just old enough and cynical enough to think that this may be the opening shot in the battle for the ultimate dream of Congress (and some at NASA, and some on this site): two ways to get into space - in a Boeing capsule on top of a Lockheed launch vehicle, or in a Lockheed capsule on top of a Boeing launch vehicle.

Ha!  I think that would be the official death of any hope for NASA.  The way I see it, the $2.6 billion or whatever it is going to SpaceX is the only ray of hope right now in an otherwise hopelessly aimless agency that seems to exist more for political pork than for advancing aeronautics or space exploration. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/14/2014 07:08 PM
No surprise in any of this. Just the usual budget politics around HSF.

Commercial crew is a direct threat to Orion/SLS. The BLEO/LEO artificial differentiation is a political mechanism to allow Orion arbitrary budget inflation while all the pseudo "fiscal responsibility" is directed at the "less necessary", cheaper program of commercial crew. Now the fiscal hawks can look good at saving the nation billions by brilliantly observing that one can dual use a single capsule. "Simple".

I begin to dimly understand why Musk didn't do the "quick and dirty" approach to a manned Dragon 1 capsule, but instead focused on the much more elaborate Dragon 2 design.

The moment COTS-D vanished as a possibility, the game changed. COTS was intended as a failure to washout Kistler cheaply, and the additions of SpaceX and Orbital were unexpected. It was supposed to be "oh dear, we tried that, what can be done, and back to Constellation  level bad spending and Ares IX results, is best we can do".

The trick pony was allowing Boeing's failed OSP bid back into the tent of CC as a security against what happened with COTS.

The advantage of Dragon 2 taking longer was to make it less like Orion/CST-100. Because by the way Congress worked things, all capsules would appear to be alike (perhaps also why DC biased from selection as well?),  and Congress can "save the day" with this masterful move. Meaning there was nothing to be gained by a fast, minimalist capsule ... because it would be slowed down by perhaps more/different "hobbling" moves all along.

So maybe Musk was right in his showmanship with the Dragon-2 reveal, which reminded me nothing so much as a new car introduction. And what we are about to watch from Congress, is a variation on the Wall Street badmouthing of the Tesla Model D. By my read, its not as successful in dampening interest as Tesla's adversaries had hoped - so perhaps Congress might also not bring this off as well.

There's a lot at stake now, and the performance in the next few months may turn things in different directions. Each of the HSF vehicles has something underway that can affect this game. As well as the "unintended consequences" of some. Remember the EELV "winners" ...

Congress will wait, now having set the stage for the outcome it desires. They will side with the "winners" of this drama in the next act.

1, 2 , or 3.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Coastal Ron on 10/14/2014 07:29 PM
Some congressmen ask Bolden, why not use Orion for commercial crew purposes?
http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/42165smith-to-bolden-why-not-orion-for-commercial-crew

A thread was started on this yesterday and is located in the Space Policy Discussion section:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35833.0
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/14/2014 07:54 PM
(Ventura star, spaceplane,).
Please keep your facts straight.  Though I agree Boeing tends towards cost and schedule overruns (and they are not the only one by far), VentureStar was a Lockheed-Martin project, not one of Boeing's.  That particular project died largely because it was too ambitious.
You are right,but tell me any big old company(Boeing, Lockheed,.ATK,..) got it project from NASA and defense budget and was done on budget. You will not find such project. The only project that was deliver on budget was Commercial to ISS. Tell me that Spacex project to make reusable is not ambitious, but didn't effect cost of their deliver to ISS.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/14/2014 08:00 PM
Been hearing this "Musk could go it alone" fairy tale for years now. Hasn't happened. If anything, they're behind where NASA would like them to be, not ahead, and for the same reasons.

Where would NASA like SpaceX to be at this time from a manned spacecraft perspective right now?
I hear in this forum 8 years ago doubt, that Musk rocket will  ever fly and compete with Delta or Atlas. Now these rocket are not competition for them except environment where their lobby overcome their superior price and services. Spacex is feared by  Ariane, chinese and russian, who could imagine that 5 years ago.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/14/2014 08:17 PM
Are you serious? Boeing never deliver under budget and on time maybe last time at Apollo time. Why so much project was canceled in the last 35 years,because over budget not because delay(Ventura star, spaceplane,). Spacex is first company that deliver little bite late but on budget. Spacex is probably the only company that in next 10 years deliver all components that NASA wants to have to explore our solar system.
-Earth to orbit heavy lunch.
-spacecraft able to and on mars or together solar body and deliver significant payload
-interplanetary vehicle
-new better spacesuit
-reusable system

If Boeing performs so poorly as you are asserting then why did NASA associatte administrator William Gerstenmaier write this in a internal document about the contract award?  If you are serious that must mean SpaceX really sucks as far as program management, because NASA thinks they are worse than Boeing in this category.   So what say you?

Quote
Commenting on the two winning capsule concepts, Gerstenmaier clearly singles out the Boeing design for most praise, being “the strongest of all three proposals in both mission suitability and past performance. Boeing’s system offers the most useful inherent capabilities for operational flexibility in trading cargo and crew for individual missions. It is also based on a spacecraft design that is fairly mature in design.” He also points to Boeing’s “well-defined plan for addressing the specific issues from Phase 1,” and says of the three bidders Boeing “has the best management approach, with very comprehensive and integrated program management, and an effective organizational structure, further ensuring they will be able to accomplish the technical work in a manner that meets NASA’s standards.” Phase 1, the Certification Products Contract (CPC), covered hazard reports, plans for verification, validation and certification.
1/NASA wants to do same thing that is doing last 40 years to fly to Earth orbit, it is safe who is going to send astronauts on long trip without  assurance to bring them back.
2/NASA has plans for Mars trip but hopes it will be cancel, because it will be safer for NASA reputation not to do risky human endeavor  and blame congress for canceling mission because the cost  overrun.
3/Boeing spacecraft will not force them go farther, and let them focus on unmanned probes.
4/Spacex is building real hardware to leave Earth orbit and build it cheap. I think it scares lot of folks in NASA management.
5/Boeing spacecraft is paper craft. Spacex is real hardware that will be launch this month.
6/If Pad abort and January inflight abort will be successful, Spacex will have system ready to flight in February 2015.
7/If Boeing to start build today they will have something in 2-3 years.
8/Strange that NASA prefer paper before real hardware flying and testing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/14/2014 08:19 PM
Some congressmen ask Bolden, why not use Orion for commercial crew purposes?
http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/42165smith-to-bolden-why-not-orion-for-commercial-crew

Read the whole article - Smith and Pallazo (sp?) are saying replace one of the Commercial Crew vehicles with Orion. Then read Gerst's document - would they replace the "clearly superior" bid, regardless of cost? I am just old enough and cynical enough to think that this may be the opening shot in the battle for the ultimate dream of Congress (and some at NASA, and some on this site): two ways to get into space - in a Boeing capsule on top of a Lockheed launch vehicle, or in a Lockheed capsule on top of a Boeing launch vehicle.
wov ULA complete victory
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/14/2014 08:20 PM

Read the whole article - Smith and Pallazo (sp?) are saying replace one of the Commercial Crew vehicles with Orion. Then read Gerst's document - would they replace the "clearly superior" bid, regardless of cost? I am just old enough and cynical enough to think that this may be the opening shot in the battle for the ultimate dream of Congress (and some at NASA, and some on this site): two ways to get into space - in a Boeing capsule on top of a Lockheed launch vehicle, or in a Lockheed capsule on top of a Boeing launch vehicle.

Ha!  I think that would be the official death of any hope for NASA.  The way I see it, the $2.6 billion or whatever it is going to SpaceX is the only ray of hope right now in an otherwise hopelessly aimless agency that seems to exist more for political pork than for advancing aeronautics or space exploration.
amen
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: JasonAW3 on 10/14/2014 09:14 PM
1/NASA wants to do same thing that is doing last 40 years to fly to Earth orbit, it is safe who is going to send astronauts on long trip without  assurance to bring them back.
2/NASA has plans for Mars trip but hopes it will be cancel, because it will be safer for NASA reputation not to do risky human endeavor  and blame congress for canceling mission because the cost  overrun.
3/Boeing spacecraft will not force them go farther, and let them focus on unmanned probes.
4/Spacex is building real hardware to leave Earth orbit and build it cheap. I think it scares lot of folks in NASA management.
5/Boeing spacecraft is paper craft. Spacex is real hardware that will be launch this month.
6/If Pad abort and January inflight abort will be successful, Spacex will have system ready to flight in February 2015.
7/If Boeing to start build today they will have something in 2-3 years.
8/Strange that NASA prefer paper before real hardware flying and testing.

Also odd that the only other conmpetator, who actually has a flight tested article, (Although not into orbit yet) was the one who got shafted, as Boeing has mockups, but no real flight testable article.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/14/2014 09:46 PM

Also odd that the only other conmpetator, who actually has a flight tested article, (Although not into orbit yet) was the one who got shafted, as Boeing has mockups, but no real flight testable article.

Wrong.  Boeing did parachute drops.  Just drop the bias, SNC is way behind Boeing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/14/2014 10:02 PM

Also odd that the only other conmpetator, who actually has a flight tested article, (Although not into orbit yet) was the one who got shafted, as Boeing has mockups, but no real flight testable article.

Wrong.  Boeing did parachute drops.  Just drop the bias, SNC is way behind Boeing.

.. of a Styrofoam and plywood mockup. Don't forget, their subcontractor also dropped it off the back of a pickup truck to test the airbags. Soooo much more impressive than a glide test.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/14/2014 10:06 PM
[1/NASA wants to do same thing that is doing last 40 years to fly to Earth orbit, it is safe who is going to send astronauts on long trip without  assurance to bring them back.
No that is what Congress wants them to do.  NASA had plans they are just stuck in the funding model that Congress has provided. 
 
2/NASA has plans for Mars trip but hopes it will be cancel, because it will be safer for NASA reputation not to do risky human endeavor  and blame congress for canceling mission because the cost  overrun.

Really?  That is the first to hear that NASA hopes that the Mars trip will be canceled.  Any evidence besides Congres not funding a Mars Trip? 

3/Boeing spacecraft will not force them go farther, and let them focus on unmanned probes.

The point of the Boeing spacecraft and the entire Commerical Crew contract is to go to LEO and the ISS.  Discussing going further is pointless.  The only Capsule design that can go BEO is SpaceX DragonV2.   Are you saying the DreamChaser has BEO capability as designed?

4/Spacex is building real hardware to leave Earth orbit and build it cheap. I think it scares lot of folks in NASA management.

A possibility but NASA still gave SpaceX high marks and selected them. 

5/Boeing spacecraft is paper craft. Spacex is real hardware that will be launch this month.

How is that relevant?  Boeing has meet all the current milestone goals that NASA has set for them as part of the Commerical crew contract process. 

6/If Pad abort and January inflight abort will be successful, Spacex will have system ready to flight in February 2015.

Yes and if SpaceX does that it will be what the first time they will actually meet a projected scheduled completion date for development of a flight vehicle.  They missed on Falcon 9, 9v1.1, Dragon and they what are two +years late on Falcon Heavy and counting.  It will be great if SpaceX can get a vehicle up and flight ready by 2015.  However if they are actually that close to being flight ready (February 2015) then their is almost no development left to be done on DragonV2.  I don't think that is the case.   Crewed spacecraft are complicated and I have a hard time seeing a flight ready system in February of next year.  I would love to be proven wrong. 

Quote
Despite SpaceX only showing “satisfactory” performance during CPC, Gerstenmaier says the young space company has “performed very well” on other relevant work and has the benefit of more schedule margin than the other companies.

This could indicate that NASA does believe that SpaceX is ahead of Boeing.

Quote
Space X had the best price of the three contenders and Gerstenmaier expressed a “high” overall level of confidence in the company’s ability to successfully perform the CctCap contract. However he acknowledged “some technical concerns about this proposal,” and worries that the schedule could be affected by having to tackle redesign issues late in the program.


However NASA is concerned that design issues (probably because of SpaceX's limited experience in manned spaceflight) could set that schedule back. 


7/If Boeing to start build today they will have something in 2-3 years.

What matters is if Boeing meets the scheduled completion dates that they set out in the Commerical Crew proposal that they submitted to NASA.  If SpaceX meets its hardware goals first, that is great for SpaceX.  They can start to demonstrate to NASA and aerospace observers they can meet or beat scheduled dates for getting a vehicle flight ready.  However based on past experience NASA administrators feel that Boeing has a greater chance of meeting it's proposed project schedule dates than SpaceX.   

8/Strange that NASA prefer paper before real hardware flying and testing.

NASA prefers a partner with with previous manned spacecraft experience.  SpaceX and SNC don't have this.  Hopefully SpaceX will have this experience soon.  Also the SNC Dream Chaser had more technical risk in their design than either the Boeing or SpaceX.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/14/2014 10:09 PM
There are no "deadlines" for the commercial crew contracts.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/14/2014 10:14 PM
There are no "deadlines" for the commercial crew contracts.

Except for the goal of being full flight ready by 2017 so additional Soyuz seats don't have to be purchased. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/14/2014 10:24 PM
There are no "deadlines" for the commercial crew contracts.

Except for the goal of being full flight ready by 2017 so additional Soyuz seats don't have to be purchased.

Which isn't a deadline.. it's just a desire.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/14/2014 10:38 PM
There are no "deadlines" for the commercial crew contracts.

Except for the goal of being full flight ready by 2017 so additional Soyuz seats don't have to be purchased.

Which isn't a deadline.. it's just a desire.

There was a project plan submitted and that project plan had dates on it.  The companies submitted a schedule.  That schedule factored into the decision making process.  So it was more than a desire.  The companies where graded on it.       

Quote
Gerstenmaier goes on to say that Sierra’s proposal “has more schedule uncertainty. For example, some of the testing planned after the crewed flight could be required before the crewed flight, and the impact of this movement will greatly stress the schedule.”


Quote
Although the document praises Sierra’s “strong management approach to ensure the technical work and schedule are accomplished,” it cautions that the company’s Dream Chaser had “the longest schedule for completing certification.” The letter also states that “it also has the most work to accomplish which is likely to further extend its schedule beyond 2017, and is most likely to reach certification and begin service missions later than the other ‘Offerors’.”
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/14/2014 10:41 PM
so.. just curious.. what do you think a deadline is?

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/14/2014 10:48 PM
so.. just curious.. what do you think a deadline is?

I will freely admit I was intermixing to much deadline and schedule dates, my apologies.  The proposals included a schedule with dates attached.  You are correct, no specific deadlines from NASA in the project that would include financial penalties( or other penalties) for not meeting those deadlines.  However NASA did look at the proposed completion dates in the schedule that was submitted as part of each companies schedule.  However NASA is fully aware that funding issues could cause those dates to slip so it would be pointless to set a deadline.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: mkent on 10/14/2014 11:44 PM
You are right,but tell me any big old company(Boeing, Lockheed,.ATK,..) got it project from NASA and defense budget and was done on budget.

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
E/A-18G Growler
C-17 Globemaster III for the last 20 years
CH-47F Chinook
AH-64 Block III Apache
JDAM
SDB
Atlas V
Delta IV Heavy
WGS

I believe these were as well:

GPS IIF
TDRS

You will not find such project.

I found ten (maybe 12).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/14/2014 11:56 PM
You will not find such project.

I found ten (maybe 12).

You must be using some definition of "on budget" that the rest of us are not privy to. Boeing and Lockheed wouldn't agree with your list, they regularly talk about the losses they took on some of those projects for going overbudget.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/15/2014 12:09 AM

You are right,but tell me any big old company(Boeing, Lockheed,.ATK,..) got it project from NASA and defense budget and was done on budget. You will not find such project. 

You are very mistaken and must be overlooking data that greatly conflicts with your incorrect statement.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/15/2014 12:10 AM

wov ULA complete victory

Wrong, Boeing and Lockheed do not build launch vehicles.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/15/2014 12:11 AM
Read the whole article - Smith and Pallazo (sp?) are saying replace one of the Commercial Crew vehicles with Orion. Then read Gerst's document - would they replace the "clearly superior" bid, regardless of cost? I am just old enough and cynical enough to think that this may be the opening shot in the battle for the ultimate dream of Congress (and some at NASA, and some on this site): two ways to get into space - in a Boeing capsule on top of a Lockheed launch vehicle, or in a Lockheed capsule on top of a Boeing launch vehicle.

Nonsense and what Lockheed launch vehicle?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: mkent on 10/15/2014 12:32 AM
3/Boeing spacecraft will not force them go farther, and let them focus on unmanned probes.
4/Spacex is building real hardware to leave Earth orbit and build it cheap. I think it scares lot of folks in NASA management.
5/Boeing spacecraft is paper craft. Spacex is real hardware that will be launch this month.
6/If Pad abort and January inflight abort will be successful, Spacex will have system ready to flight in February 2015.
7/If Boeing to start build today they will have something in 2-3 years.
8/Strange that NASA prefer paper before real hardware flying and testing.

3/ Boeing's CST-100 is nearly as capable BLEO as SpaceX's Dragon 2.  The only difference is Dragon 2's thicker heat shield, which is irrelevant to the CCtCap contract.  Boeing could easily thicken the heat shield on the CST-100 were it not for the dead weight and the fact that it's completely unnecessary.

4/ Both Dragon 2 and CST-100 will need significant (and almost identical) modifications to go BLEO.

5/ Boeing's design has passed CDR, something SpaceX's design has yet to do.  Sierra Nevada's design is years away from that milestone.  That puts Boeing ahead of SpaceX and Sierra Nevada in this competition.  SpaceX has no plans to launch anything this month.

6/ No, it will not.  Elon Musk himself has stated that Dragon 2 won't take its first manned flight until late 2016, though he said with the usual delays it may slip to mid 2017.

7/ Mid 2017 is the same time as Boeing.

8/ Boeing has tested more real hardware than Sierra Nevada.  Sierra had one flight of their Engineering Test Article to test its landing characteristics, and that ended badly.  They are now about 1-1/2 years late on their additional flight tests.  Boeing, meanwhile, completed their landing tests years ago.  They are the only one of the three competitors to have done so.

Boeing completed all of its milestones and did so on time.  That's why they won and why they were rated the highest by NASA.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/15/2014 12:36 AM
1/NASA wants to do same thing that is doing last 40 years to fly to Earth orbit, it is safe who is going to send astronauts on long trip without  assurance to bring them back.
2/NASA has plans for Mars trip but hopes it will be cancel, because it will be safer for NASA reputation not to do risky human endeavor  and blame congress for canceling mission because the cost  overrun.
3/Boeing spacecraft will not force them go farther, and let them focus on unmanned probes.
4/Spacex is building real hardware to leave Earth orbit and build it cheap. I think it scares lot of folks in NASA management.
5/Boeing spacecraft is paper craft. Spacex is real hardware that will be launch this month.
6/If Pad abort and January inflight abort will be successful, Spacex will have system ready to flight in February 2015.
7/If Boeing to start build today they will have something in 2-3 years.
8/Strange that NASA prefer paper before real hardware flying and testing.

Also odd that the only other conmpetator, who actually has a flight tested article, (Although not into orbit yet) was the one who got shafted, as Boeing has mockups, but no real flight testable article.

Hmmm, could it be possible that Boeing focused on what was critical to advance the program and not a test that looked cool (and admittedly captured a lot of people's imagination) but maybe not as critical to achieving their goal?  And which, if people will recall did not end well.  And recall one of the milestones of CCDev2 was to test the landing gear.  So what confidence does that provide? 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: mkent on 10/15/2014 12:36 AM
You will not find such project.

I found ten (maybe 12).

You must be using some definition of "on budget" that the rest of us are not privy to. Boeing and Lockheed wouldn't agree with your list, they regularly talk about the losses they took on some of those projects for going overbudget.

If you disagree with my list, then name a program on that list that is over budget.  I bet you can't (except for the ones I weaseled with a "believe.")

Hint: Most of these, if not all of them, were firm, fixed-price contracts.

Edited to add hint (and to test the editing process).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/15/2014 12:37 AM

Also odd that the only other conmpetator, who actually has a flight tested article, (Although not into orbit yet) was the one who got shafted, as Boeing has mockups, but no real flight testable article.

Wrong.  Boeing did parachute drops.  Just drop the bias, SNC is way behind Boeing.

.. of a Styrofoam and plywood mockup. Don't forget, their subcontractor also dropped it off the back of a pickup truck to test the airbags. Soooo much more impressive than a glide test.

I assume you are being facetious, but it was a full boilerplate, not plywood.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: mkent on 10/15/2014 12:40 AM
Also odd that the only other conmpetator, who actually has a flight tested article, (Although not into orbit yet) was the one who got shafted, as Boeing has mockups, but no real flight testable article.

Hmmm, could it be possible that Boeing focused on what was critical to advance the program and not a test that looked cool (and admittedly captured a lot of people's imagination) but maybe not as critical to achieving their goal?  And which, if people will recall did not end well.  And recall one of the milestones of CCDev2 was to test the landing gear.  So what confidence does that provide?

Exactly.  The purpose of the CCiCap contract was to take an integrated crew launch / return capability through CDR.  That's exactly what Boeing did and their competitors did not by the the time of contract award.  SpaceX almost did, which is why they got the second award.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/15/2014 12:44 AM
You are right,but tell me any big old company(Boeing, Lockheed,.ATK,..) got it project from NASA and defense budget and was done on budget.

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
E/A-18G Growler
C-17 Globemaster III for the last 20 years modified YC-15
CH-47F Chinook
AH-64 Block III Apache
JDAM
SDB
Atlas V
Delta IV Heavy
WGS

I believe these were as well:

GPS IIF
TDRS

You will not find such project.

I found ten (maybe 12).
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet ... modified F18(not new airplane)
E/A-18G Growler           ... modified F18(not new airplane)
C-17 Globemaster III for the last 20 years, modify YC-15
CH-47F Chinook was not develop in last 35 years
AH-64 Block III Apache..upgrade of original vehicle(not new aircraft)
JDAM..not aircraft, dumb munition
SDB...not aircraft, dumb munition
Atlas V...... cost launch is more than was promise
Delta IV Heavy...... cost launch is more than was promise
WGS...not aircraft,
GPS IIF..upgraded GPS satellite
TDRS.. it was upgrade satellite for NASA purposes
Even if you find some example ratio will be at least 10 overruns for 1 program une budget.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/15/2014 12:45 AM
I assume you are being facetious, but it was a full boilerplate, not plywood.

Actually no. I know the people who did it. They've made no secret of the fact that it was just a mockup. Boeing has yet to build an integrated vehicle. I keep asking for people who think Boeing has done more than component level testing to show us some evidence but they haven't so far. They certainly haven't been paid for any such work yet under a NASA contract.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/15/2014 12:47 AM

You are right,but tell me any big old company(Boeing, Lockheed,.ATK,..) got it project from NASA and defense budget and was done on budget. You will not find such project. 

You are very mistaken and must be overlooking data that greatly conflicts with your incorrect statement.
give me at least one new aircraft or spacecraft they deliver under original budget, I gave my list and if have time I will give very long list.  Please make facts decide merit.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Atomic Walrus on 10/15/2014 01:02 AM
What was the last complex new aerospace vehicle built by anybody that was delivered on time and on budget?  You've been presented with a list of projects that Boeing has completed on time and budget, which under any reasonable standard represents a degree of competency in engineering management.  How do SpaceX and SNC fare under your standard?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/15/2014 01:09 AM
3/Boeing spacecraft will not force them go farther, and let them focus on unmanned probes.
4/Spacex is building real hardware to leave Earth orbit and build it cheap. I think it scares lot of folks in NASA management.
5/Boeing spacecraft is paper craft. Spacex is real hardware that will be launch this month.
6/If Pad abort and January inflight abort will be successful, Spacex will have system ready to flight in February 2015.
7/If Boeing to start build today they will have something in 2-3 years.
8/Strange that NASA prefer paper before real hardware flying and testing.

3/ Boeing's CST-100 is nearly as capable BLEO as SpaceX's Dragon 2.  The only difference is Dragon 2's thicker heat shield, which is irrelevant to the CCtCap contract.  Boeing could easily thicken the heat shield on the CST-100 were it not for the dead weight and the fact that it's completely unnecessary.

4/ Both Dragon 2 and CST-100 will need significant (and almost identical) modifications to go BLEO.

5/ Boeing's design has passed CDR, something SpaceX's design has yet to do.  Sierra Nevada's design is years away from that milestone.  That puts Boeing ahead of SpaceX and Sierra Nevada in this competition.  SpaceX has no plans to launch anything this month.

6/ No, it will not.  Elon Musk himself has stated that Dragon 2 won't take its first manned flight until late 2016, though he said with the usual delays it may slip to mid 2017.

7/ Mid 2017 is the same time as Boeing.

8/ Boeing has tested more real hardware than Sierra Nevada.  Sierra had one flight of their Engineering Test Article to test its landing characteristics, and that ended badly.  They are now about 1-1/2 years late on their additional flight tests.  Boeing, meanwhile, completed their landing tests years ago.  They are the only one of the three competitors to have done so.

Boeing completed all of its milestones and did so on time.  That's why they won and why they were rated the highest by NASA.
3/...
heat shield, which is irrelevant to the CCtCap contract.  Boeing could easily thicken the heat shield on the CST-100 were it not for the dead weight and the fact that it's completely unnecessary.
They will testing power landing  in every landing event . Great exercise for Mars landing

4/ Both Dragon 2 and CST-100 will need significant (and almost identical) modifications to go BLEO.
Purpose of these spacecraft is not to fly 100 days and keep crew alive, but to land on Earth and on Mars. To keep alive crew on the way will be something more fit for that purpose, something like Bigelow modules.

5/ Boeing's design has passed CDR, something SpaceX's design has yet to do.  Sierra Nevada's design is years away from that milestone.  That puts Boeing ahead of SpaceX and Sierra Nevada in this competition.  SpaceX has no plans to launch anything this month.
What is better CDR or real hardware flying and testing capabilities?

6/ No, it will not.  Elon Musk himself has stated that Dragon 2 won't take its first manned flight until late 2016, though he said with the usual delays it may slip to mid 2017.
I said if inflight aboard will be successfully, the could fly Dragon 2 any day, if Falcon 9 available.

7/ Mid 2017 is the same time as Boeing.
If Boeing plan 2017, my calculated ration for their slip will be 2019.

8/ Boeing has tested more real hardware than Sierra Nevada.  Sierra had one flight of their Engineering Test Article to test its landing characteristics, and that ended badly.  They are now about 1-1/2 years late on their additional flight tests.  Boeing, meanwhile, completed their landing tests years ago.  They are the only one of the three competitors to have done so.
Landing of mockup you try to compare landing real hardware?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/15/2014 01:10 AM
There was never going to be a CC winner that “didn’t” have the name Boeing on it...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/15/2014 01:11 AM

give me at least one new aircraft or spacecraft they deliver under original budget, I gave my list a

Your list is bogus and wrong, so why should I bother?  Your mind is made up and facts won't change it.  You really don't know what you are talking about.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/15/2014 01:11 AM

Boeing completed all of its milestones and did so on time.  That's why they won and why they were rated the highest by NASA.

To be fair we don't know who was rated highest since we haven't seen the complete report which would show the overall scoring.  What has been partially leaked is more of the subjective parts like management competence etc.  I say partially because it seems like the leaks seem to be center around the subjective parts which leads me to believe that either Boeing or someone aligned with Boeing is doing the leaking.  SpaceX has been unusually quiet as this process unfolds. However the overall scoring would also take into account pricing.  I have not seen anything released that shows how pricing impacts the scoring.  Some people have interpreted that because Boeing got more money they won, which isn't really the case with this type of contract.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/15/2014 01:12 AM
What was the last complex new aerospace vehicle built by anybody that was delivered on time and on budget?  You've been presented with a list of projects that Boeing has completed on time and budget, which under any reasonable standard represents a degree of competency in engineering management.  How do SpaceX and SNC fare under your standard?

Welcome to the forum!

No-one is making this claim about SpaceX or SNC. They are making the claim about Boeing, as the primary reason why they were chosen over SNC. Apparently it's even non-controversial enough to be written into an official NASA document intended for public consumption. Doesn't seem too unreasonable to ask for a relevant example or two. That list of projects is, as I've already said, not even something Boeing with agree with, let alone relevant. If the Delta IV is anything to go by, and it's probably the most relevant example here as the same subcontractor/subsidiary is involved, we can expect a double blowout in budget, significant schedule slip and perhaps a corporate espionage case.
 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/15/2014 01:13 AM
There was never going to be a CC winner that “didn’t” have the name Boeing on it...

Unsubstantiated
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/15/2014 01:15 AM
What was the last complex new aerospace vehicle built by anybody that was delivered on time and on budget?  You've been presented with a list of projects that Boeing has completed on time and budget, which under any reasonable standard represents a degree of competency in engineering management.  How do SpaceX and SNC fare under your standard?
There is no aerospace project deliver on time. But we have two spacecraft Cygnus and Dragon deliver on budget.
Could you imagine if Boeing/Lockheed/.... will be solo contender, they will ask NASA for billions more and we will probably still not have commercial vehicle for ISS at this time.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/15/2014 01:17 AM

give me at least one new aircraft or spacecraft they deliver under original budget, I gave my list a

Your list is bogus and wrong, so why should I bother?  Your mind is made up and facts won't change it.  You really don't know what you are talking about.
Show me facts and save the word of condemnation.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/15/2014 01:19 AM

There is no aerospace project deliver on time.

False, there are many on that list.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/15/2014 01:21 AM

There is no aerospace project deliver on time.

False, there are many on that list.

Is there a relevant one? Is it animal or mineral?

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/15/2014 01:23 AM
There was never going to be a CC winner that “didn’t” have the name Boeing on it...

Unsubstantiated
Perhaps Jim, but could ever envision them losing with all their spacecraft legacy and on the reliable Atlas V?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/15/2014 01:28 AM
There was never going to be a CC winner that “didn’t” have the name Boeing on it...

Unsubstantiated
Perhaps Jim, but could ever envision them losing with all their spacecraft legacy and on the reliable Atlas V?

They came very close to pricing themselves out of the competition. Practically, they probably have. We'll have to wait and see how Congress responds.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/15/2014 01:32 AM
Have only just 30-40 additional years on the Earth to see landing on Mars. Spacex is only hope my dream to get fulfilled. Boeing/Lockheed.... didn't do any step foward to make it possible in last 45 years I was able to witness and react. If you are working for these companies and you think there is hope let me know and what can I do to help you.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/15/2014 01:32 AM
There was never going to be a CC winner that “didn’t” have the name Boeing on it...

Unsubstantiated
Perhaps Jim, but could ever envision them losing with all their spacecraft legacy and on the reliable Atlas V?

They came very close to pricing themselves out of the competition. Practically, they probably have. We'll have to wait and see how Congress responds.
Boeing knows how much the market will bear... Sure we’ll have see what Congress will do and they could just decide to fund one...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/15/2014 01:36 AM
Boeing knows how much the market will bear...

What market?

You mean they know how to get inside info on what the cutoffs are.. yeah, they do. They also managed to make the whole not-enough-skin-in-the-game problem go away.


Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/15/2014 01:42 AM
Boeing knows how much the market will bear...

What market?

You mean they know how to get inside info on what the cutoffs are.. yeah, they do. They also managed to make the whole not-enough-skin-in-the-game problem go away.
It’s just an expression as that they know their customers well be it NASA or DoD... I wouldn’t go so far as to accuse them of wrong doing...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/15/2014 02:05 AM
I assume you are being facetious, but it was a full boilerplate, not plywood.

Actually no. I know the people who did it. They've made no secret of the fact that it was just a mockup. Boeing has yet to build an integrated vehicle. I keep asking for people who think Boeing has done more than component level testing to show us some evidence but they haven't so far. They certainly haven't been paid for any such work yet under a NASA contract.
It would be quite damning for NASA to have assumed a boilerplate capsule representation when a plywood and foam was actually used. This is edging on to serious territory.

It might imply a "too cozy" relationship between vendor and agency. When this has been found to have happened before (at least with the AF), heads rolled, contracts changed/lost, and the reporters filed juicy stories for a few years.

One of the advantages of long relationships with industry contractors is that they know what an agency needs and how to supply it, so its a selection that makes life easy at an agency, because of such "impedance matches". It's a lot harder when you have to train a vendor, get them up to speed, and deal with the misses along the way as additional schedule/program risk.

The disadvantages might be that one tends to presume too much in the too easy relationship sometimes.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/15/2014 02:11 AM
It would be quite damning for NASA to have assumed a boilerplate capsule representation when a plywood and foam was actually used.

What? When did NASA assume anything about it? The only drop tests of CST-100 that I'm aware of are the component level parachute tests. They could have used a stack of bricks and it would have been just as valid.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Prober on 10/15/2014 02:20 AM
brovane mentioned this quote from the leaked source selection document:


NASA has a leak?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/15/2014 02:23 AM
It would be quite damning for NASA to have assumed a boilerplate capsule representation when a plywood and foam was actually used.

What? When did NASA assume anything about it? The only drop tests of CST-100 that I'm aware of are the component level parachute tests. They could have used a stack of bricks and it would have been just as valid.

The answer is - it depends on the representations to the agency and how they were expressed in internal reports and publications. We're not talking contracts here, but the workings of institutions and their own "administrative" law, so to speak.

Not like companies.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/15/2014 03:08 AM
What was the last complex new aerospace vehicle built by anybody that was delivered on time and on budget?  You've been presented with a list of projects that Boeing has completed on time and budget, which under any reasonable standard represents a degree of competency in engineering management.  How do SpaceX and SNC fare under your standard?
There is no aerospace project deliver on time. But we have two spacecraft Cygnus and Dragon deliver on budget.
Could you imagine if Boeing/Lockheed/.... will be solo contender, they will ask NASA for billions more and we will probably still not have commercial vehicle for ISS at this time.

You are comparing fixed priced contracting to cost-plus contracting with is comparing Apples to Oranges. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/15/2014 03:11 AM
What was the last complex new aerospace vehicle built by anybody that was delivered on time and on budget?  You've been presented with a list of projects that Boeing has completed on time and budget, which under any reasonable standard represents a degree of competency in engineering management.  How do SpaceX and SNC fare under your standard?
There is no aerospace project deliver on time. But we have two spacecraft Cygnus and Dragon deliver on budget.
Could you imagine if Boeing/Lockheed/.... will be solo contender, they will ask NASA for billions more and we will probably still not have commercial vehicle for ISS at this time.

You are comparing fixed priced contracting to cost-plus contracting with is comparing Apples to Oranges.
Right, but the point still stands. Boeing kind of prefers that contracting style, SpaceX (and perhaps Orbital?) kind of hate it.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 10/15/2014 03:13 AM

There is no aerospace project deliver on time.
A good fraction of the interplanetary missions are delivered on time (since missing the launch window requires a long wait).   For the latest example, see MAVEN, selected in 2008 ( http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars/news/maven_20080915.html ) for launch in the 2013 Mars window, which it hit.  See also MOM from India, same window.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/15/2014 03:24 AM
No-one is making this claim about SpaceX or SNC. They are making the claim about Boeing, as the primary reason why they were chosen over SNC. Apparently it's even non-controversial enough to be written into an official NASA document intended for public consumption. Doesn't seem too unreasonable to ask for a relevant example or two. That list of projects is, as I've already said, not even something Boeing with agree with, let alone relevant. If the Delta IV is anything to go by, and it's probably the most relevant example here as the same subcontractor/subsidiary is involved, we can expect a double blowout in budget, significant schedule slip and perhaps a corporate espionage case.

That is fairly hard because of how govt cost plus contracting works.  If I have a project to deliver first production examples of say a Fighter to the USAF by X-date.  If Congress decides to cut the budget and the USAF stretches out the delivery time from  so the project is now delivery time is stretched out by three more years, whose fault is that?  I would hold it against the contracted company.  Of if USAF decides I need to change the design and this stretches out the date.   

This is the problem with the murky world of cost-plus because nobody is really held accountable when dates are missed or cost overruns.  That being said NASA has experience with Boeing's project management abilities.  The successful development of a aerospace equipment fighter, bomber, airliner, launch vehicle or space capsule is more about project management abilities than anything else.  You can have the best engineers in the world but if you don't have effective project management they will be wasted.  The most challenging task of the  Apollo program was more about project management of Billion dollar projects than anything else.  Judging by some of the language in the documents that have been leaked to the press.  NASA has high marks for Boeing's project management ability to manage multi-billion dollar projects to develop aerospace vehicles.   

 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/15/2014 03:26 AM

Right, but the point still stands. Boeing kind of prefers that contracting style, SpaceX (and perhaps Orbital?) kind of hate it.

To me it really doesn't because that has been the preferred style of NASA and most govt contracts for that matter, cost-plus.  Especially when you are developing a new vehicle. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/15/2014 03:38 AM
So you admit there's no example and therefore the subjective bias of certain people at NASA to prefer Boeing's project management over others is unsubstantiated. On the other hand, I bet ya can't even name an SNC project, let alone one that was affected by poor project management. I know the goal here is to cast SNC as a hip new company that throws out traditional project management and flies by the seat of it's metaphorical pants, but the fact is SNC is a boring government contractor just like Boeing, with all the same waterfall/spiral/eight-layers-of-management baggage that is a prerequisite of getting contracts to make systems to guide bombs and soldiers into war zones. While it's true that Boeing is 50 years older than SNC, it's the 50 years before Yuri Gagarin flew.. but don't worry, I'm sure someone will be by to point out why the 247, 314 and B-17 are totally relevant examples of Boeing's superiority over SNC.


Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/15/2014 03:38 AM

Right, but the point still stands. Boeing kind of prefers that contracting style, SpaceX (and perhaps Orbital?) kind of hate it.

To me it really doesn't because that has been the preferred style of NASA and most govt contracts for that matter, cost-plus.  Especially when you are developing a new vehicle.
Right. But that also kind of defeats the whole purpose of the word "commercial" in commercial crew. It's not SUPPOSED to be the same contracting style, the same lack of skin in the game, the same lack of any other market, the same old management style, etc.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 10/15/2014 03:58 AM
brovane mentioned this quote from the leaked source selection document:

NASA has a leak?

