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Commercial and US Government Launch Vehicles => Commercial Crew Vehicles General => Topic started by: gongora on 09/30/2019 11:28 pm

Title: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 09/30/2019 11:28 pm
New thread for discussion of the Commercial Crew vehicles.

Thread 1:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35717.0

Thread 2:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=47915.0

Resources:

Commercial Crew News:
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/tag/dragon+2/
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/tag/starliner/

L2 SpaceX - Covering Dragon:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=60.0

L2 Commercial Crew and Cargo - Covering Starliner:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?board=54.0


Discussion thread, but remember to be civil, respectful and on topic.  It may be hard, but please try to make your points without denigrating the Commercial Crew providers, NASA, or anyone else really.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 09/30/2019 11:32 pm
[CNN] Elon Musk: Crew Dragon spacecraft for NASA could fly astronauts in 3 to 4 months (https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/30/tech/elon-musk-spacex-crew-dragon-nasa-timeline/index.html)
Quote
Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator, said in an interview on Monday that he is not confident in that timeline. The space agency will likely have to purchase more seats aboard Russian-made spacecraft in 2020, he said ...
Bridenstine referred to Crew Dragon's explosion as a "catastrophic failure," and said one of the reasons he's skeptical of the idea that Crew Dragon will be ready in the near future is because the updated emergency abort system "has not been qualified" and has not been tested.
...
Bridentine said Boeing is experiencing "similar challenges" with testing the spacecraft and he expects its first flight is "months away."
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 09/30/2019 11:33 pm
Please try to keep discussion civil.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: butters on 10/01/2019 12:11 am
Boeing, Lockheed, and SpaceX are some of the best aerospace companies in the world, and all three are years behind schedule on contracts to develop crew capsules under the oversight of NASA. This is a systemic problem with NASA procurement, and for NASA to complain that all of their contractors are dropping the ball demonstrates a lack of accountability for NASA's role in managing these programs. This isn't about SpaceX or Boeing or Lockheed being a bad apple. They're all rotting on the same tree, maybe it has some kind of disease.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Draggendrop on 10/01/2019 12:14 am
After reading the article above...
https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/30/tech/elon-musk-spacex-crew-dragon-nasa-timeline/index.html (https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/30/tech/elon-musk-spacex-crew-dragon-nasa-timeline/index.html)

The last paragraph was of interest...

//The space agency in July said dates for Boeing's first missions were "under review." A NASA spokesperson said the schedule will not be officially updated until NASA installs a new associate administrator for human spaceflight. Bill Gerstenmaier held that role for more than a decade before he was demoted two months ago.
Bridenstine said NASA has candidates in mind and will bring on an associate administrator "the coming weeks or months."//

I hope the position is filled quickly though I imagine the legwork will be completed as per normal to help reduce any further chance of delay..
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: b0objunior on 10/01/2019 12:53 am
Boeing, Lockheed, and SpaceX are some of the best aerospace companies in the world, and all three are years behind schedule on contracts to develop crew capsules under the oversight of NASA. This is a systemic problem with NASA procurement, and for NASA to complain that all of their contractors are dropping the ball demonstrates a lack of accountability for NASA's role in managing these programs. This isn't about SpaceX or Boeing or Lockheed being a bad apple. They're all rotting on the same tree, maybe it has some kind of disease.
Or is it the fact that aerospace companies seem to always underdeliver on time? It's a big problem in many fields of engineering.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 10/01/2019 02:49 am
Or is it the fact that aerospace companies seem to always underdeliver on time? It's a big problem in many fields of engineering.

This is an emotional problem with buyers. Buyers want to pay the minimum amount of money and get it as soon as possible. When bargaining one side has to bid low where as the other has to bid high. By bidding low the seller puts the buyer in a weak position. To get an accurate price a tough buyer has to counter bid a higher price. Few are that tough.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DigitalMan on 10/01/2019 03:00 am
The other problem with sticking to schedule is, normally, it can only be done if the requirements are clear and are not modified during the process.  So far we haven't heard anything from Boeing on this, but it will be something worth looking for from all parties in upcoming congressional testimony.

Also, there are things like this:
https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2019/09/17/commercial-crew-program-testing-fosters-improvements-in-parachute-safety/

Where NASA also did not understand the behavior and work was required to learn how to model and understand what they are calling the 'asymmetry factor'. It simply isn't possible to require that unknowns be solvable in a fixed time, therefore schedule will be impacted by these kind of things.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Bananas_on_Mars on 10/01/2019 05:06 pm
1 hour long interview with Benji Reed about Crew Dragon, by NASA Podcast "Houston we have a Podcast" (https://www.nasa.gov/johnson/HWHAP/the-spacex-dragon)

Released on september 27th, but the interview took place on August 20th.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: PM3 on 10/01/2019 11:45 pm
Bridenstine is more and more getting into SpaceX bashing.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/10/elon-musk-jim-bridenstine-starship-commercial-crew/599218/

Quote
They have redesigned their launch-abort system, and with that redesign, [the system] has to be qualified. We are lucky that the explosion happened … during a test. If that wouldn’t have happened, we would be taking a lot more risk that we would not be aware of right now. But now that we have a new design, it needs to be tested; it needs to be qualified.

And that’s not the hardest problem. The hardest problem is the parachutes. We do not have the margin of safety [that NASA requires] in the parachutes, and that’s going to take probably more time to resolve than the launch-abort system.

Sure, he is right about the technical issues and understandibly frustated, because he had publicly promised that "American astronauts will launch from American soil" in 2019, based on what Boeing and SpaceX told him. But this reaction - exposing and spilling pessimism over your business partner - this is unwise; it will not improve anything. This could have been said differently, expressing confidence in SpaceX's capabilities instead of sowing doubt.

This new tone came up in the exact moment when Starship materialzied in Boca Chica. Which is going to disrupt not only the launch business like Falcon 9, but also NASA's human spaceflight business. NASA getting nervous about that?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: HeartofGold2030 on 10/01/2019 11:58 pm
Bridenstine is more and more getting into SpaceX bashing.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/10/elon-musk-jim-bridenstine-starship-commercial-crew/599218/

Quote
They have redesigned their launch-abort system, and with that redesign, [the system] has to be qualified. We are lucky that the explosion happened … during a test. If that wouldn’t have happened, we would be taking a lot more risk that we would not be aware of right now. But now that we have a new design, it needs to be tested; it needs to be qualified.

And that’s not the hardest problem. The hardest problem is the parachutes. We do not have the margin of safety [that NASA requires] in the parachutes, and that’s going to take probably more time to resolve than the launch-abort system.

Sure, he is right about the technical issues and understandibly frustated, because he had publicly promised that "American astronauts will launch from American soil" in 2019, based on what Boeing and SpaceX told him. But this reaction - exposing and spilling pessimism over your business partner - this is unwise; it will not improve anything. This could have been said differently, expressing confidence in SpaceX's capabilities instead of sowing doubt.

This new tone came up in the exact moment when Starship materialzied in Boca Chica. Which is going to disrupt not only the launch business like Falcon 9, but also NASA's human spaceflight business. NASA getting nervous about that?

This tone isn’t new, Bridenstine is just generally pessimistic about commercial crew in interviews from my experience. For example, this isn’t actually the first time he’s poured cold water on one of SpaceX’s aspirational schedules for CC in an interview.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jadebenn on 10/02/2019 12:08 am
My read of it always was and continues to be that Bridenstine is pressuring everyone who's fallen behind. There was the EM-1 alternative launcher study when SLS looked likely to slip to 2021 (and still looks likely to, albeit for different reasons), for example. He's only quieted down now that the SLS program has basically retaken all of the margin that's actually possible for them to (which, unfortunately, isn't that much).

The CNN article contains a statement along the lines that NASA may have to buy more Soyuz seats due to the delays. This would be politically embarrassing to both him and NASA, and I think that's where this his negativity is coming from.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: watermod on 10/02/2019 03:49 am
Bridenstine should consider that SpaceX has been to ISS with Dragon 2.
The explosion would be a reuse problem after a trip through salt water upon landing.
If he wants to buy ... he could buy new each time he thinks of Soyuz and have no worries with a new SpaceX Dragon 2. 
There is no reuse if it is new each time.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 10/02/2019 03:54 am
The Crew Dragon anomaly didn't have anything to do with salt water.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: su27k on 10/02/2019 04:56 am
I gotta imagine they hoped they would make money off of the launches, but it still seems likely that most of those will go to Boeing, and every delay just pushes us closer to the end of the line for Station anyways.

That's incorrect, SpaceX and Boeing each got 6 launches, that's already on contract.

Quote
The best option might be to just buy a failing coal mine somewhere then spin it off into a new company along with the CCDEV assets and any other toxic assets you want to get rid of and let it quietly go bankrupt a year later.

Except the asset worths much more than Commercial Crew, they're also using Dragon 2 in Commercial Cargo, plus they may use it to bid other NASA contracts.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ulm_atms on 10/02/2019 08:05 pm
Bridenstine is more and more getting into SpaceX bashing.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/10/elon-musk-jim-bridenstine-starship-commercial-crew/599218/

Quote
They have redesigned their launch-abort system, and with that redesign, [the system] has to be qualified. We are lucky that the explosion happened … during a test. If that wouldn’t have happened, we would be taking a lot more risk that we would not be aware of right now. But now that we have a new design, it needs to be tested; it needs to be qualified.

And that’s not the hardest problem. The hardest problem is the parachutes. We do not have the margin of safety [that NASA requires] in the parachutes, and that’s going to take probably more time to resolve than the launch-abort system.

Sure, he is right about the technical issues and understandibly frustated, because he had publicly promised that "American astronauts will launch from American soil" in 2019, based on what Boeing and SpaceX told him. But this reaction - exposing and spilling pessimism over your business partner - this is unwise; it will not improve anything. This could have been said differently, expressing confidence in SpaceX's capabilities instead of sowing doubt.

This new tone came up in the exact moment when Starship materialzied in Boca Chica. Which is going to disrupt not only the launch business like Falcon 9, but also NASA's human spaceflight business. NASA getting nervous about that?

No, but the powers to be that use NASA for there own agendas are...and Jim has to keep them happy to a point.  God...isn't politics fun!  :(
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Comga on 10/02/2019 08:17 pm
Bridenstine should consider that SpaceX has been to ISS with Dragon 2.
The explosion would be a reuse problem after a trip through salt water upon landing.
If he wants to buy ... he could buy new each time he thinks of Soyuz and have no worries with a new SpaceX Dragon 2. 
There is no reuse if it is new each time.

