Author Topic: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6  (Read 400534 times)

Offline clongton

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1220 on: 03/26/2024 12:08 pm »
But, at the moment at least, all of Boeing's actions and words suggest that they intend to continue on with Starliner.
Just curious what have been Boeing's actions (like spending real money) on extending Starliner beyond ISS?
To date (at least publicly), nothing.

What do you mean nothing? The entire reason we're even having this discussion is because of a quote up thread, where the Starliner program manager said that they are considering offering commercial Starliner flights later in the decade.

Have you never heard the expression: "What you do speaks so loudly that what you say I cannot hear"?
The Starliner Program Manager can engage in all the rubber lips exercises that he wants to but until he actually "DOES" something then he hasn't "DONE" anything, and his words are without value or meaning. Words are meaningless until they form the skeleton of an actual action.
« Last Edit: 03/26/2024 12:10 pm by clongton »
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Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1221 on: 03/26/2024 12:21 pm »
But, at the moment at least, all of Boeing's actions and words suggest that they intend to continue on with Starliner.
Just curious what have been Boeing's actions (like spending real money) on extending Starliner beyond ISS?
To date (at least publicly), nothing.

What do you mean nothing? The entire reason we're even having this discussion is because of a quote up thread, where the Starliner program manager said that they are considering offering commercial Starliner flights later in the decade.

Have you never heard the expression: "What you do speaks so loudly that what you say I cannot hear"?
The Starliner Program Manager can engage in all the rubber lips exercises that he wants to but until he actually "DOES" something then he hasn't "DONE" anything, and his words are without value or meaning. Words are meaningless until they form the skeleton of an actual action.
The Starliner Program Manager has a responsibility to the program to keep it together and functioning until Boeing decides to wind it down. One part of this responsibility is to maintain a positive attitude within the workforce. He should not lie, but he is not required to predict doom, either. If I were in this position, I would continue to discuss Starliner commercialization positively until I was told by the Boeing CEO that commercialization was no longer an option. You see this "positive spin" behavior in troubled programs, failing new starts, etc. all the time. This is not evidence that the program will wind down, but the statements are not evidence that commercialization will occur.
« Last Edit: 03/26/2024 12:23 pm by DanClemmensen »

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1222 on: 03/26/2024 12:28 pm »
Despite all my posts questioning Starliner commercial viability, I still want to see CFT succeed. I hope for a flawless flight and I feel there is a very high liklihood of complete success. They have an outstanding crew, a proven LV, and an exhaustively-inspected spacecraft.

Offline clongton

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1223 on: 03/27/2024 10:11 am »
Despite all my posts questioning Starliner commercial viability, I still want to see CFT succeed. I hope for a flawless flight and I feel there is a very high liklihood of complete success. They have an outstanding crew, a proven LV, and an exhaustively-inspected spacecraft.

Agreed
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I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1224 on: 03/28/2024 06:30 am »
Regarding the discussion about the future of Starliner, it seems like the question, "What can we do to make Starliner a commercial success?" was never in the minds of Boeing's people. It's easy to say that the CCP started way back in 2011, and there was no reason to think that way. But someone else was thinking that way. Both Sierra Space and SpaceX were looking beyond CCP.
Maybe we should call this thread the Padliner thread.

Offline Athelstane

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1225 on: 05/06/2024 12:43 pm »
Eric Berger does a deeper dive today (May 6) on why Boeing stumbled so badly with Starliner's development. "The surprise is not that Boeing lost to a more nimble competitor in the commercial space race. The surprise is that this lumbering company made it at all. For that, we should celebrate Starliner’s impending launch and the thousands of engineers and technicians who made it happen."

https://arstechnica.com/space/2024/05/the-surprise-is-not-that-boeing-lost-commercial-crew-but-that-it-finished-at-all/
« Last Edit: 05/06/2024 12:44 pm by Athelstane »

Offline Athelstane

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1226 on: 05/06/2024 01:18 pm »
I thought Eric's article was a decent overview, and it is not really a criticism to say that much more could have been said. Long-form journalism has word count limitations even at Ars Technica.