Hah! A sieve has holes?

Seriously I said nothing about the source of the leak. Only that a media reporter has a document which has not been made available to the public. The relevant quote from that document asserted Boeing has, "very comprehensive and integrated program management."

I'm not sure all participants in this discussion have the same understanding of the term, "program management." In addition to being a job title, it is a term of art. Rather like economics, put three program managers in a room together and you'll get four definitions of the job. (But for young engineers: if you have never had an opportunity to work on a project with a really good program manager, seek one out! The difference is like night and day.)

Also, if you're managing a project that has to have an external dependency on one or another program in development, choose to depend on the one that has the best program management. It will make your job so much easier!

That's what NASA's ISS/Commercial Crew integration leadership is doing by selecting Boeing: making their own job easier.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/15/2014 04:03 AM
Yeah, there's no doubt that there's more culture clash with SpaceX (or probably SNC) than Boeing, but that's hardly a good reason to pick Boeing over SNC or SpaceX.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: obi-wan on 10/15/2014 05:07 AM

wov ULA complete victory

Wrong, Boeing and Lockheed do not build launch vehicles.

Wrong, commercial (and international) launches on Atlas are managed by Lockheed-Martin Commercial Launch Services, not ULA, just as commercial launches on Delta are managed by Boeing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Atomic Walrus on 10/15/2014 06:04 AM
If you want to stay in business for any length of time as an aerospace contractor, cost plus makes sense.  Fixed price makes sense if you're doing something well understood with clear, firm requirements.  On the other hand, if you're dealing with a customer who constantly changes requirements, you're taking a lot of risk.  Same goes for a program with a lot of technical risk - hard to bid a fixed price when you don't know what you're signing up for.  Cost plus can even be a better deal for the customer - contractors don't have to pad their quotes to hedge risk, and you reduce the risk of them going out of business in the middle of a program because they bid low.  Of course, you're always going to have business people trying to maximize revenue as well.  That's why the customer also needs strong management and requirements.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/15/2014 08:31 AM
What was the last complex new aerospace vehicle built by anybody that was delivered on time and on budget?  You've been presented with a list of projects that Boeing has completed on time and budget, which under any reasonable standard represents a degree of competency in engineering management.  How do SpaceX and SNC fare under your standard?
There is no aerospace project deliver on time. But we have two spacecraft Cygnus and Dragon deliver on budget.
Could you imagine if Boeing/Lockheed/.... will be solo contender, they will ask NASA for billions more and we will probably still not have commercial vehicle for ISS at this time.

You are comparing fixed priced contracting to cost-plus contracting with is comparing Apples to Oranges.
Work in IT with one  of big five company for years.The goal was not deliver  solution that will move thing forward. But commit  as less delivery could be done  and still get project and lower risk to be able to deliver on time and budget. Customer was stuck with something that works, but didn't move thing forward.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/15/2014 08:40 AM
If you want to stay in business for any length of time as an aerospace contractor, cost plus makes sense.  Fixed price makes sense if you're doing something well understood with clear, firm requirements.  On the other hand, if you're dealing with a customer who constantly changes requirements, you're taking a lot of risk.  Same goes for a program with a lot of technical risk - hard to bid a fixed price when you don't know what you're signing up for.  Cost plus can even be a better deal for the customer - contractors don't have to pad their quotes to hedge risk, and you reduce the risk of them going out of business in the middle of a program because they bid low.  Of course, you're always going to have business people trying to maximize revenue as well.  That's why the customer also needs strong management and requirements.
Most of the project budget overrun cause not by changing requirement,but with the dealing to achieve what was promised and modification that change original plan to achieve it. Troubles during design are not very good handle by big company and cost lot of additional money. Think about catcher/basket for curiosity,it was cancel because required additional several tens of millions dollar.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 10/15/2014 11:37 AM
In addition to being a job title, it [program management] is a term of art. [...] (But for young engineers: if you have never had an opportunity to work on a project with a really good program manager, seek one out! The difference is like night and day.)
I second and third this comment, which is the most useful observation on this thread by far!

Quote
Also, if you're managing a project that has to have an external dependency on one or another program in development, choose to depend on the one that has the best program management. It will make your job so much easier!

That's what NASA's ISS/Commercial Crew integration leadership is doing by selecting Boeing: making their own job easier.
This is my suspicion as well.  Also, as many have pointed out, they have done this before.  Sometime well, and sometimes poorly, but they've done many projects of this size.  They are not likely to run into "unknown unknowns" and have likely reserved enough money to resolve the "known unknowns", due to a combination of their experience, a conservative design, and a generous budget margin.

In contrast, SpaceX and SNC are relative newcomers to projects of this size.   The biggest SpaceX project was presumably commercial cargo at $1.6B (but this is extremely relevant experience, clearly).  What is the largest project ever done by SNC? (Not a rhetorical question - I'm asking since I'm not familiar with SNC's business.)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/15/2014 11:44 AM
In contrast, SpaceX and SNC are relative newcomers to projects of this size.   [..]  What is the largest project ever done by SNC? (Not a rhetorical question - I'm asking since I'm not familiar with SNC's business.)

I applaud your humility at the end there, it's a shame you didn't rethink your entire comment from that perspective. SNC are a 53 year old aerospace company.. this is not their first BBQ.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 10/15/2014 12:39 PM

wov ULA complete victory

Wrong, Boeing and Lockheed do not build launch vehicles.

Wrong, commercial (and international) launches on Atlas are managed by Lockheed-Martin Commercial Launch Services, not ULA, just as commercial launches on Delta are managed by Boeing.
What letter of the word 'build' were you unable to parse?
Building rockets is quite different from managing launches.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 10/15/2014 01:13 PM
In contrast, SpaceX and SNC are relative newcomers to projects of this size.   [..]  What is the largest project ever done by SNC? (Not a rhetorical question - I'm asking since I'm not familiar with SNC's business.)

SNC are a 53 year old aerospace company.. this is not their first BBQ.

That much I knew.  What I did not (and do not) know is their experience, and track record, in managing large projects.  The largest one I could find, apart from DC, was the "Gorgon Stare" project.  One article ( http://www.wired.com/2009/02/gorgon-stare/ )as of 2009 said this was to be a $150M project, but a 2011 article ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/24/AR2011012406320.html ) stated that the project cost was $426M as of 2011, and at that time was not working well.   But as of 2014 they were still involved with a later version (http://www.uasvision.com/2014/07/04/increment-2-gorgon-stare-gets-operational-clearance-from-usaf/) so there should be some history here.

And they must have done other large projects.  What were they, and how did they turn out? 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/15/2014 02:00 PM
I keep saying that I will reserve judgment until I see the full selection statement. But I must admit that the parts of the selection statement that we have seen so far do not justify NASA paying almost twice as much for the CST-100 as Dragon 2. Gerst only says "it's worth it". That's the kind of thing people say when they splurged and bought the most expensive model (TV, car, etc.) there was. You can't really justify it so you try to convince yourself that all of the (useless) extra bells and whistles are worth the extra price that you paid. I can't think of 900,000 reasons why NASA should have preferred SNC's proposal over Boeing's.

The fact that NASA goes as far as saying that Boeing had a better proposal than SpaceX despite the higher price is adding insult to injury. It's obvious that Boeing does things the way NASA likes them but the whole point of commercial crew is trying a different approach. If commercial crew had really been commercial, NASA would have selected the two cheapest proposals.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Nindalf on 10/15/2014 02:23 PM
I keep saying that I will reserve judgment until I see the full selection statement. But I must admit that the parts of the selection statement that we have seen so far do not justify NASA paying almost twice as much for the CST-100 as Dragon 2.
Once Dragon V2 was selected, the cost difference between CST-100 and Dragon V2 became irrelevant.

Of the three, Dragon V2 is the "no brainer": lowest price, just about to start abort tests, and they're already flying a version of the spacecraft regularly to the ISS.

If you're going to argue that CST-100 was overpriced, make comparisons with the Dream Chaser cost.  In this case, it's about 27% more, not "almost twice as much", and roughly the same proportional cost difference as between Dream Chaser and Dragon V2.

Furthermore, the actual difference in the price used for comparison is probably smaller than 27%, since the CST-100 is capable of additional services (station reboost, possibly additional cargo) which are (I'm pretty sure) included in the maximum contract value but not used in the price comparison.

It sounds like more when you say $900 million than when you say 27%, but it's just a big contract.  And I'm sure the real difference is going to be significantly less than 27% once the value of the additional services is revealed.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/15/2014 02:36 PM
Right. But that also kind of defeats the whole purpose of the word "commercial" in commercial crew. It's not SUPPOSED to be the same contracting style, the same lack of skin in the game, the same lack of any other market, the same old management style, etc.

I don't disagree.  Everybody is adjusting to these changes.  The problem is the people inside of NASA are used to old way of doing business, it is going to take several cycles of projects like these to change this institutional mindset.   This is a change in how NASA does business and you have interests outside of NASA and inside of NASA trying to make sure that this new way of business fails.  You don’t take an organization as large as NASA and just change people’s thinking that quickly. 

Edit/Lar: Fix quotes.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/15/2014 02:39 PM
I keep saying that I will reserve judgment until I see the full selection statement. But I must admit that the parts of the selection statement that we have seen so far do not justify NASA paying almost twice as much for the CST-100 as Dragon 2.
Once Dragon V2 was selected, the cost difference between CST-100 and Dragon V2 became irrelevant.

Of the three, Dragon V2 is the "no brainer": lowest price, just about to start abort tests, and they're already flying a version of the spacecraft regularly to the ISS.

If you're going to argue that CST-100 was overpriced, make comparisons with the Dream Chaser cost.  In this case, it's about 27% more, not "almost twice as much", and roughly the same proportional cost difference as between Dream Chaser and Dragon V2.

Furthermore, the actual difference in the price used for comparison is probably smaller than 27%, since the CST-100 is capable of additional services (station reboost, possibly additional cargo) which are (I'm pretty sure) included in the maximum contract value but not used in the price comparison.

It sounds like more when you say $900 million than when you say 27%, but it's just a big contract.  And I'm sure the real difference is going to be significantly less than 27% once the value of the additional services is revealed.

I agree with some of what you said. But Boeing came ahead of SpaceX too which bothers me as well. There is still talk in the House of downselecting to one commercial crew provider. If there is a downselection to one provider, it seems likely to be Boeing based on the CCtCap evaluation of the proposals. I am glad that there is still competition. But I wish NASA had selected the two cheapest proposals. If commercial crew had really been commercial from the outset, the two remaining companies would be SpaceX and Blue Origin. To me competition includes competition on prices. You could argue that DC should be more expensive because of its different capabilities. But I am not sure that the same case can be made for the CST-100.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/15/2014 03:11 PM
So you admit there's no example and therefore the subjective bias of certain people at NASA to prefer Boeing's project management over others is unsubstantiated. On the other hand, I bet ya can't even name an SNC project, let alone one that was affected by poor project management. I know the goal here is to cast SNC as a hip new company that throws out traditional project management and flies by the seat of it's metaphorical pants, but the fact is SNC is a boring government contractor just like Boeing, with all the same waterfall/spiral/eight-layers-of-management baggage that is a prerequisite of getting contracts to make systems to guide bombs and soldiers into war zones. While it's true that Boeing is 50 years older than SNC, it's the 50 years before Yuri Gagarin flew.. but don't worry, I'm sure someone will be by to point out why the 247, 314 and B-17 are totally relevant examples of Boeing's superiority over SNC.


We don’t know the exact reasons for the decision but the people doing the evaluation have access to a whole lot more information than we do.  These same people gave Boeing a higher ranking in project management than either SpaceX or SNC.  I don’t know the full details and if they will have to justify that ranking someplace in the evaluation document.  It will be enlightening if they have to and that justification is buried in a document and several months from now we will be able to read it and we can all slap or foreheads and say “we didn’t know that”.    NASA could have been very happy with Boeing’s management of the construction of several modules for the international space station.  If we wanted to look at recent experience.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/15/2014 03:16 PM

I agree with some of what you said. But Boeing came ahead of SpaceX too which bothers me as well. There is still talk in the House of downselecting to one commercial crew provider. If there is a downselection to one provider, it seems likely to be Boeing based on the CCtCap evaluation of the proposals. I am glad that there is still competition. But I wish NASA had selected the two cheapest proposals. If commercial crew had really been commercial from the outset, the two remaining companies would be SpaceX and Blue Origin. To me competition includes competition on prices. You could argue that DC should be more expensive because of its different capabilities. But I am not sure that the same case can be made for the CST-100.

The competition was also based on price.  Points where awarded on price and other items like project management, past experience etc.  I have to wonder when we see the articles in the WSJ etc that say that Boeing's proposal was ahead of both SpaceX and SNC if they are really reffering to just the more subjective parts of the proposal, and are leaving off price.  I hope at some point we can actually see the full document listing out the points in all areas including pricing.  To me the leaking of documentation keeps trying to show Boeing in the best light and SpaceX and SNC in the worse light.  Which makes me owner if Boeing supporters are the one's doing the leaking.  If that is the case would they actually show the document discussing pricing and points awarded because this wasn't Boeing's strong point of it's proposal?  I doubt it. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/15/2014 03:31 PM

I agree with some of what you said. But Boeing came ahead of SpaceX too which bothers me as well. There is still talk in the House of downselecting to one commercial crew provider. If there is a downselection to one provider, it seems likely to be Boeing based on the CCtCap evaluation of the proposals. I am glad that there is still competition. But I wish NASA had selected the two cheapest proposals. If commercial crew had really been commercial from the outset, the two remaining companies would be SpaceX and Blue Origin. To me competition includes competition on prices. You could argue that DC should be more expensive because of its different capabilities. But I am not sure that the same case can be made for the CST-100.

The competition was also based on price.  Points where awarded on price and other items like project management, past experience etc.  I have to wonder when we see the articles in the WSJ etc that say that Boeing's proposal was ahead of both SpaceX and SNC if they are really reffering to just the more subjective parts of the proposal, and are leaving off price.  I hope at some point we can actually see the full document listing out the points in all areas including pricing.  To me the leaking of documentation keeps trying to show Boeing in the best light and SpaceX and SNC in the worse light.  Which makes me owner if Boeing supporters are the one's doing the leaking.  If that is the case would they actually show the document discussing pricing and points awarded because this wasn't Boeing's strong point of it's proposal?  I doubt it.

AVWeek and the NYT had access to the entire selection statement according to their articles. But eventually the selection statement will be made public once SNC's protest has been resolved. I am not sure that I agree with the idea of not releasing the selection statement until after the protest is resolved.  I don't see why a protest should prevent NASA from releasing the selection statement. But that's the excuse that is being given for not releasing it.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/15/2014 05:32 PM
You are comparing fixed priced contracting to cost-plus contracting with is comparing Apples to Oranges.
Right, but the point still stands. Boeing kind of prefers that contracting style, SpaceX (and perhaps Orbital?) kind of hate it.

I wouldn't say that. Boeing has done many FFP.  TDRSS, every NASA Delta launch since 1992 and there are others.

Edit/Lar: fix quotes
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/15/2014 06:15 PM
You are comparing fixed priced contracting to cost-plus contracting with is comparing Apples to Oranges.
Right, but the point still stands. Boeing kind of prefers that contracting style, SpaceX (and perhaps Orbital?) kind of hate it.

I wouldn't say that. Boeing has done many FFP.  TDRSS, every NASA Delta launch since 1992 and there are others.
Boeing/LockMart haven't done HSF vehicles before on FFP.

Edit/Lar: Fix quotes
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/15/2014 06:31 PM
I assume you are being facetious, but it was a full boilerplate, not plywood.

Actually no. I know the people who did it. They've made no secret of the fact that it was just a mockup. Boeing has yet to build an integrated vehicle. I keep asking for people who think Boeing has done more than component level testing to show us some evidence but they haven't so far. They certainly haven't been paid for any such work yet under a NASA contract.

Right, I am not sure you understand what a boilerplate is - it is essentially a mockup.  Frequently it is just a mass simulator.  I was NOT a plywood boilderplate - it was metal.  You seem to have some misinformation.  And yes, no one ever tried to imply that it was anything other than that.  It was designed to test airbags and parachutes. 

Agree with you however, that as part of the {b] visible milestones [/b], Boeing only did component level testing.  Nothing wrong with that.   Recall NASA said to get to a crewed flight what are your most critical things to test to mitigate risk.  People have bashed Boeing for having a basic, nothing new system.  The advantage is their pinch points are not the same as others. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/15/2014 07:08 PM
I keep saying that I will reserve judgment until I see the full selection statement. But I must admit that the parts of the selection statement that we have seen so far do not justify NASA paying almost twice as much for the CST-100 as Dragon 2. Gerst only says "it's worth it". That's the kind of thing people say when they splurged and bought the most expensive model (TV, car, etc.) there was. You can't really justify it so you try to convince yourself that all of the (useless) extra bells and whistles are worth the extra price that you paid. I can't think of 900,000 reasons why NASA should have preferred SNC's proposal over Boeing's.

The fact that NASA goes as far as saying that Boeing had a better proposal than SpaceX despite the higher price is adding insult to injury. It's obvious that Boeing does things the way NASA likes them but the whole point of commercial crew is trying a different approach. If commercial crew had really been commercial, NASA would have selected the two cheapest proposals.
good point
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/15/2014 07:27 PM

Boeing/LockMart haven't done HSF vehicles before on FFP.

Boeing did Spacehab on FFP
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/15/2014 07:29 PM
If commercial crew had really been commercial, NASA would have selected the two cheapest proposals.

Not true.  Commercial does not always mean cheapest.  When I look for an item on Amazon, I just don't look at price, I look at the supplier ratings too.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/15/2014 07:40 PM

Boeing/LockMart haven't done HSF vehicles before on FFP.

Boeing did Spacehab on FFP
Not really a HSF vehicle. More like Dragon or Cygnus - occupied on orbit after checks, unoccupied ascent/reentry.

Entirely different issues as you well know.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/15/2014 08:00 PM
If commercial crew had really been commercial, NASA would have selected the two cheapest proposals.

Not true.  Commercial does not always mean cheapest.  When I look for an item on Amazon, I just don't look at price, I look at the supplier ratings too.

Right. But we are talking about 3 providers that had pretty good ratings. You would be willing to pay almost twice as much for half a star?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/15/2014 08:45 PM
If commercial crew had really been commercial, NASA would have selected the two cheapest proposals.

Not true.  Commercial does not always mean cheapest.  When I look for an item on Amazon, I just don't look at price, I look at the supplier ratings too.

Right. But we are talking about 3 providers that had pretty good ratings. You would be willing to pay almost twice as much for half a star?

One provider was new and only had a few ratings.  I don't trust new ones.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: CraigLieb on 10/15/2014 09:53 PM
The question isn't why they picked Boeing over SNC with the extra $900M cost of Boeing, but rather if they believed that SNC could complete their project at all with the fixed cost nature of the contract. 

Maybe paying Boeing the big bucks seemed safer especially with schedule drivers.  If unknown risks materialized in the Dreamchaser (engine change?, tile issues?, other unknown unknowns?), NASA would have to either let them fail, hope that SNC ponied up the required $resources$, or have to find ways to bail them out.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 10/15/2014 09:55 PM
If commercial crew had really been commercial, NASA would have selected the two cheapest proposals.

Not true.  Commercial does not always mean cheapest.  When I look for an item on Amazon, I just don't look at price, I look at the supplier ratings too.

Right. But we are talking about 3 providers that had pretty good ratings. You would be willing to pay almost twice as much for half a star?

One provider was new and only had a few ratings.  I don't trust new ones.
Hmmm...

I'm with Jim here.

For my business, I spend more on proven, typically more expensive tech to mitigate risks to my business. However I do cycle in less expensive and/or newer, less-proven tech from time to time for potential future efficiencies. But never exclusively. It's a process. It's a balance. The next couple of years will bring more clarity.

From a purely fan-in-the-seat perspective, it will be fascinating having Boeing and SpaceX, 2 extraordinarily different companies, going full-out to hit 2017. It's a great narrative.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/15/2014 10:26 PM

If commercial crew had really been commercial, NASA would have selected the two cheapest proposals.

Not true.  Commercial does not always mean cheapest.  When I look for an item on Amazon, I just don't look at price, I look at the supplier ratings too.

Right. But we are talking about 3 providers that had pretty good ratings. You would be willing to pay almost twice as much for half a star?

One provider was new and only had a few ratings.  I don't trust new ones.
Hmmm...

I'm with Jim here.

For my business, I spend more on proven, typically more expensive tech to mitigate risks to my business. However I do cycle in less expensive and/or newer, less-proven tech from time to time for potential future efficiencies. But never exclusively. It's a process. It's a balance. The next couple of years will bring more clarity.

From a purely fan-in-the-seat perspective, it will be fascinating having Boeing and SpaceX, 2 extraordinarily different companies, going full-out to hit 2017. It's a great narrative.
I totally concur. NASA did take one "risky" choice: Dragon 2. But it was not really all that more risky and really cheap. DreamChaser had a lot more inherent risks than the capsules. And the project was still less mature than the other competitors. And it was not the cheapest. And it was, indeed the riskiest of the three. And the execution performance during CCDev and CCiCap was a bit below the other two. In the end, it was a 20% cheaper option than Boeing's, with a lot of extra risks.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/15/2014 10:30 PM
If commercial crew had really been commercial, NASA would have selected the two cheapest proposals.

Not true.  Commercial does not always mean cheapest.  When I look for an item on Amazon, I just don't look at price, I look at the supplier ratings too.

Right. But we are talking about 3 providers that had pretty good ratings. You would be willing to pay almost twice as much for half a star?

One provider was new and only had a few ratings.  I don't trust new ones.

SpaceX isn't that new. It already has experience with cargo flights and has been very successful at it. In that sense, SpaceX has more experience than Boeing because it has already has a proven product with Dragon 1.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/15/2014 10:45 PM
I totally concur. NASA did take one "risky" choice: Dragon 2. But it was not really all that more risky and really cheap. DreamChaser had a lot more inherent risks than the capsules. And the project was still less mature than the other competitors. And it was not the cheapest. And it was, indeed the riskiest of the three. And the execution performance during CCDev and CCiCap was a bit below the other two. In the end, it was a 20% cheaper option than Boeing's, with a lot of extra risks.

When did Dragon 2 become risky? It's an upgrade to an existing capsule.

Besides you could argue that giving a contract to a company such as Boeing which is unwilling to put any skin in the game is risky from a financial point of view. The challenges to commercial crew so far have been mostly financial (not having enough funding from Congress), not technical.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TomH on 10/15/2014 11:21 PM
When did Dragon 2 become risky? It's an upgrade to an existing capsule

An upgrade that changes it from a cargo container into a human habitat with intricate life support systems. Though I was a DC fan, I do have to acknowledge that neither SNC nor SpaceX has ever flown humans into space before.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 10/15/2014 11:26 PM
I totally concur. NASA did take one "risky" choice: Dragon 2. But it was not really all that more risky and really cheap. DreamChaser had a lot more inherent risks than the capsules. And the project was still less mature than the other competitors. And it was not the cheapest. And it was, indeed the riskiest of the three. And the execution performance during CCDev and CCiCap was a bit below the other two. In the end, it was a 20% cheaper option than Boeing's, with a lot of extra risks.

When did Dragon 2 become risky? It's an upgrade to an existing capsule.

Besides you could argue that giving a contract to a company such as Boeing which is unwilling to put any skin in the game is risky from a financial point of view. The challenges to commercial crew so far have been mostly financial (not having enough funding from Congress), not technical.
It seems some of the challenges are indeed technical. NASA saw more technical and schedule risk with both SpaceX and SNC. The most with SNC, the least with Boeing and SpaceX was in between.

http://aviationweek.com/space/why-nasa-rejected-sierra-nevadas-commercial-crew-vehicle


 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ncb1397 on 10/15/2014 11:34 PM
When did Dragon 2 become risky? It's an upgrade to an existing capsule

An upgrade that changes it from a cargo container into a human habitat with intricate life support systems. Though I was a DC fan, I do have to acknowledge that neither SNC nor SpaceX has ever flown humans into space before.

It isn't long duration life support. I.E. it could be as simple as a CO2 scrubber. Didn't Apollo 13 rig up a setup using some ducktape and plastic bags and pieces from the LM and CM? Dragon v1 is already a human occupied spacecraft when attached to ISS. If the life support system doesn't work, and in an emergency, dragon can land pretty much anywhere land or sea. This is making a mountain out of a mole hill.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/16/2014 12:05 AM
When did Dragon 2 become risky? It's an upgrade to an existing capsule

An upgrade that changes it from a cargo container into a human habitat with intricate life support systems. Though I was a DC fan, I do have to acknowledge that neither SNC nor SpaceX has ever flown humans into space before.

If having flown humans in space had been a requirement, new new entrants would ever be allowed. Luckily that never was actually a requirement.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 10/16/2014 12:10 AM
We really don't know what technical issues there may or may not be.

It may be the ECLSS is the least of their challenges. I'd place my bet that the bolting of 4 clusters of SDs to the primary structure and associated plumbing, avionics control is giving them a run for their money. The abort keeps being pushed back and they still haven't passed their Primary Structure Qual milestone AFAIK. Maybe the new outer mold line accommodating the SDs is causing some issues. Perhaps the legs extending through the heat shield is causing challenges. Perhaps the avionics controlling the final landing burn is. Perhaps their newly designed docking adapter and operational cone. Hell, maybe they can't seem to keep the solar film attached to the trunk during MaxQ simulations.

This really is not a plug and play from cargo to crew. That ship sailed long ago.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: mkent on 10/16/2014 12:35 AM
(1) In contrast, SpaceX and SNC are relative newcomers to projects of this size.   [..]  What is the largest project ever done by SNC? (Not a rhetorical question - I'm asking since I'm not familiar with SNC's business.)

(2) I applaud your humility at the end there, it's a shame you didn't rethink your entire comment from that perspective. SNC are a 53 year old aerospace company.. this is not their first BBQ.

(1) The largest spacecraft Sierra Nevada has ever produced is the Orbcomm OG-2 minisatellite.  Even that had a Boeing communications payload (usually considered the most challenging part of a comsat).  The next biggest is the Chipsat microsatellite.  I don't think there is a third biggest.

(2) There's a big difference between supplying components for someone else's vehicle and developing the overall vehicle yourself.  Huge difference.  Like the difference between, say, Philco and Ford.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/16/2014 12:47 AM

When did Dragon 2 become risky? It's an upgrade to an existing capsule

An upgrade that changes it from a cargo container into a human habitat with intricate life support systems. Though I was a DC fan, I do have to acknowledge that neither SNC nor SpaceX has ever flown humans into space before.

It isn't long duration life support. I.E. it could be as simple as a CO2 scrubber. Didn't Apollo 13 rig up a setup using some ducktape and plastic bags and pieces from the LM and CM? Dragon v1 is already a human occupied spacecraft when attached to ISS. If the life support system doesn't work, and in an emergency, dragon can land pretty much anywhere land or sea. This is making a mountain out of a mole hill.
Apollo 13 adapted some CO2 filters from one CO2 scrubber to other. Nothing different from jumping one battery to another.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: mkent on 10/16/2014 12:48 AM

You are comparing fixed priced contracting to cost-plus contracting with is comparing Apples to Oranges.


Right, but the point still stands. Boeing kind of prefers that contracting style, SpaceX (and perhaps Orbital?) kind of hate it.

I wouldn't say that. Boeing has done many FFP.  TDRSS, every NASA Delta launch since 1992 and there are others.

Many others.  Many, if not most, of Boeing's big military contracts are firm fixed-price.  F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, E/A-18G Growler, CH-47F Chinook, KC-46A Pegasus, the new A-10 wing, JDAM, SDB, Delta IV Heavy, CCDEV, CCiCap, CCtCap.  I believe Block III Apache and WGS are as well.

On the last C-17 Globemaster contract Boeing offered the USAF a firm fixed-price contract for $152 million each, but the Air Force, under pressure from John McCain, turned them down, preferring a cost-plus contract for $175 million each.

Then there's all of their commercial airliner and commercial space work.

Cost-plus contracts have their place, but Boeing doesn't need them to make money in aerospace.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/16/2014 12:53 AM
When did Dragon 2 become risky? It's an upgrade to an existing capsule

An upgrade that changes it from a cargo container into a human habitat with intricate life support systems. Though I was a DC fan, I do have to acknowledge that neither SNC nor SpaceX has ever flown humans into space before.

It isn't long duration life support. I.E. it could be as simple as a CO2 scrubber. Didn't Apollo 13 rig up a setup using some ducktape and plastic bags and pieces from the LM and CM? Dragon v1 is already a human occupied spacecraft when attached to ISS. If the life support system doesn't work, and in an emergency, dragon can land pretty much anywhere land or sea. This is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

While any speculation of this being the issue or not is nearly meaningless... I did want to point out that it is not that trivial to uprate a vehicle.  Yes, a CO2 scrubber is a relatively simple thing.   Now you have to dehumidify and keep the temperature in a narrower band.  Means a more active cooling system.  Since you have humans you need more oxygen tanks and a way to fit/feed that into a spacesuit.  Those computers that were fine with redundancy for unmanned cargo now need to be MUCH more robust.  Your automated piloting system must now have a way for a pilot to fly manually.  Your comm systems needs more redundancy on the ground.  And so on and so on.  Each item in itself is not a deal breaker but it combines to add up to significant modifications.    SpaceX is definitely ahead of the game in having to be modifying a flying vehicle but it is significant work.  And from the articles, it sounds like maybe their design upgrades were not as well developed and the schedule was not as clearly defined with reliability as many people here seem to think.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/16/2014 12:57 AM

I totally concur. NASA did take one "risky" choice: Dragon 2. But it was not really all that more risky and really cheap. DreamChaser had a lot more inherent risks than the capsules. And the project was still less mature than the other competitors. And it was not the cheapest. And it was, indeed the riskiest of the three. And the execution performance during CCDev and CCiCap was a bit below the other two. In the end, it was a 20% cheaper option than Boeing's, with a lot of extra risks.

When did Dragon 2 become risky? It's an upgrade to an existing capsule.

Besides you could argue that giving a contract to a company such as Boeing which is unwilling to put any skin in the game is risky from a financial point of view. The challenges to commercial crew so far have been mostly financial (not having enough funding from Congress), not technical.
The riskiness level is extracted from the articles regarding NASA's opinion.
And yes, ECLSS, human interface, avionics, tolerances, redundancy, LAS, failure modes. All those things either don't apply or are much simpler with cargo crafts. Please remember that NASA is buying a certified service. This means that the contractor has to have the best plan to identify and mitigate risks. And I can think of no company with better track record for this than Boeing. In fact, the CCiCap performance seems to have been very important for NASA's management. The only company that hit its milestones on time was Boeing. SpaceX has had its delays and when reading about the ISS interface, you can see that they usually have an "optimist" attitude.
Regarding financial safety, the fact that Boeing didn't put much skin in the game actually means that they are doing a conservative budget. This is a fixed price contract and they sure don't want to put their own money. And if they had to, there's no other US with better financial capability to cover any excess costs in this contract.
You can look at it from many angles and Boeing is always going to be the less risky choice. You might want to question NASA risk aversion, But that's a whole different topic.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: AncientU on 10/16/2014 01:07 AM
The articles were opinion pieces that did not release the relevant source document.
You are entitled to accept their opinion, but the protest will do real fact finding.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: mkent on 10/16/2014 01:09 AM
One provider was new and only had a few ratings.  I don't trust new ones.

Hmmm...

I'm with Jim here.

For my business, I spend more on proven, typically more expensive tech to mitigate risks to my business. However I do cycle in less expensive and/or newer, less-proven tech from time to time for potential future efficiencies. But never exclusively. It's a process. It's a balance. The next couple of years will bring more clarity.

Exactly.  Mitigating risks is exactly what is in play here.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35728.msg1265759#msg1265759 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35728.msg1265759#msg1265759)

NASA's in a bind.  CCtCap is not an X-program.  They need commercial crew service in late 2017.  If that doesn't happen, they need to know by mid-2015 so they can begin negotiations with the Russians for extending Soyuz service.  Having the commercial crew contractor(s) unpredictably late risks the whole ISS.

So if NASA has only enough funds for one provider, it's got to be the low-risk provider.  That's Boeing.

If there enough funds for a second provider, they need to go with the low-cost provider (this needs to eventually be a purely commercial service for NASA to be able to afford their long-term plans).  That's SpaceX.

If there are enough funds for a third provider, it can be a high-risk / high-payoff provider.  That's Sierra Nevada (and others, but Sierra was more highly ranked in earlier competitions).

If you look at the downselections through the entire Commercial Crew process, NASA has pretty much followed this philosophy.  That's why Boeing, SpaceX, and Sierra Nevada were the final three, and why Boeing and SpaceX are the final two.  It's why the CCtCap contract provides guarranteed flights (to shorten the time table and thus reduce risk) and why if there end up being multiple providers at the end there will be a competition for additional flights.

Overall, excellent project management by NASA.  If only their other manned spaceflight programs were that well run.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Nindalf on 10/16/2014 01:13 AM
And from the articles, it sounds like maybe their design upgrades were not as well developed and the schedule was not as clearly defined with reliability as many people here seem to think.
Come on, now.  The articles are extremely one-sided.  Someone leaked this to specific people, with expectations of the kind of story that would be written, either because they knew their allegiances well enough to predict the bias, or because there was an agreement in exchange for the leak.

If the intent had been simply to share the truth, the whole document would be out on the internet.  Instead, we get this, "Trust us, it says Boeing is awesome and the other guys suck.  No you can't look for yourself."

We should treat any leak articles like an unofficial press release for whoever's favored in them, until the whole document's out.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Nindalf on 10/16/2014 02:01 AM
So if NASA has only enough funds for one provider, it's got to be the low-risk provider.  That's Boeing.
No, the low-risk provider is SpaceX.  The cozy familiar choice is Boeing, but that's little reason to expect them to deliver on time.  SpaceX has a vehicle operating now.  They're doing the abort tests of the crew version over the next couple of months.  They're obviously far out in front in everything but NASA paperwork.

If it's such an incredibly overwhelming priority to get an American crew launch option, they can stick some seats and suits in a cargo Dragon and launch in December.  It would be less risk than the average astronaut has accepted, historically, and probably wouldn't even double the risk of astronauts heading to spend months in their shirtsleeves in an aging space station.

So why isn't this option on the table?  Usual standards are to limit spending to under $10 million in taxpayer dollars to save one American life.  If delivering crew to the ISS is so important to American interests, they can let the astronauts bear some risk rather than spend years and billions of dollars on a chance of having a theoretically ideal system (which could still have very poor reliability in practice, since they're rushing to put people in them with a minimum of testing -- you only get something as trustworthy as Soyuz by exceeding a hundred flights of real experience, not by bureaucrats shuffling together impossible standards with launch fever and drawing a hand out of that deck).

If they need to launch in 2017, they can hope for Dragon V2 and fall back on cargo Dragon.  They can count on the bird in the hand, they can't count on some new vehicle being built to the highest standards ever applied to a crew vehicle within the next few years, no matter who's doing it.

They should be investing in the development of something meaningful in the long term, not throwing dump trucks of money at an ugly quick fix, because they do already have an ugly quick fix ready to go.  If they're going to fund multiple launch options, each should have compelling value.  None is a safer bet than Dragon V2.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/16/2014 02:32 AM

It isn't long duration life support. I.E. it could be as simple as a CO2 scrubber. Didn't Apollo 13 rig up a setup using some ducktape and plastic bags and pieces from the LM and CM?

No, they made an adapter so that a CM LIOH canister could be used with the LM environmental control system.  The rest of the system still had to operate
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/16/2014 02:43 AM
When did Dragon 2 become risky? It's an upgrade to an existing capsule

An upgrade that changes it from a cargo container into a human habitat with intricate life support systems. Though I was a DC fan, I do have to acknowledge that neither SNC nor SpaceX has ever flown humans into space before.
Dragon is part of a human habitat when docked to station and certainly has to maintain a comfortable, even temperature (as well as air circulation) and pressure. Much more than just a box.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/16/2014 02:57 AM
Boeing has more experience flying humans because [whole bunch of stuff in the 60s and other stuff that isn't relevant] and ISS modules. SpaceX has no experience flying humans because they've only flown ISS modules they actually built themselves and that go through ascent and that can manoeuvre under their own power in space. <- Totally reasonable and well thought out argument.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ncb1397 on 10/16/2014 03:26 AM

It isn't long duration life support. I.E. it could be as simple as a CO2 scrubber. Didn't Apollo 13 rig up a setup using some ducktape and plastic bags and pieces from the LM and CM?

No, they made an adapter so that a CM LIOH canister could be used with the LM environmental control system.  The rest of the system still had to operate

Pretty sure that is exactly what I said. Anyways, we aren't talking about lunar circumnavigation duration. Nothing here needs to be overcomplicated or more complicated than manned submersibles. Oxygen candles/oxygen masks are the backup. Anyways, about 19 cubic feet of oxygen at STP is consumed by 4 astronauts in 6 hours. Dragon v1 is 350 cubic feet or pressurized volume. Elon Musk's manned dragon setup of giving an astronaut an oxygen mask in v1 was actually more than what was required. In fact, absolutely nothing at all was required.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: the_other_Doug on 10/16/2014 04:06 AM
Speaking of the environmental control system (ECS), it's good to learn from history.  What seems like a very simple thing (oxygen and perhaps nitrogen bottles, some plumbing, regulators and fans, a lithium hydroxide canister system and a dehumidifier) don't seem all that complicated.

But the Mercury system, built by by a company named AiResearch which had made oxygen and cabin pressurization systems for a number of aircraft, had to be reworked many times before it was cleared for flight.  For Gemini, the engineers figured it would be easy -- just put in two proven Mercury systems, one on each side of the spacecraft to support the individual pilots.  They would switch back and forth between the right and left systems for maintaining the cabin atmosphere, and each system was individually capable of sustaining the one astronaut for which it was responsible.  But, to their surprise, it didn't work.  A combined system was needed to fit in the available space and to provide acceptable life support.  And it had to be modified even before Gemini flew to support EVA, something the planners originally thought they wouldn't have to worry about until the second half of the program.