The Crew Dragon anomaly didn't have anything to do with salt water.

watermod is indeed incorrect in asserting that it was the salt water immersion, but wasn't it an issue with reuse, the pressurizing of the SuperDracos in a system where the Dracos had been fired? 
This would not be the case for a launch abort on a new Dragon.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: theinternetftw on 10/02/2019 09:26 pm
wasn't it an issue with reuse, the pressurizing of the SuperDracos in a system where the Dracos had been fired?

I don't think this was the case either.  Didn't the incursion occur during fueling?  From the anomaly update... (https://www.spacex.com/news/2019/07/15/update-flight-abort-static-fire-anomaly-investigation)

Quote
Evidence shows that a leaking component allowed liquid oxidizer – nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) – to enter high-pressure helium tubes during ground processing. A slug of this NTO was driven through a helium check valve at high speed during rapid initialization of the launch escape system, resulting in structural failure within the check valve. The failure of the titanium component in a high-pressure NTO environment was sufficient to cause ignition of the check valve and led to an explosion.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: su27k on 10/03/2019 06:25 am
And just to correct a misconception I saw somewhere else on this forum: Commercial Crew in its current phase is NOT a public private partnership.

As originally envisioned by Obama administration, Commercial Crew will use exclusively COTS-like Space Act Agreements (SAA), which is an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) granted to NASA that runs outside Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). To quote the original FY11 budget request:

Quote
The Commercial Crew Program will provide $6 billion over the next five years to support the development of commercial crew transportation providers to whom NASA could competitively award a crew transportation services contract analogous to the Cargo Resupply Services contract for ISS.

These funds will be competed through COTS-like, fixed-price, milestone-based Space Act Agreements that
support the development, testing, and demonstration of multiple commercial crew systems. As with the COTS cargo program, some amount of private investment capital will be included as part of any Space Act Agreement and NASA will use this funding to support a range of higher- and lower-programmatic risk systems.

But this is not what we end up with. First of all, there is no $6B over 5 years, the actually funding over the 1st 5 years is merely $2.7B as can be seen here (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=47915.msg1998444#msg1998444), but more importantly NASA and Congress changed the last and current phase of Commercial Crew - CCtCAP - to FAR instead of SAA, as can be seen from this GAO document (https://www.gao.gov/assets/690/689448.pdf):

Quote
NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is a multi-phased effort that began in 2010. Across the five phases, NASA has engaged several companies using both agreements and contract vehicles to develop and demonstrate crew transportation capabilities. As the program has passed through these phases, NASA has generally narrowed down the number of participants. The early phases of the program were under Space Act agreements, which is NASA’s other transaction authority.6 These types of agreements are generally not subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and allow the government and its contractors greater flexibility in many areas. Under these Space Act agreements, NASA relied on the commercial companies to propose specifics related to their crew transportation systems, including their design, the capabilities they would provide, and the level of private investment. In these phases, NASA provided technical support and determined if the contractors met certain technical milestones. In most cases, NASA also provided funding.

For the final two phases of the program, NASA awarded FAR-based contracts. By using FAR-based contracts, NASA gained the ability to levy specific requirements on the contractors and procure missions to the ISS, while continuing to provide technical expertise and funding to the contractors. Under these contracts, NASA will also evaluate whether contractors have met its requirements and certify their final systems for use.

So stop using Commercial Crew as an example of how public private partnership is performing for HSF, because it is not a public private partnership, instead it is a traditional FAR contract.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: edzieba on 10/03/2019 01:48 pm
Bridenstine should consider that SpaceX has been to ISS with Dragon 2.
The explosion would be a reuse problem after a trip through salt water upon landing.
If he wants to buy ... he could buy new each time he thinks of Soyuz and have no worries with a new SpaceX Dragon 2. 
There is no reuse if it is new each time.

The Crew Dragon anomaly didn't have anything to do with salt water.

watermod is indeed incorrect in asserting that it was the salt water immersion, but wasn't it an issue with reuse, the pressurizing of the SuperDracos in a system where the Dracos had been fired? 
This would not be the case for a launch abort on a new Dragon.
To summarise publicly confirmed information on the anomaly:
- An unnamed component leaked NTO into the Helium lines
- This leak occurred during ground processing
- During pressurisation immediately prior to SuperDraco firing this NTO slug was driven into a check valve
- The check valve structurally failed, and Titanium components in it ignited

What has not yet been publicly confirmed:
- What component was the source of the NTO leakthrough
- What action during ground processing resulted in the leakthrough
- What cause the component to leakthrough (e.g. part failure, part not built to spec, spec insufficient, handling/process failure, etc)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 10/03/2019 02:15 pm
What has not yet been publicly confirmed:
- What component was the source of the NTO leakthrough

I thought that was confirmed to be the check valve
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: edzieba on 10/03/2019 02:44 pm
No. The press release was very carefully worded to separate the component that leaked (unnamed) and the component that fractured and ignited (the check valve).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Paul Moir on 10/03/2019 03:29 pm
No. The press release was very carefully worded to separate the component that leaked (unnamed) and the component that fractured and ignited (the check valve).

I agree, it is carefully worded.  However I think the idea was planted by Hans Koenigsmann in a follow up question during the July 15th press briefing:
Quote
“If you have a propellant tank, and you fill that tank, and you do have a check valve, it’s conceivable that the check valve leaks backwards … and you push propellant into the pressurization system,” Koenigsmann said. “The amount might be a cup or something like that, or more than a cup, it depends on how the system is being built up. And then it’s there for a while after loading, and when you pressurize you basically open the valves really, really fast.”
.
https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/07/15/spacex-points-to-leaky-valve-as-culprit-in-crew-dragon-test-accident/

Since he is speaking hypothetically it isn't conclusively the check valve.  Perhaps this points to them never really being certain which component leaked.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ajmarco on 10/03/2019 04:26 pm
If you listen to the NASA Podcast with Benji Reed, he gives an explanation of what happened during the test and what they are doing to fix it.

Basically if I remember correctly it was that certain conditions occurred they allowed a small amount of liquid behind the valve where is shouldn't be. That liquid turned into a slug, that when the system was being pressurized prior to ignition that caused the slug to break through the valve and then rupture another component causing the explosion.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 10/04/2019 07:06 pm
In response to a question during a press conference for upcoming EVA series, Kirk Shireman mentioned that one reason the Boeing CFT mission had its duration extended but the SpaceX DM-2 mission didn't is that the vehicle SpaceX was going to fly for DM-2 had technical limitations.  He didn't go into detail but the DM-1 vehicle had limitations relating to thermal conditions, maybe the original DM-2 capsule did too.  Now that the capsule originally planned to fly DM-2 is going to be used for IFA instead, with a different capsule (originally planned for the first post certification mission) flying on DM-2, it could be possible to extend the duration of DM-2 if needed, but they don't currently have an agreement with SpaceX to do so.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 10/08/2019 02:37 pm
https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1181572161917607948

Quote
Source says "full panic has ensued" as NASA realizes commercial crew may not be ready in first half of 2020; and Gerstenmeier is no longer around to help the companies along, or negotiate with Russians for more Soyuz seats. Focus on Artemis may put ISS program in real danger.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Cheapchips on 10/08/2019 02:53 pm
Musk's reply to Mr Berger:


https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1181579173388673025


Quote
For what it’s worth, the SpaceX schedule, which I’ve just reviewed in depth, shows Falcon & Dragon at the Cape & all testing done in ~10 weeks Elon Musk (@elonmusk)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jadebenn on 10/08/2019 04:54 pm
https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1181572161917607948

Quote
Source says "full panic has ensued" as NASA realizes commercial crew may not be ready in first half of 2020; and Gerstenmeier is no longer around to help the companies along, or negotiate with Russians for more Soyuz seats. Focus on Artemis may put ISS program in real danger.
I like how he implies Artemis is somehow related to SpaceX's CCrew delays. That seems like blatant scapegoating to me.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 10/08/2019 05:01 pm
I think the point Eric is trying to make is that Gerstenmeier‘s departure was related to wanting to hasten progress on Artemis, but that it may be having a negative impact on getting CC over the line. Especially as at this stage of the CC program NASA has a lot of work on analysis, reviews, making judgements about acceptable risk etc.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jadebenn on 10/08/2019 05:06 pm
I think the point Eric is trying to make is that Gerstenmeier‘s departure was related to wanting to hasten progress on Artemis, but that it may be having a negative impact on getting CC over the line. Especially as at this stage of the CC program NASA has a lot of work on analysis, reviews, making judgements about acceptable risk etc.
That's a more reasonable interpretation than what I thought he was saying.

Still, is there actually any evidence that Gerst's unfilled position is actually the problem here? Especially since Bridenstine claims the issues holding SpaceX up are the abort and parachute systems.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 10/08/2019 07:17 pm
I think the point Eric is trying to make is that Gerstenmeier‘s departure was related to wanting to hasten progress on Artemis, but that it may be having a negative impact on getting CC over the line. Especially as at this stage of the CC program NASA has a lot of work on analysis, reviews, making judgements about acceptable risk etc.
That's a more reasonable interpretation than what I thought he was saying.

Still, is there actually any evidence that Gerst's unfilled position is actually the problem here? Especially since Bridenstine claims the issues holding SpaceX up are the abort and parachute systems.

Gerst would have had to sign off on those issues, no?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: harrystranger on 10/12/2019 01:01 am
I haven't seen this posted anywhere yet, so I hope this is the right place  :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU_vOt3wSDg&t=309s
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 10/24/2019 03:55 pm
twitter.com/stephenclark1/status/1187389343138226176

Quote
In an interview a few minutes ago, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine says they are “definitely” buying more Soyuz seats from Russia as a hedge against more commercial crew delays. Negotiations underway.

https://twitter.com/stephenclark1/status/1187395277902303234

Quote
In a press conference at IAC, Bridenstine now says it’s “highly likely” NASA will need to buy more Soyuz seats from Roscosmos.

I’ve previously seen it claimed that the lead time on building additional Soyuz is too great, but maybe there are spare seats available?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: GWR64 on 10/31/2019 09:01 am
https://ria.ru/20191031/1560432296.html

Google translate:
Quote
NASA requested Roscosmos space on Soyuz spacecraft in 2020 and 2021
12:41 10.31.2019 (updated: 12:50 10/31/2019)

MOSCOW, October 31 - RIA News. The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration requested Roscosmos extra seats on Russian Soyuz spaceships for American astronauts, state corporation CEO Dmitry Rogozin told reporters.