But one thing that could bear mentioning is the growing disconnect between Boeing engineers and Boeing management on Starliner. And . . . maybe even more interestingly, just how NASA's commercial crew engineers and managers overseeing Boeing's work perceived this disconnect, and why they were apparently unable to get senior NASA leadership to act on it, until the debacles of OFT-1 and OFT-2. One of these NASA managers was Karen Bernstein, who posted a revealing Twitter thread on what she saw a couple years ago:
« Last Edit: 05/06/2024 01:19 pm by Athelstane »

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1227 on: 05/06/2024 02:14 pm »
Eric Berger does a deeper dive today (May 6) on why Boeing stumbled so badly with Starliner's development. "The surprise is not that Boeing lost to a more nimble competitor in the commercial space race. The surprise is that this lumbering company made it at all. For that, we should celebrate Starliner’s impending launch and the thousands of engineers and technicians who made it happen."

https://arstechnica.com/space/2024/05/the-surprise-is-not-that-boeing-lost-commercial-crew-but-that-it-finished-at-all/
I think Berger's analysis and reportage is needed and is useful, but I wish he had waited until after CFT completes. The Boeing technical team needs a chance to celebrate, so let's not rain on their parade.

Boeing's management and executive teams richly deserve to be chastised, but waiting another two weeks would have been better, and the rest of us can then comment freely. After that, maybe NASA and Boeing can find a way to cancel Starliner.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1228 on: 05/06/2024 02:55 pm »
Eric Berger does a deeper dive today (May 6) on why Boeing stumbled so badly with Starliner's development. "The surprise is not that Boeing lost to a more nimble competitor in the commercial space race. The surprise is that this lumbering company made it at all. For that, we should celebrate Starliner’s impending launch and the thousands of engineers and technicians who made it happen."

https://arstechnica.com/space/2024/05/the-surprise-is-not-that-boeing-lost-commercial-crew-but-that-it-finished-at-all/
I think Berger's analysis and reportage is needed and is useful, but I wish he had waited until after CFT completes. The Boeing technical team needs a chance to celebrate, so let's not rain on their parade.

You're assuming, of course, that CFT gives them a reason to celebrate. I'm sure we all wish and hope for that to be so, but given what's happened so far, let's not break out the champagne yet either.
« Last Edit: 05/06/2024 02:56 pm by Kabloona »

Offline Svetoslav

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1229 on: 05/06/2024 02:58 pm »
Eric Berger does a deeper dive today (May 6) on why Boeing stumbled so badly with Starliner's development. "The surprise is not that Boeing lost to a more nimble competitor in the commercial space race. The surprise is that this lumbering company made it at all. For that, we should celebrate Starliner’s impending launch and the thousands of engineers and technicians who made it happen."

https://arstechnica.com/space/2024/05/the-surprise-is-not-that-boeing-lost-commercial-crew-but-that-it-finished-at-all/
I think Berger's analysis and reportage is needed and is useful, but I wish he had waited until after CFT completes. The Boeing technical team needs a chance to celebrate, so let's not rain on their parade.

You're assuming, of course, that CFT gives them a reason to celebrate. I'm sure we all wish and hope for that to be so, but given what's happened so far, let's not break out the champagne yet either.

At least they should launch. I personally won't be satisfied until I see it lifting off - remember that during 2021 August attempt they delayed it several hours before launch and nobody could imagine the delay would last almost a whole year.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1230 on: 05/06/2024 02:58 pm »
Eric Berger does a deeper dive today (May 6) on why Boeing stumbled so badly with Starliner's development. "The surprise is not that Boeing lost to a more nimble competitor in the commercial space race. The surprise is that this lumbering company made it at all. For that, we should celebrate Starliner’s impending launch and the thousands of engineers and technicians who made it happen."

https://arstechnica.com/space/2024/05/the-surprise-is-not-that-boeing-lost-commercial-crew-but-that-it-finished-at-all/
I think Berger's analysis and reportage is needed and is useful, but I wish he had waited until after CFT completes. The Boeing technical team needs a chance to celebrate, so let's not rain on their parade.

You're assuming, of course, that CFT gives them a reason to celebrate. I'm sure we all wish and hope for that to be so, but given what's happened so far, let's not break out the champagne yet.
Very true, but the article should still have been deferred to give them the chance. He could have added a section of the actual outcome of CFT either way.
« Last Edit: 05/06/2024 03:00 pm by DanClemmensen »

Offline Spindog

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1231 on: 05/06/2024 08:49 pm »
I've thought about this before but I don't think I've seen it discussed. Starliner loses a lot relative to Dragon when it discards its service module prior to re-entry. That is, Starliner's SM contains the abort rockets and a full set of RCS thrusters, fuel tanks, valves, and related systems. Whereas Spacex keeps all of those systems in the Dragon 2 itself so they are saved and re-used on subsequent flights. Spacex only discards a relatively simple trunk section and solar panels. I wonder how much of a cost savings Spacex's approach provides? Not that it makes much difference in overall mission costs with so many other much larger variables .... but, interesting anyway.   