Then when we got to Apollo, we had a bunch of experience on how to do it, right?  But the ECS for spacecraft 012 had to be removed and replaced so many times (the last being in December of 1966, IIRC) that the scuffing, pushing on wire bundles and stressing the piping it caused was considered to be at least partly to blame for the condition that capsule was in at the time the fire occurred.  Heck, the fatal plugs-out test was held up for a while because there was a smell of sour milk in the suit circuit when Grissom's crew plugged into it, and they had to leave the hatch open while a few lines were flushed and then reactivated.

And heck, the Shuttle was designed to use a complex CO2 scrubbing system similar to the one used by the Russians on Mir and in the ISS SM.  If my aging and drug-addled memory (from the painkillers after my difficult surgeries this year, just to be clear for the NSA monitors, LOL) is recalling correctly, I believe it involved a water circuit that was used to absorb CO2 and excess cabin humidity from the cabin air.  That system had enough glitches that, for most missions, it was pulled out and an Apollo-style LiOH canister system was installed in its place.

So, just looking at that very basic kind of system, just because it's been done before doesn't make it easy to do again.  Elegant, economic and lightweight systems are hard to come by -- it's often not even pick any two, sometimes it's pick any one.

I'm confident that SpaceX will be able to design and install the needed systems, but it's not a given that it will be easy.  Learning from history, some of them may require some redesign along the way and become real pacing items for a 2017 launch.  And as with most things, the items that will rear up and bite them in the butt aren't necessarily on their (or our) radar at the moment.

-Doug

With my shield, not yet upon it
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 10/16/2014 04:20 AM
If items require frequent rework then they need testing at least a year before launch.  So that is 2015 or 2016.  I hope there is a milestone where the ECLSS is ground tested by locking people into an air tight box for several days.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: docmordrid on 10/16/2014 04:28 AM
>
I'm confident that SpaceX will be able to design and install the needed systems, but it's not a given that it will be easy.  Learning from history, some of them may require some redesign along the way and become real pacing items for a 2017 launch.  And as with most things, the items that will rear up and bite them in the butt aren't necessarily on their (or our) radar at the moment.

-Doug

SpaceX is using an ECLSS made by Paragon SDC, and developed during COTS-1 for commercial spacecraft. IIRC they're also providing systems for Orion.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: sublimemarsupial on 10/16/2014 06:51 AM
>
I'm confident that SpaceX will be able to design and install the needed systems, but it's not a given that it will be easy.  Learning from history, some of them may require some redesign along the way and become real pacing items for a 2017 launch.  And as with most things, the items that will rear up and bite them in the butt aren't necessarily on their (or our) radar at the moment.

-Doug

SpaceX is using an ECLSS made by Paragon SDC, and developed during COTS-1 for commercial spacecraft. IIRC they're also providing systems for Orion.

Nope, SpaceX ECLSS for both the current Cargo Dragon and Dragon 2 are in house. Paragon was dropped a while ago.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: docmordrid on 10/16/2014 11:22 AM
Really?

Edit: based on this hire?

https://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/9527411
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/16/2014 12:26 PM
Btw, is not oxygen but CO2 poisoning one of the problems. The other being humidity control (with water extraction being, of course, the hard one).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/16/2014 02:21 PM
When did Dragon 2 become risky? It's an upgrade to an existing capsule

An upgrade that changes it from a cargo container into a human habitat with intricate life support systems. Though I was a DC fan, I do have to acknowledge that neither SNC nor SpaceX has ever flown humans into space before.

It isn't long duration life support. I.E. it could be as simple as a CO2 scrubber. Didn't Apollo 13 rig up a setup using some ducktape and plastic bags and pieces from the LM and CM? Dragon v1 is already a human occupied spacecraft when attached to ISS. If the life support system doesn't work, and in an emergency, dragon can land pretty much anywhere land or sea. This is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

While any speculation of this being the issue or not is nearly meaningless... I did want to point out that it is not that trivial to uprate a vehicle.  Yes, a CO2 scrubber is a relatively simple thing.   Now you have to dehumidify and keep the temperature in a narrower band.  Means a more active cooling system.  Since you have humans you need more oxygen tanks and a way to fit/feed that into a spacesuit.  Those computers that were fine with redundancy for unmanned cargo now need to be MUCH more robust.  Your automated piloting system must now have a way for a pilot to fly manually.  Your comm systems needs more redundancy on the ground.  And so on and so on.  Each item in itself is not a deal breaker but it combines to add up to significant modifications.    SpaceX is definitely ahead of the game in having to be modifying a flying vehicle but it is significant work.  And from the articles, it sounds like maybe their design upgrades were not as well developed and the schedule was not as clearly defined with reliability as many people here seem to think.

You make some good points. But nevertheless, the CST-100 is only a mockup at this point as you pointed out and SpaceX has a capsule that has already been tested. So they are ahead in terms or real hardware. They have had a few years to plan out the life support issue.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/16/2014 02:39 PM

You make some good points. But nevertheless, the CST-100 is only a mockup at this point as you pointed out and SpaceX has a capsule that has already been tested. So they are ahead in terms or real hardware. They have had a few years to plan out the life support issue.

To me, this is more than a mockup.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 10/16/2014 03:09 PM

You make some good points. But nevertheless, the CST-100 is only a mockup at this point as you pointed out and SpaceX has a capsule that has already been tested. So they are ahead in terms or real hardware. They have had a few years to plan out the life support issue.

To me, this is more than a mockup.
Correct. Too bad Boeing didn't use that for their parachute drop tests.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: SWGlassPit on 10/16/2014 04:05 PM
Correct. Too bad Boeing didn't use that for their parachute drop tests.

What more would be learned from that that wasn't learned from using a boilerplate capsule?

You don't waste expensive hardware on potentially destructive tests unless you absolutely have to.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 10/16/2014 04:08 PM

You make some good points. But nevertheless, the CST-100 is only a mockup at this point as you pointed out and SpaceX has a capsule that has already been tested. So they are ahead in terms or real hardware. They have had a few years to plan out the life support issue.

To me, this is more than a mockup.
Correct. Too bad Boeing didn't use that for their parachute drop tests.


Wasn't the spacex drop test vehicle a modified v1?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 10/16/2014 04:45 PM
Correct. Too bad Boeing didn't use that for their parachute drop tests.

What more would be learned from that that wasn't learned from using a boilerplate capsule?

You don't waste expensive hardware on potentially destructive tests unless you absolutely have to.

Tell that to SpaceX. They based their parachute drop test article around an actual pressure hull and dropped it from a helo. Twice.
Somehow that didn't bother them.

On the other hand you have Jim who became somewhat upset when QC suggested that the Boeing drop test article was constructed mainly of wood, sheet-metal and styrofoam. Big difference between a for-real pressure hull and a glorified wooden model.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/16/2014 04:46 PM

It isn't long duration life support. I.E. it could be as simple as a CO2 scrubber. Didn't Apollo 13 rig up a setup using some ducktape and plastic bags and pieces from the LM and CM?

No, they made an adapter so that a CM LIOH canister could be used with the LM environmental control system.  The rest of the system still had to operate

Pretty sure that is exactly what I said. Anyways, we aren't talking about lunar circumnavigation duration. Nothing here needs to be overcomplicated or more complicated than manned submersibles. Oxygen candles/oxygen masks are the backup. Anyways, about 19 cubic feet of oxygen at STP is consumed by 4 astronauts in 6 hours. Dragon v1 is 350 cubic feet or pressurized volume. Elon Musk's manned dragon setup of giving an astronaut an oxygen mask in v1 was actually more than what was required. In fact, absolutely nothing at all was required.

Another example of way over simplfying things.  NASA requirements are for ~80 hours of free flight capability.  Also, NASA has said 3 days on masks is not acceptable.  You may quiblle with that but if you are to meet the requirements it is not that simple.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/16/2014 04:49 PM
His point wasn't that Dragon V1 met all of what NASA wants, it's that it could've certainly been done.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: enkarha on 10/16/2014 04:50 PM
Correct. Too bad Boeing didn't use that for their parachute drop tests.

What more would be learned from that that wasn't learned from using a boilerplate capsule?

You don't waste expensive hardware on potentially destructive tests unless you absolutely have to.

Tell that to SpaceX. They based their parachute drop test article around an actual pressure hull and dropped it from a helo. Twice.
Somehow that didn't bother them.

On the other hand you have Jim who became somewhat upset when QC suggested that the Boeing drop test article was constructed mainly of wood, sheet-metal and styrofoam. Big difference between a for-real pressure hull and a glorified wooden model.

What's the difference in a drop test?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/16/2014 05:06 PM

You make some good points. But nevertheless, the CST-100 is only a mockup at this point as you pointed out and SpaceX has a capsule that has already been tested. So they are ahead in terms or real hardware. They have had a few years to plan out the life support issue.

To me, this is more than a mockup.
Correct. Too bad Boeing didn't use that for their parachute drop tests.


Wasn't the spacex drop test vehicle a modified v1?

Pretty much. Having seen it myself in person, it wasn't a mockup.

Ok, the idea here is high vs low fidelity representation. Yes, as QG earlier posted, you can use a ton of bricks for an extremely low fidelity test.

Such allows you to prove a subsytem, component, or assembly as being able to function under the intended capabilities but is not in the use case for qualification, and even further from certification .

Why we approach higher fidelity tests is that we find out more in the use case, and that historically has always brought surprises of small through large variety.

To boil this ocean storm of niggling posts down, my concerns of flying these three vehicles are as follows"
  1) CST100 - the vendor has a history, albeit past, of constructing, testing, ... certifying such a vehicle in the past. They then can be counted on to do so again, but because they did so not on a FFP before (as me jousting with Jim got at), the could go long on schedule, long on budget, and there were ways of bringing schedule in with longer costs, which is among. If we have an imperative to do so, then as YG has implied, its not really the intent of CC but more like Orion LEO only, which plays into Congress going "why are we funding two capsules". The reason is that they have held off actual flight hardware level high fidelity work, choosing to couple it with the program requirements verification/certification/other of the massive part of the program, such that in the flood with NASA they use own advantage of high rate of effective communication to achieve best effect of historical interaction - their advantage.
 2) Dragon - the vendor has a contemporaneous capsule program which is current and flying with up to date flight history on a valid HR vehicle. They seek to revise the vehicle can carry as much of the flight history, especially launch and entry validation into this. The key lack of abort validation is the biggest event they have to conquer. But they don't have any idea yet how much they are going to be fire hosed during qualification/certification and the response rate you can't fall behind on - a significant NASA concern. However, they have all along been doing high fidelity tests/fixtures, unlike others, so they come to the game with much better position of addressing schedule/program risk than even Boeing. The issue is about being able to communicate it effectively, and in addressing it such that NASA does not doubt the results. Since they don't trust past practices e.g. they are often skeptical of NASA/"old space" to euphemize here, the ability to accomplish this is more complicated as they wish to preserve more modern advantages. Which does not assure. Yet in the end may be more effective at bringing in schedule than others fear. Keep in mind that they can retest and get to certification a lot faster than Boeing can, due to starting on actual hardware many years earlier.
 3) DC - has the burdens of both of the above, but possesses significant advantages from being the most current of HSF vehicles being contemporaneously done with Shuttle. Meaning they are in a hybrid position with Boeing/SpaceX for in between reasons. My fear for them is that they underbid given all that there is to do, and that too much rides on too few tests, in essence like Boeing.

Bottom line - SpaceX will be fine even if NASA nervous, just like last time. Boeing will way exceed schedule/budget and get cut a "mulligan" or fifty. DC will have a "white knuckle ride" but can do it.

Oh, and I completely disagree with Jim. Sometimes when I buy on eBay/internet, the more trusted vendor disappoints - my strategy is to study real time feedback carefully. Jim, it's a "big data" world that didn't exist before - get with the program! :) The smarter you are at absorbing the fire hose of inbound data, the better the outcome. Wished we had this 20-30 years ago, fewer people dead, fewer bad decisions, and better schedules/budgets. But it doesn't come for free, very taxing to apply.

Judge now in aerospace by the application of oceans of data, where trickles/creeks ran before. 1,000,000x Shuttle/EELV.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/16/2014 05:18 PM

You make some good points. But nevertheless, the CST-100 is only a mockup at this point as you pointed out and SpaceX has a capsule that has already been tested. So they are ahead in terms or real hardware. They have had a few years to plan out the life support issue.

To me, this is more than a mockup.

I forgot about that image. Thanks for reminding me. They should have used that for their unveiling. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: SWGlassPit on 10/16/2014 06:03 PM
Correct. Too bad Boeing didn't use that for their parachute drop tests.

What more would be learned from that that wasn't learned from using a boilerplate capsule?

You don't waste expensive hardware on potentially destructive tests unless you absolutely have to.

Tell that to SpaceX. They based their parachute drop test article around an actual pressure hull and dropped it from a helo. Twice.
Somehow that didn't bother them.

On the other hand you have Jim who became somewhat upset when QC suggested that the Boeing drop test article was constructed mainly of wood, sheet-metal and styrofoam. Big difference between a for-real pressure hull and a glorified wooden model.

That was an answer to *some* question.  It wasn't an answer to mine.  I'll repeat and clarify: for a parachute drop test, what is the benefit of dropping a (not cheap!) bare prototype pressure shell instead of a boilerplate capsule that more accurately simulates the mass and outer mold line of the actual flight article?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ncb1397 on 10/16/2014 06:21 PM
Btw, is not oxygen but CO2 poisoning one of the problems. The other being humidity control (with water extraction being, of course, the hard one).

20,000 PPM CO2 is considered safe. 70,000 PPM + is potentially fatal. Do the calculation on how long it will take 1 astronaut to generate that amount of CO2 in a 350 cubic foot cabin at STP.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/16/2014 06:31 PM

You make some good points. But nevertheless, the CST-100 is only a mockup at this point as you pointed out and SpaceX has a capsule that has already been tested. So they are ahead in terms or real hardware. They have had a few years to plan out the life support issue.

To me, this is more than a mockup.
Correct. Too bad Boeing didn't use that for their parachute drop tests.


Wasn't the spacex drop test vehicle a modified v1?

Pretty much. Having seen it myself in person, it wasn't a mockup.

Ok, the idea here is high vs low fidelity representation. Yes, as QG earlier posted, you can use a ton of bricks for an extremely low fidelity test.

Such allows you to prove a subsytem, component, or assembly as being able to function under the intended capabilities but is not in the use case for qualification, and even further from certification .

Why we approach higher fidelity tests is that we find out more in the use case, and that historically has always brought surprises of small through large variety.
If the mass simulator was correct, the outer mold line was correct, and the release mechanism was correct, what else is there to learn from using elements that will be passive?
The Dragon and Cygnus experience have shown that the pacing item has been software and interfaces certification. With human piloted crafts, that problem is compounded. Only other pacing item I can think of, is the LAS. But Aerojet tested and retested the engines even before SpaceX had fired their first SuperDraco. The pressure vessel testing article has a long time. And it does have some innovations. For example, it has no welds. It is formed out of a single billet of aluminum and then machined on the outside.
Oh! And Aerojet is trying to 3D print the LAS engine's Nozzle and MCC in just three parts. So there is a lot of innovation in CST. It just not on making things that might seem cool, but on actually lowering costs, reducing complexity and increasing reliability.
Sure, I might personally like SpaceX method better (I'm a BSD lover), but Boeing's approach is extremely professional. In fact, its CCDev1/2 and CCiCap performance have been the best performers.
And please stop spreading the argument about extra cost. It's a firm fixed price contract and nobody have their financial backing. And its clear from their price that they padded their numbers with a lot of margin. But if they had to actually put their own money, some executive's head might roll but they won't fault on a contract with Uncle Sam.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 10/16/2014 06:48 PM
Btw, is not oxygen but CO2 poisoning one of the problems. The other being humidity control (with water extraction being, of course, the hard one).

20,000 PPM CO2 is considered safe. 70,000 PPM + is potentially fatal. Do the calculation on how long it will take 1 astronaut to generate that amount of CO2 in a 350 cubic foot cabin at STP.

No.

5,000 ppm is the maximum allowable average over 8 hours. Studies show that mental impairment starts closer to 2,000 ppm.

4 astronauts would have 5 or so hours more like 1 or 2 from when you pulled the ventilation line out at the launch pad. They should try not to move around much.

Just because the average NSF member is willing to go to space in a garbage bin with the lid taped on doesn't mean its a good idea.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: AncientU on 10/16/2014 06:55 PM
Btw, is not oxygen but CO2 poisoning one of the problems. The other being humidity control (with water extraction being, of course, the hard one).

20,000 PPM CO2 is considered safe. 70,000 PPM + is potentially fatal. Do the calculation on how long it will take 1 astronaut to generate that amount of CO2 in a 350 cubic foot cabin at STP.

As an x-submariner, I know the painful (screaming headaches) concentration is much below the 'fatal' level.  The reference below shows that this severe symptomatic threshold is 2,000ppm, with 1,000 ppm as normal indoor air.  So, do your calculation for a delta of 1,000 ppm instead of your suggested 50,000 (a factor of 50 more restrictive with one astro, 350 with seven).

Quote
The levels of CO2 in the air and potential health problems are:

    250 - 350 ppm – background (normal) outdoor air level
    350- 1,000 ppm - typical level found in occupied spaces with good air exchange.
    1,000 – 2,000 ppm - level associated with complaints of drowsiness and poor air.
    2,000 – 5,000 ppm – level associated with headaches, sleepiness, and stagnant, stale, stuffy air.  Poor concentration, loss of attention, increased heart rate and slight nausea may also be present.
    >5,000 ppm – this indicates unusual air conditions where high levels of other gases could also be present. Toxicity or oxygen deprivation could occur. This is the permissible exposure limit for daily workplace exposures.
    >40,000 ppm - this level is immediately harmful due to oxygen deprivation.
http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/eh/chemfs/fs/carbondioxide.htm

Edit: What arachnitect said.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/16/2014 06:55 PM
Btw, is not oxygen but CO2 poisoning one of the problems. The other being humidity control (with water extraction being, of course, the hard one).

20,000 PPM CO2 is considered safe. 70,000 PPM + is potentially fatal. Do the calculation on how long it will take 1 astronaut to generate that amount of CO2 in a 350 cubic foot cabin at STP.
so, 2% and 7%. I'll assume it's by mass, a conservative assumption. In 350 ft^3 at 1.2kg/m^3 density there is 11kg of air. Average person expels roughly 1kg of CO2 a day, so... 0.22 kg is the limit for safe, .77kg is limit for fatal. Better do fast rendezvous! Astronaut has just a bit over 5 hours at safe levels, and 18.5 hours before fatal levels. "Just" bring a few scuba rebreather scrubber cartridges and put them in front of the recirculation fans (which Dragon already has for ISS).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ncb1397 on 10/16/2014 07:06 PM
Btw, is not oxygen but CO2 poisoning one of the problems. The other being humidity control (with water extraction being, of course, the hard one).

20,000 PPM CO2 is considered safe. 70,000 PPM + is potentially fatal. Do the calculation on how long it will take 1 astronaut to generate that amount of CO2 in a 350 cubic foot cabin at STP.
so, 2% and 7%. I'll assume it's by mass, a conservative assumption. In 350 ft^3 at 1.2kg/m^3 density there is 11kg of air. Average person expels roughly 1kg of CO2 a day, so... 0.22 kg is the limit for safe, .77kg is limit for fatal. Better do fast rendezvous! Astronaut has just a bit over 5 hours at safe levels, and 18.5 hours before fatal levels. "Just" bring a few scuba rebreather scrubber cartridges and put them in front of the recirculation fans (which Dragon already has for ISS).

It is parts per million, so it is by volume or molar. For this purpose, they are interchangeable. If an astronaut consumes 19 cubic feet of oxygen per day, he generates 18 cubic feet of CO2 per day or  .75 cubic feet per hour. This represents a .75/350 hourly increase of the proportion of CO2 or 2142 ppm/hour.

To clarify a bit:
0-20,000: no noticeable effects or very little incumberance
20,000-70,000: symptoms of CO2 intoxication
70,000 +: CO2 poisoning, loss of consciousness, death, etc.

It will reach the 20,000 level in 9 hours and the 70,000 mark in 32 hours.

Soyuz' fast rendevous is 6 hours.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: spacetraveler on 10/16/2014 07:21 PM
If it's such an incredibly overwhelming priority to get an American crew launch option, they can stick some seats and suits in a cargo Dragon and launch in December.

Sorry but this has to be the most uninformed statement in this entire thread.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Atomic Walrus on 10/16/2014 07:46 PM
Correct. Too bad Boeing didn't use that for their parachute drop tests.

What more would be learned from that that wasn't learned from using a boilerplate capsule?

You don't waste expensive hardware on potentially destructive tests unless you absolutely have to.

Tell that to SpaceX. They based their parachute drop test article around an actual pressure hull and dropped it from a helo. Twice.
Somehow that didn't bother them.

On the other hand you have Jim who became somewhat upset when QC suggested that the Boeing drop test article was constructed mainly of wood, sheet-metal and styrofoam. Big difference between a for-real pressure hull and a glorified wooden model.

That was an answer to *some* question.  It wasn't an answer to mine.  I'll repeat and clarify: for a parachute drop test, what is the benefit of dropping a (not cheap!) bare prototype pressure shell instead of a boilerplate capsule that more accurately simulates the mass and outer mold line of the actual flight article?

The benefit of using a higher fidelity structure is that you'd be able to gather experimental data on the effect of the landing on the structure.  Mechanical shocks aren't easy to model, so there could be some benefit there.  Of course,  a test engineer is always trying to balance the incremental benefit against the incremental cost.  If you've got spare structures around, might as well use one of them and get the benefit.  If you have to fabricate one and you don't expect to mitigate much risk with the test, you go with a cheaper route.  Probably also worth noting that using an actual pressure hull isn't necessarily a huge benefit if the intended design deviates significantly.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ncb1397 on 10/16/2014 07:52 PM
Btw, is not oxygen but CO2 poisoning one of the problems. The other being humidity control (with water extraction being, of course, the hard one).

20,000 PPM CO2 is considered safe. 70,000 PPM + is potentially fatal. Do the calculation on how long it will take 1 astronaut to generate that amount of CO2 in a 350 cubic foot cabin at STP.

As an x-submariner, I know the painful (screaming headaches) concentration is much below the 'fatal' level.  The reference below shows that this severe symptomatic threshold is 2,000ppm, with 1,000 ppm as normal indoor air.  So, do your calculation for a delta of 1,000 ppm instead of your suggested 50,000 (a factor of 50 more restrictive with one astro, 350 with seven).

Quote
The levels of CO2 in the air and potential health problems are:

    250 - 350 ppm – background (normal) outdoor air level
    350- 1,000 ppm - typical level found in occupied spaces with good air exchange.
    1,000 – 2,000 ppm - level associated with complaints of drowsiness and poor air.
    2,000 – 5,000 ppm – level associated with headaches, sleepiness, and stagnant, stale, stuffy air.  Poor concentration, loss of attention, increased heart rate and slight nausea may also be present.
    >5,000 ppm – this indicates unusual air conditions where high levels of other gases could also be present. Toxicity or oxygen deprivation could occur. This is the permissible exposure limit for daily workplace exposures.
    >40,000 ppm - this level is immediately harmful due to oxygen deprivation.
http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/eh/chemfs/fs/carbondioxide.htm

Edit: What arachnitect said.

I'm using submarine standards. The following PDF describes one sumbarine standard upper limit used by the Canadians of 1.75% or 17,500 ppm. Canadian Submariners need to think while an astronaut in a cargo vehicle would be doing absolutely nothing as it is controlled remotely. This scenario though applies to a dragon v2 without a crew life support system or to a vehicle with a broken or non-functioning life support system.

Quote
As seen in Figure 1, the first protocol was monitored without any purification over 13.25 hours
with a final average concentration in all of the compartments at the end of the protocol was
1.34%. Specifically, CO2 concentrations of 1.39% were seen in the motor room and WSC, 1.34%
in the senior accommodation space and control room, and 1.20% and 1.37% in the junior rates
accommodation space and junior ranks mess, respectively. This increase was not unexpected, as
the Standard suggests that with 50 crew a 1% CO2 concentration would be reached in 7.7 hours. It
was projected that with a crew complement of 59 that the upper limit of 1.75% would be reached
in 13.5 hours. This calculation has been based upon the prediction guidelines identified in BR
1326, whereby an initial concentration of 0.2% CO2 with no air purification is assumed. The
calculation, as identified in BR 1326, is also based also upon an average respiration rate of
24L/man/hour and a total breathable volume of 1129 m3 (39870 ft3).  The findings have shown
that after 13.25 hours under patrol conditions the recommended ceiling of 1.75% CO2 was not
reached, even without the aid of purification assistance.
http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc%3FAD%3DADA473000&rct=j&frm=1&q=&esrc=s&sa=U&ei=XR5AVPiKHsrCsATEuYDwDQ&ved=0CCgQFjAD&usg=AFQjCNHq0nb-a7j8WTyg2Tw_9zW4wmMs8w
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/16/2014 08:13 PM

You make some good points. But nevertheless, the CST-100 is only a mockup at this point as you pointed out and SpaceX has a capsule that has already been tested. So they are ahead in terms or real hardware. They have had a few years to plan out the life support issue.

To me, this is more than a mockup.
Correct. Too bad Boeing didn't use that for their parachute drop tests.


Wasn't the spacex drop test vehicle a modified v1?

Pretty much. Having seen it myself in person, it wasn't a mockup.

Ok, the idea here is high vs low fidelity representation. Yes, as QG earlier posted, you can use a ton of bricks for an extremely low fidelity test.

Such allows you to prove a subsytem, component, or assembly as being able to function under the intended capabilities but is not in the use case for qualification, and even further from certification .

Why we approach higher fidelity tests is that we find out more in the use case, and that historically has always brought surprises of small through large variety.
If the mass simulator was correct, the outer mold line was correct, and the release mechanism was correct, what else is there to learn from using elements that will be passive?
For proving a subsystem - nothing. For addressing systems qualification - everything. Qualification feeds certification.

During Shuttle, a lot was learned in the step up to high fidelity. In fact, if they had trusted this earlier instead of being overruled by the supposed insights of certain people, things would have turned out very differently. It was surprising the things that were found out so late in the program that had "impact".

The Dragon and Cygnus experience have shown that the pacing item has been software and interfaces certification. With human piloted crafts, that problem is compounded.
Neither firms software groups am I remotely comfortable with BTW. This I don't worry about with Boeing.

Only other pacing item I can think of, is the LAS. But Aerojet tested and retested the engines even before SpaceX had fired their first SuperDraco.
I have concerns about GNC. I have concerns about stability with both capsules. Trust SpaceX's models of control and stability more here.

The pressure vessel testing article has a long time. And it does have some innovations. For example, it has no welds. It is formed out of a single billet of aluminum and then machined on the outside.
This I have concerns for. Don't think that the materials and the tests are sufficient. Would have preferred the parachute/airbags as an all up test with representative pressure vessel. Duh. Look at Orion for "surprises" here.

Oh! And Aerojet is trying to 3D print the LAS engine's Nozzle and MCC in just three parts. So there is a lot of innovation in CST.
Yes. And they also could do additive manufacturing to improve cost/strength in pressure vessel / capsule other. I agree, these are good.

It just not on making things that might seem cool, but on actually lowering costs, reducing complexity and increasing reliability.
Where is the traceability of these through Apollo, the last capsule? Then I'd feel better about that. Not seeing it.

Sure, I might personally like SpaceX method better (...
For completeness in this interrogation, WTF do you mean exactly?

I'm a BSD lover ...
(You have no idea at all of what you think you are stepping on with that comment BTW ;D )

...), but Boeing's approach is extremely professional.
Never said otherwise. Just like in past programs I'll mention below.

In fact, its CCDev1/2 and CCiCap performance have been the best performers.
It depends on how you score performance. And concern.

And please stop spreading the argument about extra cost. It's a firm fixed price contract and nobody have their financial backing. And its clear from their price that they padded their numbers with a lot of margin. But if they had to actually put their own money, some executive's head might roll but they won't fault on a contract with Uncle Sam.
First, I've never claimed extra cost. I've claimed concern over FFP. Different. For example, some of the NASA claimed flexibility could vanish for no added cost. Duh. Happened before with Shuttle - will not specify so don't ask.

I'm quite familiar with them, Shuttle, Delta IV, and about a hundred other programs. My concerns I have specifically addressed. They have never done a HSF vehicle that has launched/returned humans without overruns both in budget and time. Its true that they could prove this wrong. And my concerns are very specific and well considered. This is a far simpler vehicle. But so was Orion supposed to be. As LockMart goes, so often goes Boeing ... duh.

Do not underestimate how much things have changed in even the last decade. So much so that to adapt to current improvements, there is a tendency to avoid traceability by all. Or, to abandon current improvements, and to presume traceability that doesn't exist either. Both vex me in the extreme. Am I communicating?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: PreferToLurk on 10/16/2014 08:51 PM
Original discussion was locked down in the SpaceX forums, because it was highly off topic. As a lurker who is here almost all the time, I should know better than to respond to off topic with more off topic...   :-[

Anyway, if they want to continue the discussion, they can do so here. 


What about X37?  started off NASA, transferred to DOD, now flying.  Good luck getting solid cost figures out of DOD, but its definitely operational.

Also, the vast majority of these programs were "X" projects.  Designed to push the envelope and develop new technologies.  These programs are expected to run into cost overruns and technical delays.  If they knew how to design and build them on the first try, they wouldn't be X projects. 

NASA isn't asking for new technologies here.  They are asking for a service.  Get crew from point A to point B.  Sierra Nevada basically proposed an X project, SpaceX proposed an advanced version of their cargo vessel, and Boeing proposed a (mostly) plain vanilla capsule.  Can you guess who scored the highest and the lowest?

Pointing out past delays and cost overruns that Boeing has had in X projects is nothing more than red herring.

PreferToLurk, I am curious how Dream Chaser equates to an X-project by your own definition.

Hybrid engines, skid landing gear, automated aerodynamic landings.  What we have heard so far about the selection is that Dream Chaser posed the highest technical risk.  Its nothing like a true X-project, but it was the least proven design. I should have been more clear originally.
Quote
If anything, Dragon 2 approaches your definition more than SNC’s Dream Chaser.
Things like:
-Integrated and reusable LAS made possible by powerful and compact 3D printed engines.

Already highly tested (on the ground), and despite the 3D printing, they are pretty simple pressure fed engines.
Quote
-Precision land landings (ultimately).

You said it yourself -- ultimately.  not part of the proposal. The proposal has Dragon landing with chutes.
Quote
-High redundancy landing options (including abort modes).
Wait, how does this increase technical risk?
Quote
-“Off the shelf” non rad-hardened polling/voting avionics with triple redundancy
Already demonstrated on cargo dragon.
Quote
-- snip --
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 10/16/2014 09:13 PM
They have never done a HSF vehicle that has launched/returned humans without overruns both in budget and time.

Do not underestimate how much things have changed in even the last decade.
You said it well enough on your own.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/16/2014 09:55 PM
The CST-100 pressure vessel is just another component. So far Boeing hasn't integrated anything.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: RanulfC on 10/16/2014 10:06 PM
The CST-100 pressure vessel is just another component. So far Boeing hasn't integrated anything.

Well they have actually integrated the paperwork pretty efficently :)

Randy
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/17/2014 01:00 AM
The CST-100 pressure vessel is just another component. So far Boeing hasn't integrated anything.

From public information that is what people would conclude.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/17/2014 01:07 AM
Btw, is not oxygen but CO2 poisoning one of the problems. The other being humidity control (with water extraction being, of course, the hard one).

20,000 PPM CO2 is considered safe. 70,000 PPM + is potentially fatal. Do the calculation on how long it will take 1 astronaut to generate that amount of CO2 in a 350 cubic foot cabin at STP.
so, 2% and 7%. I'll assume it's by mass, a conservative assumption. In 350 ft^3 at 1.2kg/m^3 density there is 11kg of air. Average person expels roughly 1kg of CO2 a day, so... 0.22 kg is the limit for safe, .77kg is limit for fatal. Better do fast rendezvous! Astronaut has just a bit over 5 hours at safe levels, and 18.5 hours before fatal levels. "Just" bring a few scuba rebreather scrubber cartridges and put them in front of the recirculation fans (which Dragon already has for ISS).

It is parts per million, so it is by volume or molar. For this purpose, they are interchangeable. If an astronaut consumes 19 cubic feet of oxygen per day, he generates 18 cubic feet of CO2 per day or  .75 cubic feet per hour. This represents a .75/350 hourly increase of the proportion of CO2 or 2142 ppm/hour.

To clarify a bit:
0-20,000: no noticeable effects or very little incumberance
20,000-70,000: symptoms of CO2 intoxication
70,000 +: CO2 poisoning, loss of consciousness, death, etc.

It will reach the 20,000 level in 9 hours and the 70,000 mark in 32 hours.

Soyuz' fast rendevous is 6 hours.
I'm a physicist doing a quick estimation, that's my excuse for PPMv=PPMm. ;)
So it looks like you could do 3 astronauts with quick rendezvous, they'd just be a bit loopy by the time they got up there... 3 astronauts for a couple hours (enough to get back, provided someone rigged together a way to control the arm and release it from the ground) would be totally fine.

EDIT:Not that I'm suggesting we do it... It's just that they most likely could survive.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/17/2014 01:15 AM
The CST-100 pressure vessel is just another component. So far Boeing hasn't integrated anything.

From public information that is what people would conclude.

If you have other information, share it. If not, you're just making a unverifiable claim.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: mkent on 10/17/2014 02:29 AM
The CST-100 pressure vessel is just another component. So far Boeing hasn't integrated anything.

From public information that is what people would conclude.

I disagree.  With publicly available information, anyone with experience in the field knows pretty much where they are in the development process.

Quote
If you have other information, share it. If not, you're just making a unverifiable claim.

Just look at their CCiCap milestones:

4) Software Integrated Engineering Release 2.0
5) Landing, Recovery, & Ground Communication Design Review
7) Integrated Stack Force & Moment Wind Tunnel Test
10) Spacecraft Primary Structures CDR
11) Service Module Propulsion System CDR
13) Launch Vehicle Adapter CDR
16) Avionics Software Integration Lab Multi-String Demonstration Test
17) Pilot-in-the-Loop Demonstration
18) Software CDR

In addition, Boeing has taken the launch-pad and crew-access mods...

http://www.americaspace.com/?p=62533 (http://www.americaspace.com/?p=62533)

...and the ISS docking adapter to a CDR level.

http://boeing.mediaroom.com/2014-8-26-Boeing-Continues-Progress-on-Improved-Space-Station-Docking-System (http://boeing.mediaroom.com/2014-8-26-Boeing-Continues-Progress-on-Improved-Space-Station-Docking-System)

Then there's the big one:

19) Integrated CDR

Structures, propulsion, avionics, software, mission control interface, launch vehicle adapter, docking adapter, and launch pad mods all at CDR, plus the integrated CDR.

SpaceX is ahead on some testing, but Boeing is ahead on the design.  Sierra Nevada is nowhere close on either.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: the_other_Doug on 10/17/2014 02:30 AM
>
I'm confident that SpaceX will be able to design and install the needed systems, but it's not a given that it will be easy.  Learning from history, some of them may require some redesign along the way and become real pacing items for a 2017 launch.  And as with most things, the items that will rear up and bite them in the butt aren't necessarily on their (or our) radar at the moment.

-Doug

SpaceX is using an ECLSS made by Paragon SDC, and developed during COTS-1 for commercial spacecraft. IIRC they're also providing systems for Orion.

Good, and I hope their products work well and need very little tweaking.  I wasn't trying to forecast doom for the ECS (or whatever acronym you wish to use for it, I tend to use the Apollo acronyms out of habit).  I was just coming up with the first example that came to mind.

There are, of course, a lot of other systems that SpaceX will have to add to their cargo version of the spacecraft to make it a manned spacecraft -- just as Boeing has to develop the same kinds of systems for their spacecraft.  It doesn't surprise me that they might be using the same contractors for some systems, either.  But every manned space vehicle America has produced to date has dealt with major rework issues in critical systems late in their development cycles, most of which have caused delays in the flight schedules.  As I said, I'd bet you any money that the things that pop up as critical, last-minute reworks are probably not even on their radar right now.

It's just hard to plan for that kind of thing, ya know?  If you knew what was going to become your major pain-in-the-ass beforehand, you would know to fix it earlier and then something else would come to the forefront as the pacing item.  You can try to leave room in the schedules for this kind of thing, but you really can only let it play itself out the best you can.

-Doug

With my shield, not yet upon it
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/17/2014 02:41 AM
Just look at their CCiCap milestones:

[..]

SpaceX is ahead on some testing, but Boeing is ahead on the design.  Sierra Nevada is nowhere close on either.

None of your listed milestones support the argument that Boeing has done any hardware integration or software integration of the on-orbit stages of flight. That's the claim that people keep making about Boeing and for which there is no evidence at all. Boeing hasn't been contracted for that work yet, and Boeing doesn't do work before they have a contract in hand. They learnt that mistake the hard way.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: mkent on 10/17/2014 02:48 AM
Just look at their CCiCap milestones:

[..]

SpaceX is ahead on some testing, but Boeing is ahead on the design.  Sierra Nevada is nowhere close on either.

None of your listed milestones support the argument that Boeing has done any hardware integration or software integration of the on-orbit stages of flight. That's the claim that people keep making about Boeing and for which there is no evidence at all. Boeing hasn't been contracted for that work yet, and Boeing doesn't do work before they have a contract in hand. They learnt that mistake the hard way.

Huh?  I'm not trying to be mean, but do you not know what a CDR is?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: sublimemarsupial on 10/17/2014 04:34 AM
Just look at their CCiCap milestones:

[..]