"I received a warm-looking and informative letter from Brydenstein (NASA head. - Ed.), In which he refers to a certain situation related to the delay of the spacecraft for the delivery of American crews to the ISS. The American side may require additional places in 2020-2021. We proceed from the principles of partnership and will decide how to satisfy these requests, "Rogozin said.
Following NASA’s request, Roscosmos decided to allocate money for the construction of two additional Soyuz spacecraft, the department head added.

The last place acquired by the Americans is on the Soyuz MS-16 ship, which will start in the spring of 2020. It will ensure that at least one astronaut stays at the station until next fall.
In the future, the United States planned to deliver the ISS crew on new Dragon and Starliner ships, the launches of which were repeatedly postponed.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: cebri on 10/31/2019 04:23 pm
After watching the CEO of Boeing testifying in front of both houses. I kind of feel glad NASA has such tight control over both Dragon and Starliner, even tho I've criticized it in the past. I'm sure Boeing engineers are great, but the company's internal culture seems to be totally broken. A lot of what I'm hearing and reading, IMO resembles a lot to the problems NASA had during the Challenger days.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: SWGlassPit on 11/01/2019 03:39 pm
After watching the CEO of Boeing testifying in front of both houses. I kind of feel glad NASA has such tight control over both Dragon and Starliner, even tho I've criticized it in the past. I'm sure Boeing engineers are great, but the company's internal culture seems to be totally broken. A lot of what I'm hearing and reading, IMO resembles a lot to the problems NASA had during the Challenger days.

There's a pretty big wall in many ways between commercial airplanes and defense/space.  It would be a mistake to assume the culture is uniform across a 180,000 person company.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: cebri on 11/01/2019 08:06 pm
After watching the CEO of Boeing testifying in front of both houses. I kind of feel glad NASA has such tight control over both Dragon and Starliner, even tho I've criticized it in the past. I'm sure Boeing engineers are great, but the company's internal culture seems to be totally broken. A lot of what I'm hearing and reading, IMO resembles a lot to the problems NASA had during the Challenger days.

There's a pretty big wall in many ways between commercial airplanes and defense/space.  It would be a mistake to assume the culture is uniform across a 180,000 person company.

But the CEO and upper management are the same for both divisions. If they decided it was OK to make a plane full of compromises just to start producing maxs as soon as possible to compete with Airbus, one can only wonder if they made similar decisions in other programs.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: thirtyone on 11/03/2019 11:00 am
After watching the CEO of Boeing testifying in front of both houses. I kind of feel glad NASA has such tight control over both Dragon and Starliner, even tho I've criticized it in the past. I'm sure Boeing engineers are great, but the company's internal culture seems to be totally broken. A lot of what I'm hearing and reading, IMO resembles a lot to the problems NASA had during the Challenger days.

There's a pretty big wall in many ways between commercial airplanes and defense/space.  It would be a mistake to assume the culture is uniform across a 180,000 person company.

Not always true. In many companies culture across divisions often reflects top management. I've heard quite a few things across several defense/space projects which I probably can't say, but just looking at a few recent public examples outside of commercial aircraft - like FOD on new military tanker aircraft (https://www.govexec.com/defense/2019/06/boeing-tankers-still-have-debris-fix-months-maybe-longer-away/157800/), I personally really feel there are some company-wide cultural problems.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/04/2019 09:48 am
MCAS, outsourcing to India and 737 MAX are all very much OFF TOPIC for this thread.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/14/2019 06:21 pm
From OIG CC report:

https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1195056537280143360

Quote
Whoah. Boeing got paid an additional $287.2 million above its fixed price contract to address its schedule slippage.

https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1195057843533205506

Quote
Damn. "Given that NASA’s objective was to address a potential crew transportation gap, we found that SpaceX was not provided an opportunity to propose a solution even though the company previously offered shorter production lead times than Boeing."
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/14/2019 06:25 pm
https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1195058561203736585

Quote
First time I've seen seat prices explicitly stated in a government document. Boeing costs 60% more than SpaceX.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/14/2019 06:34 pm
Here’s the OIG report.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/14/2019 06:37 pm
Will no doubt reignite the whole new vs old space debate ...

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1195059816844189697

Quote
From the report on the rationale for paying Boeing the extra money, one that NASA’s inspector general didn’t agree with:
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: rockets4life97 on 11/14/2019 06:49 pm
Can SpaceX sue over this? Seems unfair...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/14/2019 06:54 pm
https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1195065780418822144

Quote
SpaceX statement on today's OIG report:

"There is nothing more important to our company than human spaceflight, and we look forward to safely flying NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station starting early next year.”

twitter.com/tgmetsfan98/status/1195065956667711489

Quote
"NASA continues to accept deferrals or changes to components and capabilities originally planned to be demonstrated on each contractor’s uncrewed test flights. Taken together, these factors may elevate the risk of a significant system failure."

https://twitter.com/tgmetsfan98/status/1195066060216717312

Quote
"NASA will likely experience a reduction in the number of USOS crew aboard the ISS from three to one beginning in spring 2020 given schedule delays in the development of Boeing and SpaceX space flight systems coupled with a reduction in the frequency of Soyuz flights."
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/14/2019 08:02 pm
Will no doubt reignite the whole new vs old space debate ...

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1195059816844189697 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1195059816844189697)


Yes, it will do exactly that.

Crazy this. Boeing already is 55 percent more expensive than SpaceX for a similar service yet they had the nerve to threaten their customer to leave the stage if NASA didn’t come up with extra money.
Does Boeing even understand the concept of Firm Fixed Price? Apparently not...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/14/2019 08:03 pm
https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1195083288752402432

Quote
NASA letter in response to the latest OIG Commercial Crew report:

"NASA strongly disagrees with the OIG's characterization that NASA 'overpaid'" when granting Boeing $287.2 million in additional awards.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/14/2019 08:07 pm
https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1195083288752402432

Quote
NASA letter in response to the latest OIG Commercial Crew report:

"NASA strongly disagrees with the OIG's characterization that NASA 'overpaid'" when granting Boeing $287.2 million in additional awards.
Naturally NASA disagrees with the OIG. If they would admit that OIG might have a point NASA would be shooting itself in the foot.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/14/2019 08:10 pm
NASA disagrees less with OIG’s view on when CC will be certified?

https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1195084489443225614

Quote
NASA's acting director of human spaceflight Kenneth Bowersox on Nov. 8:

NASA sent a letter to Roscosmos on Oct. 24 "requesting one seat on the fall 2020 Soyuz and one seat on the spring 2021 Soyuz."

Edit to add:

https://twitter.com/nasawatch/status/1195084649552338945

Quote
This is NASA's response to the OIG commercial crew report. Let's just say they do not agree. There will inevitably be hearings about this. 1/2

https://twitter.com/nasawatch/status/1195084680288251904

Quote
2/2
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 11/14/2019 08:11 pm
Hooo boy:
Quote
"NASA strongly disagrees with the OIG's characterization that NASA 'overpaid'" when granting Boeing $287.2 million in additional awards... "there is no evidence to support the conclusion that Boeing would have agreed to lower prices."
Apparently NASA's concept of "overpay" is "more than the contractor insists on being paid"?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: punder on 11/14/2019 08:20 pm
Didn't see this posted. Here is Eric Berger's article.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/nasa-report-finds-boeing-seat-prices-are-60-higher-than-spacex/
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 11/14/2019 08:39 pm
Here’s the OIG report.
Looking at the report, and summarizing the Boeing-centric points:
NASA overpaid Boeing to prepare for multiple crewed missions
- NASA Paid Boeing More for Mission Flexibilities
- NASA’s Assumptions for a Gap in Flights were Flawed
- Boeing Was Already Required to Provide Up to Two Flights per Year
- NASA Failed to Exercise Multiple Alternatives to Achieve Mission Flexibility within Established Pricing Structure
- Ordering Four Missions at Once was an Excessive and Unnecessarily Costly Response to Perceived Access Gap
- Early Milestone Payments Negated Value of Shortened Lead Time
- Excluding SpaceX Limited NASA’s Options to Address Access Gap

Each item has a paragraph going into more detail, but I think the headers as summary work pretty well.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Eric Hedman on 11/14/2019 09:01 pm
Didn't see this posted. Here is Eric Berger's article.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/nasa-report-finds-boeing-seat-prices-are-60-higher-than-spacex/
Does this mean that if Boeing's proposal for their lunar lander is 60 percent more expensive than Blue Origin's proposal that it will be considered a positive in the right congressional districts and they'll win?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Hog on 11/14/2019 09:05 pm
It'd be nice to have an STS-136 and STS-137 available.


rocket4life1997  What's FAIR and LEGAL are two completely different things.  Who would SPacex sue?  Use it as ammo for future contracts? Absolutely.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: theonlyspace on 11/14/2019 09:14 pm
I wonder what was the cost per seat for the last Space Shuttle flights?  Mutiply 90 million per seat  $$ times crew of 7 would been 630 million $$per flight . Will the commercial crew flights  be that much cheaper than Space Shuttle considering also we lost almost 10 years of our own ability to launch astronauts plus the ability to launch massive payloads also???
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Ike17055 on 11/14/2019 09:28 pm
Inspector General reports should always be examined seriously, however this is all bound to spark yet another round of ridiculousness in posts by folks who are more obsessed with their favorite rocket, than who understand the goal is to start a commercial crew flight capability, and to transition us through the old model to whatever the new model will look like.

Boeing was understandably seen during the onset of this process as the "reliable and proven" provider who could be assured of getting a vehicle up and running based on its experience. AT the same time, NASA was supporting this "new space" company that many saw as a virtual startup (or upstart) helmed by an unorthodox (some would say unpredictable, or even erratic) billionaire.  They wanted  a safe option, and paid for it accordingly even though it was steeped in the old model of launch economics.  SO it is not a fair comparison in the context of the time that decisions were undertaken.

Today, SpaceX has established itself as a viable provider that is not a fly-by-night operation or a passing whim of its founder.  Is Boeing more costly? Yes. They knew that. they budgeted accordingly. But part of this expense being outlined here now also appears to be that we are not comparing the spacecraft as much as we are the launch vehicle.  ULA is a traditional provider that is seeking to remain relevant, but Atlas V was an existing, old school workhorse, chosen predominantly due to reliability.  It is a retrofit, not an organic development like Falcon/Dragon.  NASA paid for what is thought was the safer option, predominantly to hedge its bets. Boeing in all fairness is also flying on Atlas V as a "test configuration," in that, unlike SpaceX, it is not a native launcher and required the integration (including man rating of the existing booster that was not a crew-ready launcher) with a new spacecraft.