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1232 on: 05/06/2024 09:28 pm »
I've thought about this before but I don't think I've seen it discussed. Starliner loses a lot relative to Dragon when it discards its service module prior to re-entry. That is, Starliner's SM contains the abort rockets and a full set of RCS thrusters, fuel tanks, valves, and related systems. Whereas Spacex keeps all of those systems in the Dragon 2 itself so they are saved and re-used on subsequent flights. Spacex only discards a relatively simple trunk section and solar panels. I wonder how much of a cost savings Spacex's approach provides? Not that it makes much difference in overall mission costs with so many other much larger variables .... but, interesting anyway.
True, the dragon trunk is a lot simpler than the Starliner SM. The Starliner also expends several miscellaneous bits during ascent that Crew Dragon does not. However, I think the biggest piece is the entire Atlas V (SRBs, Core, and US). But cost depends on accounting: how valuable is that Atlas? ULA has no other use for it.

Offline mn

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1233 on: 05/06/2024 10:38 pm »
I've thought about this before but I don't think I've seen it discussed. Starliner loses a lot relative to Dragon when it discards its service module prior to re-entry. That is, Starliner's SM contains the abort rockets and a full set of RCS thrusters, fuel tanks, valves, and related systems. Whereas Spacex keeps all of those systems in the Dragon 2 itself so they are saved and re-used on subsequent flights. Spacex only discards a relatively simple trunk section and solar panels. I wonder how much of a cost savings Spacex's approach provides? Not that it makes much difference in overall mission costs with so many other much larger variables .... but, interesting anyway.
True, the dragon trunk is a lot simpler than the Starliner SM. The Starliner also expends several miscellaneous bits during ascent that Crew Dragon does not. However, I think the biggest piece is the entire Atlas V (SRBs, Core, and US). But cost depends on accounting: how valuable is that Atlas? ULA has no other use for it.

ULA has other uses for them, they would be happy to sell them to Amazon if they weren't required (and sold) for Starliner.

Offline 1

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1234 on: 05/06/2024 11:13 pm »
Very true, but the article should still have been deferred to give them the chance. He could have added a section of the actual outcome of CFT either way.

A part of me wants to agree with this, but honestly, the CFT flight will warrant its own article regardless of outcome. I think the current article will provide a nice "as previously reported" link that will allow the bulk of the next article to focus on the flight itself. Especially if it's (hopefully) a success, and we get a nice breakdown of test objectives met and what residual work may be required before operational missions begin.

I also suspect it's not a complete coincidence that Berger's article was immediately followed by an article focused on the crew which was, to me at least, optimistic in tone. I'd hope most of us are excited for this flight. I have the countdown going on a side monitor at work.




Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1235 on: 05/07/2024 05:31 am »
Some observations of today's launch attempt.
1. All the paper made it look old school. I'm not saying that won't work, and at least no one pulled out a line printer listing.
2. The crew didn't know what to do immediately when the scrub happened; they asked if they needed to do this or that as if they didn't know what step they were on or where to go in all that paper. I don't know if that is bad or okay.
3. I don't understand the sequence. At L-2 hours, the rocket is fully fueled, and the crew is in their seats. What's left? Seal the door and clear the pad or am I missing something?
Maybe we should call this thread the Padliner thread.

Offline RickA

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1236 on: 05/07/2024 07:14 am »
To answer point 3. In order of importance, those that little dumb old me am aware of...

1: Wait for ISS to be in the correct place. The schedule has a lot of built in contingency for delays and, IIRC from the YT coverage, the window for a successful rendezvous is quite tight.

2: Confirm that everything is working correctly with respect to the things that have just been added to the stack. Like confirming that suits are leak-free (They did the 'Gross' check, that implies there is likely to be a longer duration test later in the timeline). Also communications, spacecraft door closure and pressure tests (takes time again).