SpaceX is ahead on some testing, but Boeing is ahead on the design.  Sierra Nevada is nowhere close on either.

None of your listed milestones support the argument that Boeing has done any hardware integration or software integration of the on-orbit stages of flight. That's the claim that people keep making about Boeing and for which there is no evidence at all. Boeing hasn't been contracted for that work yet, and Boeing doesn't do work before they have a contract in hand. They learnt that mistake the hard way.

Huh?  I'm not trying to be mean, but do you not know what a CDR is?

A CDR is a powerpoint, nothing more. You don't have to (necessarily) do dev testing, and you certainly don't QTP or ATP anything. QuantumG is totally right here.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/17/2014 05:10 AM
A CDR is a powerpoint, nothing more. You don't have to (necessarily) do dev testing, and you certainly don't QTP or ATP anything. QuantumG is totally right here.

You cannot state that CDR involves only "a powerpoint, nothing more";. What is required for CDR is program-specific.  All we know is that Boeing passed CDR--as defined by NASA as part of the CCiCap milestones and schedule--and that others did not.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/17/2014 05:19 AM
So, we again come back to the fact that everyone who is claiming Boeing has done more work than the other competitors has no way to prove their claims. As long as everyone agrees to this, I think we know how we should treat these claims.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: jongoff on 10/17/2014 05:47 AM
Btw, is not oxygen but CO2 poisoning one of the problems. The other being humidity control (with water extraction being, of course, the hard one).

The trick they're using for humidity control is super clever and simple. Not sure if it's public knowledge though, so I'd want to check with my source before I blab details.

~Jon
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Atomic Walrus on 10/17/2014 05:55 AM
I'm a bit dismayed that a lot of people here haven't bothered to learn much about NASA program management.  Here's a short overview: (Please shorten the link, breaks site format - Chris).

A critical design review is a lot more than a Powerpoint presentation.  It's a review that you do when the design is substantially done.  The reason for the review is that it's a lot more expensive and difficult to fix problems after you've started fabricating hardware.  These processes seem burdensome, but they were developed from painful, expensive experience on the part of the military and NASA when developing high technology projects. 

It's true that we don't know the exact content of Boeing's CDR.  We do know that SpaceX and SNC have not completed their CDRs.  If the CDR is a cakewalk with no real content, it does not reflect well on those companies to not have completed it yet. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/17/2014 06:05 AM
If the CDR is a cakewalk with no real content, it does not reflect well on those companies to not have completed it yet.

Who said it was a cake walk? I've heard it described as a PhD confirmation where the audience is full of undergraduates.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Sesquipedalian on 10/17/2014 06:08 AM
Boeing hasn't been contracted for that work yet, and Boeing doesn't do work before they have a contract in hand. They learnt that mistake the hard way.

What incident are you referring to by "learning the hard way"?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/17/2014 06:12 AM
Boeing hasn't been contracted for that work yet, and Boeing doesn't do work before they have a contract in hand. They learnt that mistake the hard way.

What incident are you referring to by "learning the hard way"?

I had in mind the EELV program.. but I've heard Boeing people say it and don't know what they had in mind.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 10/17/2014 10:33 AM
A critical design review is a lot more than a Powerpoint presentation.  It's a review that you do when the design is substantially done.  The reason for the review is that it's a lot more expensive and difficult to fix problems after you've started fabricating hardware. 

Correct. But it's even more expensive and more difficult to fix problems, resulting from the CDR, after you've begun INTEGRATING your hardware components into an integrated spacecraft.
And that's why Boeing had done only marginal integration activities (at best) before completion of their CDR.
Meaning that as of the end of august (this year) Boeing had no integrated CST-100 spacecraft (not even a partially integrated one) to show off, unlike SpaceX at their Dragon 2 presentation. Hence the mock-up only display when Boeing officially presented the CST-100 in last June, two months before completion of their CDR.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/17/2014 02:08 PM
The CST-100 pressure vessel is just another component. So far Boeing hasn't integrated anything.

From public information that is what people would conclude.

If you have other information, share it. If not, you're just making a unverifiable claim.

He is in a position to know.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/17/2014 02:11 PM
A CDR is a powerpoint, nothing more. You don't have to (necessarily) do dev testing, and you certainly don't QTP or ATP anything. QuantumG is totally right here.

You cannot state that CDR involves only "a powerpoint, nothing more";. What is required for CDR is program-specific.  All we know is that Boeing passed CDR--as defined by NASA as part of the CCiCap milestones and schedule--and that others did not.

SpaceX is on the verge of completing its CDR. I suspect that they will be done by the time CCtCap actually starts (when the protest is over).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 10/17/2014 02:23 PM

Huh?  I'm not trying to be mean, but do you not know what a CDR is?
CDRs, and testing, are both ways to try to catch bugs before they create a big problem.   Both are needed and both are used on critical projects.  A CDR has a group of smart and experienced designers see if there is any problem they can think of with a design.  It can work well, but it can miss problems that people just don't think of (for example, the Fregat stage of the recent Galileo failure doubtless went through a CDR, but they did not spot this problem.)

Testing can find bugs that no-one thought of, but can miss problems, too, since not all combinations of circumstances can be tested (or example, the Fregat stage of the recent Galileo failure was tested, and similar models used extensively, but a problem still occurred.)

Testing and relevant experience can help at CDRs - "How do we know that tank won't freeze?  Here's our temperature data from previous missions using that tank configuration..."  and CDRs can help direct testing to places the designer may not have though of.

The fastest path to a working system - how much testing to do before the CDR, and how much after - is a matter of engineering judgement.  Just knowing that Boeing has completed their CDR, but SpaceX is scheduling their abort tests earlier, is not enough to tell who is ahead.  You'd need a very detailed look into both efforts to tell that.


Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/17/2014 03:21 PM

Huh?  I'm not trying to be mean, but do you not know what a CDR is?
CDRs, and testing, are both ways to try to catch bugs before they create a big problem.   Both are needed and both are used on critical projects.  A CDR has a group of smart and experienced designers see if there is any problem they can think of with a design.  It can work well, but it can miss problems that people just don't think of (for example, the Fregat stage of the recent Galileo failure doubtless went through a CDR, but they did not spot this problem.)

Testing can find bugs that no-one thought of, but can miss problems, too, since not all combinations of circumstances can be tested (or example, the Fregat stage of the recent Galileo failure was tested, and similar models used extensively, but a problem still occurred.)

Testing and relevant experience can help at CDRs - "How do we know that tank won't freeze?  Here's our temperature data from previous missions using that tank configuration..."  and CDRs can help direct testing to places the designer may not have though of.

The fastest path to a working system - how much testing to do before the CDR, and how much after - is a matter of engineering judgement.  Just knowing that Boeing has completed their CDR, but SpaceX is scheduling their abort tests earlier, is not enough to tell who is ahead.  You'd need a very detailed look into both efforts to tell that.
From what I read about the article, NASA thought that not having an integrated system before CDR is a feature, not a bug. As it reads, it would seem that they consider that if they found anything at CDR having to redo the integration is costlier and require more time than catching it at CDR. Thus, Boeing is doing it the NASA way and they feel more confident on that way of doing things. Given their experience on doing hard stuff, they might have a point. I would be very careful to dismiss this as "old thinking".
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TomH on 10/17/2014 03:55 PM
CDRs, and testing, are both ways to try to catch bugs before they create a big problem.   Both are needed and both are used on critical projects.  A CDR has a group of smart and experienced designers see if there is any problem they can think of with a design.  It can work well, but it can miss problems that people just don't think of (for example, the Fregat stage of the recent Galileo failure doubtless went through a CDR, but they did not spot this problem.)

If I am not mistaken, Boeing used this approach in development of the 787. The entire design was refined down to the last detail in 3-D on CAD programs before anything was fabricated. Other than the battery problem, which this would not have detected, the transition from CAD to CAM was very smooth. The plane has performed remarkably well (other than battery). Back in the days when pressurized cabins and jet turbines were new, you drew two dimensional elevation plans from all three axes, built prototypes, did some testing, then went into production, hoping not to face catastrophic failures like the De Havilland 106 Comet. The 787 integrates the best of everything that has been learned about aircraft design over the last 65 years with cutting edge technology like carbon composite materials. The CAD created prior to production of the plane is infinitely more sophisticated than just a collection of Power Point Presentations and Word Documents.

I would think that Boeing has taken a similar approach with CST-100. While I admire the pluck taken by SNC and SpaceX, I can see why NASA would see the Boeing design as the safest, based on proven design, and also why NASA would have complete confidence in Boeing's design process. As has been said, the purpose is not to demonstrate innovation, but to provide access to ISS. This is not to say that I do not have concerns over the price or that I doubt some politicians stuck their fingers in the pie. I don't doubt those things at all. Nevertheless, I can see a logic by which this design was chosen.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: SWGlassPit on 10/17/2014 04:01 PM
As has been said multiple times on here, dismissing CDR as "just a powerpoint" shows a complete lack of knowledge of how engineering design works.

To dumb it down somewhat, CDR is when the blueprints get approved.  Here are just a few examples of tricky design issues that have to be tackled to pass CDR:

- Cable routing: minimizing noise and crosstalk, ensuring there is room for every cable, ensuring that routing does not interfere with other "behind the panel" issues like life support hardware and plumbing.  Minimizing the mass contribution of the cables while retaining robustness and redundancy where necessary.  Ever try to neatly manage cables for a home entertainment system when you have a satellite box, a Blu-Ray player, three game systems, and a surround sound system?  Go visit the SAIL in Building 16 at JSC to see just how big a deal cable routing is.

- Plumbing and ventilation: ensure lines are wide enough to avoid large pressure drops (including cavitation for liquids) while yet keeping them within mass limits and making sure they fit within the outer mold line.  Just within the pressurized volume, you need to handle: oxygen, nitrogen, water, CO2 removal, refrigerant (or other heat transfer fluid).  Between the pressure shell and the outer mold line, you need: all of the above, plus RCS/OMS (or equivalent) fuel and oxidizer, and pressurant for those two.  Routing for these is not trivial -- if water lines are too close to refrigerant lines for the avionics, you risk freezing the water lines.  Do you mix the nitrogen and oxygen in a manifold or a plenum before delivering it to the crew space to avoid problems with high/low oxygen concentrations?  How do you get fluids and electrical power / signals between the crew module and the service module?  Do you go through the heat shield?  If so, how do you ensure reentry survivability?  If not, you have to change the outer mold line.

- Structures: As strong as possible, and as light as possible, but even then, it's not that simple.  You need to provide attach points for every cable, fluid line, and tank.  If the routing changes, your design changes.  Oh, and by the way, it's your job to ensure there are no bizarre modal resonances that could shake the spacecraft apart during launch.  To do that correctly, you need to know the mass of every component in the craft and where it will be. 

- Aerodynamics: Your vehicle needs to perform in all flow regimes -- subsonic, transonic, supersonic, and hypersonic.  Even after years of Shuttle, hypersonic flight is still not well-understood, (see issues with the X-51 and differences in aerothermal heating on Shuttle between prediction and reality).  For a capsule, this isn't so bad, but for a winged vehicle or a lifting body, well, there's a reason pretty much all winged hypersonic craft (including spacecraft other than Shuttle) are X-vehicles.

Ensuring you pass CDR before you get serious with "bending metal" is the epitome of the "measure twice, cut once" philosophy.  Fabrication of space hardware is extremely expensive.  It pays to make sure your design makes sense before you fire up the CNC machines.

You wouldn't build a skyscraper without detailed blueprints.  Why would you assume CDR for a spacecraft is anything less than what it is -- an evaluation of the design's maturity and readiness for manufacture?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 10/17/2014 04:07 PM
So, we again come back to the fact that everyone who is claiming Boeing has done more work than the other competitors has no way to prove their claims. As long as everyone agrees to this, I think we know how we should treat these claims.

As long as we can also agree that Boeing received higher marks than either SpaceX or SNC by the the NASA review panel for the Commercial Crew Contract proposals, in areas of technical maturity, management competence, program management and past performance. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: YesRushGen on 10/17/2014 04:10 PM
As has been said multiple times on here, dismissing CDR as "just a powerpoint" shows a complete lack of knowledge of how engineering design works.

To dumb it down somewhat, CDR is when the blueprints get approved.  Here are just a few examples of tricky design issues that have to be tackled to pass CDR:
snip...

<DE-LURK>Thanks so much for succinctly describing everything that goes into these designs. Very informative post!</DE-LURK>
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Roy_H on 10/17/2014 04:17 PM
As several have pointed out CDRs are a big deal. Anyone who thinks NASA is willing to pay $17.9M for someone to throw together a PowerPoint presentation is off their nut.

I only know what I have read on this forum, not an expert, but I get the distinct impression that there is a big difference between a Critical Design Review and an Integrated Critical Design Review. IIRC SpaceX went through a CDR with COTS and that may have been relevant for CCiCAP
According to: http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/NASA_ROI_Report_Feb_2014.pdf
Boeing was paid $17.9M for their CDR.
SpaceX is being paid $40M for their ICDR.
I believe that Boeing has yet to do their ICDR.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/17/2014 04:57 PM
SpaceX is being paid $40M for their ICDR.
I believe that Boeing has yet to do their ICDR.

Both are integrated CDR's ...

Quote from: CCiCap SAA
Boeing
Critical Design Review (CDR) Board

Completion of critical baseline design of the CCTS integrated system and operations that confirms that the requirements, detailed designs, and plans for test and evaluation form a satisfactory basis for production and integration ... Boeing shall establish and demonstrate a critical baseline design of the CCTS that meets system requirements. CDR confirms that the requirements, detailed designs, and plans for test and evaluation form a satisfactory basis for production and integration. ... The CDR demonstrates that the maturity of the design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test. CDR determines that the technical effort is on track to complete the flight and ground system development and mission operations, meeting mission performance requirements within cost and schedule constraints.


SpaceX
Integrated Critical Design Review (CDR)

Scope: SpaceX will hold an Integrated Critical Design Review (CDR) at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, or a nearby facility to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test. This integrated CDR will determine that the technical effort is on track to complete the flight and ground system development and mission operations in order to meet mission performance requirements and schedule. NASA and relevant industry teammates will be invited to attend and to provide comments and feedback. This integrated CDR will cover spacecraft, launch vehicle, and ground and mission operations systems.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: abaddon on 10/17/2014 05:14 PM
From the Sierra Nevada thread, but relevant here, and similar to recent discussion in this thread:

Lack of progress???  Boeing completed CDR, something neither SpaceX nor Sierra Nevada have done!  Their design is further along than either of their competitors -- SpaceX by a few months but Sierra Nevada by a few years.

So, Boeing is ahead of SpaceX in terms of having their design reviewed and approved by NASA (they are done), but behind in building and integrating the hardware.  SpaceX is ahead of Boeing in terms of actually building their design, but behind in terms of having it reviewed and approved by NASA.

SpaceX is therefore ahead of Boeing in terms of the goal of getting their hardware into space on a test flight first, with the notable caveat that if NASA finds something in CDR that they don't like, it could potentially cause rework of already completed hardware that could set SpaceX back as compared to Boeing.

SpaceX is choosing the riskier approach of proceeding further with hardware implementation before CDR is complete.  It will pay off if they come out of CDR relatively clean.

Please correct me (anyone) if I am wrong here.  I think this is why we keep having the "Boeing is ahead" vs. "SpaceX is ahead" debate; because both are right and wrong.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/17/2014 05:38 PM
SpaceX is choosing the riskier approach of proceeding further with hardware implementation before CDR is complete.  It will pay off if they come out of CDR relatively clean.

I wouldn't necessarily classify SpaceX's approach as riskier, just a different path than Boeing has taken getting to CDR:
Quote from: SpaceX CCiCap SAA
The proposed hardware development testing will expedite design maturity, leading to an integrated critical design review (CDR) in March 2014.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 10/17/2014 05:57 PM
Yeah they have both done CDR of integrated systems - can we table this finally?

As I said earlier, Boeing wishes to use its immense advantage of overlapping execution of an actual build with the considerable portions of working with NASA for what its processes need as well. And the reason you don't do early integration work, among others, is to have a better integration in the second now first pass.

This necessarily "rear loads" the program execution heavily. Why large firms can do this, they pay a penalty in having heavy corporate loading - the two go hand in hand. Unlike what happened with COTS, which use less loading through different approaches. Reflecting concern, not badmouthing any here.

Here's the risks with both:
1) In the large corporation, often miscommunication gets picked up late, requires redo's. These can have significant impact because the leverage advantage works backwards for obvious reasons. On commonly issued projects, its less of a deal because the repeats don't have obvious big redo's. In this case, the leveraged commonality is from ISS related recent history for the most part. I buy off on that for in space systems. The rest is where my concern for FFP comes from. Look to Orion for its learning curve on capsules for more specifics. As I said, I'd have been happier if the pressure vessel in the drops was representative high fidelity. Net effect is that this way of getting things done uses overruns/take-backs through management buffering as its recovery means.

2) In the smaller ones, the issues involve overtaxed multiple use people waiting too long to revise a key component/process/issue/"long pole", and no bandwidth to do the "get ahead" tasks - they bite off more than they can chew. This also may be complicated by things like working NASA's processes, which are feared might slip. None of them ever are prepared for what this takes. However, there is much less of the "organizational leverage" effect mentioned in the prior, and often how these things are addressed is a spontaneous change in design (but not scope) to subsume the vexing item differently than expected - this almost never occurs in the prior case. Part of the necessary incrementalism from start to finish, with start at the start unlike the prior case. Which may(always) cause NASA unexpected disruption in processes. A side effect may be things get improved beyond expectation (although that may be seen in hindsight further on). The lack of the "organizational leverage" means the costing tends to go less out of control, because they are always smaller, tighter groups who find ways to take in the schedule for recovery, depending on management more in continuity.

This is an extreme simplification of course. But it explains why COTS like programs can be successful. CC was supposed to be like COTS.

Nothing would make me happier than to see Boeing do a FFP CC entry that preserved those NASA advantages come in on schedule/price. But for that to happen, they have to selectively use the above mentioned advantage for CCtCAP. The way it would seem they did CCiCAP does not suggest that this is likely.

Did I do that respectfully enough, preserving professional appreciation of heritage contractors?

Back to your regularly scheduled "food fight".
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TomH on 10/17/2014 06:08 PM
Who said it was a cake walk?

Chris, respectfully, you have said that all Boeing had produced was some Power Points and Word documents. Though you did not use the term specific term cake walk, what you did say implied that Boeing had not done serious or scholarly work.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TomH on 10/17/2014 06:13 PM
So, Boeing is ahead of SpaceX in terms of having their design reviewed and approved by NASA (they are done), but behind in building and integrating the hardware.  SpaceX is ahead of Boeing in terms of actually building their design, but behind in terms of having it reviewed and approved by NASA.

Please correct me (anyone) if I am wrong here.  I think this is why we keep having the "Boeing is ahead" vs. "SpaceX is ahead" debate; because both are right and wrong.

Not really, because what NASA has required to this point is design, not fabrication. So from the specific technical and legal definitions, Boeing is ahead. Period. Not that Boeing was my choice, but from a technical standpoint, this is what is clear.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/17/2014 06:26 PM
Nothing would make me happier than to see Boeing do a FFP CC entry that preserved those NASA advantages come in on schedule/price. But for that to happen, they have to selectively use the above mentioned advantage for CCtCAP. The way it would seem they did CCiCAP does not suggest that this is likely.
I believe that you are worrying about something that's not the core issue (for NASA/Boeing). They are worried about schedule, not cost, since this is a FFP contract. NASA is not worried that Boeing will default on the contract, either (if there's one company that has almost infinite financial resources for NASA is Boeing).
And from Boeing side, they probably calculated a 3.2B of expected cost and added a 30% margin on top of that. So if they execute well, they get a ridiculous profit. If they don't, they get normal profits. Thus, they are betting on keeping costs low and if they get behind, then let's tap the reserves. But this can only happen iff Congress funds this program. Again, this goes into the margin.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/17/2014 07:30 PM
>
I'm confident that SpaceX will be able to design and install the needed systems, but it's not a given that it will be easy.  Learning from history, some of them may require some redesign along the way and become real pacing items for a 2017 launch.  And as with most things, the items that will rear up and bite them in the butt aren't necessarily on their (or our) radar at the moment.

-Doug

SpaceX is using an ECLSS made by Paragon SDC, and developed during COTS-1 for commercial spacecraft. IIRC they're also providing systems for Orion.

Good, and I hope their products work well and need very little tweaking.  I wasn't trying to forecast doom for the ECS (or whatever acronym you wish to use for it, I tend to use the Apollo acronyms out of habit).  I was just coming up with the first example that came to mind.

There are, of course, a lot of other systems that SpaceX will have to add to their cargo version of the spacecraft to make it a manned spacecraft -- just as Boeing has to develop the same kinds of systems for their spacecraft.  It doesn't surprise me that they might be using the same contractors for some systems, either.  But every manned space vehicle America has produced to date has dealt with major rework issues in critical systems late in their development cycles, most of which have caused delays in the flight schedules.  As I said, I'd bet you any money that the things that pop up as critical, last-minute reworks are probably not even on their radar right now.

It's just hard to plan for that kind of thing, ya know?  If you knew what was going to become your major pain-in-the-ass beforehand, you would know to fix it earlier and then something else would come to the forefront as the pacing item.  You can try to leave room in the schedules for this kind of thing, but you really can only let it play itself out the best you can.

-Doug

With my shield, not yet upon it
It is better to build test modify and test again. If NASA prefer paper work , she is guilty by driving development the way that is more in  risk of delay and cost overrun. When I develop my program, it is good to know what I am building, but it is better to develop basic program structure, that is flexible to change and then I test and modify and test until I am happy with result. With rise of 3D printing I think it is moment to use same method in physical product development.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: SWGlassPit on 10/17/2014 07:45 PM
It is better to build test modify and test again.

That is opinion, not fact, and while it is applicable in some cases, it certainly isn't appropriate for all.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/17/2014 07:48 PM
A CDR is a powerpoint, nothing more. You don't have to (necessarily) do dev testing, and you certainly don't QTP or ATP anything. QuantumG is totally right here.

You cannot state that CDR involves only "a powerpoint, nothing more";. What is required for CDR is program-specific.  All we know is that Boeing passed CDR--as defined by NASA as part of the CCiCap milestones and schedule--and that others did not.
OK  and MS project plan :)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/17/2014 07:54 PM
I'm a bit dismayed that a lot of people here haven't bothered to learn much about NASA program management.  Here's a short overview: (Please shorten the link, breaks site format - Chris).

A critical design review is a lot more than a Powerpoint presentation.  It's a review that you do when the design is substantially done.  The reason for the review is that it's a lot more expensive and difficult to fix problems after you've started fabricating hardware.  These processes seem burdensome, but they were developed from painful, expensive experience on the part of the military and NASA when developing high technology projects. 

It's true that we don't know the exact content of Boeing's CDR.  We do know that SpaceX and SNC have not completed their CDRs.  If the CDR is a cakewalk with no real content, it does not reflect well on those companies to not have completed it yet.
If NASA has to pay for modification and mistake that company did during development, I see point to have CDR. But in this program all development issue are solo provider responsibility. NASA just state which type of service and detail of this service is required.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/17/2014 07:57 PM
When I develop my program, it is good to know what I am building, but it is better to develop basic program structure, that is flexible to change and then I test and modify and test until I am happy with result.

Then you should stay away from safety- or life-critical systems.  That is a very different world, where opportunities to iterate in the real world are limited, testing is not a sufficient defense, and mistakes can cause death, dismemberment and destruction.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/17/2014 08:01 PM
A critical design review is a lot more than a Powerpoint presentation.  It's a review that you do when the design is substantially done.  The reason for the review is that it's a lot more expensive and difficult to fix problems after you've started fabricating hardware. 

Correct. But it's even more expensive and more difficult to fix problems, resulting from the CDR, after you've begun INTEGRATING your hardware components into an integrated spacecraft.
And that's why Boeing had done only marginal integration activities (at best) before completion of their CDR.
Meaning that as of the end of august (this year) Boeing had no integrated CST-100 spacecraft (not even a partially integrated one) to show off, unlike SpaceX at their Dragon 2 presentation. Hence the mock-up only display when Boeing officially presented the CST-100 in last June, two months before completion of their CDR.
'
This is reason it is necessary to have it for Boeing, because outsourcing, not for Spacex where outsourcing is minimal.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/17/2014 08:10 PM
From the Sierra Nevada thread, but relevant here, and similar to recent discussion in this thread:

Lack of progress???  Boeing completed CDR, something neither SpaceX nor Sierra Nevada have done!  Their design is further along than either of their competitors -- SpaceX by a few months but Sierra Nevada by a few years.

So, Boeing is ahead of SpaceX in terms of having their design reviewed and approved by NASA (they are done), but behind in building and integrating the hardware.  SpaceX is ahead of Boeing in terms of actually building their design, but behind in terms of having it reviewed and approved by NASA.

SpaceX is therefore ahead of Boeing in terms of the goal of getting their hardware into space on a test flight first, with the notable caveat that if NASA finds something in CDR that they don't like, it could potentially cause rework of already completed hardware that could set SpaceX back as compared to Boeing.

SpaceX is choosing the riskier approach of proceeding further with hardware implementation before CDR is complete.  It will pay off if they come out of CDR relatively clean.

Please correct me (anyone) if I am wrong here.  I think this is why we keep having the "Boeing is ahead" vs. "SpaceX is ahead" debate; because both are right and wrong.
yes I think you clarify it
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/17/2014 08:18 PM
It is better to build test modify and test again.

That is opinion, not fact, and while it is applicable in some cases, it certainly isn't appropriate for all.
In my world of IT, CDR approach in complicated project took at least 3 times more time and resources(In simple one 10 times and more). It is important that your initial design is flexible. By testing and modifying to you can achieve result in surprisingly short time. Because real  test is best CDR.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: SWGlassPit on 10/17/2014 08:26 PM
In my world of IT, CDR approach in complicated project took at least 3 times more time and resources(In simple one 10 times and more). It is important that your initial design is flexible. By testing and modifying to you can achieve result in surprisingly short time. Because real  test is best CDR.

This isn't IT.  Not even close.  Don't even *try* to compare the two.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/17/2014 08:35 PM
When I develop my program, it is good to know what I am building, but it is better to develop basic program structure, that is flexible to change and then I test and modify and test until I am happy with result.

Then you should stay away from safety- or life-critical systems.  That is a very different world, where opportunities to iterate in the real world are limited, testing is not a sufficient defense, and mistakes can cause death, dismemberment and destruction.
You think if I am talking about service, it is about deliver astronauts to the orbit death or alive, is it fulfilling requirement? I doubt. How long this company will do business for NASA? For example private company will never allow to fly spaceshuttle, even in it is  last iteration. It will be too risky from business reputation point of view. Only NASA a national interest keep this dangerous machine fly and risk every time lost of crew. How many people lost russians in space 4. And on them was during test fly. Their discipline and quality is hundred times worse then any america company. But the design was dumb easy and tested and tested.....
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: raketa on 10/17/2014 08:41 PM
In my world of IT, CDR approach in complicated project took at least 3 times more time and resources(In simple one 10 times and more). It is important that your initial design is flexible. By testing and modifying to you can achieve result in surprisingly short time. Because real  test is best CDR.

This isn't IT.  Not even close.  Don't even *try* to compare the two.
you know that in todays date majority money spend on spacecraft are  on developing programs for spacecraft. You have requirement, than you write your plan how to achieve it, build program/spacecraft and start to test and modify. I know spacecraft takes more hours and more people, but principle is same. You are developing digital or physical product that is able to provide some service.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TomH on 10/17/2014 08:47 PM
It is better to build test modify and test again. If NASA prefer paper work , she is guilty by driving development the way that is more in  risk of delay and cost overrun. When I develop my program, it is good to know what I am building, but it is better to develop basic program structure, that is flexible to change and then I test and modify and test until I am happy with result. With rise of 3D printing I think it is moment to use same method in physical product development.

That is an obsolete approach. The power of modern computers makes it possible to identify and eliminate the  vast majority of those mistakes in a virtual realm rather than having them occur in reality after you've bent metal.  The computer modeling follows complex algorithms finds places where problems occur. These problems are eliminated and the design modified long before you manufacture anything. This does not mean every single problem is identified and eliminated, however most are. Risk is reduced by an order of magnitude or more. Physical testing still has to occur, but the long process of physical trial, error, modification, retrial, etc. is highly reduced.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: SWGlassPit on 10/17/2014 08:48 PM
you know that in todays date majority money spend on spacecraft are  on developing programs for spacecraft. You have requirement, than you write your plan how to achieve it, build program/spacecraft and start to test and modify. I know spacecraft takes more hours and more people, but principle is same. You are developing digital or physical product that is able to provide some service.

It's really not the same.  Physical testing is extremely expensive and often destructive.  Flight hardware is 3 to 5 times as expensive to produce as non-flight hardware, due to rigorous acceptance testing and traceability requirements.  As a result, the process is heavy on the plan and simulate phase, reserving tests for what can't be reliably simulated.  You make it sound like you start building hardware on a half-baked design.  That is lunacy.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: guckyfan on 10/17/2014 08:50 PM
That is an obsolete approach. The power of modern computers makes it possible to identify and eliminate the  vast majority of those mistakes in a virtual realm rather than having them occur in reality after you've bent metal.  The computer modeling follows complex algorithms finds places where problems occur. These problems are eliminated and the design modified long before you manufacture anything. This does not mean every single problem is identified and eliminated, however most are. Risk is reduced by an order of magnitude or more. Physical testing still has to occur, but the long process of physical trial, error, modification, retrial, etc. is highly reduced.

You are absolutely right. In that brave new world of virtual testing such a dumb thing like a pressure vessel developing cracks on the first pressure test can never happen.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: abaddon on 10/17/2014 08:55 PM
Not really, because what NASA has required to this point is design, not fabrication. So from the specific technical and legal definitions, Boeing is ahead. Period. Not that Boeing was my choice, but from a technical standpoint, this is what is clear.

Unless NASA never requires hardware to be built, and the completion of CCtCAP is design, my point stands.  Just because NASA hasn't asked for hardware yet doesn't mean they aren't going to need it, obviously.  CCiCAP requirements for Boeing were quite different from SpaceX but the CCtCAP requirements are going to be much more similar, because the end result is the completed vehicle and operations.

SpaceX is clearly ahead.  That isn't to say Boeing can't catch up... now that they have a firm contract in hand including a guaranteed minimum number of flights I expect they will be more serious in spending the money required to complete the project.

To be clear... SpaceX is behind in CCiCAP.  SpaceX is ahead in the race to get a crew vehicle to space first.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TomH on 10/17/2014 08:55 PM
From the Sierra Nevada thread, but relevant here, and similar to recent discussion in this thread:

Lack of progress???  Boeing completed CDR, something neither SpaceX nor Sierra Nevada have done!  Their design is further along than either of their competitors -- SpaceX by a few months but Sierra Nevada by a few years.

So, Boeing is ahead of SpaceX in terms of having their design reviewed and approved by NASA (they are done), but behind in building and integrating the hardware.  SpaceX is ahead of Boeing in terms of actually building their design, but behind in terms of having it reviewed and approved by NASA.

SpaceX is therefore ahead of Boeing in terms of the goal of getting their hardware into space on a test flight first, with the notable caveat that if NASA finds something in CDR that they don't like, it could potentially cause rework of already completed hardware that could set SpaceX back as compared to Boeing.

SpaceX is choosing the riskier approach of proceeding further with hardware implementation before CDR is complete.  It will pay off if they come out of CDR relatively clean.

Please correct me (anyone) if I am wrong here.  I think this is why we keep having the "Boeing is ahead" vs. "SpaceX is ahead" debate; because both are right and wrong.
yes I think you clarify it

He is incorrect. No production has been required, only design. Boeing is ahead.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TomH on 10/17/2014 08:57 PM
It is better to build test modify and test again.

That is opinion, not fact, and while it is applicable in some cases, it certainly isn't appropriate for all.
In my world of IT, CDR approach in complicated project took at least 3 times more time and resources(In simple one 10 times and more). It is important that your initial design is flexible. By testing and modifying to you can achieve result in surprisingly short time. Because real  test is best CDR.

In the expensive world of aeronautical research and development, the best test is extensive computer modeling before you begin building anything.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: RonM on 10/17/2014 09:00 PM
That is an obsolete approach. The power of modern computers makes it possible to identify and eliminate the  vast majority of those mistakes in a virtual realm rather than having them occur in reality after you've bent metal.  The computer modeling follows complex algorithms finds places where problems occur. These problems are eliminated and the design modified long before you manufacture anything. This does not mean every single problem is identified and eliminated, however most are. Risk is reduced by an order of magnitude or more. Physical testing still has to occur, but the long process of physical trial, error, modification, retrial, etc. is highly reduced.

You are absolutely right. In that brave new world of virtual testing such a dumb thing like a pressure vessel developing cracks on the first pressure test can never happen.

Assuming the computer model is accurate and there is no guarantee of that. You still will have surprises during physical testing. It won't happen as often as it did in the old days, but it will happen.

Never say never.  :)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: SWGlassPit on 10/17/2014 09:02 PM
For those who have played Mario Kart 64, this quibbling over who is ahead reminds me of the Yoshi Valley level. (http://www.mariowiki.com/Yoshi_Valley) 

(http://www.mariowiki.com/images/thumb/9/92/Yoshi_Valley_%28arieal%29.jpg/235px-Yoshi_Valley_%28arieal%29.jpg)

There are multiple paths to the same goal, each fraught with its own risks.  It is next to impossible to tell who is ahead unless everyone is on the same track.  We'll know for sure who is ahead when the first crew members fly.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TomH on 10/17/2014 09:02 PM
That is an obsolete approach. The power of modern computers makes it possible to identify and eliminate the  vast majority of those mistakes in a virtual realm rather than having them occur in reality after you've bent metal.  The computer modeling follows complex algorithms finds places where problems occur. These problems are eliminated and the design modified long before you manufacture anything. This does not mean every single problem is identified and eliminated, however most are. Risk is reduced by an order of magnitude or more. Physical testing still has to occur, but the long process of physical trial, error, modification, retrial, etc. is highly reduced.

You are absolutely right. In that brave new world of virtual testing such a dumb thing like a pressure vessel developing cracks on the first pressure test can never happen.

As I said, you still have to test, and problems will be found, but the amount of refinement is reduced. There is a distinction.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: zodiacchris on 10/17/2014 09:14 PM
Yawn! Let's just wait and see... ::)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TomH on 10/17/2014 09:30 PM
That is an obsolete approach. The power of modern computers makes it possible to identify and eliminate the  vast majority of those mistakes in a virtual realm rather than having them occur in reality after you've bent metal.  The computer modeling follows complex algorithms finds places where problems occur. These problems are eliminated and the design modified long before you manufacture anything. This does not mean every single problem is identified and eliminated, however most are. Risk is reduced by an order of magnitude or more. Physical testing still has to occur, but the long process of physical trial, error, modification, retrial, etc. is highly reduced.

You are absolutely right. In that brave new world of virtual testing such a dumb thing like a pressure vessel developing cracks on the first pressure test can never happen.

Assuming the computer model is accurate and there is no guarantee of that. You still will have surprises during physical testing. It won't happen as often as it did in the old days, but it will happen.

Never say never.  :)

guckyfan was being sarcastic (or at best facetious) by making reference to the Orion pressure test vessel. He is saying you can't depend upon computer modeling. You and I are in agreement; modeling reduces the risk, but you still have to test because there will still be some surprises. The salient point here is that NASA had not yet required any physical testing, only design. Based on that criteria, Boeing is ahead in their milestones.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/17/2014 09:31 PM
SpaceX is on the verge of completing its CDR. I suspect that they will be done by the time CCtCap actually starts (when the protest is over).

We can hope.  Last word appears to be from a  NASA press release (http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/news/releases/2014/release-20140821.html) 21-Aug:
Quote
SpaceX will conduct a critical design review of its ground systems and mission and crew operations plans toward the end of August as it advances Dragon V2 through development. The company also is coming up on the primary structure qualification for the Dragon V2, which is a more advanced version of the cargo-only spacecraft SpaceX uses to transport supplies to the International Space Station.

NB: Only the "ground systems and mission and crew operations plans" are mentioned; nothing about the spacecraft or launch vehicle.  That may simply be an innocent omission in the press release, but I doubt it; per the original CDR scope:
Quote from: SpaceX CCiCap SAA
This integrated CDR will cover spacecraft, launch vehicle, and ground and mission operations systems.

Also, in the original CCiCap schedule, both the pad abort test and the Dragon primary structure qualification milestones preceded CDR (which are now 9 and 10 months late respectively).  No idea if those are CDR prerequisites, but presumably they preceded CDR by 2-3 months for a reason.

In any case, I think it is premature to say that "SpaceX is on the verge of completing its CDR".
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TomH on 10/17/2014 09:35 PM
For those who have played Mario Kart 64, this quibbling over who is ahead reminds me of the Yoshi Valley level. (http://www.mariowiki.com/Yoshi_Valley) 

(http://www.mariowiki.com/images/thumb/9/92/Yoshi_Valley_%28arieal%29.jpg/235px-Yoshi_Valley_%28arieal%29.jpg)

There are multiple paths to the same goal, each fraught with its own risks.  It is next to impossible to tell who is ahead unless everyone is on the same track.  We'll know for sure who is ahead when the first crew members fly.

The discussion regards who is ahead in terms of reaching NASA established milestones, and in this process there is only one path: the meeting of those milestones. I think members here want to see multiple paths, but NASA only sees the path that it established. That is the sourse of all the dissonance in this and related threads.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Lars-J on 10/17/2014 11:47 PM
The discussion regards who is ahead in terms of reaching NASA established milestones, and in this process there is only one path: the meeting of those milestones. I think members here want to see multiple paths, but NASA only sees the path that it established. That is the sourse of all the dissonance in this and related threads.