SpaceX designed both Dragon and Falcon for eventually carrying crew from the beginning, and these contracts were let when Falcon was largely an existing, man-ready integrated system. Boeing had extra work to do  in finding and adapting a launcher.  Will Vulcan be its next launcher? Not determined yet. It may be more of a natural fit with Starliner (and be a more fair comparison)because Boeing was a potential customer for Vulcan from the start of its development. 

Also, nothing is preventing Boeing from ending up with Falcon as its launcher after the "test" phase is complete.  They have publicly stated they will be looking at a post-Atlas environment eventually as well , and designed Starliner to be launcher agnostic.  This comparison being alluded to in all this hubbub is too narrow in focus, and is really a somewhat predictable product of the conditions of the time.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mandrewa on 11/14/2019 09:38 pm
I wonder what was the cost per seat for the last Space Shuttle flights?  Mutiply 90 million per seat  $$ times crew of 7 would been 630 million $$per flight . Will the commercial crew flights  be that much cheaper than Space Shuttle considering also we lost almost 10 years of our own ability to launch astronauts plus the ability to launch massive payloads also???

These prices reflect the development cost.  Thus when SpaceX charges $55 million per seat that is, I suspect, to a significant extent about recovering the money they have spent achieving Commercial Crew.  Once that development has been paid for, and hopefully it will have been paid for by the end of six missions, the price per seat may be significantly lower.  Or to put it another way I suspect that SpaceX has spent more money on commercial crew so far than it has received from NASA.

I suspect the same is true for Boeing.

The Space Shuttle on the other hand was a much more mature program and the cost per seat at the end surely had nothing to do with paying for the original development.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Ken the Bin on 11/14/2019 09:42 pm
Also, nothing is preventing Boeing from ending up with Falcon as its launcher after the "test" phase is complete.

That would leave Commercial Crew with nothing to fly if Falcon is the only then-approved launcher and it is grounded for some reason.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 11/14/2019 09:56 pm
I wonder what was the cost per seat for the last Space Shuttle flights?  Mutiply 90 million per seat  $$ times crew of 7 would been 630 million $$per flight . Will the commercial crew flights  be that much cheaper than Space Shuttle considering also we lost almost 10 years of our own ability to launch astronauts plus the ability to launch massive payloads also???
Not an apples to apples comparison.  Shuttle took up to seven crew, yes, but for a maximum mission duration of only fourteen days.  Commercial Crew capsules are rated for what, six months?  Obviously there are other things that would weigh in the Shuttle's favor instead, but it's a very complex equation that simply multiplying cost by seats does not capture.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Ike17055 on 11/14/2019 09:58 pm

except that Atlas may still be flying, and thus could continue to be available potentially in a backup role, since it will be man rated.

Also, nothing is preventing Boeing from ending up with Falcon as its launcher after the "test" phase is complete.

That would leave Commercial Crew with nothing to fly if Falcon is the only then-approved launcher and it is grounded for some reason.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Negan on 11/14/2019 09:59 pm
Also, nothing is preventing Boeing from ending up with Falcon as its launcher after the "test" phase is complete.

Starship plans makes this a no-go.

“By creating a single system that can service a variety of markets, SpaceX can redirect resources from Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon to Starship—which is fundamental in making the system affordable,” SpaceX says on its website.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 11/14/2019 10:03 pm
Starship, OmegA, New Glenn, and what I ate for lunch today all have one thing in common - they are OFF TOPIC for this thread.  How about we keep it focused on Commercial Crew instead?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/14/2019 10:20 pm
The OIG report clearly hit a nerve on the Boeing PCM additional money:

https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1195112566609068032

Quote
NASA’s comment to me about today’s explosive IG report on the commercial crew program.

I have no idea what really went on within NASA, so not sure who is closer to the truth (although I have some sympathy with NASA’s last point about basing a conclusion solely on unnamed officials).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: brainbit on 11/14/2019 10:39 pm
Today the abort motors where tested on the Dragon2 and appears to of been successful. The report talks about flaps over the super draco motors which is speculated to be to keep out salt water. Only during the abort will these flaps do anything. EM expects to perform the in flight abort in 4-6 weeks, I assume these flaps will come into play then, but this dragon2 wont be used again for crew but only for cargo, does this mean the cargo version of dragon2 will also have the super draco motors? or does it mean SpaceX might be planning to reuse the Dragon2 for none NASA commercial passengers?   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 11/14/2019 10:45 pm
Today the abort motors where tested on the Dragon2 and appears to of been successful. The report talks about flaps over the super draco motors which is speculated to be to keep out salt water. Only during the abort will these flaps do anything. EM expects to perform the in flight abort in 4-6 weeks, I assume these flaps will come into play then, but this dragon2 wont be used again for crew but only for cargo, does this mean the cargo version of dragon2 will also have the super draco motors? or does it mean SpaceX might be planning to reuse the Dragon2 for none NASA commercial passengers?   

The cargo version of Dragon 2 is not a reused crew capsule and it doesn't have SuperDraco engines.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 11/14/2019 10:53 pm
Hard to explain large price difference. LV and expendable service module accounts for some of it, maybe $100m.
Starliner should be cheaper to refurbish than Dragon as it lands on land.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Hog on 11/14/2019 11:44 pm
Today the abort motors where tested on the Dragon2 and appears to of been successful. The report talks about flaps over the super draco motors which is speculated to be to keep out salt water. Only during the abort will these flaps do anything. EM expects to perform the in flight abort in 4-6 weeks, I assume these flaps will come into play then, but this dragon2 wont be used again for crew but only for cargo, does this mean the cargo version of dragon2 will also have the super draco motors? or does it mean SpaceX might be planning to reuse the Dragon2 for none NASA commercial passengers?   

The cargo version of Dragon 2 is not a reused crew capsule and it doesn't have SuperDraco engines.

IOW
Dragon 2 COTS vehicles will NOT be reused Commercial Crew vehicles.

EDIT Wiki needs a rewrites, its still saying  Crew Dragon-2s will be reflown as cargo vehicles.  I'm sure this was ruled out some time ago.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/15/2019 12:14 am
Hard to explain large price difference. LV and expendable service module accounts for some of it, maybe $100m.
Starliner should be cheaper to refurbish than Dragon as it lands on land.

The 60% calculation doesn't count costs prior to CCtCap. For instance, for CCiCap, Boeing was paid $460 million and SpaceX was paid $440 million. This reduces the percentage difference if not the difference in absolute terms. It also doesn't factor in money paid by NASA for the dragon program as a whole which would add $278 million in initial development funds before more milestones were added later bringing the total to $398 million for dragon development under the COTS program (again, not captured in dragon development costs under this calculation). Add all that up, and the difference is ~35%. When looking at the 35% difference, we have to remember that NASA is ordering 3-4 dragon flights per year and only 1 CST-100 flight per year. When these contracts were awarded, SpaceX was an incumbent cargo transporation supplier and could have more reasonable assurance that they could share program costs between both cargo and crew.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 11/15/2019 12:27 am
Hard to explain large price difference. LV and expendable service module accounts for some of it, maybe $100m.
Starliner should be cheaper to refurbish than Dragon as it lands on land.

The 60% calculation doesn't count costs prior to CCtCap. For instance, for CCiCap, Boeing was paid $460 million and SpaceX was paid $440 million. This reduces the percentage difference if not the difference in absolute terms. It also doesn't factor in money paid by NASA for the dragon program as a whole which would add $278 million in initial development funds before more milestones were added later bringing the total to $398 million for dragon development under the COTS program (again, not captured in dragon development costs under this calculation). Add all that up, and the difference is ~35%. When looking at the 35% difference, we have to remember that NASA is ordering 3-4 dragon flights per year and only 1 CST-100 flight per year. When these contracts were awarded, SpaceX was an incumbent cargo transporation supplier and could have more reasonable assurance that they could share program costs between both cargo and crew.

The 60% calculation is per operational flight, after development.  CCiCap and COTS are irrelevant.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: su27k on 11/15/2019 02:55 am
I wonder what was the cost per seat for the last Space Shuttle flights?  Mutiply 90 million per seat  $$ times crew of 7 would been 630 million $$per flight . Will the commercial crew flights  be that much cheaper than Space Shuttle considering also we lost almost 10 years of our own ability to launch astronauts plus the ability to launch massive payloads also???

Shuttle has a huge fixed cost, in the last two years it's about $3B per year (which is $3.5B in today's dollars, the budget for early years is even higher), while Commercial Cargo and Crew together is only $1.8B per year, so Shuttle would be at least twice as expensive as Commercial Cargo and Crew.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/15/2019 02:55 am
I wonder what was the cost per seat for the last Space Shuttle flights?  Mutiply 90 million per seat  $$ times crew of 7 would been 630 million $$per flight . Will the commercial crew flights  be that much cheaper than Space Shuttle considering also we lost almost 10 years of our own ability to launch astronauts plus the ability to launch massive payloads also???

This has always been a super interesting question. It should be noted that the FY 2010 budget request pegs space shuttle costs at $3.157 billion($3.667 billion in 2019 dollars)[1]. The FY2019 budget request pegs "space transportation" costs at $2.109 billion[2]. It should be pointed out that the space shuttle was both supplying and building the international space station at the time.

[1]https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/345225main_FY_2010_UPDATED_final_5-11-09_with_cover.pdf
[2]https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/fy19_nasa_budget_estimates.pdf
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Comga on 11/15/2019 03:00 am
Didn't see this posted. Here is Eric Berger's article.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/nasa-report-finds-boeing-seat-prices-are-60-higher-than-spacex/ (https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/nasa-report-finds-boeing-seat-prices-are-60-higher-than-spacex/)
Whoa
So that’s $280M for 4 flights on top of the $4.2B?
From where does the $90M per seat come?
How does NASA get that price for seats on Dragon?

Is this on top of whatever NASA added to Boeing’s contract to “upgrade”  OFT-1 to a 3 crew long duration mission?
Another question would be how NASA could offer a quarter billion dollar contact to one of two competitors without offering it to the other or going for competition, but that one we can only surmise and be cynical.