3: Final confirmation that things that were tested in the past but haven't been used so far are still working.
« Last Edit: 05/07/2024 07:15 am by RickA »

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1237 on: 05/07/2024 02:17 pm »
I've thought about this before but I don't think I've seen it discussed. Starliner loses a lot relative to Dragon when it discards its service module prior to re-entry. That is, Starliner's SM contains the abort rockets and a full set of RCS thrusters, fuel tanks, valves, and related systems. Whereas Spacex keeps all of those systems in the Dragon 2 itself so they are saved and re-used on subsequent flights. Spacex only discards a relatively simple trunk section and solar panels. I wonder how much of a cost savings Spacex's approach provides? Not that it makes much difference in overall mission costs with so many other much larger variables .... but, interesting anyway.
True, the dragon trunk is a lot simpler than the Starliner SM. The Starliner also expends several miscellaneous bits during ascent that Crew Dragon does not. However, I think the biggest piece is the entire Atlas V (SRBs, Core, and US). But cost depends on accounting: how valuable is that Atlas? ULA has no other use for it.

ULA has other uses for them, they would be happy to sell them to Amazon if they weren't required (and sold) for Starliner.
I did consider that. It assumes that Amazon would be willing to pay more than it costs ULA to launch the Atlas V. We do not know if an Atlas V Kuiper launch is profitable for ULA. Those Atlas V Kuiper launches appear to have been intended to make up for Vulcan delays and we do not know the price. It could be anything. For example, ULA may have agreed to charge the same cost/satellite for those Atlas V launches as they agreed to for the Vulcan launches. On the other hand, Amazon may be getting desperate, but if so, they may use more F9 instead of more Atlas V.

Offline clongton

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1238 on: 05/07/2024 07:42 pm »
Some observations of today's launch attempt.
1. All the paper made it look old school. I'm not saying that won't work, and at least no one pulled out a line printer listing.
2. The crew didn't know what to do immediately when the scrub happened; they asked if they needed to do this or that as if they didn't know what step they were on or where to go in all that paper. I don't know if that is bad or okay.

Highlight mine.
1 & 2. The major advantage to the approach SpaceX took of putting **EVERYTHING** online and available on the touchscreens. "Scrub? Go to Section 6 Event 3". Everything is instantly available. There, every step that needs to happen is clearly spelled out. No question about what to do. All previous spacecraft had paper manuals in several volumes that the crew had to pull out, search for the correct section, and only then could they address the situation. An example of what I meant by the tried and true mold I spoke of above. It works but -- this is what you get when seconds count - trying to find the correct manual and section. If it had been an actual emergency - well, seconds count. If the impression you got is accurate, this is perhaps the most troubling.

At the very least the extremely important possible events on Starliner should be reflected on a couple of tablets that supplement the paper manuals that are kept right with the command crew for instant guidance.
« Last Edit: 05/07/2024 07:47 pm by clongton »
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Offline Athelstane

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Re: Boeing's Starliner (CST-100) - Discussion Thread 6
« Reply #1239 on: 05/07/2024 08:00 pm »
Eric Berger does a deeper dive today (May 6) on why Boeing stumbled so badly with Starliner's development. "The surprise is not that Boeing lost to a more nimble competitor in the commercial space race. The surprise is that this lumbering company made it at all. For that, we should celebrate Starliner’s impending launch and the thousands of engineers and technicians who made it happen."

https://arstechnica.com/space/2024/05/the-surprise-is-not-that-boeing-lost-commercial-crew-but-that-it-finished-at-all/
I think Berger's analysis and reportage is needed and is useful, but I wish he had waited until after CFT completes. The Boeing technical team needs a chance to celebrate, so let's not rain on their parade.

Boeing's management and executive teams richly deserve to be chastised, but waiting another two weeks would have been better, and the rest of us can then comment freely. After that, maybe NASA and Boeing can find a way to cancel Starliner.

For the record, and for what it's worth, Chris Combs made the same criticism yesterday, only in an even more pointed way. (It's a multi-tweet barrage: click to read it all.)

Berger has not replied, but Elon Musk did. ("The world doesn’t need another capsule. What matters is fully reusable rockets and spacecraft.") And then they were off to the races.

I don't want bog down the thread with expansion of a Twitter brawl, but I think it's striking to see how an exchange like this ends up being less about Starliner than it is certain important figures riding their personal hobby horses: trains passing in the night, if I may really mash up my incompatible metaphors.

But to get back to your point...Chris is not wrong that Eric Berger has certain prejudices in how he covers the industry, but I also do not think that he, or any other space journalist, has any obligation to bury negative news or critique for the benefit of someone's news cycle. Even NASA's.


https://twitter.com/DrChrisCombs/status/1787547104161701939
« Last Edit: 05/07/2024 08:02 pm by Athelstane »

 

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