Only in the imaginary world where SpaceX and Boeing set the same milestones.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/18/2014 12:25 AM
When I develop my program, it is good to know what I am building, but it is better to develop basic program structure, that is flexible to change and then I test and modify and test until I am happy with result.

Then you should stay away from safety- or life-critical systems.  That is a very different world, where opportunities to iterate in the real world are limited, testing is not a sufficient defense, and mistakes can cause death, dismemberment and destruction.
I am calling you on this. Test is the ONLY true way you can determine unknown unknowns. A billion CDRs doesn't help you find unknown unknowns, just your known knows or perhaps known unknowns.

I don't buy that NASA's typical approach is the only way. A test-heavy approach is far superior, in my opinion, to a paper-heavy approach when it comes to safety. That's why airplanes don't fly passengers until they've flown dozens of times. Adding another layer of paper only makes it so it's too expensive to test and so have to fly with fewer tests.

NASA/Boeing had 2 fatal Shuttle failures. The traditional management largesse actually got in the way of identifying and fixing the problems beforehand that led to these fatalities. They knew about them well before but were too stiff to respond until it was too late.

So yeah, I don't buy the condescending attitude that NASA and Boeing have a monopoly on safety due to their management structure. I do buy that SpaceX has a huge advantage due to flying the main hardware successfully 6 times already.

Also, Boeing is much further away on a lot of key tests by their own choice. They set the bar quite low so they could hop over it. I'm not going to concede that they're thus somehow ahead in any real terms due to that technicality.

EDIT: If NASA/Boeing were better able to adapt and change post-design, they would've been able to save 14 astronauts' lives. Being adaptable is KEY to safety because, unlike the traditional management assumption, humans are fallible and the design as well, no matter how much preliminary work you do. Your best bet is to do a good job on initial design, prototype, test, then use that to inform final design and keep in place the flexibility to identify and adapt to near-misses as soon as they happen and before anyone dies.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: mkent on 10/18/2014 12:52 AM
Huh?  I'm not trying to be mean, but do you not know what a CDR is?

A CDR is a powerpoint, nothing more. You don't have to (necessarily) do dev testing, and you certainly don't QTP or ATP anything. QuantumG is totally right here.

No, that is very, very wrong.

The CDR is the Critical Design Review.  It is the second-most important milestone on an aerospace development program -- second only to first flight.

It means that the engineering is essentially done (usually defined as 90% release of the build-to packages).  To reach this point, it means the structural, system, and tooling design is essentially done.  It means the software has largely been written.  It means the manufacturing planning is nearly complete, and it means that purchase orders* for long-lead items have been placed.

Simply put, it is the gate between design and fabrication.  If you haven't passed CDR, you aren't in fabrication, you're still in design.  Boeing is done with design and starting fabrication.  SpaceX is almost done with design and about to start fabrication.  Sierra Nevada is still well within the design phase.

If it weren't for the protest, Boeing would likely be turning dirt at LC-41, installing production tooling in OPF-3, and fabricating parts for the structural test article by now.

And, oh, you're not doing any qualification or acceptance testing until after CDR.  (Qualified to what?  The design isn't done yet.)

* probably contingent in this case, as they hadn't won CCtCap yet.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ncb1397 on 10/18/2014 01:08 AM
Huh?  I'm not trying to be mean, but do you not know what a CDR is?

A CDR is a powerpoint, nothing more. You don't have to (necessarily) do dev testing, and you certainly don't QTP or ATP anything. QuantumG is totally right here.

No, that is very, very wrong.

The CDR is the Critical Design Review.  It is the second-most important milestone on an aerospace development program -- second only to first flight.
No, that is very, very wrong.

You realize the Falcon 9 + Dragon V2 stack is scheduled to fly early next year right?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/18/2014 01:12 AM
...and the Dragon/Falcon9 stack has had half a dozen orbital then reentry and recovery missions, too.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: mkent on 10/18/2014 01:24 AM
You realize the Falcon 9 + Dragon V2 stack is scheduled to fly early next year right?

No, not the full vehicle -- an engineering test article.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/18/2014 01:39 AM
Then you should stay away from safety- or life-critical systems.  That is a very different world, where opportunities to iterate in the real world are limited, testing is not a sufficient defense, and mistakes can cause death, dismemberment and destruction.
I am calling you on this. Test is the ONLY true way you can determine unknown unknowns. A billion CDRs doesn't help you find unknown unknowns, just your known knows or perhaps known unknowns. ...
Getting OT but to clarify ...

Sorry if I was unclear.  I was not denigrating the importance of test nor did I intend to imply that testing is irrelevant, only that testing is an insufficient defense--or more properly much less of a defense in safety- and life-critical systems.  I did not state or mean to imply that NASA's or Boeing's traditional approach is the only way.

There is a balance between the two approaches (design-review-build-test-build-test vs, design-review-design-review-design-review-build-test).  However, as the risk and consequences of failure increase, so does the emphasis on verifying and validating requirements and design.  You see that tradeoff made every day in every engineering effort from household goods to automotive to aerospace to medical devices.

On a more personal level ... Try going to work every day thinking "If I make a mistake someone could die".  And if and someone dies, could I honestly say to the survivors or testify in court that I did everything in my power and used best practices to prevent that death?  Been there.  Done that.  Don't want to do it again.  Ever.*

So apologies if I react a bit harshly when someone asks "why isn't this development like the rest of IT (or whatever)?"  Maybe some can be as cold-hearted and calculating and would shrug off a bit of blood on their hands; me not so much.


* [sarcasm] May I interest you in our new radiotherapy treatment system that consigns patients to a gruesome death every once in a while?  We figured a few gruesome deaths is a small price to pay for accelerating time-to-market and bypassing all those costly and time-consuming reviews.  All for the greater good of course. [/sarcasm]

Edit/Lar: Softened. No name calling please.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/18/2014 01:54 AM
In the expensive world of aeronautical research and development, the best test is extensive computer modeling before you begin building anything.

Worked great on Ares I.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/18/2014 01:55 AM
Joek: I would assert, in human spaceflight systems, that at the extreme, being able to test something 10,000 times (with lessons-learned fed into the design which is then tested thousands of more times) but having the design itself opaque to analysis beats a totally, endlessly reviewed something that has never been tested.

And yeah, Soyuz is a good example. Besides the first few early flights (test flights, or at least they should have been), there have been zero fatalities. I would trust Soyuz more than Shuttle or Orion even in spite of the truly scary state of Russian aerospace quality control. Test flights are more important than design review.

...which gets to one of Boeing's genuine strengths, here, over SpaceX: Atlas V's longer launch history. That means a lot more than a new launch vehicle with endless review (like SLS) but basically no track record, flying manned on the second flight. Sure, Falcon 9 is human rated from the start, but flight history is where it really counts (assuming you human rate both launch vehicles). That said, such an advantage will fade dramatically before the end of 2017. F9 may have 50 flights by then, compared to around 75 for Atlas V.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/18/2014 01:56 AM
Who said it was a cake walk?

Chris, respectfully, you have said that all Boeing had produced was some Power Points and Word documents. Though you did not use the term specific term cake walk, what you did say implied that Boeing had not done serious or scholarly work.

I'm not Chris, Robotbeat is. Again, Powerpoint and Word documents can be plenty hard. People make a career out of it. What it isn't is integrated hardware, which various people keep trying to insist Boeing has, but can't show us any evidence.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/18/2014 01:57 AM
In the expensive world of aeronautical research and development, the best test is extensive computer modeling before you begin building anything.

Worked great on Ares I.
Yeah, that statement is a joke. Real world tests are vastly more valuable. Computer tests are just easier and cheaper, absolutely not better.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ncb1397 on 10/18/2014 01:59 AM
The only design review that matters is the one done by the physical world on a test article. The review phase could be just as blind as the design phase. Shuttle passed design reviews but didn't catch problems that only showed up during flight 25 and 113.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/18/2014 02:01 AM
I'm not Chris, Robotbeat is. Again, Powerpoint and Word documents can be plenty hard. People make a career out of it. What it isn't is integrated hardware, which various people keep trying to insist Boeing has, but can't show us any evidence.
Nor does SpaceX.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/18/2014 02:02 AM
In any case, I think it is premature to say that "SpaceX is on the verge of completing its CDR".

The last SpaceX CDR milestone was scheduled for November last I checked. But even after they are completed, it takes a while for the announcement to be made. 

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/08/07/spacex-sets-dates-dragon-abort-tests/
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/18/2014 02:03 AM
I'm not Chris, Robotbeat is. Again, Powerpoint and Word documents can be plenty hard. People make a career out of it. What it isn't is integrated hardware, which various people keep trying to insist Boeing has, but can't show us any evidence.
Nor does SpaceX.
Yeah, the Dragon 2 unveiling showed hardware integration, certainly more than Boeing has.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/18/2014 02:14 AM
Yeah, the Dragon 2 unveiling showed hardware integration, certainly more than Boeing has.
It showed a spacecraft, not an integrated system.  If it showed an integrated system, presumably SpaceX would be past CDR by now.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/18/2014 02:35 AM
Yeah, the Dragon 2 unveiling showed hardware integration, certainly more than Boeing has.
Don't play his goalpost moving game.

Who is moving goalpoasts?  Wasn't it you who said:
So, we again come back to the fact that everyone who is claiming Boeing has done more work than the other competitors has no way to prove their claims. As long as everyone agrees to this, I think we know how we should treat these claims.

So you take SpaceX's Dragon 2 unveil claims as proof that they have done "more work" as more credible than Boeing's claims?  Or what?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TomH on 10/18/2014 03:03 AM
I don't hear anyone saying computer modeling identifies and eliminates all problems. Nor do I hear anyone saying that physical testing should not be done. What computer modeling does is eliminate a lot of the problems earlier, before you've invested even bigger bucks into bending metal. Boeing designed the 787 this way. Did that mean it didn't need to go through many months of test flights? No, not at all. Nevertheless, the plane did not have catastrophic failures which required going back to the drawing board and starting over. If you run trial and error, and keep finding errors after each redesign, you're really wasting serious time and money. The entire purpose is to expose as many potential problems as possible before you start bending metal, then hopefully discover a minimum of other problems while you perform rigorous physical testing. If engineers have done a good job with their modeling, there won't be nearly as much to redesign after you start physical tests.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/18/2014 03:14 AM
Everyone does modeling before building. Boeing isn't unique. Anyone with a copy of Solidworks can do it. The big difference is SpceX is flying a nearly identical craft right now, literally, and has done so successful 5 other times. SpaceX is able to feed that insight into Dragon2. Also, Dragon2 already has lots of metal bent. Outer mold line is done for at least one of them and two pressure vessels are done (I believe). SpaceX can feed the results of that into their first manned flight, too. SpaceX will soon do two aborts, both of which will further refine Dragon 2. That all beats the crap out of computer simulations, ESPECIALLY Dragon's reentry data (which computers have a difficult time accurately predicting, at least compared to just regular old FEA stress tests and subsonic CFD). Yeah, SpaceX is way ahead on hardware.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 10/18/2014 01:10 PM
I have a friend who worked designing cruise missiles (for a group that is now part of Boeing).  He described CDRs in rather unflattering terms.  He said they spent months of preparation organizing serious and formal responses to all possible questions, even ones where the sensible engineering answer is "That's a silly hypothetical question".  Then, he said, the entire engineering staff was on 24 hour call during the entire CDR.  Then if someone asked any question during the CDR (the real life example he used is "That part's an odd shape.  How will you paint it?"), the presenter was instructed to say "I don't have that process document with me - I'll bring it tomorrow."  Then at the next break, he'd contact the engineering staff, who would work overnight, frantically writing document AA-XXXX-1234, Specification for the Painting of Widget X.   They would present it the next day as if they had simply dug it out of the archives.

He said that neither of the main CDR goals (Is the design sound?  Is it ready for fabrication?) was advanced by the CDR.  The first had been settled long ago, by informal meetings between the relevant technical experts.   It was unthinkable that anyone would advance to a CDR with any serious technical questions unanswered.  This left the second part, is it ready for fabrication?  But if the design is OK, then how to build the parts is the domain of the company, and outside reviewers add very little.

This guy had worked before on the commercial side of the company, where the question of "does it work" was dictated by reputation and legal concerns, and the question of "is it ready for production" was determined by the folks responsible for building each part.   When he switched to the military side of the house (not by choice, his commercial product got cancelled),  he started to have to run formal CDRs.  He felt the process sucked up an enormous amount of engineering time, to very little practical benefit. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: obi-wan on 10/18/2014 03:14 PM
Having been through a lot of CDRs, both on the design teams and as a reviewer, I would absolutely reject the concept that they're not useful. In a perfect world, the CDR is where you certify that the design is complete and correct and you are ready to start cutting metal - but in reality, with concurrent engineering practices the wall between "design" and "fabrication" is largely broken down. There are long-lead components you have to start on well before CDR if you have a hope of making the launch on time. (Try calling a supplier and finding out the items you want have a 36-month delivery time!)

The other thing is that there is no such monolithic thing as "CDR". Every individual system usually has their own CDR, and in some organizations they have both "internal CDRs" and "external CDRs". There are "Mission System CDRs" and "Flight System CDRs" and "Program CDRs". It is absolutely true that the process is a major driver of personnel resources, and development can grind to a halt for months in preparation for the CDR cycle. (Although, if you really want to talk about major drain on resources, try going through the shuttle or station Payload Safety Review Panels - all four review cycles...)

There are some silly RIDs (my favorite was "The name of this program is stupid and you should change it", but that one wasn't even entered into the formal tracking system, it just gave us all a good laugh), but the worst CDRs I've ever been involved with were the ones where the organization wasn't ready, but the program schedule said this was when the CDR took place, and they held it anyway. That wastes everyone's time for a week and gives rise to the worst possible outcome, a "Delta CDR" where you spend another week doing it all over again. Bringing this back to Commercial Crew, NASA has a real fetish for meeting schedule, and I'm not surprised that Boeing met schedule because they live the classic flight culture, but I applaud SpaceX if they looked and said "We're not ready for CDR and we'll do it when we're ready." I think that's a lot more productive of everyone's time.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/18/2014 04:43 PM
Apparently I missed the memo that SpaceX's Integrated CDR milestone 13 was split into two milestones before July, and then split again for total of four milestonesin late July.  From NASA Extends SpaceX CCiCap Award Period Into 2015, Splits Up Company's Critical Design Review Milestone (http://www.americaspace.com/?p=65123), AmericaSpace, July 30:
Quote
“NASA approved SpaceX’s request to split some content from its Integrated Critical Design Review (Milestone 13) to two, resulting in Milestone 13A and 13B,” said Kraft. “More recently, NASA approved SpaceX’s request to shift some content from Milestone 13A to two new milestones, Milestone 13C and 13D, along with commensurate funding. SpaceX has completed the newly formed Milestone 13A. Milestones 13B, 13C and 13D are planned for later this year.  None of the original milestone content was removed from the agreement, just shifted among the milestones, nor was any content added to the agreement.”
(There is an error in the article which shows milestone 13A as Dragon primary structure qualification test, which is milestone 12 and which as far as I can tell has not been completed.)

A good summary can be found at An Updated List of NASA's Commercial Crew Partner Milestones (http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/2014/20140912-ccicap-milestone-list.html) which shows:
M13A: Integrated Crew Vehicle Critical Design Review (complete)
M13B: Operations Critical Design Review
M13C: Crew Vehicle Technical Interchange Meetings
M13D: Delta Crew Vehicle Critical Design Review
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Lar on 10/18/2014 06:29 PM
I've been reluctant to wade into this because, as everyone knows, I have an opinion here, and a rather strong one at that, but on reading this thread I found a lot of less than excellentness... Posts calling others names. Posts warning against particular debate tactics. Posts cheering each other's post (that's what the like button is for).

I've edited a few. I removed a few. I may have shown my bias in not being evenhanded enough... take it up with Chris. But I'd like to see the excellentness level increased. And if we could all agree on a few things and/or agree to disagree without rehashing them in a stale manner, that would be great.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: dkovacic on 10/18/2014 07:58 PM
As has been said multiple times on here, dismissing CDR as "just a powerpoint" shows a complete lack of knowledge of how engineering design works.

To dumb it down somewhat, CDR is when the blueprints get approved.  Here are just a few examples of tricky design issues that have to be tackled to ...
Wow! This is one of the best posts I have read on NSF. And I have read a lot of them.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 10/18/2014 10:44 PM
I have to wonder if the original COTS competition took place today under the CCtCAP model, whether SpaceX would have been awarded a contract to build a spacecraft at all.  The funding mechanism for CCtCAP maybe innovative, but all the award decisions have stifled any sort of innovation.

Unless you had a simple capsule and built a manned-capable spacecraft previously, a company was just not going to win. That was true for this round, and arguably it was true for CCiCAP (only a last minute "half-award" saved DC then) It is rather sad, wasn't commercial crew supposed to stimulate the commercial space market?

Sierra Nevada has built spacecraft for 50 years, they integrate defense aircraft that support our troops, they were arguably the most innovative business case with agreements with other space agencies but they lost because they werent Boeing or SpaceX. I see now why the "big guys" were excluded from COTS, they stifle any sort of innovation.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/19/2014 12:57 AM
If there wasn't the Russian situation, and if all partners had agreed to extend the station to 2024, at least, then SNC might have had a chance. NASA is in a hurry, and they are the least likely to finish on time. And FFP makes sure that everybody finishes on price.
COTS had a lot of more margin, and it was a kind of experiment.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Coastal Ron on 10/19/2014 01:17 AM
Sierra Nevada has built spacecraft for 50 years, they integrate defense aircraft that support our troops, they were arguably the most innovative business case with agreements with other space agencies but they lost because they werent Boeing or SpaceX.

If the internal info on CCtCap that is being quoted in the press is true, then it likely that it wasn't that SNC was being too innovative, but had not eliminated enough unknowns on the Dream Chaser to be worth the risk for NASA.

Remember the #1 goal for NASA is that whoever is bidding has to have a realistic chance of being ready by 2017.  It appears that NASA was not confident enough that SNC would be ready with Dream Chaser, and decided to go with the two most qualified bidders - both of whom they felt had realistic chances of being ready by 2017.

And if that is the reason, then SNC will have no chance in their protest, because NASA will be able to show reasonable justification for why they didn't think SNC was qualified for an award.  It makes me sad, since I wanted Dream Chaser to get an award...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: WindyCity on 10/19/2014 02:16 AM
Any news on what transpired in the Court of Federal Claims yesterday in SNC's attempt to block NASA's resume work order? See http://tiny.cc/7fgynx (http://tiny.cc/7fgynx).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: getitdoneinspace on 10/19/2014 02:28 AM
Any news on what transpired in the Court of Federal Claims yesterday in SNC's attempt to block NASA's resume work order? See http://tiny.cc/7fgynx (http://tiny.cc/7fgynx).

From http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/snc-v-nasa-boeing-and-spacex-alllowed-to-intervene-next-hearing-date-set

"Today, Judge Marian Blank Horn granted motions from Boeing and SpaceX to "intervene" in the case and ordered that they file their submissions by Monday, October 20, at noon.  The next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 21, at 2:30 pm ET."
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: WindyCity on 10/19/2014 02:30 AM
Any news on what transpired in the Court of Federal Claims yesterday in SNC's attempt to block NASA's resume work order? See http://tiny.cc/7fgynx (http://tiny.cc/7fgynx).

From http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/snc-v-nasa-boeing-and-spacex-alllowed-to-intervene-next-hearing-date-set

"Today, Judge Marian Blank Horn granted motions from Boeing and SpaceX to "intervene" in the case and ordered that they file their submissions by Monday, October 20, at noon.  The next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 21, at 2:30 pm ET.".

Thanks. Obviously, the judge won't issue a ruling without hearing countervailing testimony. What I'm curious about is why he allowed Boeing and SpaceX to jump in. SNC's request was for an injunction to force NASA to reinstate its stop-work order. I should think that only NASA would have standing, no?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: getitdoneinspace on 10/19/2014 02:40 AM
Any news on what transpired in the Court of Federal Claims yesterday in SNC's attempt to block NASA's resume work order? See http://tiny.cc/7fgynx (http://tiny.cc/7fgynx).

From http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/snc-v-nasa-boeing-and-spacex-alllowed-to-intervene-next-hearing-date-set

"Today, Judge Marian Blank Horn granted motions from Boeing and SpaceX to "intervene" in the case and ordered that they file their submissions by Monday, October 20, at noon.  The next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 21, at 2:30 pm ET.".

Thanks. Obviously, the judge won't issue a ruling without hearing countervailing testimony. What I'm curious about is why he allowed Boeing and SpaceX to jump in. SNC's request was for an injunction to force NASA to reinstate its stop-work order. I should think that only NASA would have standing, no?


Take a look at http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_24

(a) Intervention of Right. On timely motion, the court must permit anyone to intervene who:

(1) is given an unconditional right to intervene by a federal statute; or

(2) claims an interest relating to the property or transaction that is the subject of the action, and is so situated that disposing of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the movant's ability to protect its interest, unless existing parties adequately represent that interest.

Edit: GO Big Red !!!
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/19/2014 02:47 AM
Apparently I missed the memo that SpaceX's Integrated CDR milestone 13 was split into two milestones before July, and then split again for total of four milestonesin late July.  From NASA Extends SpaceX CCiCap Award Period Into 2015, Splits Up Company's Critical Design Review Milestone (http://www.americaspace.com/?p=65123), AmericaSpace, July 30:
Quote
“NASA approved SpaceX’s request to split some content from its Integrated Critical Design Review (Milestone 13) to two, resulting in Milestone 13A and 13B,” said Kraft. “More recently, NASA approved SpaceX’s request to shift some content from Milestone 13A to two new milestones, Milestone 13C and 13D, along with commensurate funding. SpaceX has completed the newly formed Milestone 13A. Milestones 13B, 13C and 13D are planned for later this year.  None of the original milestone content was removed from the agreement, just shifted among the milestones, nor was any content added to the agreement.”
(There is an error in the article which shows milestone 13A as Dragon primary structure qualification test, which is milestone 12 and which as far as I can tell has not been completed.)

A good summary can be found at An Updated List of NASA's Commercial Crew Partner Milestones (http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/2014/20140912-ccicap-milestone-list.html) which shows:
M13A: Integrated Crew Vehicle Critical Design Review (complete)
M13B: Operations Critical Design Review
M13C: Crew Vehicle Technical Interchange Meetings
M13D: Delta Crew Vehicle Critical Design Review

See also this link:
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/07/12/spacex-commercial-crew-status-july-2014/
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: WindyCity on 10/19/2014 02:51 AM
Take a look at http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_24

(a) Intervention of Right. On timely motion, the court must permit anyone to intervene who:

(1) is given an unconditional right to intervene by a federal statute; or

(2) claims an interest relating to the property or transaction that is the subject of the action, and is so situated that disposing of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the movant's ability to protect its interest, unless existing parties adequately represent that interest.

Yep. That would explain it! Thanks!
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: docmordrid on 10/21/2014 08:46 AM

Quote
Charles A. Lurio @TheLurioReport
Gov't req1:Despite SpaceX dev. lead, 2 fly 'NASA cert. vehicle' w/crew by 2017 must start CCtCap all-out now incl. much discussion w/Agency.

Gov't req 2: So if SpaceX requires all-out to have crewed "NASA certification flight" by 2017, how can Boeing do it given its hardware lag?

Gov't req'ts make 2017 a challenge;Cong. likely 2 underfund,force slip;Gerst. freaks re dubious 'risk' w/SNC's lower bid than Boeing. Sense?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 10/22/2014 12:48 AM
Sierra Nevada has built spacecraft for 50 years, they integrate defense aircraft that support our troops, they were arguably the most innovative business case with agreements with other space agencies but they lost because they werent Boeing or SpaceX.

If the internal info on CCtCap that is being quoted in the press is true, then it likely that it wasn't that SNC was being too innovative, but had not eliminated enough unknowns on the Dream Chaser to be worth the risk for NASA.

Remember the #1 goal for NASA is that whoever is bidding has to have a realistic chance of being ready by 2017.  It appears that NASA was not confident enough that SNC would be ready with Dream Chaser, and decided to go with the two most qualified bidders - both of whom they felt had realistic chances of being ready by 2017.

And if that is the reason, then SNC will have no chance in their protest, because NASA will be able to show reasonable justification for why they didn't think SNC was qualified for an award.  It makes me sad, since I wanted Dream Chaser to get an award...

I think they were hoping the engine on SS2 would act as a test mule for the abort engines on Dream Chaser.
But the poor performance on SS2 may have been a seen as a negative for the hybrid rockets on DC.

Though DC doesn't need as much delta V as SS2 so difficulties with SS2's motor may not have been directly applicable.
In retrospect maybe they should have stuck with a more conventional hypergolic liquid abort engines as they would have been perceived as lower risk.

As for Boeing being able to be ready faster in theory yes since it is a much simpler vehicle but Boeing has a bad track record of making on time deliveries.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/22/2014 12:51 AM
I think they were hoping the engine on SS2 would act as a test mule for the abort engines on Dream Chaser.

No. Dreamchaser doesn't have the lower vibration requirements of SS2.

Quote from: Patchouli
DC doesn't need as much delta V as SS2 so difficulties with SS2 may not have been directly transferable.

Yep.

SNC offered to do a liquid system because NASA kept harping on about the hybrid motors. They don't have any problems with them.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: cambrianera on 10/22/2014 12:36 PM
New (old) troubles for Boeing:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-20/boeing-seeks-revised-schedule-for-u-s-aerial-tanker.html
After the McDonnel Douglas deal they have lost the engineering touch; really curious to see how this will evolve.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: abaddon on 10/22/2014 01:55 PM
New (old) troubles for Boeing:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-20/boeing-seeks-revised-schedule-for-u-s-aerial-tanker.html
After the McDonnel Douglas deal they have lost the engineering touch; really curious to see how this will evolve.

From the article:

Quote
The Air Force and the U.S. Government Accountability Office have praised Boeing’s progress on the $51 billion program to build 179 of the planes, which is based on the company’s 767 jetliner and designated the KC-46. However, the service estimates that Boeing will have to absorb $1 billion in costs for exceeding a $4.9 billion ceiling to develop the first four planes.

I don't know how this contract compares with CCtCAP, but this is a good example of the contractor not being able to just up the price on the contract if it missed its estimates.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: JasonAW3 on 10/22/2014 02:05 PM
I think they were hoping the engine on SS2 would act as a test mule for the abort engines on Dream Chaser.

No. Dreamchaser doesn't have the lower vibration requirements of SS2.

Quote from: Patchouli
DC doesn't need as much delta V as SS2 so difficulties with SS2 may not have been directly transferable.

Yep.

SNC offered to do a liquid system because NASA kept harping on about the hybrid motors. They don't have any problems with them.

So that whole situation at Scaled Composites had nothing to do with SNC's decission to change from the Hybrids?  I was under the understanding that was primary reason that they changed to liquid fueled from the hybrids.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: newpylong on 10/22/2014 02:38 PM
I think they were hoping the engine on SS2 would act as a test mule for the abort engines on Dream Chaser.

No. Dreamchaser doesn't have the lower vibration requirements of SS2.

Quote from: Patchouli
DC doesn't need as much delta V as SS2 so difficulties with SS2 may not have been directly transferable.

Yep.

SNC offered to do a liquid system because NASA kept harping on about the hybrid motors. They don't have any problems with them.

This is nonsense, the decision had nothing to do with NASA - it was an internal change.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Nindalf on 10/22/2014 03:27 PM
SNC hasn't actually decided to change to liquid-fueled engines on Dream Chaser.  They just started studying the option.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/22/2014 04:47 PM
SNC hasn't actually decided to change to liquid-fueled engines on Dream Chaser.  They just started studying the option.

That is not correct.
A liquid engine has been baselined for DreamChaser. The Hybrid motor has been abandoned.
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/08/19/snc-abandons-hybrid-motors-dream-chaser/
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: RanulfC on 10/22/2014 05:16 PM
SNC hasn't actually decided to change to liquid-fueled engines on Dream Chaser.  They just started studying the option.

That is not correct.
A liquid engine has been baselined for DreamChaser. The Hybrid motor has been abandoned.
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/08/19/snc-abandons-hybrid-motors-dream-chaser/

Yes but wasn't that AFTER everything was already submitted for consideration?

RAndy
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Nindalf on 10/22/2014 07:38 PM
SNC hasn't actually decided to change to liquid-fueled engines on Dream Chaser.  They just started studying the option.

That is not correct.
A liquid engine has been baselined for DreamChaser. The Hybrid motor has been abandoned.
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/08/19/snc-abandons-hybrid-motors-dream-chaser/
I don't have time to look it up right now, but an SNC representative claimed that wasn't true recently.  Maybe someone else can link it?  I'll dig it up later if nobody else does.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: SWGlassPit on 10/22/2014 07:43 PM
As I recall, their comment appeared very carefully couched: "We did not announce that."  Neither a confirmation nor a denial.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/22/2014 08:01 PM
SNC hasn't actually decided to change to liquid-fueled engines on Dream Chaser.  They just started studying the option.

That is not correct.
A liquid engine has been baselined for DreamChaser. The Hybrid motor has been abandoned.
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/08/19/snc-abandons-hybrid-motors-dream-chaser/

Actually, SNC is still making trade studies about the DC engines. Sirangelo refuted (in an interview with AmericaSpace) what was said by Kathy Lueders. No final decision has yet been announced.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: docmordrid on 10/22/2014 10:55 PM
If SNC is uncertain about DC's engines can we really be surprised if NASA was concerned about a schedule slip? 

Not to mention the problems VG has had with SNC built hybrids. The NASA people weren't locked in a vault.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/22/2014 10:58 PM
If SNC is uncertain about DC's engines can we really be surprised if NASA was concerned about a schedule slip? 

Investigating alternatives isn't being "uncertain".

Quote from: docmordrid
Not to mention the problems VG has had with SNC built hybrids. The NASA people weren't locked in a vault.

They're completely different motors.. and completely different vehicles.. for completely different purposes.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: docmordrid on 10/22/2014 11:05 PM
If SNC is uncertain about DC's engines can we really be surprised if NASA was concerned about a schedule slip? 

Investigating alternatives isn't being "uncertain".-

Optics. A political term, but politics intrudes everywhere these days.

Quote
Quote from: docmordrid
Not to mention the problems VG has had with SNC built hybrids. The NASA people weren't locked in a vault.

They're completely different motors.. and completely different vehicles.. for completely different purposes.

And likely made using similar processes, and by the same division.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Nindalf on 10/22/2014 11:20 PM
Here it is:
Mark Sirangelo stated following from America space interview.
 http://www.americaspace.com/?p=66192

 “We have not announced a change in propulsion systems and that was not a quote from us.”

“It was likely meant to refer to our acquisition of Orbitec as we now have an expanded base of propulsion solutions and are exploring their use for future Dream Chaser variants.”

“There is no schedule change related to engines.”

So the DC is staying with it's existing hybrid engines for the first orbital version at least.
There's some more discussion in that topic.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 10/22/2014 11:31 PM
The reason SNC has no trouble with their hybrids is that they designed their vehicle around their engines.. as any sensible vehicle engineer would do.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: clongton on 10/23/2014 12:07 AM
SNC hasn't actually decided to change to liquid-fueled engines on Dream Chaser.  They just started studying the option.

That is not correct.
A liquid engine has been baselined for DreamChaser. The Hybrid motor has been abandoned.
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/08/19/snc-abandons-hybrid-motors-dream-chaser/ (http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/08/19/snc-abandons-hybrid-motors-dream-chaser/)

Actually, SNC is still making trade studies about the DC engines. Sirangelo refuted (in an interview with AmericaSpace) what was said by Kathy Lueders. No final decision has yet been announced.   

The decision has been documented. That's all I can say.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 10/23/2014 02:55 AM
SNC hasn't actually decided to change to liquid-fueled engines on Dream Chaser.  They just started studying the option.

That is not correct.
A liquid engine has been baselined for DreamChaser. The Hybrid motor has been abandoned.
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/08/19/snc-abandons-hybrid-motors-dream-chaser/ (http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/08/19/snc-abandons-hybrid-motors-dream-chaser/)

Actually, SNC is still making trade studies about the DC engines. Sirangelo refuted (in an interview with AmericaSpace) what was said by Kathy Lueders. No final decision has yet been announced.   

The decision has been documented. That's all I can say.

I went to the Orbitec web site and found this .

http://www.orbitec.com/propulsion.html

"ORBITEC is also applying the coaxial vortex flow field to hybrid rocket engine systems that produce fuel regression rates significantly higher than conventional hybrid configurations. This increase in fuel regression rate enables the use of a simple circular grain port and leads to significant gains in performance, reliability, and durability of hybrid systems."

It seems they're considering on moving to a simpler round fuel grain port vs a star or rod and tube as Orbitec's votrex flow allows this change.

This should help with combustion instabilities.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Mike Harris-Stone on 10/28/2014 01:14 AM
Space News has an article with additional details on the contract decision I've not seen elsewhere and also on the apparent stand off between NASA and congress.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/42324house-republicans-clamor-for-commercial-crew-source-selection-document

This is certainly not where I expected Commercial Crew to be at this point.  The more I think about it, the more I think the disparity in the contract amounts ($2 billion!), whatever the technical merits of CST-100, is a potentially big public relations problem for NASA.  I hope all this ends well but I'm getting very concerned.  A storm seems to be brewing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: TrevorMonty on 10/28/2014 01:41 AM
Here is an extract from the article, this states that SNC have still not finalized the main propulsion engines. That is definitely a big cross against them in regards to the selection.


http://redirect.viglink.com/?key=a7e5ffb24b9e84f4f4f6bbd88aa4e5b8&out=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spacenews.com%2Farticle%2Fcivil-space%2F42324house-republicans-clamor-for-commercial-crew-source-selection-document&subId=9e0e40a51b6ed794dbcfbd46410ba102

Gerstenmaier said he was troubled by “a critical design decision yet to be made regarding different main propulsion systems” for Dream Chaser, which resembles a mini space shuttle.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: vt_hokie on 10/28/2014 02:11 AM
It was a little late in the game for a propulsion change.  Pretty remarkable how DC went from hybrid-palooza to no hybrids at all!

(http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn8335/dn8335-1_488.jpg)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 10/28/2014 04:25 AM
From the SpaceNews article by Dan Leone:
Quote
Gerstenmaier also disagreed with the members of the source evaluation board about the importance of some planned Dream Chaser features. For example, Gerstenmaier gave less weight to Dream Chaser’s ability to land on runways than did the evaluation board, and was more troubled than the board over some of the remaining technical hurdles in SNC’s proposal.

This hints at the possibility the evaluation board might have come to a preliminary conclusion with recommendations of awards, which might then have been over-ridden by Gerstenmaier. That's speculation, but if it did play out that way the over-ride would look ugly in the court of public opinion, regardless of Gerstenmaier's actual reasons for it.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 10/28/2014 07:48 AM
From the SpaceNews article by Dan Leone:
Quote
Gerstenmaier also disagreed with the members of the source evaluation board about the importance of some planned Dream Chaser features. For example, Gerstenmaier gave less weight to Dream Chaser’s ability to land on runways than did the evaluation board, and was more troubled than the board over some of the remaining technical hurdles in SNC’s proposal.

This hints at the possibility the evaluation board might have come to a preliminary conclusion with recommendations of awards, which might then have been over-ridden by Gerstenmaier. That's speculation, but if it did play out that way the over-ride would look ugly in the court of public opinion, regardless of Gerstenmaier's actual reasons for it.
Yes, because it would invalidate having an evaluation board in the first place.
WARNING: the next few sentences are pure and utter speculation: IF a single person was capable of over-riding the evaluation board it would largely invalidate the usefullness of having an evaluation board. The general purpose of having an evaluation board is to come to a well-considered and weighed conclusion (with regards to the evaluation), a concensus if you will. Having that concensus shoved aside by a single person would indeed not look to well in the court of public opinion. And I suspect it would not look too well in US Congress either.
So I really hope the SpaceNews article has it's facts wrong.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 10/28/2014 09:24 AM
Space News has an article with additional details on the contract decision I've not seen elsewhere and also on the apparent stand off between NASA and congress.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/42324house-republicans-clamor-for-commercial-crew-source-selection-document

This is certainly not where I expected Commercial Crew to be at this point.  The more I think about it, the more I think the disparity in the contract amounts ($2 billion!), whatever the technical merits of CST-100, is a potentially big public relations problem for NASA.  I hope all this ends well but I'm getting very concerned.  A storm seems to be brewing.

Congress can ask NASA what is so urgent about Commercial Crew that it cannot wait a 100 days?
The answer is likely to be politically embarrassing so I suggest that they wait until after the election in case they are one of the politicians being protected.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/28/2014 02:15 PM
Yes, because it would invalidate having an evaluation board in the first place.
WARNING: the next few sentences are pure and utter speculation: IF a single person was capable of over-riding the evaluation board it would largely invalidate the usefullness of having an evaluation board. The general purpose of having an evaluation board is to come to a well-considered and weighed conclusion (with regards to the evaluation), a concensus if you will. Having that concensus shoved aside by a single person would indeed not look to well in the court of public opinion. And I suspect it would not look too well in US Congress either.

It all depends. If the margins of selection was very thin, a very small criteria difference would be well within the rights (and duties) of the Selection Officer. In fact, that's why there's one. If the technical committee had the final weights and criteria, then  there would be no point in having a second stage of selecting officer.
I've got no reason to consider any sort of illegal bias nor wrong doing from Gerst. He did stated a certain difference of criteria on very few points (and it happened across the board), but the structure of ratings was such that I simply don't see an actual impact (sorry, can't go into specifics). The only point that I think could be argued (and still think it is baseless), is one technicality regarding the rating system. When the Source Selection Document is released to the general public, we can go into specifics.
Meanwhile, there's no lobby hand, nor a secret agenda. It might have come down to different set of  criteria.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: LouScheffer on 10/28/2014 03:10 PM
From the SpaceNews article by Dan Leone:
Quote
Gerstenmaier also disagreed with the members of the source evaluation board about the importance of some planned Dream Chaser features. For example, Gerstenmaier gave less weight to Dream Chaser’s ability to land on runways than did the evaluation board, and was more troubled than the board over some of the remaining technical hurdles in SNC’s proposal.