Remember that these are not cost plus contracts. They are supposed to be “commercial”, although what that means is incredibly vague. It’s EELV all over again, and Boeing knows how to win that game: threaten to drop out (or watch your competitor threaten) because competition drives down prices and get big subsidies to maintain “redundancy”.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: tater on 11/15/2019 03:03 am
Didn't see this posted. Here is Eric Berger's article.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/nasa-report-finds-boeing-seat-prices-are-60-higher-than-spacex/ (https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/nasa-report-finds-boeing-seat-prices-are-60-higher-than-spacex/)
Whoa
So that’s $280M for 4 flights on top of the $4.2B?
From where does the $90M per seat come?
How does NASA get that price for seats on Dragon?

Is this on top of whatever NASA added to Boeing’s contract to “upgrade”  OFT-1 to a 3 crew long duration mission?
Another question would be how NASA could offer a quarter billion dollar contact to one of two competitors without offering it to the other or going for competition, but that one we can only surmise and be cynical.

Remember that these are not cost plus contracts. They are supposed to be “commercial”, although what that means is incredibly vague. It’s EELV all over again, and Boeing knows how to win that game: threaten to drop out (or watch your competitor threaten) because competition drives down prices and get big subsidies to maintain “redundancy”.

There's a footnote for the per seat numbers that ends up a couple pages earlier. 6 flights times 4 seats for the total seats.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: su27k on 11/15/2019 03:10 am
Didn't see this posted. Here is Eric Berger's article.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/nasa-report-finds-boeing-seat-prices-are-60-higher-than-spacex/ (https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/nasa-report-finds-boeing-seat-prices-are-60-higher-than-spacex/)
From where does the $90M per seat come?
How does NASA get that price for seats on Dragon?

We've known the rough seat price for a while now, see: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35717.msg1921595#msg1921595

Quote
Average mission price for SpaceX: $215M
Average seat price for SpaceX (assuming 4 seats per flight): $53.75M
Average mission price for Boeing: $351M
Average seat price for Boeing (assuming 4 seats per flight): $87.75M
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: b0objunior on 11/15/2019 03:14 am
Didn't see this posted. Here is Eric Berger's article.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/nasa-report-finds-boeing-seat-prices-are-60-higher-than-spacex/ (https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/nasa-report-finds-boeing-seat-prices-are-60-higher-than-spacex/)
From where does the $90M per seat come?
How does NASA get that price for seats on Dragon?

We've known the rough seat price for a while now, see: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35717.msg1921595#msg1921595

Quote
Average mission price for SpaceX: $215M
Average seat price for SpaceX (assuming 4 seats per flight): $53.75M
Average mission price for Boeing: $351M
Average seat price for Boeing (assuming 4 seats per flight): $87.75M
Yeah, that was known for a long time.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Comga on 11/15/2019 03:15 am
Didn't see this posted. Here is Eric Berger's article.
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/nasa-report-finds-boeing-seat-prices-are-60-higher-than-spacex/ (https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11/nasa-report-finds-boeing-seat-prices-are-60-higher-than-spacex/)
From where does the $90M per seat come?
How does NASA get that price for seats on Dragon?

We've known the rough seat price for a while now, see: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35717.msg1921595#msg1921595 (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35717.msg1921595#msg1921595)
Quote
Average mission price for SpaceX: $215M
Average seat price for SpaceX (assuming 4 seats per flight): $53.75M
Average mission price for Boeing: $351M
Average seat price for Boeing (assuming 4 seats per flight): $87.75M

Yeah
I forgot that you posted these numbers early this year.
Thanks
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/15/2019 07:51 am
Also, nothing is preventing Boeing from ending up with Falcon as its launcher after the "test" phase is complete.

That would leave Commercial Crew with nothing to fly if Falcon is the only then-approved launcher and it is grounded for some reason.

Which is exactly why NASA will never allow Starliner to fly on F9. But such a NASA ruling won't be necessary given that Boeing already is working on a back-up vehicle for Atlas. And it's Vulcan.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mlindner on 11/15/2019 07:58 am
This makes me physically sick to my stomach. Is there anything SpaceX could get out of suing NASA over this? How does Boeing manage to extract cost+ money out of a fixed price contract? How is this even moral or even legal?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mlindner on 11/15/2019 08:00 am
Oh and Elon responded.


https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1195143158486765568

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1195143726504370176
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/15/2019 08:03 am
Elon is commenting on Eric's write-up about the OIG report:

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1195143726504370176 (https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1195143726504370176)

Edit: ninja'd by mlindner
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/15/2019 08:06 am
This makes me physically sick to my stomach. Is there anything SpaceX could get out of suing NASA over this? How does Boeing manage to extract cost+ money out of a fixed price contract? How is this even moral or even legal?


Is this moral? IMO no

Is it legal? Yes it is. NASA has the right to modify the contract stipulations and to re-negotiate aspects of said contract.

Also, it's not cost+ money. What basiscally happened is that Boeing and NASA went into negotiations and agreed to modify the total value of the Firm Fixed Price contract for Starliner.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: b0objunior on 11/15/2019 08:08 am
This makes me physically sick to my stomach. Is there anything SpaceX could get out of suing NASA over this? How does Boeing manage to extract cost+ money out of a fixed price contract? How is this even moral or even legal?
Well, they negociated their contract. They even admitted that they could have gotten more out of it if they had done their homework.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mlindner on 11/15/2019 08:11 am
This makes me physically sick to my stomach. Is there anything SpaceX could get out of suing NASA over this? How does Boeing manage to extract cost+ money out of a fixed price contract? How is this even moral or even legal?


Is this moral? IMO no

Is it legal? Yes it is. NASA has the right to modify the contract stipulations and to re-negotiate aspects of said contract.

Also, it's not cost+ money. What basiscally happened is that Boeing and NASA went into negotiations and agreed to modify the total value of the Firm Fixed Price contract for Starliner.

I should have phrased it better, I meant "cost+ style money".

It's turning out more and more that the "Firm" in "Firm Fixed Price" is not very "Firm".
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mlindner on 11/15/2019 08:12 am
Eric's tweet is also pretty good as well:

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/1195059845390635009
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mlindner on 11/15/2019 08:15 am
I didn't see the pdf linked, but here's the whole OIG document. Lots of details in it.

https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-20-005.pdf
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/15/2019 08:18 am
This makes me physically sick to my stomach. Is there anything SpaceX could get out of suing NASA over this? How does Boeing manage to extract cost+ money out of a fixed price contract? How is this even moral or even legal?

You didn't read the report. The commercial crew program freaked out when CRS-7 happened which lead them to evaluate the contingency that only Boeing would be transporting crews to the space station in the near term (Amos 6 a year later didn't help much). This train of thought lead them to the possibility that a 18 month gap would exist under the current contract if Boeing was the only provider. NASA chose to renegotiate the contract terms, reducing contracted lead times and allowing NASA unlimited flexibility for when ordered flights occurred and zero penalties for NASA delays. This effectively allowed them to order CST-100 flights in bulk way ahead of time and Boeing would store and maintain them for flight in a 5+ year time frame up to 2024. The cost of Boeing providing a backup ability for the other provider was a couple hundred million dollars or ~.2% of the cost of the asset they were insuring which NASA considered reasonable under the circumstances of the time.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mlindner on 11/15/2019 08:20 am
This makes me physically sick to my stomach. Is there anything SpaceX could get out of suing NASA over this? How does Boeing manage to extract cost+ money out of a fixed price contract? How is this even moral or even legal?

You didn't read the report. The commercial crew program freaked out when CRS-7 happened which lead them to evaluate the contingency that only Boeing would be transporting crews to the space station in the near term (Amos 6 a year later didn't help much). This train of thought lead them to the possibility that a 18 month gap would exist under the current contract if Boeing was the only provider. NASA chose to renegotiate the contract terms, reducing contracted lead times and allowing NASA unlimited flexibility for when ordered flights occurred and zero penalties for NASA delays. This effectively allowed them to order CST-100 flights in bulk way ahead of time and Boeing would store and maintain them for flight in a 5+ year time frame up to 2024. The cost of Boeing providing a backup ability for the other provider was a couple hundred million dollars or ~.1% cost of the cost asset they were insuring which NASA considered reasonable under the circumstances of the time.

That train of thought was fundamentally faulty though. CRS-7 could have happened no matter the provider. Boeing is no more immune to failures than any other group of human beings. If they are going to pay Boeing to insure against SpaceX's failure then they should have equally paid SpaceX to insure against Boeing's failure.

Further the document gives out strong evidence that Boeing effectively threatened to drop the entire contract if they weren't effectively bribed by NASA to continue.

Quote
According to several NASA officials, a significant consideration for paying Boeing such a premium was to
ensure the contractor continued as a second crew transportation provider. CCP officials cited NASA’s
guidance to maintain two U.S. commercial crew providers to ensure redundancy in crew transportation
as part of the rationale for approving the purchase of all four missions at higher prices. Additionally,
senior CCP officials believed that due to financial considerations, Boeing could not continue as a
commercial crew provider unless the contractor received the higher prices.

This is where SpaceX would have some leverage for a lawsuit, if they decide to take it.

Edit: Some rewordings.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/15/2019 08:48 am
That train of thought was fundamentally faulty though. CRS-7 could have happened no matter the provider. Boeing is no more immune to failures than any other group of human beings. If they are going to pay Boeing to insure against SpaceX's failure then they should have equally paid SpaceX to insure against Boeing's failure.

That would be the highest cost option. But life isn't fair like that. Guess how much CCtCap money Sierra Nevada got? 0. Why? Reasons. Some are debatable like the fact, in William Gersteinmaier's estimation, a space plane would be more difficult to produce and be more likely to be delayed. On the other hands, in reality, parachutes have had their own issues that for all we know are just as troublesome.

Anyways, CCP was right to be more concerned with SpaceX's reliability than Boeing's. Boeing had a partially damaged service module while SpaceX has had triple parachute failures, destroyed capsules and 2 launch failures. If SpaceX wants to be treated the same, they have to be the same.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/15/2019 08:58 am
This makes me physically sick to my stomach. Is there anything SpaceX could get out of suing NASA over this? How does Boeing manage to extract cost+ money out of a fixed price contract? How is this even moral or even legal?

Boeing has better lawyers or more experienced ones

we have a small company that is a federal contractor (flight training) and its all fixed price...but somewhere in the contract is an escalation clause where "for the needs of the government" schedules change and the government can, at its own discretion escalate contractual performance, but they have to pay for it

this is, its looks to me exactly what happened here.  NASA saw a problem, went to Boeing to solve it and Boeing had a solution which was more money. the problem went away but well the escalation had already happened.

the government is under no obligation to go to all the contractors and ask for a solution to their "problems" in our companies case flight training.  it all depends on who you have the relationship with

when it happens it can be fairly lucrative...because even if the escalation happens (ie they send more crews then the contract specified) you have plenty of time to get ready for it...of course if they dont.  well you keep the money

I am not a lawyer but I doubt there is a law suit here
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/15/2019 09:00 am
This makes me physically sick to my stomach. Is there anything SpaceX could get out of suing NASA over this? How does Boeing manage to extract cost+ money out of a fixed price contract? How is this even moral or even legal?

You didn't read the report. The commercial crew program freaked out when CRS-7 happened which lead them to evaluate the contingency that only Boeing would be transporting crews to the space station in the near term (Amos 6 a year later didn't help much). This train of thought lead them to the possibility that a 18 month gap would exist under the current contract if Boeing was the only provider. NASA chose to renegotiate the contract terms, reducing contracted lead times and allowing NASA unlimited flexibility for when ordered flights occurred and zero penalties for NASA delays. This effectively allowed them to order CST-100 flights in bulk way ahead of time and Boeing would store and maintain them for flight in a 5+ year time frame up to 2024. The cost of Boeing providing a backup ability for the other provider was a couple hundred million dollars or ~.2% cost of the cost asset they were insuring which NASA considered reasonable under the circumstances of the time.

exactly.  the old escalator clause...well summarized
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/15/2019 10:49 am
That train of thought was fundamentally faulty though. CRS-7 could have happened no matter the provider. Boeing is no more immune to failures than any other group of human beings. If they are going to pay Boeing to insure against SpaceX's failure then they should have equally paid SpaceX to insure against Boeing's failure.

That would be the highest cost option. But life isn't fair like that. Guess how much CCtCap money Sierra Nevada got? 0. Why? Reasons. Some are debatable like the fact, in William Gersteinmaier's estimation, a space plane would be more difficult to produce and be more likely to be delayed. On the other hands, in reality, parachutes have had their own issues that for all we know are just as troublesome.

Anyways, CCP was right to be more concerned with SpaceX's reliability than Boeing's. Boeing had a partially damaged service module while SpaceX has had triple parachute failures, destroyed capsules and 2 launch failures. If SpaceX wants to be treated the same, they have to be the same.

Multiple errors in your last paragraph:

- Destroyed capsule (singular), not capsules (plural).
- One launch failure (CRS-7), not two (AMOS-6 was not a launch failure because it was destroyed well before launch. CRS-1 was not a launch failure but an engine anomaly).
- Boeing's Starliner hotfire test service module was damaged to the extent that it was written-off. In other words: it was destroyed.
- Oh and uh you forgot to mention that Boeing suffered partial parachute failures as well (as noted in the OIG report). Most recently one during their pad abort test.

CCP supposedly having more confidence in Boeing's reliability than SpaceX's reliability has turned out to be ill-founded given that both contractors have suffered a good number of incidents, as pointed out in reports from OIG, NAC-HEOc and ASAP.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/15/2019 10:51 am
This makes me physically sick to my stomach. Is there anything SpaceX could get out of suing NASA over this? How does Boeing manage to extract cost+ money out of a fixed price contract? How is this even moral or even legal?

Boeing has better lawyers or more experienced ones

we have a small company that is a federal contractor (flight training) and its all fixed price...but somewhere in the contract is an escalation clause where "for the needs of the government" schedules change and the government can, at its own discretion escalate contractual performance, but they have to pay for it

this is, its looks to me exactly what happened here.  NASA saw a problem, went to Boeing to solve it and Boeing had a solution which was more money. the problem went away but well the escalation had already happened.

the government is under no obligation to go to all the contractors and ask for a solution to their "problems" in our companies case flight training.  it all depends on who you have the relationship with

when it happens it can be fairly lucrative...because even if the escalation happens (ie they send more crews then the contract specified) you have plenty of time to get ready for it...of course if they dont.  well you keep the money

I am not a lawyer but I doubt there is a law suit here

I agree. There very likely will not be a lawsuit. But IMO there will a formal complaint about NASA displaying a serious case of ill judgement.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/15/2019 12:33 pm


I agree. There very likely will not be a lawsuit. But IMO there will a formal complaint about NASA displaying a serious case of ill judgement.

this is the start of the blame game...

I guess two things do not surprise me ...

first is that boeing is the favorite child (as we call it).  I come from the federal government (ie career military) and when we started our flight training business...(after I retired) it took me a little bit to learn lessons I guess I should have learned while "in the mother ship".  when contracts are bid, you bid more or less what they want, you get to know the people who are managing the contract, the customer is always right etc.  and until I learned those things.. well we didnt get much federal business.  Boeing works hard at those things...they formulate relationships, etc etc

second...that NASA internal people saw a problem and moved aggressively to fix it.  ISS is the premier national space effort and crewing it is important and crewing it with Americans from American soil is vital. 

at least number 2 stem of course from the root cause which is underperformance of both contractors (and some failure on NASA's part) to get these vehicles flying in a timely manner.

in all respects this has been surprising to me...and displays to me at least a bit of overconfidence, incompentence, and sloth on both parties. 

I dont think either of them until recently have put their A teams on a very important project .  I am a well known critic of NASA...having said that I think it bears little or no blame for this situation other then it did not engage both contractors sooner.  Being a Boeing alumni I am pretty well aghast until recently at the companies performance

having said that...this story is much ado about zero.  SpaceX should be smarter :)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: SWGlassPit on 11/15/2019 02:55 pm

- Boeing's Starliner hotfire test service module was damaged to the extent that it was written-off. In other words: it was destroyed.


I don't know why this one keeps getting repeated.  It does not match with firsthand accounts I've been given.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: edzieba on 11/15/2019 03:28 pm
Anyways, CCP was right to be more concerned with SpaceX's reliability than Boeing's. Boeing had a partially damaged service module while SpaceX has had triple parachute failures, destroyed capsules and 2 launch failures. If SpaceX wants to be treated the same, they have to be the same.
Had an abort system plumbing issue take out a capsule: SpaceX & Boeing
Had multiple issues with parachute failures: SpaceX & Boeing
Had to 'lose' a capsule & service module from flow due to damage and step later ones up: SpaceX & Boeing


The technical issues both have faced have been remarkably similar, as both have similar architectures and undergone testing regimes: both are using liquid-fuelled pusher abort motors rather than tractor solids. Both have performed far more extensive modelling and simulation of parachute dynamics as well as extensively instrumented parachute testing, which have uncovered and quantified failure modes that were previously unknown.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 11/15/2019 03:46 pm
Obviously the Commercial Crew program is more expensive than just buying Soyuz seats when you include the development costs, but getting seat prices lower really wasn't the main reason for doing the program.  (If you just include the CCtCap development costs, SpaceX actually isn't that much higher per seat than what Russia is charging the US now for Soyuz seats.)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ugordan on 11/15/2019 04:18 pm
https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1195083288752402432

Quote
NASA letter in response to the latest OIG Commercial Crew report:

"NASA strongly disagrees with the OIG's characterization that NASA 'overpaid'" when granting Boeing $287.2 million in additional awards.
Naturally NASA disagrees with the OIG. If they would admit that OIG might have a point NASA would be shooting itself in the foot.

"... and also represents the value to NASA and the nation of having two independent U.S. human space transportation systems supporting ISS operations"

Am I reading too much into this statement, or is it actually NASA lowkey admitting that Boeing was about to pull out of comm. crew otherwise?

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Stan-1967 on 11/15/2019 04:29 pm
Anyways, CCP was right to be more concerned with SpaceX's reliability than Boeing's. Boeing had a partially damaged service module while SpaceX has had triple parachute failures, destroyed capsules and 2 launch failures. If SpaceX wants to be treated the same, they have to be the same.

While we're clutching pearls on development failures, let's include the Atlas V failure on Cygnus OA-6.  If that would have happened with a 13000kg CTS-100 vs. a 7500kg Cygnus, it would have been LOM & possibly LOC.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/15/2019 04:44 pm
https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1195083288752402432

Quote
NASA letter in response to the latest OIG Commercial Crew report:

"NASA strongly disagrees with the OIG's characterization that NASA 'overpaid'" when granting Boeing $287.2 million in additional awards.
Naturally NASA disagrees with the OIG. If they would admit that OIG might have a point NASA would be shooting itself in the foot.

"... and also represents the value to NASA and the nation of having two independent U.S. human space transportation systems supporting ISS operations"

Am I reading too much into this statement, or is it actually NASA lowkey admitting that Boeing was about to pull out of comm. crew otherwise?

Boeing denies this and there is no solid evidence for it
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 11/15/2019 04:46 pm
While we're clutching pearls on development failures, let's include the Atlas V failure on Cygnus OA-6.  If that would have happened with a 13000kg CTS-100 vs. a 7500kg Cygnus, it would have been LOM & possibly LOC.
LOM, very likely, although it seems plausible the CST SM could make up the shortfall.  LOC?  Seems very unlikely.  The CST-100+SM should be quite capable of a once-around orbit and immediate deorbit.  What would make LOC more likely than a normal deorbit, specifically?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/15/2019 04:46 pm
Anyways, CCP was right to be more concerned with SpaceX's reliability than Boeing's. Boeing had a partially damaged service module while SpaceX has had triple parachute failures, destroyed capsules and 2 launch failures. If SpaceX wants to be treated the same, they have to be the same.

While we're clutching pearls on development failures, let's include the Atlas V failure on Cygnus OA-6.  If that would have happened with a 13000kg CTS-100 vs. a 7500kg Cygnus, it would have been LOM & possibly LOC.

this is what the Launch escape system is designed to deal with
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 11/15/2019 04:48 pm
While we're talking about failures: https://spacenews.com/inspector-general-report-says-nasa-risks-losing-access-to-the-iss-in-2020/
Quote
while failures of two main parachutes on a cargo Dragon spacecraft in August 2018 required “additional work to improve load balancing on the planned crewed parachute system.”
Was this previously known?  If it was I completely missed it at the time.  Which mission was this?  Was there any adverse impact on the cargo return?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ugordan on 11/15/2019 04:49 pm
https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1195083288752402432

Quote
NASA letter in response to the latest OIG Commercial Crew report:

"NASA strongly disagrees with the OIG's characterization that NASA 'overpaid'" when granting Boeing $287.2 million in additional awards.
Naturally NASA disagrees with the OIG. If they would admit that OIG might have a point NASA would be shooting itself in the foot.

"... and also represents the value to NASA and the nation of having two independent U.S. human space transportation systems supporting ISS operations"

Am I reading too much into this statement, or is it actually NASA lowkey admitting that Boeing was about to pull out of comm. crew otherwise?