This hints at the possibility the evaluation board might have come to a preliminary conclusion with recommendations of awards, which might then have been over-ridden by Gerstenmaier. That's speculation, but if it did play out that way the over-ride would look ugly in the court of public opinion, regardless of Gerstenmaier's actual reasons for it.
Yes, because it would invalidate having an evaluation board in the first place.
Not at all.  The top administrator's job is to make the big decisions on spending, risk vs reward, and so on.  But he or she does not have the time (even if they have the expertise) to delve into each designs technical and financial details.  So the evaluation board does that - they visit the vendors, look at the designs in detail, check the financials and proposed schedules, and so on.  Then they report their data to the administrator, who uses it to make a final decision, which may or may not agree with the board.

Lots and lots of processes work this way.  The referees review papers, but the editor decides.  The decadal review has the scientist's preferences, but the funding agencies decide.  Cabinet officers express their views, but the president can decide otherwise.  In most cases it's a sensible division of labor, since neither the technical experts or the administrators have the time (and often the ability) to do the other's job well.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Chris Bergin on 10/28/2014 06:41 PM
Thread trimmed due to off topic post surrounding an idiot's comment.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: newpylong on 10/29/2014 01:57 PM
From the SpaceNews article by Dan Leone:
Quote
Gerstenmaier also disagreed with the members of the source evaluation board about the importance of some planned Dream Chaser features. For example, Gerstenmaier gave less weight to Dream Chaser’s ability to land on runways than did the evaluation board, and was more troubled than the board over some of the remaining technical hurdles in SNC’s proposal.

This hints at the possibility the evaluation board might have come to a preliminary conclusion with recommendations of awards, which might then have been over-ridden by Gerstenmaier. That's speculation, but if it did play out that way the over-ride would look ugly in the court of public opinion, regardless of Gerstenmaier's actual reasons for it.
Yes, because it would invalidate having an evaluation board in the first place.
Not at all.  The top administrator's job is to make the big decisions on spending, risk vs reward, and so on.  But he or she does not have the time (even if they have the expertise) to delve into each designs technical and financial details.  So the evaluation board does that - they visit the vendors, look at the designs in detail, check the financials and proposed schedules, and so on.  Then they report their data to the administrator, who uses it to make a final decision, which may or may not agree with the board.

Lots and lots of processes work this way.  The referees review papers, but the editor decides.  The decadal review has the scientist's preferences, but the funding agencies decide.  Cabinet officers express their views, but the president can decide otherwise.  In most cases it's a sensible division of labor, since neither the technical experts or the administrators have the time (and often the ability) to do the other's job well.

Yes and NASA works this way as well. Programs undergo PDR, CDR, and the Brass makes the KDP choices based on the results of those reviews. This is no different. It is Gerst's job to review the data and make the final call.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: docmordrid on 10/29/2014 05:24 PM
If anything last night's Antares problem  should teach the Congresscritters that redundancy is good - we need more than one provider for launch, cargo and crew. Not saying it will, they're a rather dense lot, but still.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 10/29/2014 08:05 PM
It was a little late in the game for a propulsion change.  Pretty remarkable how DC went from hybrid-palooza to no hybrids at all!

(http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn8335/dn8335-1_488.jpg)

I wonder how hard that would have been to tame and how cost effective it would have been?

I also wonder will the OSC incident cause a reevaluation of the commercial crew?

The full size DC can do much of Cygnus's or Dragon's cargo duties if one gets grounded since it has a similar capacity.
While the CST-100 has a much smaller cargo capacity then either vehicle.

If I was in NASA's place I would be reconsidering the commercial crew decision based on that.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/29/2014 08:50 PM

1.  I wonder how hard that would have been to tame and how cost effective it would have been?

2.  I also wonder will the OSC incident cause a reevaluation of the commercial crew?

3.  The full size DC can do much of Cygnus's or Dragon's cargo duties if one gets grounded since it has a similar capacity.
While the CST-100 has a much smaller cargo capacity then either vehicle.


Wrong take away.

1.  It is a cluster

2.  No,

3.  Wrong.  CST-100 can carry as much.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: SWGlassPit on 10/29/2014 09:11 PM
To expand on Jim's reply -- DC and CST both use docking tunnels, which can't accommodate the large, bulky cargo that the CBM allows. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 10/29/2014 10:16 PM
Plus, no CCiCap competitor offered more than 16m³ of volume. Enhanced Cygnus (the 3-segment pressurized module version that would fly from CRS-4 onwards), is 26m³, and the proposed "SuperCygnus" version (with 4 segment pressurized module) would have 33.5m³. Of course either Atlas V 501, Delta IV M+(5,2) or even Falcon 9 v1.1 could fit within existing fairing and with a lot of mass margin. They could take up to 4 tonnes of cargo per trip with that configuration. With that they could cover their CRS1 contract in just five launches. The nice thing of flying Cygnus on Atlas V is that ISS would be fully redundant on crew and cargo but still get a nice level of orders for each system. I guess it would require 3 Cargo Dragon, 1 Crew Dragon, 2 Cygnus and 1 CST-100. That's 4 x Falcon 9 per year and 3 x Atlas V. They could get a nice discount on that. Specially since its contracted through commercial means and thus SpaceX, Orbital and Boeing will fight for the best price.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/29/2014 10:24 PM
To expand on Jim's reply -- DC and CST both use docking tunnels, which can't accommodate the large, bulky cargo that the CBM allows. 

Most of the CRS cargo can fit through docking tunnels
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 10/29/2014 10:42 PM

3.  Wrong.  CST-100 can carry as much.

It took some searching but the only cargo mass number I can find for the CST-100 is 2000kg and another that was even less at 2800lbs this is less then the upgraded Cyngus,much less then Dragon, and less then Dream Chaser.
In fact by mass this is even less then Progress which carries up to 2350kg.

The biggest issue by far is it is more volume limited then the other vehicles so it's unlikely all that mass will ever be utilized.
The Apollo OML is not exactly an efficient shape for cargo.
Of course Boeing could replace the capsule with a cargo carrier like on Cygnus and eliminate this limitation but I find this unlikely without extra $$$$$ on NASA's part.

DreamChaser has 16 cubic meters of volume that is mostly cylindrical so in this respect it not only beats the CST-100 it even beats Dragon though the enhanced Cygnus still can carry a lot more.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/30/2014 12:15 AM
It was a little late in the game for a propulsion change.  Pretty remarkable how DC went from hybrid-palooza to no hybrids at all!

(http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn8335/dn8335-1_488.jpg)


 I also wonder will the OSC incident cause a reevaluation of the commercial crew?

The full size DC can do much of Cygnus's or Dragon's cargo duties if one gets grounded since it has a similar capacity.
While the CST-100 has a much smaller cargo capacity then either vehicle.



Absolutely it will.  I anticipate both Boeing and SpaceX will be pushed harder on many areas.  And not just because of whatever the investigation shows (e.g., maybe cost cutting profit making companies do cut corners, or NASA oversight was as good as now it should be [not saying either is true, but these are the reactions people will have]) but also because people will be extra paranoid they are missing something.  At a min it will probably slow things down because the CCP will be trying all the harder to not let the same thing happen. 

As to DC - I would only caution you to be careful quoting numbers from a system that didn't make it as mature as CDR.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 10/30/2014 12:17 AM
Plus, no CCiCap competitor offered more than 16m³ of volume. Enhanced Cygnus (the 3-segment pressurized module version that would fly from CRS-4 onwards), is 26m³, and the proposed "SuperCygnus" version (with 4 segment pressurized module) would have 33.5m³. Of course either Atlas V 501, Delta IV M+(5,2) or even Falcon 9 v1.1 could fit within existing fairing and with a lot of mass margin. They could take up to 4 tonnes of cargo per trip with that configuration. With that they could cover their CRS1 contract in just five launches. The nice thing of flying Cygnus on Atlas V is that ISS would be fully redundant on crew and cargo but still get a nice level of orders for each system. I guess it would require 3 Cargo Dragon, 1 Crew Dragon, 2 Cygnus and 1 CST-100. That's 4 x Falcon 9 per year and 3 x Atlas V. They could get a nice discount on that. Specially since its contracted through commercial means and thus SpaceX, Orbital and Boeing will fight for the best price.

it is totally invalid to compare iCAp proposals - designed and optimized for humans - to what these companies may be proposing for CRS2, and especially something for something that is evolving itself (CRS-4).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/30/2014 01:17 AM

1.  It took some searching but the only cargo mass number I can find for the CST-100 is 2000kg and another that was even less at 2800lbs this is less then the upgraded Cyngus,much less then Dragon, and less then Dream Chaser.
In fact by mass this is even less then Progress which carries up to 2350kg.

2.  The biggest issue by far is it is more volume limited then the other vehicles so it's unlikely all that mass will ever be utilized.
The Apollo OML is not exactly an efficient shape for cargo.
Of course Boeing could replace the capsule with a cargo carrier like on Cygnus and eliminate this limitation but I find this unlikely without extra $$$$$ on NASA's part.

3. vDreamChaser has 16 cubic meters of volume that is mostly cylindrical so in this respect it not only beats the CST-100 it even beats Dragon though the enhanced Cygnus still can carry a lot more.

1.  I find 2800kg
2.  Where are the volume numbers to back up the claim? OML is meaningless.  The CST-100 is wider than dragon.   I see 16-18 for CST-100
3.  Most not useable for cargo in the Dc

Another offhanded claim debunked.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 10/30/2014 01:46 AM

1.  It took some searching but the only cargo mass number I can find for the CST-100 is 2000kg and another that was even less at 2800lbs this is less then the upgraded Cyngus,much less then Dragon, and less then Dream Chaser.
In fact by mass this is even less then Progress which carries up to 2350kg.

2.  The biggest issue by far is it is more volume limited then the other vehicles so it's unlikely all that mass will ever be utilized.
The Apollo OML is not exactly an efficient shape for cargo.
Of course Boeing could replace the capsule with a cargo carrier like on Cygnus and eliminate this limitation but I find this unlikely without extra $$$$$ on NASA's part.

3. vDreamChaser has 16 cubic meters of volume that is mostly cylindrical so in this respect it not only beats the CST-100 it even beats Dragon though the enhanced Cygnus still can carry a lot more.

1.  I find 2800kg
2.  Where are the volume numbers to back up the claim? OML is meaningless.  The CST-100 is wider than dragon.   I see 16-18 for CST-100
3.  Most not useable for cargo in the Dc

Another offhanded claim debunked.

1. 2800kg for CST? The number I found was less than 1200kg, but it wasn't clear if that was in a cargo optimized configuration or an unmanned crewed capsule.

2. My very rough "calculation" for CST-100 usable volume is 12.75m3, and that's probably generous. http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32438.msg1246468#msg1246468

3. Same place that had the 1200kg number for CST had something around 1300kg for DC. No clue on volume and don't care enough about DC to try and figure it out.

source on mass numbers: http://www.spacenews.com/article/civil-space/40903iss-cargo-shippers-face-competition-from-space-taxis
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: gongora on 10/30/2014 01:55 AM
Couldn't you make vast changes in the CST-100 upmass by changing the configuration of the Atlas 5 it's launching on?  They don't need to use the commercial crew configuration for cargo.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jim on 10/30/2014 01:59 AM

1. 2800kg for CST? The number I found was less than 1200kg, but it wasn't clear if that was in a cargo optimized configuration or an unmanned crewed capsule.


http://www.airspacemag.com/space/taxi-to-the-space-station-261647/?no-ist
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 10/30/2014 02:06 AM

1. 2800kg for CST? The number I found was less than 1200kg, but it wasn't clear if that was in a cargo optimized configuration or an unmanned crewed capsule.


http://www.airspacemag.com/space/taxi-to-the-space-station-261647/?no-ist

They're using the cursed imperial system. 2800lbs = ~1270kg.

Couldn't you make vast changes in the CST-100 upmass by changing the configuration of the Atlas 5 it's launching on?  They don't need to use the commercial crew configuration for cargo.

They're already at a 422 which is pretty capable. They can probably fly more efficient trajectory without people on board. No LAS maybe? Can add another solid motor, but beyond that they start getting into the Centaur structural limits.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Planetaryduality on 10/30/2014 04:25 AM

1. 2800kg for CST? The number I found was less than 1200kg, but it wasn't clear if that was in a cargo optimized configuration or an unmanned crewed capsule.


http://www.airspacemag.com/space/taxi-to-the-space-station-261647/?no-ist

They're using the cursed imperial system. 2800lbs = ~1270kg.

Couldn't you make vast changes in the CST-100 upmass by changing the configuration of the Atlas 5 it's launching on?  They don't need to use the commercial crew configuration for cargo.

They're already at a 422 which is pretty capable. They can probably fly more efficient trajectory without people on board. No LAS maybe? Can add another solid motor, but beyond that they start getting into the Centaur structural limits.

Would it not be possible to encapsulate the CST-100 cargo variant within the 5m fairing? CST at 4.56m should just barely fit.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 10/30/2014 08:42 AM

1. 2800kg for CST? The number I found was less than 1200kg, but it wasn't clear if that was in a cargo optimized configuration or an unmanned crewed capsule.


http://www.airspacemag.com/space/taxi-to-the-space-station-261647/?no-ist (http://www.airspacemag.com/space/taxi-to-the-space-station-261647/?no-ist)

Not kg but pounds Jim.
Quote from: Graig Mellow Air and Space Magazine
Its intended payload capacity is a mere 2,800 pounds,


Another offhanded claim debunked.
While not having your facts straight?  ::)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Jarnis on 10/30/2014 09:52 AM
Must take screenshots. Jim may have been wrong about something.  :o
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 10/30/2014 05:08 PM

1. 2800kg for CST? The number I found was less than 1200kg, but it wasn't clear if that was in a cargo optimized configuration or an unmanned crewed capsule.


http://www.airspacemag.com/space/taxi-to-the-space-station-261647/?no-ist

They're using the cursed imperial system. 2800lbs = ~1270kg.

Couldn't you make vast changes in the CST-100 upmass by changing the configuration of the Atlas 5 it's launching on?  They don't need to use the commercial crew configuration for cargo.

They're already at a 422 which is pretty capable. They can probably fly more efficient trajectory without people on board. No LAS maybe? Can add another solid motor, but beyond that they start getting into the Centaur structural limits.

Would it not be possible to encapsulate the CST-100 cargo variant within the 5m fairing? CST at 4.56m should just barely fit.

I think the thruster doghouses would interfere. The vehicle adapter vs. Centaur Forward Load Reactor would need to be figured out. At a certain point you're better off just starting from scratch. Or flying Cygnus on Atlas.

Point is, none of the crew vehicles can do what Cygnus does.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 10/30/2014 05:23 PM
Or flying Cygnus on Atlas.

Point is, none of the crew vehicles can do what Cygnus does.

Boeing will offer a cargo version of its CST-100 on an Atlas V for CRS2. Orbital will offer its Cygnus on its new Antares rocket. No one will offer Cygnus on an Atlas V as an option.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 10/31/2014 11:33 PM
From the SpaceNews article by Dan Leone:
Quote
Gerstenmaier also disagreed with the members of the source evaluation board about the importance of some planned Dream Chaser features. For example, Gerstenmaier gave less weight to Dream Chaser’s ability to land on runways than did the evaluation board, and was more troubled than the board over some of the remaining technical hurdles in SNC’s proposal.
This hints at the possibility the evaluation board might have come to a preliminary conclusion with recommendations of awards, which might then have been over-ridden by Gerstenmaier. That's speculation, but if it did play out that way the over-ride would look ugly in the court of public opinion, regardless of Gerstenmaier's actual reasons for it.

The Source Evaluation Board (SEB) evaluates; the Source Selection Authority (SSA) decides.  The SEB does not make comparative judgements or recommend awards.  The substantive overlap between the SEB and the SSA are those discimnators which the SEB feels are important, for which it is left to the SSA to decide.  The importance or weight of those discrimators as articulated by the SEB are intentionally left to the judgement of the SSA; specifically (emphasis added):
Quote from: NASA Source Selection Guide
Source selection decisions (SSD) made by the Source Selection Authority must be a comparative assessment of proposals based upon the evaluation criteria in the solicitation and represent the independent judgment of the SSA. The SEB helps the SSA make the selection by identifying significant discriminators in each of the proposals resulting from its evaluation and explaining the significance of those discriminators. The SEB performs its duties without comparing proposals. It is the responsibility of the SSA to compare proposals using the findings made by the SEB. The SSA exercises independent judgment when determining how these discriminators factor into the selection decision. Since the findings of the SEB are part of the record, the SSA should return the evaluation to the SEB for its further consideration if the SSA believes the SEB’s findings are flawed.

If the SSA (Gerst) felt the SEB's evaluation was incomplete or flawed, then he would have (or should have) returned to the SEB for clarification or reconsideration--and that would be part of the record.  If the SSA made a decision based on information other than that provided by the SEB, then that would be grounds for a challenge.  That the SSA weighed the discriminators differently than the SEB is not, in and of itself, sufficient grounds for a challenge.

In any case, the GAO protest override issued by NASA has little or no relationship to the award decision.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 11/01/2014 12:38 AM
Most of the CRS cargo can fit through docking tunnels
That does not mean sufficient, which is the operative question.  Specifically, is it sufficient to meet NASA's requirements, as expressed in the CRS2 RFP?  If it does not meet those requirements, then the fact that it can "fit most" is of dubious relevance.

As to DC - I would only caution you to be careful quoting numbers from a system that didn't make it as mature as CDR.
Not to mention that DC cannot meet NASA's minimum requirements for cargo, unless one assumes a disposable DC or module attached to DC for pressurized or unpressurized disposal.

In any case, before we go more off-topic here, there is a thread specifically for these CRS2-related discussions at ISS Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34093.0) thread.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: sdsds on 11/01/2014 01:59 AM
If the SSA (Gerst) felt the SEB's evaluation was incomplete or flawed, then he would have (or should have) returned to the SEB for clarification or reconsideration--and that would be part of the record.

Thanks for this, and for your other clarifying remarks.

When you suggest this "would be part of the record" had it occurred, do you mean it would currently be public knowledge?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 11/01/2014 02:43 AM
When you suggest this "would be part of the record" had it occurred, do you mean it would currently be public knowledge?
Not public knowledge, or likely to be made public.  It is part of the record NASA is required to maintain to support their actions (e.g., in cases such as this where the decision is subject to scrutiny by the GAO).  None of that record, other than the final source selection statement, is typically made public.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: the_other_Doug on 11/02/2014 04:11 AM
With all of the talk about the difference between the SEB and the SSA, all I can do is point out an historical reference.

When proposals were received for the Apollo CSM, the SEB of the time recommended the Martin Company.  They were told by NASA management (the equivalent of the SSA at that time) to rescore their evaluation giving a greater multiplier to anyone who had previously built experimental aircraft -- this was apparently done to increase North American Aviation's score.  The Martin Company *still* got the highest score and was recommended by the SEB.

The SSA then proceeded to override the SSB's scoring of the proposals and awarded the contract to North American.

This caused a fair little scandal after the Apollo 1 fire, and some of the people who were involved in overriding the SEB's recommendation went through a good, long time sitting on pretty hot seats.  But no one was fired for it.

So, yes, the SSA can and has overridden the recommendations of the SEB on a given contract award.  The SSA has the power and the authority to do so, if they think they're right.  But they also have to take the heat if they're wrong, or if the decision comes under scrutiny down the road due to "unforeseen circumstances"...

-Doug  (With my shield, not yet upon it)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 11/02/2014 08:10 PM
With all of the talk about the difference between the SEB and the SSA, all I can do is point out an historical reference.

When proposals were received for the Apollo CSM, the SEB of the time recommended the Martin Company.  They were told by NASA management (the equivalent of the SSA at that time) to rescore their evaluation giving a greater multiplier to anyone who had previously built experimental aircraft -- this was apparently done to increase North American Aviation's score.  The Martin Company *still* got the highest score and was recommended by the SEB.

...

Much has changed between then and now.  The process, roles and responsibilities are much more structured.  The SSA cannot force the SEB to revise their results unless the SSA can show that the SEB did not perform their evaluation per the rules.  For the SSA to retroactively change the rules would be an obvious and egregious violation of the evaluation and selection process.  I seriously doubt Gerst would be dumb enough to think he could get away with that today.

If the SSA has a substantive disagreement with the SEB as to the importance of discriminators or the manner in which the SEB performed its evaluation, that would be documented and part of the record which the GAO will examine as part of the challenge.  In any case, the selection statement clearly points out where the SSA disagreed with the SEB on the importance of various discriminators.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Roy_H on 11/07/2014 04:01 AM
I like to track the CCiCap milestones via NASA's Commercial Spaceflight - 60 Day Reports
http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/document_library.html#.VFwQAskhPph
but it is now 120 days. Does anyone know why the delay and when the next report will come out?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 11/17/2014 03:15 AM
An update on CCiCap:
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/news/releases/2014/release-20141114.html
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: fatjohn1408 on 11/20/2014 10:03 AM
I was wondering if there are any actual contracts already online? A search on fbo.gov didn't help.

If not could someone at least give me a link to the exact figures of the awards all articles round off to the nearest 100 million.

Thanks a lot!
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Garrett on 12/02/2014 03:21 PM
seeing as Boeing have just completed the first milestone of their CCtCAP contract*, I'm re-asking fatjohn1408's question in the post above: have any contracts been published yet?

Also, has a list of milestones even been published yet?

* see here: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32438.msg1295208#msg1295208
and here: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/news/releases/2014/release-20141201.html

edit: added links above
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 12/02/2014 04:11 PM
I don't think that the CCtCap contracts will be released until the SNC protest is over.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Garrett on 12/03/2014 11:19 AM
I don't think that the CCtCap contracts will be released until the SNC protest is over.
and yet they're allowed release info when CCtCap milestones are completed. Bizarre.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 12/10/2014 01:22 AM
Commercial crew will be getting $805M for FY 2015 and the Shelby language requiring certified cost and pricing for commercial crew and cargo is now gone. See this thread for more information:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34827.msg1300580#msg1300580
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/10/2014 04:09 AM
How does the $805M compared to what was expected, what was requested, what is needed, and what was previously approved?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 12/10/2014 04:14 AM
The President requested $848M in his FY 2015 budget and commercial crew got $696M last year (in FY 2014). I suspect that it is enough but I don't know for sure.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: newpylong on 12/10/2014 03:12 PM
Great news. That number should be enough to sustain the path for 2017 for both providers.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: erioladastra on 12/17/2014 01:05 AM
Great news. That number should be enough to sustain the path for 2017 for both providers.

I don't think that will be enough for two full providers...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Roy_H on 12/19/2014 03:51 AM
Great news. That number should be enough to sustain the path for 2017 for both providers.

I don't think that will be enough for two full providers...
What makes you that? The $805M is just for this year. Boeing got awarded $4.2B and SpaceX 2.6B, but these figures include two flights each delivering astronauts to the ISS. So to figure out what portion is for development is a little murky. Assume about $150M/flight for SpaceX and $200M/flight for Boeing so that leaves $6.1B over 3 years or about $2B/year. So yeah, this year's budget is less than half that, but these projects tend to get more expensive as they become closer to reality. It seems pretty clear to me, now that the contracts have been awarded, that NASA is not going to down-select to one provider. I expect next year's budget to be $2B+.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: enkarha on 12/19/2014 10:05 AM
The notional numbers in the President's budget requests top out at 872 million in 2016. This year's budget discussions will be interesting.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: wjbarnett on 12/19/2014 06:40 PM

SpaceX Completes First Commercial Crew Transportation Milestone
December 19, 2014

SpaceX Crew Dragon concept
An artist concept of SpaceX Crew Dragon approaching the Interantional Space Station.

NASA has approved the completion of SpaceX’s first milestone in the company’s path toward launching crews to the International Space Station (ISS) from U.S. soil under a Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract with the agency.

During the Certification Baseline Review, SpaceX described its current design baseline including how the company plans to manufacture its Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 v.1.1 rocket, then launch, fly, land and recover the crew. The company also outlined how it will achieve NASA certification of its system to enable transport of crews to and from the space station.

“This milestone sets the pace for the rigorous work ahead as SpaceX meets the certification requirements outlined in our contract,” said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “It is very exciting to see SpaceX's proposed path to certification, including a flight test phase and completion of the system development.”

On Sept. 16, the agency unveiled its selection of SpaceX and Boeing to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station using their Crew Dragon and CST-100 spacecraft, respectively. These contracts will end the nation’s sole reliance on Russia and allow the station’s current crew of six to increase, enabling more research aboard the unique microgravity laboratory.

Under the CCtCap contracts, the companies will complete NASA certification of their human space transportation systems, including a crewed flight test with at least one NASA astronaut aboard, to verify the fully integrated rocket and spacecraft system can launch from the United States, maneuver in orbit, and dock to the space station, and validate its systems perform as expected.

Throughout the next few years, SpaceX will test its systems, materials and concept of operations to the limits to prove they are safe to transport astronauts to the station. Once certified, the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket will be processed and integrated inside a new hangar before being rolled out for launch. This will all take place at the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Crew Dragon is expected to be able to dock to the station for up to 210 days and serve as a 24-hour safe haven during an emergency in space.

“SpaceX designed the Dragon spacecraft with the ultimate goal of transporting people to space,” said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer.  “Successful completion of the Certification Baseline Review represents a critical step in that effort—we applaud our team’s hard work to date and look forward to helping NASA return the transport of U.S. astronauts to American soil.”

By expanding the station crew size and enabling private companies to handle launches to low-Earth orbit -- a region NASA has been visiting since 1962 -- the nation's space agency can focus on getting the most research and experience out of America's investment in ISS. NASA also can expand its focus to develop the Space Launch System and Orion capsule for missions in the proving ground of deep space beyond the moon to advance the skills and techniques that will enable humans to explore Mars.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 12/19/2014 07:14 PM
Link: http://www.nasa.gov/content/spacex-completes-first-commercial-crew-transportation-milestone/ (http://www.nasa.gov/content/spacex-completes-first-commercial-crew-transportation-milestone/)

Nice development too: Boeing and SpaceX both completing their Certification Baseline Review for CCtCap within 3 weeks from each other.



SpaceX Completes First Commercial Crew Transportation Milestone
December 19, 2014

SpaceX Crew Dragon concept
An artist concept of SpaceX Crew Dragon approaching the Interantional Space Station.

NASA has approved the completion of SpaceX’s first milestone in the company’s path toward launching crews to the International Space Station (ISS) from U.S. soil under a Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract with the agency.

During the Certification Baseline Review, SpaceX described its current design baseline including how the company plans to manufacture its Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 v.1.1 rocket, then launch, fly, land and recover the crew. The company also outlined how it will achieve NASA certification of its system to enable transport of crews to and from the space station.

“This milestone sets the pace for the rigorous work ahead as SpaceX meets the certification requirements outlined in our contract,” said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “It is very exciting to see SpaceX's proposed path to certification, including a flight test phase and completion of the system development.”

On Sept. 16, the agency unveiled its selection of SpaceX and Boeing to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station using their Crew Dragon and CST-100 spacecraft, respectively. These contracts will end the nation’s sole reliance on Russia and allow the station’s current crew of six to increase, enabling more research aboard the unique microgravity laboratory.

Under the CCtCap contracts, the companies will complete NASA certification of their human space transportation systems, including a crewed flight test with at least one NASA astronaut aboard, to verify the fully integrated rocket and spacecraft system can launch from the United States, maneuver in orbit, and dock to the space station, and validate its systems perform as expected.

Throughout the next few years, SpaceX will test its systems, materials and concept of operations to the limits to prove they are safe to transport astronauts to the station. Once certified, the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket will be processed and integrated inside a new hangar before being rolled out for launch. This will all take place at the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Crew Dragon is expected to be able to dock to the station for up to 210 days and serve as a 24-hour safe haven during an emergency in space.

“SpaceX designed the Dragon spacecraft with the ultimate goal of transporting people to space,” said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer.  “Successful completion of the Certification Baseline Review represents a critical step in that effort—we applaud our team’s hard work to date and look forward to helping NASA return the transport of U.S. astronauts to American soil.”

By expanding the station crew size and enabling private companies to handle launches to low-Earth orbit -- a region NASA has been visiting since 1962 -- the nation's space agency can focus on getting the most research and experience out of America's investment in ISS. NASA also can expand its focus to develop the Space Launch System and Orion capsule for missions in the proving ground of deep space beyond the moon to advance the skills and techniques that will enable humans to explore Mars.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 12/20/2014 10:58 AM
Oh! I love it. Some nice real competition of upmanship is exactly what I like to see.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 12/22/2014 06:44 PM
Some CCiCap and CCtCap news:
http://www.nasa.gov/content/nasa-commercial-crew-partners-complete-23-milestones-in-2014-look-ahead-to-2015

Quote
SpaceX performed two milestones, its Dragon Primary Structure Qualification and Delta Crew Vehicle Critical Design Review, in November as part of its CCiCap agreement

Quote
In 2015, the company [SNC] will perform the second free-flight of its Dream Chaser test article at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center.

Quote
Blue Origin continued the development of its Space Vehicle spacecraft designed to carry people into low-Earth orbit. The company also continued work on its subscale propellant tank assembly through an unfunded Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) agreement with NASA, which was recently extended until April 2016.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 12/22/2014 07:20 PM
It's not entirely clear to me but I think that SpaceX has completed CDR with the completion of milestones 13D. Reisman had stated in a presentation that 13B had been completed and the November commercial crew update seems to imply that 13C has happened.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: mme on 01/05/2015 06:36 PM
From a tweet by James Dean (https://twitter.com/flatoday_jdean/status/552142421979824128):
Quote
U.S. GAO has denied Sierra Nevada bid protest of NASA's Commercial Crew contract awards to Boeing, SpaceX.

Followed by (https://twitter.com/flatoday_jdean/status/552142881314844672):
Quote
GAO "found no undue emphasis" on NASA’s consideration of proposed schedules or likelihood of meeting 2017 goal.

And one more (https://twitter.com/flatoday_jdean/status/552148079873646595) with link to the GAO statement:
Quote
Link to GAO statement on SNC bid protest: http://1.usa.gov/17drs5q .
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 01/05/2015 08:14 PM
NASA's reaction to the GAO's decision on the SNC protest:
http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/crew/index.html#.VKroLSvF-Ag

Quote
"The GAO has notified NASA that it has denied Sierra Nevada Corporation's protest of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract awards. NASA is pleased the GAO's decision allows the agency to move forward and continue working with Boeing and SpaceX on the Launch America initiative that will enable safe and reliable crew transportation to and from the International Space Station on American spacecraft launched from the United States, ending the nation's sole reliance on Russia for such transportation. The case remains under the protective order and blackout until the GAO releases its decision."

Read the GAO's full statement on its ruling at:

http://www.gao.gov/press/pr_statement_sierra_nevada_bid_protest.htm
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: vt_hokie on 01/05/2015 08:25 PM
Did SNC ever stand a chance once it was awarded the "half" award in the last round?  And if not, why did we even waste taxpayer dollars funding the charade?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 01/05/2015 08:36 PM
Did SNC ever stand a chance once it was awarded the "half" award in the last round?  And if not, why did we even waste taxpayer dollars funding the charade?

The full decision by the GAO hasn't been released yet. So it's hard to criticize it without having read it. But I kind of agree with SNC that too much emphasis was put on the 2017 target date in the selection statement. SNC is behind because it received a half award for CCiCap and it seems that SNC lost out in CCtCap because it was behind Boeing and SpaceX (both of which received full awards under CCiCap).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: dglow on 01/05/2015 08:49 PM
Did SNC ever stand a chance once it was awarded the "half" award in the last round?  And if not, why did we even waste taxpayer dollars funding the charade?

Did SNC ever stand a chance one it became apparent DC's prop system required a do-over? Straw, meet camel.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Comga on 01/05/2015 09:43 PM
SNC Press release on GAO decision:

http://www.sncspace.com/press_more_info.php?id=422 (http://www.sncspace.com/press_more_info.php?id=422)

From the press release (with my emphasis):
Quote
The company is privileged to have been part of NASA’s Commercial Space Program since its inception over 8 years ago. SNC remains fully committed to being a part of returning world-class human spaceflight and enhanced cargo capabilities to low-Earth orbit.

Does their use of the past tense indicate that they will not be going after the remaining milestones in the old contract, such as the next free flight?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: mkent on 01/05/2015 10:27 PM
From the press release (with my emphasis):
Quote
The company is privileged to have been part of NASA’s Commercial Space Program since its inception over 8 years ago. SNC remains fully committed to being a part of returning world-class human spaceflight and enhanced cargo capabilities to low-Earth orbit.

Does their use of the past tense indicate that they will not be going after the remaining milestones in the old contract, such as the next free flight?

I think you're reading too much into it.  I think they're just saying that they are unlikely to move forward within the Commercial Crew program.

I see no reason why they wouldn't complete all the tasks that they are on-contract to do and collect the money for it.  There is only up-side to do that, no down-side.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: abaddon on 01/05/2015 10:37 PM
Did SNC ever stand a chance once it was awarded the "half" award in the last round?

If either Boeing or SpaceX had fumbled the ball, yes.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 01/06/2015 01:32 AM
Did SNC ever stand a chance once it was awarded the "half" award in the last round?  And if not, why did we even waste taxpayer dollars funding the charade?

SNC was always choice number 3.  But it wasn't a waste to fund them because choice number 1 or number 2 could have faltered and SNC could have moved in to replace that contractor.

I see no reason why they wouldn't complete all the tasks that they are on-contract to do and collect the money for it.  There is only up-side to do that, no down-side.

There's a simple reason they might not: if the cost to them to complete the milestone is greater than the payment they would receive for it.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: llanitedave on 01/06/2015 05:38 AM

SNC was always choice number 3.  But it wasn't a waste to fund them because choice number 1 or number 2 could have faltered and SNC could have moved in to replace that contractor.


Yep.  Like Kistler's contract going to Orbital after it failed.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: docmordrid on 01/08/2015 05:32 AM
SpaceX passes CBR

Link.... (http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/december/spacex-completes-first-milestone-for-commercial-crew-transportation-system/#.VK4fQSUo7qD)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 01/08/2015 06:08 AM
SpaceX passes CBR

Link.... (http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/december/spacex-completes-first-milestone-for-commercial-crew-transportation-system/#.VK4fQSUo7qD)

That's slightly old news and was reported in the appropriate SpaceX thread. Also of note: SpaceX did this within three weeks of Boeing doing exactly the same.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: abaddon on 01/08/2015 03:30 PM
That's slightly old news and was reported in the appropriate SpaceX thread. Also of note: SpaceX did this within three weeks of Boeing doing exactly the same.

I agree it is a bit old news, but are you saying that SpaceX passing the first CCtCAP milestone is not relevant in the Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) discussion thread?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 01/08/2015 03:47 PM
That's slightly old news and was reported in the appropriate SpaceX thread. Also of note: SpaceX did this within three weeks of Boeing doing exactly the same.

I agree it is a bit old news, but are you saying that SpaceX passing the first CCtCAP milestone is not relevant in the Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) discussion thread?
You do realize there are dedicated threads for both Dragon2 and CST-100? Most of the milestones are reported primarily in those dedicated threads.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: abaddon on 01/08/2015 03:59 PM
You do realize there are dedicated threads for both Dragon2 and CST-100? Most of the milestones are reported primarily in those dedicated threads.

Of course, but that doesn't make it not relevant here.  Thread overlap is a common thing.  But, I'm not going to bother arguing further about this, it seems we just don't agree.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 02/26/2015 05:22 PM
SpaceX's redacted CCtCap contract has been released (but Boeing not yet). See this thread:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36899.0
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: bulkmail on 03/05/2015 05:00 PM
Both SpaceX and Boeing CCtCap contracts are published (with blackout redactions):

https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2015/03/03/cctcap-contracts-available-online/

At Parabolicarc they have extracted the milestones, but I'm unsure about what this forum policy about links to other sites is.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 03/05/2015 08:04 PM
At Parabolicarc they have extracted the milestones, but I'm unsure about what this forum policy about links to other sites is.

There's no problem. We do it all the time.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ngilmore on 03/05/2015 08:17 PM
Well, apparently the redactions indicate order of magnitude.

 ;D
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 03/08/2015 01:48 PM
Well, apparently the redactions indicate order of magnitude.

 ;D

The lengths implies a figure value in the format of 9,999,999.00 but the second one is a possible no cost value in the form of 0.00.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 03/16/2015 10:23 PM
New commercial crew video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmHODhOg6x0
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 03/17/2015 06:51 AM
New commercial crew video:
<skip>
New being a relative term here. Nothing that we had not already seen.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: okan170 on 05/03/2015 12:37 AM
The Dream is Alive once more!  (In a few years!)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Endeavour_01 on 05/08/2015 02:17 PM
The Dream is Alive once more!  (In a few years!)

Indeed! Another fantastic render okan!
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: manboy on 05/09/2015 10:22 AM
The Dream is Alive once more!  (In a few years!)
Docking systems look great!
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: vt_hokie on 05/09/2015 06:30 PM
The Dream is Alive once more!  (In a few years!)
Docking systems look great!

The similarity between Orion and the CST-100 is obvious, as they both use the Apollo CM outer mold line. If our cash-strapped agency is going to be developing three different spacecraft, there should be room to make one of them a lifting body reusable shuttle imo. I say cut the Orion/SLS pork that's eating through NASA's budget, adapt CST-100 and Dragon for beyond-LEO missions, and fund the HL-20/Dream Chaser to completion to gain some diversity in the fleet via a reusable shuttle for LEO ops.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/09/2015 08:51 PM
Technically, all 3 of them have a lifting trajectory, not a ballistic one.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/09/2015 09:06 PM
fund the HL-20/Dream Chaser to completion to gain some diversity in the fleet via a reusable shuttle for LEO ops.