Boeing denies this and there is no solid evidence for it

Well, if Boeing denies it then that's that.

/s
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Stan-1967 on 11/15/2019 05:05 pm
[

this is what the Launch escape system is designed to deal with

Then I guess CRS-7 & AMOS events can be brushed off since a D2 could have survived both events. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Stan-1967 on 11/15/2019 05:26 pm
While we're clutching pearls on development failures, let's include the Atlas V failure on Cygnus OA-6.  If that would have happened with a 13000kg CTS-100 vs. a 7500kg Cygnus, it would have been LOM & possibly LOC.
LOM, very likely, although it seems plausible the CST SM could make up the shortfall.  LOC?  Seems very unlikely.  The CST-100+SM should be quite capable of a once-around orbit and immediate deorbit.  What would make LOC more likely than a normal deorbit, specifically?
“Possible LOC” was the operative part.  Abort scenarios have there own set of inherent risk.  In the case of the OA-6 failure mode,  how and when does the flight computer realize the performance shortfall?  If soon into the flight,  abort can happen early & a downrange water landing can be attempted.  If later into the Centaur burn,  there will be a point where it is too far downrange & maybe an abort to a lower orbit can be done.  That’s probably best case.  Are the CST-100 abort motors usefull for orbit raising and guidance to make up for a DV shortfall?  I have no idea,  but I’ve never heard the scenario discussed.  All of these have LOC risk compared to the nominal profile.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/15/2019 06:06 pm
[

this is what the Launch escape system is designed to deal with

Then I guess CRS-7 & AMOS events can be brushed off since a D2 could have survived both events.

This is false equivalence.A disintegrating upper stage isn't the same as early shutdown of the first stage. OA-6 is most like the CRS engine out, which hasn't been listed here as a serious event(nor should it be). This is happening quite a bit here, as problems with propulsion systems, parachutes and launch vehicles have all been more serious on the SpaceX side.

Quote
Are the CST-100 abort motors usefull for orbit raising and guidance to make up for a DV shortfall?

Considering the nominal situation is a DV shortfall...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: meberbs on 11/15/2019 06:22 pm
[

this is what the Launch escape system is designed to deal with

Then I guess CRS-7 & AMOS events can be brushed off since a D2 could have survived both events.

This is false equivalence.A disintegrating upper stage isn't the same as early shutdown of the first stage. OA-6 is most like the CRS engine out, which hasn't been listed here as a serious event(nor should it be). This is happening quite a bit here, as problems with propulsion systems, parachutes and launch vehicles have all been more serious on the SpaceX side.
A disintegrating second stage during first stage flight is a trivial case for abort system to recognize and respond to, and is about as nominal of an abort as you could ask for. A slight performance shortfall leading to a failure to reach orbit is not an obvious abort scenario and it is unclear when and how it would be detected and what the appropriate response would be. Either one is loss of mission.

There is exactly zero evidence to support your claim that SpaceX failures are more serious. Your previous post claiming this included egregiously false statements.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jjyach on 11/15/2019 06:27 pm
Having worked with various Boeing programs over the years, this doesn't surprise me at all.  It is pretty much their standard MO.  They underbid competitive contracts to a pint where they know they will not be able to finish without taking a loss then threaten to give up an extort more money right before finish.  It's happened on pretty much 75% of the programs I've dealt with them on.  The Proposal/Business development folks aren't held liable if the program cannot function as they get their incentives for winning the proposal, it's the poor sap Program Managers down the line who then have to execute the program with way too low of funding.  The problem is they've gotten on the bad side of many customers of late, and lost quite a few proposals which were pretty much slam dunks because of this.  Where this will probably hurt them is after this initial set of launches, this will surely factor into those considerations.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/15/2019 06:46 pm
[

this is what the Launch escape system is designed to deal with

Then I guess CRS-7 & AMOS events can be brushed off since a D2 could have survived both events.

I would agree that the CRS-7 situation would have been a good candidate for a Launch abort system save.  It would have been no worse or better then the Atlas shortfall.

AMOS? 

a pad explosion or an explosion of the launch vehicle during the early boost phase would in my view be a severe test of the launch escape system to get the crew away from peril.

NONE of the US (Or for that matter Chinese or Soviet/Russian) abort systems "test" an actual booster exploding or the pressure environment associated with a nearly full first stage and a full second stage going bang.  I think the Soviets have had an on pad abort and while it was successful it was "a wild ride"

the only "reference" point I have is my late wife ejected twice.   once was when in flight school another TA 4 joined up and rammed the tail of her plane...the second was when she was cold shot of the flattop.  Of course she was younger in flight school but as I recall she more or less treated it as "extreme parachuting" (which she did a lot of)

the one going off of number 4 cat was tough.  she was the last one to leave the airplane and the videos confirm that the plane was already under water...the airplane exploded right after she left. she could describe the entire chute ride from the water to the water.....the capsule would spare everyone the direct blast pressure and visual remembrances

but the ride itself should compensate for that.  :) I assume both (all three Orion included) would do the job but it would be an extreme test .

The AMOS incident would have been quite "jarring" ie there would be no warning of it.  you would be doing A and then wild ride

 I assume you have watched both aborts...?  the chute action low is very violent multi g.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/15/2019 06:49 pm

. A slight performance shortfall leading to a failure to reach orbit is not an obvious abort scenario and it is unclear when and how it would be detected

with current command and control systems in use at both companies...almost immediately upon the shortfall of performance. 

The Russians with very primitive systems compared to ours have done this...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Arb on 11/15/2019 07:35 pm
While we're talking about failures: https://spacenews.com/inspector-general-report-says-nasa-risks-losing-access-to-the-iss-in-2020/
Quote
while failures of two main parachutes on a cargo Dragon spacecraft in August 2018 required “additional work to improve load balancing on the planned crewed parachute system.”
Was this previously known?  If it was I completely missed it at the time.  Which mission was this?  Was there any adverse impact on the cargo return?

Not well known, for sure.

A little Googling leads to:
Quote from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_CRS-15
It is reported that the Dragon spacecraft may have experienced some parachute anomaly during its flight to the ISS, but it did not prevent the capsule from successful splashdown.

which is referenced by linking an Eric Berger article:
Quote from: https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/03/dragon-has-docked-but-the-real-pucker-moment-for-spacexs-capsule-awaits/
Concern about the Crew Dragon parachutes was heightened last year, after a previously unreported parachute anomaly on a cargo flight to the space station. Two sources confirmed the incident to Ars, but they declined to go on the record. The problem apparently occurred during the CRS-15 mission, which returned to Earth in August 2018. The Dragon was ultimately safely recovered after it landed in the Pacific Ocean. When asked directly, Stich declined to provide details about this anomaly, as did other NASA and SpaceX officials.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 11/15/2019 09:09 pm
This is just going in circles right now.  Let's take a little break.
edit: trimmed some posts
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: edzieba on 11/16/2019 08:25 am
Just to jump back to this:
While we're clutching pearls on development failures, let's include the Atlas V failure on Cygnus OA-6.  If that would have happened with a 13000kg CTS-100 vs. a 7500kg Cygnus, it would have been LOM & possibly LOC.
LOM, very likely, although it seems plausible the CST SM could make up the shortfall.  LOC?  Seems very unlikely.  The CST-100+SM should be quite capable of a once-around orbit and immediate deorbit.  What would make LOC more likely than a normal deorbit, specifically?
“Possible LOC” was the operative part.  Abort scenarios have there own set of inherent risk.  In the case of the OA-6 failure mode,  how and when does the flight computer realize the performance shortfall?  If soon into the flight,  abort can happen early & a downrange water landing can be attempted.  If later into the Centaur burn,  there will be a point where it is too far downrange & maybe an abort to a lower orbit can be done.  That’s probably best case.  Are the CST-100 abort motors usefull for orbit raising and guidance to make up for a DV shortfall?  I have no idea,  but I’ve never heard the scenario discussed.  All of these have LOC risk compared to the nominal profile.
Both SpaceX and Boeing have put a lot of work into closing up all the abort 'black zones' from pad to orbit. At all points in flight a deviation from nominal performance has an abort mode with a recovery plan. That can range from a pad-abort hopping a short distance off the coast to a high-altitude abort with a very far downrange recovery to an abort to orbit in the very final stages of flight.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/16/2019 11:05 am
While we're talking about failures: https://spacenews.com/inspector-general-report-says-nasa-risks-losing-access-to-the-iss-in-2020/
Quote
while failures of two main parachutes on a cargo Dragon spacecraft in August 2018 required “additional work to improve load balancing on the planned crewed parachute system.”
Was this previously known?  If it was I completely missed it at the time.  Which mission was this?  Was there any adverse impact on the cargo return?

Yes, this was known and the failures were partial failures. The Dragon did not splash-down under just one parachute. It came down under one fully deployed chute and two damaged, partially deployed chutes.

The harder-than-normal splash-down had no adverse effects on the returned cargo because the cargo Dragon system is designed to safeguard cargo return even in the worst-case scenario of just a single chute deploying.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: edkyle99 on 11/16/2019 02:17 pm
I thought we knew about all of this, three or so years ago, when Boeing dug in its heels.  That was public news then.  I don't think it is a surprise that Boeing's costs were higher.  SpaceX, after all, had a head start on its spacecraft thanks to already-by-then-well-proven commercial cargo Dragon while Boeing was starting from scratch. 

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: rockets4life97 on 11/16/2019 02:48 pm
I thought we knew about all of this, three or so years ago, when Boeing dug in its heels.  That was public news then.  I don't think it is a surprise that Boeing's costs were higher.  SpaceX, after all, had a head start on its spacecraft thanks to already-by-then-well-proven commercial cargo Dragon while Boeing was starting from scratch. 

 - Ed Kyle

My understanding is the concern is not about development costs, but about costs per seat AFTER development is over. Particularly interesting given Boeing says its capsule is more reusable than SpaceX's capsule given the non-water landing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: edkyle99 on 11/16/2019 03:12 pm
I thought we knew about all of this, three or so years ago, when Boeing dug in its heels.  That was public news then.  I don't think it is a surprise that Boeing's costs were higher.  SpaceX, after all, had a head start on its spacecraft thanks to already-by-then-well-proven commercial cargo Dragon while Boeing was starting from scratch. 