Diversity has benefits and costs.  They already have diversity with CST-100 and Dragon 2.  There's far less benefit from adding a third option than from going from one to two options.  I can't see how the minor benefit of having a third vehicle for such a small number of missions could possibly be worth the enormous cost.

One of the main promises of Commercial Crew is cost savings.  Scale is one of the biggest drivers of cost savings, and the scale is terribly low even if just one provider had all the flights.  Splitting it among three is a huge blow to potential cost savings from commercial crew.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: vt_hokie on 05/09/2015 10:32 PM
It just kills me that we have both Orion and CST-100, which seems totally unnecessary, and yet we couldn't make room for DC, leaving the promising and long overdue HL-20 at yet another dead end. So frustrating!

Orion seems totally unjustifiable to me, as does SLS, especially if there's potential for SpaceX to evolve its hardware for beyond-LEO missions. That we're entertaining pointless asteroid capture stunts just to find something for Orion to do indicates just how lost our space agency is, imo.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/09/2015 10:43 PM
It just kills me that we have both Orion and CST-100, which seems totally unnecessary, and yet we couldn't make room for DC, leaving the promising and long overdue HL-20 at yet another dead end. So frustrating!

Orion seems totally unjustifiable to me, as does SLS, especially if there's potential for SpaceX to evolve its hardware for beyond-LEO missions. That we're entertaining pointless asteroid capture stunts just to find something for Orion to do indicates just how lost our space agency is, imo.

I agree with you there -- Orion and SLS are far worse than Dream Chaser.  I'd just rather spend that money on BEO infrastructure than Dream Chaser.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 05/09/2015 11:11 PM
It just kills me that we have both Orion and CST-100, which seems totally unnecessary, and yet we couldn't make room for DC, leaving the promising and long overdue HL-20 at yet another dead end. So frustrating!

Orion seems totally unjustifiable to me, as does SLS, especially if there's potential for SpaceX to evolve its hardware for beyond-LEO missions. That we're entertaining pointless asteroid capture stunts just to find something for Orion to do indicates just how lost our space agency is, imo.

The Orion and SLS program where justifiable when first started.  Even three years ago could anyone seriously buy into the concept of putting faith into Elon Musk and SpaceX for the US BEO manned spaceflight program?  You have billions already spent on SLS and Orion and you expect NASA to ask to abandon these programs and re-direct funding to SpaceX? 

What you are seeing is a fundamental problem in how the US govt procures the development of multi-billion hardware from military fighters, submarines to space hardware.  The process is broken, it isn't that NASA is broken.     

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Coastal Ron on 05/10/2015 12:01 AM
The Orion and SLS program where justifiable when first started.  Even three years ago could anyone seriously buy into the concept of putting faith into Elon Musk and SpaceX for the US BEO manned spaceflight program?

Three years ago there wasn't a funded BEO program, and there still isn't today.  So the SLS/Orion represent "excess capability".

Quote
You have billions already spent on SLS and Orion and you expect NASA to ask to abandon these programs and re-direct funding to SpaceX?

The U.S. Government doesn't have a funded BEO program, so they don't need any BEO hardware from anyone.  But when that day comes for non-NASA hardware, normally there would be a competition held to find the best solution & provider.  Maybe SpaceX would win, maybe not, but usually competition results in the best potential result.

However notice I said "normally", since the SLS and Orion were not the result of any competitive process, either for the solution or the provider.  Which is part of the reason they don't perfectly match any known need.

Quote
What you are seeing is a fundamental problem in how the US govt procures the development of multi-billion hardware from military fighters, submarines to space hardware.  The process is broken, it isn't that NASA is broken.   

You are comparing apples & oranges.

The Commercial Crew program is a great example of competitive procurement.

The SLS and Orion were not competitively procured, they were specified by Congress.  So what they represent is how the political process screws things up, not that government procurement per se is broken.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: baldusi on 05/10/2015 12:47 AM
It just kills me that we have both Orion and CST-100, which seems totally unnecessary, and yet we couldn't make room for DC, leaving the promising and long overdue HL-20 at yet another dead end. So frustrating!

Orion seems totally unjustifiable to me, as does SLS, especially if there's potential for SpaceX to evolve its hardware for beyond-LEO missions. That we're entertaining pointless asteroid capture stunts just to find something for Orion to do indicates just how lost our space agency is, imo.
The truth is that the requirements were such that this is how it ended up. Orion is a Congress mandate, there's no point in criticizing NASA for that. And NASA wanted at least two crew contractors, the only pair of offerings with realistic chances of IOC in 2017, were the two chosen ones. Lifting bodies are cool, but also require extra work. If you look at Orbital proposal, they were very clear that it is a very costly development and they wouldn't pursue it without a massive assurance of ROI.
Now, you want the cheapest way to transport 16 astronauts at a time to LEO? Probably HL42/Falcon Heavy would be the cheapest option. And could probably do 15tonnes of cargo, too. But those were not the requirements. Plain and simple. Not now, not in the future. If NASA was planning on opening a LEO training facility in 15 years, the DC would probably be the best option, but that's not what's planned for the future. In fact, the ISS partners are planning on BEO destinations, and both Dragon and CST-100 (and Cygnus and Jupiter/Exoliner) are easily extendable to lunar and Martian returns. DreamChaser isn't and thus it is a LEO dead end for a program that plans to go BEO in the future.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: manboy on 05/10/2015 01:08 AM
The Dream is Alive once more!  (In a few years!)
Docking systems look great!

The similarity between Orion and the CST-100 is obvious, as they both use the Apollo CM outer mold line. If our cash-strapped agency is going to be developing three different spacecraft, there should be room to make one of them a lifting body reusable shuttle imo. I say cut the Orion/SLS pork that's eating through NASA's budget, adapt CST-100 and Dragon for beyond-LEO missions, and fund the HL-20/Dream Chaser to completion to gain some diversity in the fleet via a reusable shuttle for LEO ops.
That sounds like faulty logic.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Brovane on 05/10/2015 01:35 AM
Three years ago there wasn't a funded BEO program, and there still isn't today.  So the SLS/Orion represent "excess capability".

Depends on how you define a "BEO program".  Certainly hardware development for a manned BEO program has been funded for almost a decade.  What hasn't been funded is specific mission for that hardware, just the hardware capability itself to allow a BEO mission.  In my opinion the funding of that hardware does represent a BEO program.  It might not have every laid out neatly as we would like but it is a program.   

The U.S. Government doesn't have a funded BEO program, so they don't need any BEO hardware from anyone.  But when that day comes for non-NASA hardware, normally there would be a competition held to find the best solution & provider.  Maybe SpaceX would win, maybe not, but usually competition results in the best potential result.

The funding of that hardware does represent a BEO program.  There was a "competition" for Orion and SLS hardware development.  It was held in the previous decade. 

However notice I said "normally", since the SLS and Orion were not the result of any competitive process, either for the solution or the provider.  Which is part of the reason they don't perfectly match any known need.

There was a "competition".  Congress just made sure that specific companies won the competition for better or for worse.  Then the actual mission for what to use the hardware for was changed.  This has lead NASA to just go with developing the capability and then hopefully a mission will be funded by Congress. 

 
You are comparing apples & oranges.
The Commercial Crew program is a great example of competitive procurement.
The SLS and Orion were not competitively procured, they were specified by Congress.  So what they represent is how the political process screws things up, not that government procurement per se is broken.

Of course I am comparing Apples and Oranges.  The Commercial Crew program is a great example of competitive procurement.  The Orion and SLS are not.  More important the Commercial Crew is a good example of how to use "fixed cost" contracting along with FAR.  The biggest determent for NASA with Orion and SLS is that they are "cost plus" contracts and not competitively procured.  We know how to build space hardware.   NASA needs to use more "fixed cost" contracting to control costs.  The govt procurement process of using cost plus contracting to develop new hardware is broken.  We start using more competitive processes and "fixed cost" contracting this can hopefully minimize damage from the political process which will always be there.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Chris Bergin on 05/10/2015 11:44 AM
Reacting to a report to mod, but everyone please focus on the thread title ;)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Nibb31 on 05/13/2015 09:19 PM
DreamChaser is a lifting body capsule just like Dragon and CST, which also could be reusable of reusability made sense economically. I don't believe that it qualifies as a "reusable shuttle" as it needs to launch on top of an expendable EELV just like the other capsules.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/13/2015 11:40 PM
DreamChaser is a lifting body capsule just like Dragon and CST, which also could be reusable of reusability made sense economically. I don't believe that it qualifies as a "reusable shuttle" as it needs to launch on top of an expendable EELV just like the other capsules.
It can fly on F9R, I believe with first stage reuse, which makes it at least as reusable as Shuttle was (though cheaper and smaller).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: kevinof on 05/31/2015 10:10 AM
Not sure this is the right thread for this.

Can anyone explain why it's going to take almost another 2 years before we see the first crewed flight of CST or Dragon? I know there is some engineering to be done but in this day and age, with all our great modelling, prior experience etc, it should be possible to get a vehicle flying sooner than 2 years (April 2017 I think is the planned date).

Is it primarily down to cost? If Nasa released more $$, would this happen sooner? I realize there are some engineering bits to be done but it's not like we're starting from scratch - We understand heat shields, chutes, life support, abort systems. Why 2 (ish) years?

#frustrated!

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 05/31/2015 04:49 PM
Not sure this is the right thread for this.

Can anyone explain why it's going to take almost another 2 years before we see the first crewed flight of CST or Dragon? I know there is some engineering to be done but in this day and age, with all our great modelling, prior experience etc, it should be possible to get a vehicle flying sooner than 2 years (April 2017 I think is the planned date).

Is it primarily down to cost? If Nasa released more $$, would this happen sooner? I realize there are some engineering bits to be done but it's not like we're starting from scratch - We understand heat shields, chutes, life support, abort systems. Why 2 (ish) years?

#frustrated!
From the standpoint of project management, there are independent tasks and dependent tasks that have to be executed in a specific order. Many of the remaining tasks are of the second type while most of the paperwork engineering reviews are of the independent type (human flight cert).

Because the tasks have a specific order of completion it causes time to pass because it is physically impossible to complete the tasks much faster no matter how much manpower you have. A good task dependency analysis can greatly reduce the scheduled completion date for a project. A baddly done one can cause tremendous amont of delays.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 05/31/2015 08:01 PM
In responce to spacenut concerning accelerated CC wrt recent Russian failures:

Currently Congress approved less funding in their most recent budget. While still needing to be reconciled with the Senate, it seems SLS continues to get priority.

But as these most recent events work their way through Congressional consciousness, they may alter their thinking. Or not. At least they are funding to somewhat acceptable levels.

What may actually happen is NASA may take stock as to where Boeing and SpaceX are in their development, who needs the least amount of time and money to make it through certification and select accordingly with full funding for that system.  While that may delay one of the providers from entering service in 2017, it will assure that we at least have one domestic assured access to ISS.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 05/31/2015 11:57 PM
To finish quickly at this stage of a project the project manager needs to worry about morale and perform chase off. Providing his people are working away they can be left to work.

People working late nights and weekends to crack difficult problems can get demoralised. Investors, customers and board members can get impatient. Such impatience can lead to meddling - which will delay the project, increase costs and reduce quality. Stick to the plan and reassure the outsiders.

Having chased off the meddling outsiders there are other people who need chasing off. For instance other project managers will want to take take your people, money, machines, work areas and other resources for their own projects.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: AnalogMan on 06/06/2015 10:51 AM
Came across this recently published CCtCap Combined Milestone chart compiled by NASA (dated Feb 2, 2015) from SpaceX and Boeing FY15Q1 sources (so early on in the contract).

Acronym list for this chart:

CBR     Certification Baseline Review
CDR     Critical Design Review
CFT     Crewed Flight Test
CPWSR   Configuration Performance and Weight Status Report
CR      Certification Review
DCR     Design Certification Review
DM-x    Demonstration Mission x
ECLSS   Environmental Control Life Support System
FSW     Flight Software
FTRR    Flight Test Readiness Review
ICDR    Integrated Critical Design Review
IRR     Integration Readiness Review
MCC     Mission Control Center
OFT     Orbital Flight Test
ORR     Operational Readiness Review
PAT     Pad Abort Test
PQR     Post Qualification Review
PRR     Production Readiness Review
QTV     Qualification Test Vehicle
SAR     System Acceptance Review
SM      Service Module
STA     Structural Test Article
STRB    Safety Technical Review Board
TRR     Test Readiness Review
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: deruch on 06/11/2015 09:35 AM
Commercial Crew Program status brief to NASA Advisory Committee (Apr. 2015):
http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/1-CSD_Brief_to_NAC_Apr_2015_TAGGED.pdf

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 06/12/2015 02:11 AM
Unfortunately, I am not surprised :(
http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-administrator-statement-on-senate-appropriations-subcommittee-vote-on-commercial
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Grandpa to Two on 06/12/2015 02:28 AM
It seems to me that the House and Senate are arranging to slow down the Commercial Crew program with less funding and speeding up the SLS by increasing that programs budget with the aim of SLS and Orion launching crew before either Boeing or SpaceX.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 06/12/2015 03:00 AM
It seems to me that the House and Senate are arranging to slow down the Commercial Crew program with less funding

They provided more funding this year than last year.

What's happening here is that the administration is asking for almost double what they were given last year and whenever Congress asks Bolden as to why they need so much more money they get not very compelling answers. When asked why NASA was funding Sierra Nevada Corporation to build the Dreamchaser, when NASA had already determined that they wouldn't be going on to the next round, Bolden answered that he would fund them to fly if he could - i.e., he completely failed to answer the question. When asked why NASA was funding both Boeing and SpaceX and had yet to make a decision on which would be selected, Bolden said he would keep both providers if he could - i.e., he completely failed to answer the question. It's pretty obvious what the result of not answering these questions is going to be - the appropriation is going to conclude that NASA can do with less and so they will not be awarded the total request. That's exactly what is happening.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 06/12/2015 06:59 AM
It seems to me that the House and Senate are arranging to slow down the Commercial Crew program with less funding

They provided more funding this year than last year.

What's happening here is that the administration is asking for almost double what they were given last year and whenever Congress asks Bolden as to why they need so much more money they get not very compelling answers. When asked why NASA was funding Sierra Nevada Corporation to build the Dreamchaser, when NASA had already determined that they wouldn't be going on to the next round, Bolden answered that he would fund them to fly if he could - i.e., he completely failed to answer the question. When asked why NASA was funding both Boeing and SpaceX and had yet to make a decision on which would be selected, Bolden said he would keep both providers if he could - i.e., he completely failed to answer the question. It's pretty obvious what the result of not answering these questions is going to be - the appropriation is going to conclude that NASA can do with less and so they will not be awarded the total request. That's exactly what is happening.


Baloney, it's a lot more simple than that:

NASA (child): I want two cookies!
US Congress (mother): No, you only get one.

End of discussion.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: JBF on 06/12/2015 11:22 AM
It seems to me that the House and Senate are arranging to slow down the Commercial Crew program with less funding

They provided more funding this year than last year.

What's happening here is that the administration is asking for almost double what they were given last year and whenever Congress asks Bolden as to why they need so much more money they get not very compelling answers. When asked why NASA was funding Sierra Nevada Corporation to build the Dreamchaser, when NASA had already determined that they wouldn't be going on to the next round, Bolden answered that he would fund them to fly if he could - i.e., he completely failed to answer the question. When asked why NASA was funding both Boeing and SpaceX and had yet to make a decision on which would be selected, Bolden said he would keep both providers if he could - i.e., he completely failed to answer the question. It's pretty obvious what the result of not answering these questions is going to be - the appropriation is going to conclude that NASA can do with less and so they will not be awarded the total request. That's exactly what is happening.


Baloney, it's a lot more simple than that:

NASA (child): I want two cookies!
US Congress (mother): No, you only get one.

End of discussion.

And that is too simple.  What happened is that NASA said going forward we feel we need redundancy in human spaceflight and don't consider Orion practical for LEO operations.  Congress disagreed and said Orion is your backup and that is how we are going to fund you.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: sanman on 06/12/2015 11:28 AM
I'm not American, but it seems to me that the United States would benefit from having more than one choice for getting astronauts to orbit/ISS. The private sector providers, both old and new, are providing a newer generation of solutions which improve over their previous capabilities. There is no more Space Shuttle program hogging huge amounts of money, and these private sector providers are much cheaper by comparison. So how much more of an argument do you need beyond that?

To the eyes of a layman, it looks like the US Congress is being penny-wise and pound-foolish.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rebel44 on 06/12/2015 11:47 AM
..... There is no more Space Shuttle program hogging huge amounts of money.......

That role (hogging huge amounts of money) was taken over by SLS.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Hauerg on 06/12/2015 11:48 AM
It would be so easy if Nasa played it the other way round:

Congress: Too expensive!
Nasa: Ok, I'll have to downselect to the cheapest provider.
Congress: OK, here's the money.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 06/12/2015 12:25 PM
It would be so easy if Nasa played it the other way round:

Congress: Too expensive!
Nasa: Ok, I'll have to downselect to the cheapest provider.
Congress: OK, here's the money.
As long as it's Boeing...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: kevinof on 06/12/2015 12:38 PM
Wonder how far away SpaceX are from a working Crewed Dragon? - ie one that could fly/orbit and return in 6/10 months from now.  I'm thinking take away all the Nasa milestones and paperwork and get something operational, send it up (uncrewed) and splash it down. This would be on their dime, not Nasa. It's SpaceX just validating their design!

Would put them in a very strong position but also stick it to congress - Nasa either selects the cheapest/closet to working or you fund both.

Personally I want to see both. Besides bringing redundancy, it generates competition and pushes everyone forward.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 06/12/2015 01:19 PM
And that is too simple.  What happened is that NASA said going forward we feel we need redundancy is human spaceflight and don't consider Orion practical for LEO operations.  Congress disagreed and said Orion is your backup and that is how we are going to fund you.

No.. they said Soyuz is the backup, as it has been since the beginning of the ISS program.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Bob Shaw on 06/12/2015 01:28 PM
And that is too simple.  What happened is that NASA said going forward we feel we need redundancy is human spaceflight and don't consider Orion practical for LEO operations.  Congress disagreed and said Orion is your backup and that is how we are going to fund you.

No.. they said Soyuz is the backup, as it has been since the beginning of the ISS program.


I can't get my head round their desire to cut Commercial Crew, and their willingness to keep funding Soyuz rather than US-built spacecraft, whether built by OldSpace or NewSpace.

Especially when Soyuz/Progress and Russian launchers have a number of issues which seem to be related not to their past record but their current managerial and manufacturing practices, and which could at any point cause a crew loss or spacecraft / launch vehicle stand-down.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 06/12/2015 01:54 PM
It seems to me that the House and Senate are arranging to slow down the Commercial Crew program with less funding and speeding up the SLS by increasing that programs budget with the aim of SLS and Orion launching crew before either Boeing or SpaceX.
I agree and it was totally predictable that they would do that.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 06/12/2015 01:57 PM
They provided more funding this year than last year.
And it was too little back then too, causing further delays in the commercial crew program.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 06/12/2015 02:14 PM
Baloney, it's a lot more simple than that:

NASA (child): I want two cookies!
US Congress (mother): No, you only get one.

End of discussion.

And that is too simple.  What happened is that NASA said going forward we feel we need redundancy in human spaceflight and don't consider Orion practical for LEO operations.  Congress disagreed and said Orion is your backup and that is how we are going to fund you.
No, within the frame of reference of ISS flights Orion is not a cooky but an unpalatable bowl of sprouts.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: JasonAW3 on 06/12/2015 03:03 PM
And that is too simple.  What happened is that NASA said going forward we feel we need redundancy is human spaceflight and don't consider Orion practical for LEO operations.  Congress disagreed and said Orion is your backup and that is how we are going to fund you.

No.. they said Soyuz is the backup, as it has been since the beginning of the ISS program.


I can't get my head round their desire to cut Commercial Crew, and their willingness to keep funding Soyuz rather than US-built spacecraft, whether built by OldSpace or NewSpace.

Especially when Soyuz/Progress and Russian launchers have a number of issues which seem to be related not to their past record but their current managerial and manufacturing practices, and which could at any point cause a crew loss or spacecraft / launch vehicle stand-down.

I'm beginning to think perhaps an investigation into champaign contributors need to be conducted.  MIGHTY odd that Congress would prefer Russian rockets over American made rockets...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: nadreck on 06/12/2015 03:14 PM
And that is too simple.  What happened is that NASA said going forward we feel we need redundancy is human spaceflight and don't consider Orion practical for LEO operations.  Congress disagreed and said Orion is your backup and that is how we are going to fund you.

No.. they said Soyuz is the backup, as it has been since the beginning of the ISS program.


I can't get my head round their desire to cut Commercial Crew, and their willingness to keep funding Soyuz rather than US-built spacecraft, whether built by OldSpace or NewSpace.

Especially when Soyuz/Progress and Russian launchers have a number of issues which seem to be related not to their past record but their current managerial and manufacturing practices, and which could at any point cause a crew loss or spacecraft / launch vehicle stand-down.

I'm beginning to think perhaps an investigation into champaign contributors need to be conducted.  MIGHTY odd that Congress would prefer Russian rockets over American made rockets...

Not just champagne contributors but caviar as well.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Kryten on 06/12/2015 03:17 PM
And that is too simple.  What happened is that NASA said going forward we feel we need redundancy is human spaceflight and don't consider Orion practical for LEO operations.  Congress disagreed and said Orion is your backup and that is how we are going to fund you.

No.. they said Soyuz is the backup, as it has been since the beginning of the ISS program.


I can't get my head round their desire to cut Commercial Crew, and their willingness to keep funding Soyuz rather than US-built spacecraft, whether built by OldSpace or NewSpace.

Especially when Soyuz/Progress and Russian launchers have a number of issues which seem to be related not to their past record but their current managerial and manufacturing practices, and which could at any point cause a crew loss or spacecraft / launch vehicle stand-down.

I'm beginning to think perhaps an investigation into champaign contributors need to be conducted.  MIGHTY odd that Congress would prefer Russian rockets over American made rockets...
Somehow I doubt NPO Energomash has much lobbying pull in congress.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: obi-wan on 06/12/2015 03:44 PM
A little crystal-ball gazing, just for discussion purposes:

Baseline response: NASA eats the cut, stretches out Commercial Crew, has to pay another ~$210M to Russia (estimating $70M/seat at three seats/year), which has to come out of CC, which stretches it out even farther. Boeing and/or SpaceX have first flight 2019-2020.

Alternative 1: Bolden says U.S. internal access to space is too important, drops SpaceX and fully funds Boeing. Everyone happy except for Elon and us fanboys. (As a NASA guy told me once, "We like working with people we're used to working with.") NASA throws Elon a bone with the next cargo contract.

Alternative 2: Bolden says U.S. internal access to space is too important, drops Boeing and fully funds SpaceX. Hordes of lobbyists make emergency phone calls.
  Outcome 1: Commercial crew funding restored, or
  Outcome 2: Bolden "resigns to spend more time with his family", Alternative 1 enacted.

Cost-optimal solution: Cancel commercial crew altogether, pay Russia ~$250M/year (the price will undoubtedly go up if they can't be threatened with an alternative) through 2024 and then splash ISS. NASA flies crew to DLRO in 2022-2023 and declares victory.

(When did I become this old and cynical?)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: nadreck on 06/12/2015 03:50 PM
Alternative 3 - SpaceX says we want to keep the current schedule up to the manned demo flight, you can settle the tab when we take the first contracted crew there.  Boeing cries fowl - SpaceX is using influence and power to steal Boeings future contract revenue and set themselves up as a a monopoly, besides Boeing already has a contract to deliver crew and SpaceX doesn't.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: JasonAW3 on 06/12/2015 04:00 PM
     I'm not saying Bolden isn't a good director of Nasa, but we NEED someone who can go to Congress and explain to them, quite simply;

    "You have assigned us to perform a particular set of tasks, in order to perform those particular taskes, we require this much funding as that is what the equipment and manpower are going to cost to complete those tasks in the timeframe that you have given us.

     "You want us to innovate and create new technologies to make Areospace travel of all sorts safer, then this is how much the research is going to cost.  You want us to explore space, find out new things that could have a direct impact on how we live, we need this much to do what you want.

     "Will we fail at some things?  Will people likely die in some cases?  Yes to both questions.  We can try as we might to make sure we succeed in all of our experiments and designs, we do our best to avoid death and injury, but sometimes, things that now one imagines nor in some cases CAN imagine, go wrong, sometimes badly wrong.

     "Do we stop flying when a plane crashes?  No, we find out what went wrong, and correct the issues that lead to the crash.

     "Do we stop driving, using trains, tunnels, subways, buildings, and so forth, when soemone get's hurt, dies or something catastophic happens involving these?  No, we correct what went wrong and continue on.

     "When mankind first started to learn to fly, many people died in their experiments, but we continued on.

     "When we came to new frontiers, many died because of unforseen dangers along the way, yet we continued on.

     "Lives are lost pushing to new frontiers, in this case, designers, engineers, technicians, test pilots and astronauts, all have given their full measure, trying to explore those new frontiers.

     "As one of, if not the most innovative, and frontier pushing nations on Earth, we have it in our power to be the trail blazers, to chart new paths, and to go to lands yet unseen nor imagined, or we can follow as some other country, Russia, China, Japan, or maybe even India, blazes that trail.  It is here and NOW that that decision MUST be made, and her and now that that future must be invested in.

     "Do we want to allow the lives that have been lost in this pursuit to have been in vane?  Do we want the heritage that we have established to simply be a footnote in history?

     "No.  It is time to go back to the Moon, explore and sample asteroids and comets, go on to Mars, and learn what we need to do to not only push the boundries of who and what we are, but to learn what we need to to continue to thrive, grow and reach the potentile that we have as a species.

     "The Commercial Space program, both Cargo and Crew are needed, primarily, to allow Nasa to concentrate on projects that we already have scarce funding for, and to pave the way for the general public to start going into space.

     "When a government organization decides to build a new building, it is contracted out to Commercial companies, when a cargo needs to be transported from one facility to another, it is usually contracted out to a Commercial Contractor, when personnel need to get from one place to another, it is usually contracted out to a commercial airline.  We have now reached the point where we need commercial contractors to transport these cargos and personnel to space.

     "With most commercial contracts, bids are put out for the best price that can be gotten.  Without competition, prices escalate, and should the worst happen, there is no redundancy to use an alternative contractor.  Why fund SNC, Orbital Sciences, ULA and SpaceX?  To get them on their feet and create competetion and further commercial innovation.  No other organization will currently provide the funds needed to act as seed money for these companies, the risks are simply too high as yet.

     "At present, without Commercial Space companies, providing the needed services that they do, we will have to depend more and more upon foreign launch providers, sending money to other countries, to provide both the cargo and crew launch services at, if I may point out, far higher prices than commercial launch providers are currently asking.

     "It is with this in mind that not only do we ask Congress to fully fund our current budget requests, but to increase that budget to the point where Nasa and it's commercial providers of all levels, are ABLE to provide those goals that have been set before us, in a reasonable time frame."



     I seriously doubt anyone will use even a fraction of this when addressing Congess, but it would be nice to imagine if someone did...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: JasonAW3 on 06/12/2015 04:02 PM
And that is too simple.  What happened is that NASA said going forward we feel we need redundancy is human spaceflight and don't consider Orion practical for LEO operations.  Congress disagreed and said Orion is your backup and that is how we are going to fund you.

No.. they said Soyuz is the backup, as it has been since the beginning of the ISS program.


I can't get my head round their desire to cut Commercial Crew, and their willingness to keep funding Soyuz rather than US-built spacecraft, whether built by OldSpace or NewSpace.

Especially when Soyuz/Progress and Russian launchers have a number of issues which seem to be related not to their past record but their current managerial and manufacturing practices, and which could at any point cause a crew loss or spacecraft / launch vehicle stand-down.

I'm beginning to think perhaps an investigation into champaign contributors need to be conducted.  MIGHTY odd that Congress would prefer Russian rockets over American made rockets...
Somehow I doubt NPO Energomash has much lobbying pull in congress.

Maybe not, but I wouldn't put it past other individuals and organizations in Russia...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: JasonAW3 on 06/12/2015 04:02 PM
And that is too simple.  What happened is that NASA said going forward we feel we need redundancy is human spaceflight and don't consider Orion practical for LEO operations.  Congress disagreed and said Orion is your backup and that is how we are going to fund you.

No.. they said Soyuz is the backup, as it has been since the beginning of the ISS program.


I can't get my head round their desire to cut Commercial Crew, and their willingness to keep funding Soyuz rather than US-built spacecraft, whether built by OldSpace or NewSpace.

Especially when Soyuz/Progress and Russian launchers have a number of issues which seem to be related not to their past record but their current managerial and manufacturing practices, and which could at any point cause a crew loss or spacecraft / launch vehicle stand-down.

I'm beginning to think perhaps an investigation into champaign contributors need to be conducted.  MIGHTY odd that Congress would prefer Russian rockets over American made rockets...

Not just champaign contributors but caviar as well.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: John-H on 06/12/2015 06:48 PM
And that is too simple.  What happened is that NASA said going forward we feel we need redundancy is human spaceflight and don't consider Orion practical for LEO operations.  Congress disagreed and said Orion is your backup and that is how we are going to fund you.

No.. they said Soyuz is the backup, as it has been since the beginning of the ISS program.


I can't get my head round their desire to cut Commercial Crew, and their willingness to keep funding Soyuz rather than US-built spacecraft, whether built by OldSpace or NewSpace.

Especially when Soyuz/Progress and Russian launchers have a number of issues which seem to be related not to their past record but their current managerial and manufacturing practices, and which could at any point cause a crew loss or spacecraft / launch vehicle stand-down.

I'm beginning to think perhaps an investigation into champaign contributors need to be conducted.  MIGHTY odd that Congress would prefer Russian rockets over American made rockets...
Somehow I doubt NPO Energomash has much lobbying pull in congress.

Maybe not, but I wouldn't put it past other individuals and organizations in Russia...

What about the many agents along the way? There is a huge difference between what NPO Energomach gets and what Lockheed gets.

John
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: JasonAW3 on 06/12/2015 07:24 PM
<SNIP>

What about the many agents along the way? There is a huge difference between what NPO Energomach gets and what Lockheed gets.

John

Too true, but the way that Congress is positioning things, the only ones who truely profit, are the Russians.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 06/12/2015 08:00 PM
There are few paths to continue onwards through 2016 without an either/or down-select.

-NASA can renegotiate specific milestone costs. (Mostly with the highest bidder)

-NASA could potentially reduce (the scope) and/or eliminate certain milestones to reduce program costs. (take on increased risk)

-NASA can fully fund the vehicle that has the least costs associated with getting to a 2017 certification and extend the other vehicle and associated milestones out to 2018-2019.

-NASA can simply ask Boeing to find a way to come in at 4-Billion and SpaceX to come in at 2.5-Billion. Let industry figure this out as well.

There is a way to do this without pushing everything out into the 20s.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Endeavour_01 on 06/12/2015 08:56 PM

Alternative 1: Bolden says U.S. internal access to space is too important, drops SpaceX and fully funds Boeing. Everyone happy except for Elon and us fanboys. (As a NASA guy told me once, "We like working with people we're used to working with.") NASA throws Elon a bone with the next cargo contract.

Alternative 2: Bolden says U.S. internal access to space is too important, drops Boeing and fully funds SpaceX. Hordes of lobbyists make emergency phone calls.
  Outcome 1: Commercial crew funding restored, or
  Outcome 2: Bolden "resigns to spend more time with his family", Alternative 1 enacted.

If I were Bolden I would definitely make the Alternative 2 play (or a variation of it, i.e. fully fund SpaceX and partially fund Boeing). Even if it doesn't result in getting full funding restored and Alternative 1 happens we will at least have 1 provider ready by 2017.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Star One on 06/12/2015 09:05 PM

And that is too simple.  What happened is that NASA said going forward we feel we need redundancy is human spaceflight and don't consider Orion practical for LEO operations.  Congress disagreed and said Orion is your backup and that is how we are going to fund you.

No.. they said Soyuz is the backup, as it has been since the beginning of the ISS program.


I can't get my head round their desire to cut Commercial Crew, and their willingness to keep funding Soyuz rather than US-built spacecraft, whether built by OldSpace or NewSpace.

Especially when Soyuz/Progress and Russian launchers have a number of issues which seem to be related not to their past record but their current managerial and manufacturing practices, and which could at any point cause a crew loss or spacecraft / launch vehicle stand-down.

I'm beginning to think perhaps an investigation into champaign contributors need to be conducted.  MIGHTY odd that Congress would prefer Russian rockets over American made rockets...
Somehow I doubt NPO Energomash has much lobbying pull in congress.

Maybe not, but I wouldn't put it past other individuals and organizations in Russia...

What about the many agents along the way? There is a huge difference between what NPO Energomach gets and what Lockheed gets.

John

I think this line of speculation needs to end before it gets any more tinfoil hat like!
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: saliva_sweet on 06/12/2015 09:25 PM
partially fund Boeing

Not possible I would think. Boeing would not accept. Partially funding, thus prolonging, a fixed price (or any other) contract will make it more expensive.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Endeavour_01 on 06/12/2015 09:46 PM
partially fund Boeing

Not possible I would think. Boeing would not accept. Partially funding, thus prolonging, a fixed price (or any other) contract will make it more expensive.

Given that NASA will not have enough money to fully pay them under the current scenario I don't think they would have a choice. If I was Bolden I would tell them (and SpaceX too for that matter) that if they want to get fully paid they better lean as hard as they can on Congress. Maybe with a lot of lobbying from both companies they could get full funding.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 06/12/2015 10:26 PM
I'd love to know of the 1.2 Billion NASA requested for 2016, how much did Boeing need Vs SpaceX to complete their 2016 milestones?

(And wouldn't it be depressingly ironic if the number for SpaceX was around...300Million.)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 06/12/2015 10:30 PM
A little crystal-ball gazing, just for discussion purposes:
...

NASA does not have all those options.  NASA is committed--unless Congress intervenes--to fulfilling the awarded CCtCap contracts with both Boeing and SpaceX.  That includes DDT&E through certification and a minimum of two post-certification missions for Boeing and SpaceX.  The only contractual wiggle room NASA has of its own accord is the number of post-certification missions (beyond the minimum of two each) awarded to Boeing and SpaceX.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: John-H on 06/12/2015 10:59 PM
A little crystal-ball gazing, just for discussion purposes:
...

NASA does not have all those options.  NASA is committed--unless Congress intervenes--to fulfilling the awarded CCtCap contracts with both Boeing and SpaceX.  That includes DDT&E through certification and a minimum of two post-certification missions for Boeing and SpaceX.  The only contractual wiggle room NASA has of its own accord is the number of post-certification missions (beyond the minimum of two each) awarded to Boeing and SpaceX.

How does this work? Have they already awarded the contracts even though the budget has not passed? Can the contractor depend on getting his money if it doesn't pass?

Or are the bids not binding if the money is not there, and the whole process starts over?

John
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 06/12/2015 11:10 PM
I'm just gunna remind y'all that CCDev1 was $50M, CCDev2 was $270M, CCiCap was $1112M and CCtCap is $6800M, for a grand total of $8232M. NASA most recently paid $76.3M/seat for Soyuz. So the cost of the Commercial Crew program is 107 Soyuz seats. For shuttling astronauts to a station that will be dumped into the Pacific in 2028, at the latest, even if the program had been fully funded so it could start flying this year (and completely ignoring the potentially low price per seat of Commercial Crew) it would still have been cheaper to just buy more Soyuz seats.

The argument that Commercial Crew is cheaper than the Soyuz just doesn't work. That's why Bolden stopped making it. A much worse calculation than mine was presented to him in the House (relying on the non-extended ISS retirement date) and he failed to respond to it. He can't even make the sunk cost argument, because the payments to Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada have torpedoed it. The Commercial Crew program budget has ballooned, as all NASA programs seem to do, and now the only argument he can make is nationalism. Russia is even making it incredibly easy to make that argument, and Bolden still can't sell it.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 06/12/2015 11:27 PM
IIRC, I thought originally, Commercial Crew was to free up NASA to go to Mars / BLEO? Pass LEO off to industry, We'll save money and resources if industry does LEO and then we/NASA can focus on MARS.

That was the reason for Cargo and after the Ares I debacle, the reason for CC.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 06/12/2015 11:32 PM
The mistake, IMO, was selecting 2 vehicles.  The competition should have ended with whoever could get to 2017 for the lowest price.

That would have required real competition. NASA procurement isn't about that.

Hey, they could still save it - they could throw out the Gantt chart and the guaranteed launches and tell the providers they have to race. Whoever finishes their compulsory milestones first gets the contract. Milestone payments will be paid on a first completed basis, with no carry-over year to year - that way the provider will have to decide if they prefer to be paid or to win.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rcoppola on 06/12/2015 11:38 PM
The mistake, IMO, was selecting 2 vehicles.  The competition should have ended with whoever could get to 2017 for the lowest price.

That would have required real competition. NASA procurement isn't about that.

Hey, they could still save it - they could throw out the Gantt chart and the guaranteed launches and tell the providers they have to race. Whoever finishes their compulsory milestones first gets the contract. Milestone payments will be paid on a first completed basis, with no carry-over year to year - that way the provider will have to decide if they prefer to be paid or to win.
Yes, I posted that on another thread. I would love to see that. "Hey guys, here's 900Million for 2016. First come first serve."
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Coastal Ron on 06/12/2015 11:40 PM
The Commercial Crew program budget has ballooned, as all NASA programs seem to do, and now the only argument he can make is nationalism.

To me Commercial Crew has been more about redundancy than anything else.  What's the value of having a backup in case the Soyuz is not available?  Certainly not priceless, but potentially worth a lot - more than what it's costing us to put Commercial Crew in place I'd say.

A secondary goal, although not an explicit one, would be in creating a new industry.  And the economic reason for doing that is to eventually repay the tax money that it took to create Commercial Crew...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 06/12/2015 11:44 PM
To me Commercial Crew has been more about redundancy than anything else.  What's the value of having a backup in case the Soyuz is not available?  Certainly not priceless, but potentially worth a lot - more than what it's costing us to put Commercial Crew in place I'd say.

While I expect you could make this argument to some, good luck making it to Congress. In any case, you only need one backup to Soyuz.

Quote from: Coastal Ron
A secondary goal, although not an explicit one, would be in creating a new industry.  And the economic reason for doing that is to eventually repay the tax money that it took to create Commercial Crew...

Do ya know what it's called when the government sets about "creating a new industry"? The polite term is economic central planning. Have you seen the kind of industries they make?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: sanman on 06/13/2015 12:05 AM
Please someone succinctly summarize for me in a nutshell why the US Congress has done what is has done. Why pinch pennies with such a promising program like Commercial Crew, which could add significant capability for reasonable cost? I don't want to get political, but I thought previous testimony and debates by US Congress had expressed a consensus on trying to avoid reliance on Soyuz for future manned flights. The reasoning about Boeing being better as backup seems to be convoluted. Has the US Congress shot US manned spaceflight interests in the foot?

Even if SpaceX seems a little bit slow on the timeline to be astronaut-ready, surely their past track record shows them to be quite credible.

What risk was the US Congress trying to avoid by voting this way? Were they afraid that neither SpaceX nor Boeing would deliver on readiness for manned spaceflight? I don't understand why they went with Soyuz over their own people. Surely there was more to this decision than just a few hundred million dollars.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 06/13/2015 12:32 AM
$8B is a lot to ask.. if you can't answer basic questions as to why you need to spend that much money, you really shouldn't be surprised when they don't give it to you.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 06/13/2015 01:07 AM
Please someone succinctly summarize for me in a nutshell why the US Congress has done what is has done. Why pinch pennies with such a promising program like Commercial Crew, which could add significant capability for reasonable cost? I don't want to get political, but I thought previous testimony and debates by US Congress had expressed a consensus on trying to avoid reliance on Soyuz for future manned flights. The reasoning about Boeing being better as backup seems to be convoluted. Has the US Congress shot US manned spaceflight interests in the foot?

Even if SpaceX seems a little bit slow on the timeline to be astronaut-ready, surely their past track record shows them to be quite credible.

What risk was the US Congress trying to avoid by voting this way? Were they afraid that neither SpaceX nor Boeing would deliver on readiness for manned spaceflight? I don't understand why they went with Soyuz over their own people. Surely there was more to this decision than just a few hundred million dollars.
The folly started when they decided to retire the Shuttle without an operational replacement thus shooting themselves in the foot and needing to rely on Russia... Shuttle should have been slowly phased out in a sensible retirement, one Orbiter at a time, while CC proved itself...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: deadman719 on 06/13/2015 01:19 AM
A little crystal-ball gazing, just for discussion purposes:

Baseline response: NASA eats the cut, stretches out Commercial Crew, has to pay another ~$210M to Russia (estimating $70M/seat at three seats/year), which has to come out of CC, which stretches it out even farther. Boeing and/or SpaceX have first flight 2019-2020.

Alternative 1: Bolden says U.S. internal access to space is too important, drops SpaceX and fully funds Boeing. Everyone happy except for Elon and us fanboys. (As a NASA guy told me once, "We like working with people we're used to working with.") NASA throws Elon a bone with the next cargo contract.

Alternative 2: Bolden says U.S. internal access to space is too important, drops Boeing and fully funds SpaceX. Hordes of lobbyists make emergency phone calls.
  Outcome 1: Commercial crew funding restored, or
  Outcome 2: Bolden "resigns to spend more time with his family", Alternative 1 enacted.

Cost-optimal solution: Cancel commercial crew altogether, pay Russia ~$250M/year (the price will undoubtedly go up if they can't be threatened with an alternative) through 2024 and then splash ISS. NASA flies crew to DLRO in 2022-2023 and declares victory.

(When did I become this old and cynical?)

Another option: Fund Boeing or SpaceX at their programmed level for the year and the remaining company at partial funding.  This keeps one company on schedule and extends the schedule for the other company.  Although neither funding profile is known, one could extrapolate from awarded contract totals that SpaceX has a smaller yearly profile than Boeing.  Assuming this is true, fully funding SpaceX while partially funding Boeing stretches dollars the furthest. 

The above option also puts dollars on the more mature vehicle (given public information) enabling schedule to be maintained.  Additional funding next year could help reduce the schedule impact for the underfunded company.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 06/13/2015 01:21 AM
The folly started when they decided to retire the Shuttle without an operational replacement thus shooting themselves in the foot and needing to rely on Russia... Shuttle should have been slowly phased out in a sensible retirement, one Orbiter at a time, while CC proved itself...

It was always the intention of the ISS program to rely on Soyuz for rotation of the crew, and they were doing so before the shuttle retirement happened. If ya want to pick a date when the ISS program went pear shaped, it was probably 1998.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 06/13/2015 01:28 AM
The folly started when they decided to retire the Shuttle without an operational replacement thus shooting themselves in the foot and needing to rely on Russia... Shuttle should have been slowly phased out in a sensible retirement, one Orbiter at a time, while CC proved itself...

It was always the intention of the ISS program to rely on Soyuz for rotation of the crew, and they were doing so before the shuttle retirement happened. If ya want to pick a date when the ISS program went pear shaped, it was probably 1998.
Until CxP, Orion and Ares-1 was the goto vehicle in the early 2000's...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Coastal Ron on 06/13/2015 01:29 AM
Please someone succinctly summarize for me in a nutshell why the US Congress has done what is has done. Why pinch pennies with such a promising program like Commercial Crew, which could add significant capability for reasonable cost? I don't want to get political...

NASA has always been about politics, just for different goals at different times.

NASA was created in response to a perceived national threat, and the Apollo program was created specifically for political reasons.

The Shuttle followed the Apollo program, and it may have started out with the right idea (i.e. transportation infrastructure), but the Shuttle program was allowed to keep going far beyond when it should have because it had become institutionalized within certain political boundaries.

The ISS was born out of a desire to try and nullify threats from the dismemberment of the USSR, even though it also serves a legitimate science purpose, and our reliance on the Soyuz for being able to continuously staff the ISS with U.S. personnel was a political decision.

Even today all you have to do is look to see what the largest funded development program is (i.e. SLS + Orion), and what it means to all the existing NASA centers (and their employees).

Now look at NASA's budget from the perspective of the Republican controlled Congress, with a lack of any clear future goals being pushed by the Democratic President whom they don't really agree with (to put it nicely).  NASA's budget is pretty much a zero-sum game, meaning there is no support to increase the overall budget amount by very much, BUT there is a large amount of support for the SLS & Orion.

Throw in also that some in Congress have been non-supportive of Commercial Crew since the beginning (like Senator Shelby), regardless how much sense it makes from a international political standpoint or from a NASA standpoint.

One last factor, and I can't quantify it but it exists, is that there are basically two camps within NASA:

1.  BFR's are the only way to go, and they must be NASA owned.

2.  Commercial services are the way to go, and NASA no longer needs to own commodity transportation hardware.

Group #1 sees the success of commercial services like Commercial Crew (#2) as a threat, and it's easy to convince politicians that the end result of such paradigm change would mean an eventual reduction in personnel, and a HUGE reduction in need for certain well-entrenched government contractors and their fat contracts.  Losing voter jobs and constituent cash flow is a fear that is real for politicians, and can override national priorities.

However other than expressing a lack of confidence in the best aerospace industry in the world, Congress really hasn't explained why they would rather continue to send money to Russia instead of of supporting U.S. industry.

But likely it's based on fear - fear of losing influence and money in the political districts.

My $0.02
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 06/13/2015 01:35 AM
How does this work? Have they already awarded the contracts even though the budget has not passed? Can the contractor depend on getting his money if it doesn't pass?

Or are the bids not binding if the money is not there, and the whole process starts over?

Contracts were awarded last year; contracts are binding, but there are caveats if funding is not available (as with all such government contracts).  The process would not start over if the money is not there.  Beyond that, what would happen is anyone's guess.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Billium on 06/13/2015 01:41 AM
From my basic knowledge of government RFPs, albeit from a different jurisdiction and without knowing the specific wording, I don't think NASA can simply down select to 1 unless it does so based on the criteria of the RFP.

I think that certain members of congress intend the CCtCAP budget shortfall to either delay commercial crew so that it is not available before Orion and SLS are ready, or in the alternative that there will be a down select to Boeing.

I recall that certain members of congress had previously tried to write into law that NASA had to give weight only to safety or schedule certainty and give no or little weight to price, but that never became law, and the RFP does have price as a criteria. Given how close spacex was on everything other than price, and how far ahead it is on price, it is not clear to me who would win.

Although I'm sure certain members of congress would like to think that NASA can/should just down select to Boeing because it was number 1 in most criteria, except price, I don't think this is an option because that is not how the RFP was issued.

If that happened I think Spacex could protest because they could have bid differently if price was weighted differently. I think NASA would have to reissue the RFP. I think the only other option is to delay the milestones or attempt to renegotiate with the bid winners.

I imagine this won't come to a head until the fall at least because of general disagreement about the federal budget. I'm really excited about dragon2 so I'm hopping they can make enough progress even if they get cut, so that they don't get delayed multiple years.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 06/13/2015 02:07 AM
Please someone succinctly summarize for me in a nutshell why the US Congress has done what is has done. Why pinch pennies with such a promising program like Commercial Crew, which could add significant capability for reasonable cost? I don't want to get political, but I thought previous testimony and debates by US Congress had expressed a consensus on trying to avoid reliance on Soyuz for future manned flights. The reasoning about Boeing being better as backup seems to be convoluted. Has the US Congress shot US manned spaceflight interests in the foot?

Even if SpaceX seems a little bit slow on the timeline to be astronaut-ready, surely their past track record shows them to be quite credible.

What risk was the US Congress trying to avoid by voting this way? Were they afraid that neither SpaceX nor Boeing would deliver on readiness for manned spaceflight? I don't understand why they went with Soyuz over their own people. Surely there was more to this decision than just a few hundred million dollars.

Without going too much into the details, I'll point out that getting a top line budget increase for anything discretionary is basically impossible right now.

Commercial Crew needed a big increase and that's very hard to do right now.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 06/13/2015 02:09 AM
Without going too much into the details, I'll point out that getting a top line budget increase for anything discretionary is basically impossible right now.

NASA got a top line budget increase.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: the_other_Doug on 06/13/2015 02:44 AM
     I'm not saying Bolden isn't a good director of Nasa, but we NEED someone who can go to Congress and explain to them, quite simply...

Mike Griffin tried to do that, and they rewarded him with the mandate to land people on the Moon and then Mars while giving him a tenth of the money he said he needed to do it.  By the end, just to keep things going, hoping for that balloon payment at the end when it's time to start flying, Griffin was telling them whatever they wanted to hear that would keep him from being fired and keep the VSE from being canned altogether.

Congress is not a rational body, and cannot be swayed by rational logic, any more than you can convince someone who believes Apollo was a hoax with all the evidence in the world.  Its standpoint is an emotional one, and cannot be swayed by facts.  I don't think this is a good way to govern, but them's the facts of the matter.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: the_other_Doug on 06/13/2015 02:52 AM
The thing that gets me is Congress says they're saving money by cutting $300 million from commercial crew, but it's turning around and spending almost the same amount on Soyuz seats in that same period.

As Joe Shea used to say, a decision against is not a decision delayed.  Commercial crew is a decision that's already been made -- the decision against making Orion a LEO shuttle, and against continuing to depend on the politically unreliable Russians to field an American presence in LEO, has already been made.  Money has been spent (a lot of it) and metal is being bent.  Crewed flights are less than two years away, not 10 to 20 as was the case when VSE was canceled.  It's not the time to come back to it and say, "Well, wouldn't it be better to just keep buying Soyuz seats?"  The time to ask that question is long past.  It's time to finish what we started, and go freakin' fly!
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Coastal Ron on 06/13/2015 02:55 AM
The folly started when they decided to retire the Shuttle without an operational replacement thus shooting themselves in the foot and needing to rely on Russia...

The Shuttle was never a replacement for the Soyuz, since it could only stay in space for two weeks maximum, and the requirement is to have a vehicle (i.e. a lifeboat) available at all times during a normal crew mission (typically 6 months).  The Shuttle could provide temporary access, and it could swap out crew, but it couldn't keep crew at the ISS for longer than two weeks.

The real root of this situation goes back to the beginning of the ISS program, when it was known back then that only the Soyuz was available for lifeboat duty.  The X-38 was to be the U.S. lifeboat vehicle (still would need the Shuttle for swapping crew though), but it was cancelled in 2002 due to budget cuts.  Of course we were far friendlier with Russia back then, and even then the Soyuz had a long and safe flight history.

So our current dependence on Russia for keeping crew at the ISS goes back to decisions made in 2002.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: yg1968 on 06/13/2015 03:21 AM
How does this work? Have they already awarded the contracts even though the budget has not passed? Can the contractor depend on getting his money if it doesn't pass?

Or are the bids not binding if the money is not there, and the whole process starts over?

Contracts were awarded last year; contracts are binding, but there are caveats if funding is not available (as with all such government contracts).  The process would not start over if the money is not there.  Beyond that, what would happen is anyone's guess.

Bolden sort of answered that during a hearing. He said that they would have to renegotiate milestones with SpaceX and Boeing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 06/13/2015 03:34 AM
Please someone succinctly summarize for me in a nutshell why the US Congress has done what is has done. Why pinch pennies with such a promising program like Commercial Crew, which could add significant capability for reasonable cost? I don't want to get political, but I thought previous testimony and debates by US Congress had expressed a consensus on trying to avoid reliance on Soyuz for future manned flights. The reasoning about Boeing being better as backup seems to be convoluted. Has the US Congress shot US manned spaceflight interests in the foot?

Even if SpaceX seems a little bit slow on the timeline to be astronaut-ready, surely their past track record shows them to be quite credible.

What risk was the US Congress trying to avoid by voting this way? Were they afraid that neither SpaceX nor Boeing would deliver on readiness for manned spaceflight? I don't understand why they went with Soyuz over their own people. Surely there was more to this decision than just a few hundred million dollars.
The folly started when they decided to retire the Shuttle without an operational replacement thus shooting themselves in the foot and needing to rely on Russia... Shuttle should have been slowly phased out in a sensible retirement, one Orbiter at a time, while CC proved itself...

Having a set in stone retirement date for the Shuttle was making the exact same mistake they made retiring Apollo before the Shuttle was ready.

The X-38 should have never been canceled and Orion should have stayed on the spiral development plan as it could have been ready by now and the Shuttle could have been flown for a few more years.

It is just dumb to keep buying seats on Soyuz when Spacex has proven they can safely fly to ISS.
Though I do not believe Boeing's time line and feel their vehicle is over priced even they're a better investment then sending money to the Russians.
But they if have to make do with 300 million less and cannot afford to fund both Dragon V2 and the CST-100 the wise thing to do would be the drop Boeing and put SNC or Blue Origin in their place so they still get two providers while meeting their budget.
Dropping Spacex would be pretty brain dead since they're the only provider who have both a working spacecraft and crew rated launch vehicle with domestically produced engines.


Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Coastal Ron on 06/13/2015 03:51 AM
     I'm not saying Bolden isn't a good director of Nasa, but we NEED someone who can go to Congress and explain to them, quite simply...

Mike Griffin tried to do that, and they rewarded him with the mandate to land people on the Moon and then Mars while giving him a tenth of the money he said he needed to do it.

No, Griffin became NASA Administrator after the Constellation program was started.  Griffin did reshape it though based on the Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS), which is when Griffin tilted the scale on the hardware side to things he wanted to do - like the Ares I and the "Apollo on steroids" Orion capsule.

Regarding the role of the NASA Administrator, per NASA's website:

3.2.1 NASA Administrator
The Administrator is the Agency's highest level decisionmaker, providing clarity to the Agency's vision and serving as the source of internal leadership to achieve NASA's mission. The Administrator aligns the strategic and policy direction of NASA with the interests and requirements of the Agency's stakeholders and constituent groups.

The Administrator and immediate senior staff provide overall strategic direction and policies for the organization and establish the Agency's relative priorities, associated budget guidelines, and performance assessment. Senior staff officials within the Office of the Administrator include the Deputy Administrator, Associate Deputy Administrator, Associate Deputy Administrator (Technical), Chief Engineer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Scientist, and the Chief Technologist.


Their official role does not include coming up with policy and then advocating it within the legislative branch - unless the President they serve wants them to.

But I think the angst we have about whether the NASA Administrator is doing enough advocating or not is really part of the whole "what are we really DOING in space?" question.

If our goal is to expand humanity out into space, the Commercial Crew makes a lot of sense.  But if the goal is to just use NASA as a funding stream for certain constituents, then Commercial Crew is not really necessary.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 06/13/2015 04:33 AM
Griffin threw out the spiral development plan which could have gotten something flying in LEO before the rest of lunar architecture was ready.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: arachnitect on 06/13/2015 04:42 AM
Without going too much into the details, I'll point out that getting a top line budget increase for anything discretionary is basically impossible right now.

NASA got a top line budget increase.


Not as big as requested, and even with the proposed top line increase the Commercial Crew bump was to be offset by a decrease in SLS/Orion funding.

One point (which I think you'd agree with) is that it's helpful to recognize congress isn't "cutting" CC or denying them a shot at readily available money, they're just refusing to fund it out of their own priorities.

My larger point is that while the $300M that would make a difference here is a drop in the Federal bucket, in reality it has to be "stolen" from someone's favorite program.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Patchouli on 06/13/2015 04:51 AM
The NSA and DEA probably could afford a budget cut of a few hundred million as they seem to have too much money or even just do away with the TSA there's 8 billion a year there.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 06/13/2015 05:24 AM
The thing that gets me is Congress says they're saving money by cutting $300 million from commercial crew, but it's turning around and spending almost the same amount on Soyuz seats in that same period.

{snip}

Does reducing Commercial Crew by $300 million mean that the Orion/SLS budget will have to be cut by say $400 million to buy Soyuz seats?

Also the programme will probably take an extra year to complete and the total spend increase.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: sanman on 06/13/2015 06:48 AM
Article:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/spacex-and-the-russian-rocket-mess-1434149145


Have Musk or any other US commercial crew players officially reacted yet?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 06/13/2015 09:22 AM
A little crystal-ball gazing, just for discussion purposes:

Baseline response: NASA eats the cut, stretches out Commercial Crew, has to pay another ~$210M to Russia (estimating $70M/seat at three seats/year), which has to come out of CC, which stretches it out even farther. Boeing and/or SpaceX have first flight 2019-2020.

Minor nit: Soyuz seats are paid out of the ISS budget, not the CCP budget.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 06/13/2015 09:28 AM
$8B is a lot to ask.. if you can't answer basic questions as to why you need to spend that much money, you really shouldn't be surprised when they don't give it to you.

Yup, and exactly the same thing got CxP canned. That's why I think that under the next president CCP will get axed swiftly. With current funding levels neither SpaceX nor Boeing will have anything operational at the beginning of 2017. Also: there already is a mandated-by-law back-up to Soyuz. It's called Orion.

What I think will happen is this: next president is going to be a Republican.
CCP will be axed early 2017 with the former CCP funding added to the Orion budgetline to speed up her development to get her flying in manned-LEO-capable form in early 2019. Soyuz will remain the prime crew-rotation vehicle until ISS-splash in 2024 (unless Putin starts a nuclear war or something similarly nuts)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 06/13/2015 09:40 AM
NASA does not have all those options.  NASA is committed--unless Congress intervenes--to fulfilling the awarded CCtCap contracts with both Boeing and SpaceX.
Not quite. Both contracts hold dissolve clauses for the situation that US Congress chooses to NOT fully fund CCtCAP. If and when that happens (and it looks like it will happen soon) NASA can do-away with the current contracts and re-compete to a single provider.
In that case that single provider will be Boeing, as they scored highest on the current CCtCAP-contract score-card. That will not have changed significantly by the time a re-compete becomes reality.

Note: I don't think the above scenario will come into reality any time soon. IMO Bolden will rather stretch development of both CCP vehicles than down-select to one, just to make US Congress look bad.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: QuantumG on 06/13/2015 09:54 AM
Mike Griffin tried to do that, and they rewarded him with the mandate to land people on the Moon and then Mars while giving him a tenth of the money he said he needed to do it.

That's not the way he saw it.

Quote from: the_other_Doug
By the end, just to keep things going, hoping for that balloon payment at the end when it's time to start flying,

Jeez, anyone would think you're saying Griffin invented go-as-you-pay.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rebel44 on 06/13/2015 10:34 AM
$8B is a lot to ask.. if you can't answer basic questions as to why you need to spend that much money, you really shouldn't be surprised when they don't give it to you.

Yup, and exactly the same thing got CxP canned. That's why I think that under the next president CCP will get axed swiftly. With current funding levels neither SpaceX nor Boeing will have anything operational at the beginning of 2017. Also: there already is a mandated-by-law back-up to Soyuz. It's called Orion.

What I think will happen is this: next president is going to be a Republican.
CCP will be axed early 2017 with the former CCP funding added to the Orion budgetline to speed up her development to get her flying in manned-LEO-capable form in early 2019. Soyuz will remain the prime crew-rotation vehicle until ISS-splash in 2024 (unless Putin starts a nuclear war or something similarly nuts)

Given current relations with russians, I doubt, that someone would actually try to cancel Commercial Crew, simple because it could later blow up in their face. Politicians dont take more risk than is necessary, unless there is a large advantage to it.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: kevinof on 06/13/2015 10:46 AM
NASA does not have all those options.  NASA is committed--unless Congress intervenes--to fulfilling the awarded CCtCap contracts with both Boeing and SpaceX.
Not quite. Both contracts hold dissolve clauses for the situation that US Congress chooses to NOT fully fund CCtCAP. If and when that happens (and it looks like it will happen soon) NASA can do-away with the current contracts and re-compete to a single provider.
In that case that single provider will be Boeing, as they scored highest on the current CCtCAP-contract score-card. That will not have changed significantly by the time a re-compete becomes reality.

Note: I don't think the above scenario will come into reality any time soon. IMO Bolden will rather stretch development of both CCP vehicles than down-select to one, just to make US Congress look bad.

Yes Boeing scored higher on the bids but I suspect SpaceX are closer to a flying vehicle than Boeing, plus they are cheaper. You could have Bolden going the SpaceX route because of this and then waiting for a response from congress. It will either be 1) ok fine, correct decision on cost/timelines etc or 2) no way. We want Boeing even if it's more expensive, takes more time etc.

I think you are correct with Bolden. He want's two providers to keep long term costs down, and provide redundancy , and will do what he can to keep both going.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: kdhilliard on 06/13/2015 12:00 PM
At the CCtCap announcement they said they'd recompete if they don't get the funding...
That was not said at either the announcement itself (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kECY85DM2I8q) or the follow-up teleconference (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCrK83IkDrE) with Kathy Lueders.

Charles Lurio asked, but Lueders dodged the question:
Quote from: Teleconference with Kathy Lueders
33:55 K. Lueders: Our plan to execute the contract is per the proposed budget as outlined in the 2015 NASA request.

34:55 C. Lurio: How long are you committed to maintaining the two contractors?  Is there any circumstance under which you would be, because of a combination of low budgets and time pressure, obliged to pull back to a single contractor?

35:23 K. Lueders: We're executing our plan to that five year budget.  We're confident that our providers will be able to execute to the plan and schedule they have in front of them.

The closest they came in the announcement itself was:
Quote from: CCtCap Announcement
29:15  Irene Klotz, Reuters: "Are these awards at all dependent on NASA having more than a continuing resolution for this year's budget?"

30:03 Charles Bolden: "In order for us to get to 2017 what we really need is for the congress to support the president's request.  We are confident that given where we are right now with the 2014 budget and its outrun, we can make the 2017 launch date.  But that again depends on congress fully funding the budget as requested by the president."

~Kirk
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Rocket Science on 06/13/2015 12:21 PM
The folly started when they decided to retire the Shuttle without an operational replacement thus shooting themselves in the foot and needing to rely on Russia...

The Shuttle was never a replacement for the Soyuz, since it could only stay in space for two weeks maximum, and the requirement is to have a vehicle (i.e. a lifeboat) available at all times during a normal crew mission (typically 6 months).  The Shuttle could provide temporary access, and it could swap out crew, but it couldn't keep crew at the ISS for longer than two weeks.

The real root of this situation goes back to the beginning of the ISS program, when it was known back then that only the Soyuz was available for lifeboat duty.  The X-38 was to be the U.S. lifeboat vehicle (still would need the Shuttle for swapping crew though), but it was cancelled in 2002 due to budget cuts.  Of course we were far friendlier with Russia back then, and even then the Soyuz had a long and safe flight history.

So our current dependence on Russia for keeping crew at the ISS goes back to decisions made in 2002.
Yes Ron that was before Orion/Ares-1 and before the X-38 it was the HL-20 once the station was completed. This is the core of problem with NASA; it keeps getting re-invented with each administration leading to wasted time, money and no coherent sustainable plan.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 06/13/2015 02:03 PM
A little crystal-ball gazing, just for discussion purposes:

Baseline response: NASA eats the cut, stretches out Commercial Crew, has to pay another ~$210M to Russia (estimating $70M/seat at three seats/year), which has to come out of CC, which stretches it out even farther. Boeing and/or SpaceX have first flight 2019-2020.

Minor nit: Soyuz seats are paid out of the ISS budget, not the CCP budget.
As will CCP seats later. It's why the CCP budget is projected to be nearly zero in about 3 years.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: The Amazing Catstronaut on 06/13/2015 04:35 PM
A little crystal-ball gazing, just for discussion purposes:

Baseline response: NASA eats the cut, stretches out Commercial Crew, has to pay another ~$210M to Russia (estimating $70M/seat at three seats/year), which has to come out of CC, which stretches it out even farther. Boeing and/or SpaceX have first flight 2019-2020.

Minor nit: Soyuz seats are paid out of the ISS budget, not the CCP budget.

As will CCP seats later. It's why the CCP budget is projected to be nearly zero in about 3 years.

Almost certainly higher if CCP is delayed by cuts. If it isn't higher, a downselect will happen (one of arguable objectivity) and much exercise would have been frivolous.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 06/13/2015 08:07 PM
From my basic knowledge of government RFPs, albeit from a different jurisdiction and without knowing the specific wording, I don't think NASA can simply down select to 1 unless it does so based on the criteria of the RFP.

If by "based on the criteria of the RFP" you mean that there is some objective criteria in the RFP that would allow NASA to select one provider vs. another, and thus terminate the contract of one provider based on that criteria, there is not.  That ship sailed when NASA awarded two CCtCap contracts.

Assuming both awardees nominally perform per the terms of the contract, terminating one would fall under "Termination for the Convenience of the Government" or possibly "Limitation of Funds" contract clauses.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 06/14/2015 04:43 AM
NASA does not have all those options.  NASA is committed--unless Congress intervenes--to fulfilling the awarded CCtCap contracts with both Boeing and SpaceX.
Not quite. Both contracts hold dissolve clauses for the situation that US Congress chooses to NOT fully fund CCtCAP. If and when that happens (and it looks like it will happen soon) NASA can do-away with the current contracts and re-compete to a single provider.

You might want to review those "dissolve clauses"; they are standard FAR boilerplate (included by reference in the RFP/contracts). There is nothing in those clauses which allows re-compete unless there is a failure to perform.*

Under the current contracts, if there are funding limitations, NASA could choose to stretch both contracts, or possibly terminate one.  However, in the latter case, you can bet there will be a challenge unless termination is due to a failure to perform by the loser.

In short, NASA is contractually committed to two CCtCap providers.  The only thing likely to change that is Congressional legislation which overrides those commitments.


* edit: Or obviously Congressional action.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Coastal Ron on 06/14/2015 05:06 AM
This is the core of problem with NASA; it keeps getting re-invented with each administration leading to wasted time, money and no coherent sustainable plan.

Yep, it's non-optimal.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: guckyfan on 06/14/2015 05:50 AM

Under the current contracts, if there are funding limitations, NASA could choose to stretch both contracts, or possibly terminate one.  However, in the latter case, you can bet there will be a challenge unless termination is due to a failure to perform by the loser.

What would failure to perform be? Missing a single milestone date by a month?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 06/14/2015 01:38 PM

Under the current contracts, if there are funding limitations, NASA could choose to stretch both contracts, or possibly terminate one.  However, in the latter case, you can bet there will be a challenge unless termination is due to a failure to perform by the loser.

What would failure to perform be? Missing a single milestone date by a month?
Failure to perform would be inability to provide the end product/service. NASA would have to prove that the contractor is technically of fiscally unable to reach the end point they were contracted for.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: Tomness on 06/14/2015 01:42 PM

Under the current contracts, if there are funding limitations, NASA could choose to stretch both contracts, or possibly terminate one.  However, in the latter case, you can bet there will be a challenge unless termination is due to a failure to perform by the loser.

What would failure to perform be? Missing a single milestone date by a month?
Failure to perform would be inability to provide the end product/service. NASA would have to prove that the contractor is technically of fiscally unable to reach the end point they were contracted for.

Would that also be under NASA is unable to pay for the milestone? Ergo contractor is fiscally unable to reach the end point they were contracted for.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: gongora on 06/14/2015 02:48 PM
It seems to me that the House and Senate are arranging to slow down the Commercial Crew program with less funding and speeding up the SLS by increasing that programs budget with the aim of SLS and Orion launching crew before either Boeing or SpaceX.
I agree and it was totally predictable that they would do that.

Really?  Commercial Crew has manned test flights planned in 2017.  SLS/Orion has manned test flight planned around 2021.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: rayleighscatter on 06/14/2015 03:16 PM

Under the current contracts, if there are funding limitations, NASA could choose to stretch both contracts, or possibly terminate one.  However, in the latter case, you can bet there will be a challenge unless termination is due to a failure to perform by the loser.

What would failure to perform be? Missing a single milestone date by a month?
Failure to perform would be inability to provide the end product/service. NASA would have to prove that the contractor is technically of fiscally unable to reach the end point they were contracted for.

Would that also be under NASA is unable to pay for the milestone? Ergo contractor is fiscally unable to reach the end point they were contracted for.
That would go from being contested by the GAO to being contested in Federal Court as a contract violation. Even exit clauses for fiscal reasons can be tough to enact since the contractor will point out in court that an agency that has an 18 billion dollar budget should be able to make up the shortfall from other areas when it comes to services already contracted for.

It's also a penny-wise pound foolish approach. Anyone bidding on future contracts will build greater liability into their bids because NASA has shown it won't act in good faith which drives costs of everything from launch services to plumbers bills up.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 06/14/2015 05:30 PM

You might want to review those "dissolve clauses"; they are standard FAR boilerplate (included by reference in the RFP/contracts). There is nothing in those clauses which allows re-compete unless there is a failure to perform.*

Under the current contracts, if there are funding limitations, NASA could choose to stretch both contracts, or possibly terminate one.  However, in the latter case, you can bet there will be a challenge unless termination is due to a failure to perform by the loser.

In short, NASA is contractually committed to two CCtCap providers.  The only thing likely to change that is Congressional legislation which overrides those commitments.


* edit: Or obviously Congressional action.

Ha ha ha. He he he.

If CCtCap had been a Space Act Agreement (SAA) NASA would probably have got out of it but being an ordinary FAR contract NASA is stuck with it for 2 years. The US Government can cancel the contract but still has to pay.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: watermod on 06/14/2015 08:51 PM
As somebody who has voted for the pubs, in the past, I find this troubling on another level of debate.   

The question I posed to my congress critter is: "SLS is an extremely expensive government designed rocket with no real mission.  Commercial Crew is made up of rockets designed by corporations and entrepreneurs to a government purpose with the added benefit of possibly creating a new arena for capitalism to thrive.  As members of The Grand Old Party why are you supporting the socialist rocket and a  make work path for NASA and the USA in space?"
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: The Amazing Catstronaut on 06/14/2015 08:56 PM
As somebody who has voted for the pubs, in the past, I find this troubling on another level of debate.   

The question I posed to my congress critter is: "SLS is an extremely expensive government designed rocket with no real mission.  Commercial Crew is made up of rockets designed by corporations and entrepreneurs to a government purpose with the added benefit of possibly creating a new arena for capitalism to thrive.  As members of The Grand Old Party why are you supporting the socialist rocket and a  make work path for NASA and the USA in space?"

I love the idea of manipulating party partisan sentiment (rightwing or leftwing) to try and get your congressmen to do something bipartisan and universally good for the country - good on you.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 06/14/2015 09:04 PM
If CCtCap had been a Space Act Agreement (SAA) NASA would probably have got out of it but being an ordinary FAR contract NASA is stuck with it for 2 years. The US Government can cancel the contract but still has to pay.

Unlikely.  SAA would not materially change NASA's rights to unilateraly terminate the agreement, at least if prior SAA's are any indication.  E.g.,The CCiCap SAA's contain the following termination clauses:
Quote from: CCiCap SAA
ARTICLE 16. TERMINATION
A. Termination by Mutual Consent
...
B. Termination for Failure to Perform
...
C. Termination for Unacceptable Risk to Human Life
...
D. Unilateral Termination by NASA
(1) NASA may unilaterally terminate this Agreement upon written notice in the following circumstances: (a) upon a declaration of war by the Congress of the United States; or (b) upon a declaration of a national emergency by the President of the United States; or (c) upon a NASA determination, in writing, that NASA is required to terminate for reasons beyond its control. For purposes of this Article, reasons beyond NASA's control include, but are not limited to, acts of God or of the public enemy, acts of the U.S. Government other than NASA, in either its sovereign or contractual capacity (to include failure of Congress to appropriate sufficient funding), fires, floods, epidemics, quarantine restrictions, strikes, freight embargoes, or unusually severe weather.

edit: And before you jump on the "to include failure of Congress to appropriate sufficient funding", note that does not address the criteria on which a down-select might be based, or the process for a down-select.  Again, there is nothing in those SAA's. or in the CCtCap RFP or contracts which provides for such.  And we already saw what happened with the SAA's--the schedule was stretched to accommodate available funding.  Likely the same will occur for CCtCap--unless Congress forces NASA to do otherwise.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 06/14/2015 09:45 PM
What would failure to perform be? Missing a single milestone date by a month?

Short version...
Quote from: CCtCap sec 52.249-8 and 52.249-9
(a) (1) The Government may, subject to paragraphs (c) and (d) of this clause, by written Notice of Default to the Contractor, terminate this contract in whole or in part if the Contractor fails to --
(i) Perform the work under the contract within the time specified in this contract or any extension;
(ii) Prosecute the work so as to endanger performance of this contract (but see subparagraph (a)(2) of this clause); or
(iii) Perform any of the other provisions of this contract (but see subparagraph (a)(2) of this clause).
(2) The Government’s right to terminate this contract under subdivisions (a)(1)(ii) and (iii) of this clause may be exercised if the Contractor does not cure such failure within 10 days (or more, if authorized in writing by the Contracting Officer) after receipt of the notice from the Contracting Officer specifying the failure

52.249-8 and 52.249-9 are basically the same with respect to cause, but there are some slight differences in rights as CCtCap has separate contract line items (CLIN); 52.249-8 applies to CLIN-002 and -003 (services); 52.249-9 applies to CLIN-001 (DDT&E, aka certification).

Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 06/14/2015 10:11 PM
Would that also be under NASA is unable to pay for the milestone? Ergo contractor is fiscally unable to reach the end point they were contracted for.

No. Milestone payments are essentially pay-as-you-go.  If NASA does not have the required funds to cover the work, they do not authorize the work.  If that results in schedule stretch, increased costs, and missed dates, the contractor is not liable and cannot be held at fault; that would fall under "acts of the Government in either its sovereign or contractual capacity" exclusion clauses.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 06/14/2015 11:23 PM
Would that also be under NASA is unable to pay for the milestone? Ergo contractor is fiscally unable to reach the end point they were contracted for.

No. Milestone payments are essentially pay-as-you-go.  If NASA does not have the required funds to cover the work, they do not authorize the work.  If that results in schedule stretch, increased costs, and missed dates, the contractor is not liable and cannot be held at fault; that would fall under "acts of the Government in either its sovereign or contractual capacity" exclusion clauses.

So NASA is likely to reschedule the work. It may even add in an optional milestone as a face saving excuse, although the total expenditure will increase.

(Down selecting is not my argument.)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: joek on 06/15/2015 12:32 AM
So NASA is likely to reschedule the work.
Yes, if funds are not available to proceed with the previously agreed-upon schedule.
Quote
It may even add in an optional milestone as a face saving excuse, although the total expenditure will increase.
CCtCap has no provision for optional milestones.  Additional milestones or interim progress payments might be added.

Again, however, I caution that CCtCap contains two very different types of contract line items, with very different provisions.
CLIN-001 -- DDTE/certification.  This is fixed-price *not* IDIQ.
CLIN-002 -- Post-certification mssions (PCMs).  This is fixed-price IDIQ services.
CLIN-003 -- Special Studies.  This is fixed-price IDIQ services.

The two primary items of interest are CLIN-001 (DDTE/certification)and CLIN-002 (PCMs), as those represent the bulk of the funds.  However, CLIN-002 (and CLIN-003) notably have specific provisions for funding limitations, whereas CLIN-001 does not (at least to the best of my reading).

That means NASA's only basis for terminating CLIN-001 (DDTE/certification) work by a contractor would be FAR 52.249-2 (https://www.acquisition.gov/sites/default/files/current/far/html/52_248_253.html#wp1119611), Termination for Convenience of the Government.*

Such a termination would be an egregious act on NASA's part, especially if both contractors were performing nominally, and likely result in a legal fur-ball.  I seriously doubt NASA would take that step unless forced.  And by "forced", I mean more than Congress simply underfunding CCtCap--but passing legislation stating that NASA must down-select to a single provider.


* Other than a default or failure to perform by the contractor.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew (CCtCAP) - Discussion Thread
Post by: woods170 on 06/15/2015 07:28 AM