 - Ed Kyle

My understanding is the concern is not about development costs, but about costs per seat AFTER development is over. Particularly interesting given Boeing says its capsule is more reusable than SpaceX's capsule given the non-water landing.
Isn't the per-seat cost on a program like this, with its limited number of missions, going to be tied tightly to the development cost?

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/16/2019 03:13 pm
I thought we knew about all of this, three or so years ago, when Boeing dug in its heels.  That was public news then.  I don't think it is a surprise that Boeing's costs were higher.  SpaceX, after all, had a head start on its spacecraft thanks to already-by-then-well-proven commercial cargo Dragon while Boeing was starting from scratch. 

 - Ed Kyle

Boeing was not starting from scratch. Starliner is based on the Grumman/Boeing's proposal for CEV. Tens of millions of tax-payer's dollars had already been poured into the design-work for CEV and that work was directly applied in the design of Starliner, including early tech development work.

Starliner's abort engines are not a "from-scratch" development either. It goes back to NASA's Bantam program for the late 1990's. So NASA basically handed Boeing a completely developed abort engine for Starliner.

Boeing "starting from scratch" on Starliner? As the British say: My foot!
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 11/16/2019 03:30 pm
I thought we knew about all of this, three or so years ago, when Boeing dug in its heels.  That was public news then.  I don't think it is a surprise that Boeing's costs were higher.  SpaceX, after all, had a head start on its spacecraft thanks to already-by-then-well-proven commercial cargo Dragon while Boeing was starting from scratch. 

 - Ed Kyle

My understanding is the concern is not about development costs, but about costs per seat AFTER development is over. Particularly interesting given Boeing says its capsule is more reusable than SpaceX's capsule given the non-water landing.
Isn't the per-seat cost on a program like this, with its limited number of missions, going to be tied tightly to the development cost?

 - Ed Kyle

You can discuss the cost per seat for the total program including development costs, or you can talk about the cost of a flight after development.  They're not the same thing.  In this case, the numbers publicized in the report (which have been known for a long time to anyone who bothered looking) for seat costs are supposed to be the cost of ordering a flight after development is done.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: spacetraveler on 11/16/2019 05:10 pm

My understanding is the concern is not about development costs, but about costs per seat AFTER development is over. Particularly interesting given Boeing says its capsule is more reusable than SpaceX's capsule given the non-water landing.
Isn't the per-seat cost on a program like this, with its limited number of missions, going to be tied tightly to the development cost?

 - Ed Kyle

You can discuss the cost per seat for the total program including development costs, or you can talk about the cost of a flight after development.  They're not the same thing.  In this case, the numbers publicized in the report (which have been known for a long time to anyone who bothered looking) for seat costs are supposed to be the cost of ordering a flight after development is done.

This is a problem for Boeing imo. The fact that the per seat cost will be higher than what we currently pay to Russia in spite of the fact that Boeing was paid a lot more money to develop their capability is a problem, at least in terms of optics. Commercial crew was supposed to return launches to US soil and provide a better price than the Russian option which has been increasing steadily over the last few years.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 11/16/2019 05:22 pm
This is a problem for Boeing imo. The fact that the per seat cost will be higher than what we currently pay to Russia in spite of the fact that Boeing was paid a lot more money to develop their capability is a problem, at least in terms of optics. Commercial crew was supposed to return launches to US soil and provide a better price than the Russian option which has been increasing steadily over the last few years.
It's only a problem for Boeing if someone makes it a problem for Boeing.  That "someone" is certainly not NASA, and it is unlikely any of the politicos will worry much about this with all the bigger fish flying around.

(I mean "problem" as something more substantial than the minor PR kerfuffle that it is right now).

Regardless of the merits (whatever anyone's opinion of those is), does anyone here really expect anything significant to come of this?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: RonM on 11/16/2019 07:05 pm
Commercial crew was supposed to return launches to US soil and provide a better price than the Russian option which has been increasing steadily over the last few years.

You're half right. Commercial crew is supposed to return US crewed launch. That's an important national capability regardless of cost. Heck, Orion/SLS was considered a backup to CC and that would be expensive. Realistically, there's no way they can beat the per seat cost of a Soyuz.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: edkyle99 on 11/16/2019 08:17 pm
Boeing was not starting from scratch. Starliner is based on the Grumman/Boeing's proposal for CEV. Tens of millions of tax-payer's dollars had already been poured into the design-work for CEV and that work was directly applied in the design of Starliner, including early tech development work.

Starliner's abort engines are not a "from-scratch" development either. It goes back to NASA's Bantam program for the late 1990's. So NASA basically handed Boeing a completely developed abort engine for Starliner.

Boeing "starting from scratch" on Starliner? As the British say: My foot!
CEV was a decade earlier, when Boeing/Grumman lost to Lockheed Martin, so they would have all but shut it down after that.  Meanwhile, in the intervening years, SpaceX won Commercial Cargo and actually developed, built, and flew (and reflew) its spacecraft numerous times.  And for that excellent effort it has been paid, what, more than $2 billion all told?  That's money that Boeing did not receive.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lars-J on 11/16/2019 10:15 pm
I thought we knew about all of this, three or so years ago, when Boeing dug in its heels.  That was public news then.  I don't think it is a surprise that Boeing's costs were higher.  SpaceX, after all, had a head start on its spacecraft thanks to already-by-then-well-proven commercial cargo Dragon while Boeing was starting from scratch. 

 - Ed Kyle

My understanding is the concern is not about development costs, but about costs per seat AFTER development is over. Particularly interesting given Boeing says its capsule is more reusable than SpaceX's capsule given the non-water landing.
Isn't the per-seat cost on a program like this, with its limited number of missions, going to be tied tightly to the development cost?

 - Ed Kyle

Well at the most basic level, even if the spacecraft was "free", the launch vehicle cost produces an absolute minimum for the per-seat costs. And in that aspect, a ULA launch is also more costly than an F9 launch. (maybe more than twice* what a F9 costs) So some of this is outside the control of Boeing.

* - and by "maybe more than twice", before you object, keep in mind that Starliner does not launch on a vanilla/plain Atlas V. It adds two SRBs and a 2nd engine to Centaur. (but does to be fair not have a fairing)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/17/2019 12:52 pm
Boeing was not starting from scratch. Starliner is based on the Grumman/Boeing's proposal for CEV. Tens of millions of tax-payer's dollars had already been poured into the design-work for CEV and that work was directly applied in the design of Starliner, including early tech development work.

Starliner's abort engines are not a "from-scratch" development either. It goes back to NASA's Bantam program for the late 1990's. So NASA basically handed Boeing a completely developed abort engine for Starliner.

Boeing "starting from scratch" on Starliner? As the British say: My foot!
CEV was a decade earlier, when Boeing/Grumman lost to Lockheed Martin, so they would have all but shut it down after that.  Meanwhile, in the intervening years, SpaceX won Commercial Cargo and actually developed, built, and flew (and reflew) its spacecraft numerous times.  And for that excellent effort it has been paid, what, more than $2 billion all told?  That's money that Boeing did not receive.

 - Ed Kyle

Have you been paying attention? SpaceX managers themselves have mentioned several times in recent years that there is in fact very little commonality between cargo Dragon and Crew Dragon. Most of the systems on-board Crew Dragon have been completely re-designed or are not even present on cargo Dragon. Even the main heatshield has been completely re-done to satisfy NASA requirements.

Very little of that $2 billion paid for cargo Dragon services applies to Crew Dragon. The so-called headstart SpaceX had over Boeing is much smaller than you imagine.

I'll give you an example: the very first phase of CCP was CCDev1, in which Boeing received $18 million to construct a prototype pressure hull for Starliner. The reason that highly-inefficient Boeing was capable of doing so for a mere $18 million is because they only had to build the pressure hull. The design for this prototype was ported directly from the design efforts for the Grumman/Boeing CEV proposal. That is why the NASA-provided $28 million, that Grumman and Boeing had gotten for initial CEV design work, came in exceptionally well for Boeing in the first CCP phase.

It meant that by the time CCDev1 contracts were awarded Boeing was in fact much further along in Starliner development cycle than most people realize. Courtesy of a prior program.

Additionally: it is incorrect to suggest that the $2 billion which SpaceX received for CRS services somehow were spent on SpaceX's efforts for CCP. That money was in fact mostly spent on keeping cargo Dragon flying. The profits from the CRS contract are used for different purposes, such as Starlink and Starship. SpaceX holds a separate contracts for their CCP efforts, with separate funding coming from NASA.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/17/2019 01:01 pm
Boeing was not starting from scratch. Starliner is based on the Grumman/Boeing's proposal for CEV. Tens of millions of tax-payer's dollars had already been poured into the design-work for CEV and that work was directly applied in the design of Starliner, including early tech development work.

Starliner's abort engines are not a "from-scratch" development either. It goes back to NASA's Bantam program for the late 1990's. So NASA basically handed Boeing a completely developed abort engine for Starliner.

Boeing "starting from scratch" on Starliner? As the British say: My foot!
CEV was a decade earlier, when Boeing/Grumman lost to Lockheed Martin, so they would have all but shut it down after that.  Meanwhile, in the intervening years, SpaceX won Commercial Cargo and actually developed, built, and flew (and reflew) its spacecraft numerous times.  And for that excellent effort it has been paid, what, more than $2 billion all told?  That's money that Boeing did not receive.

 - Ed Kyle

It is more than $2 billion. $2 billion was just COTS + CRS1-12. 18 CRS flights have been completed with presumably partial payment for CRS19+. It is more like $3+ billion although the government has been less forthcoming with details on that lately.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 11/17/2019 01:31 pm
The money SpaceX has received to fly CRS missions isn't all that relevant to the Commercial Crew program.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/17/2019 01:38 pm
Quote
Benji Reed: So, the SpaceX Crew Dragon is a space capsule. It's, let's see, it's about 13 feet in diameter. It's about 27 feet tall. And it's kind of the product of a lot of great history and heritage that we have on our own Dragon, Dragon One. The Cargo Dragon that we've been flying for a number of years now. In fact, coming into our 19th cargo mission for that Dragon.
https://www.nasa.gov/johnson/HWHAP/the-spacex-dragon

Edit: BTW, since the Advanced Mission Cost Model got some play recently. I ran it twice with two sets of parameters.

CST-100
Qty: 6
Dry Weight:20000
Type: Manned Re-entry
Block Number: 1
Difficulty: Low
Projected Cost: 5,606 million
Actual: 4,780 million
Difference: 85% of projected cost

Dragon
Qty: 6
Dry Weight:20000
Type: Manned Re-entry
Block Number: 2
Difficulty: Low
Projected Cost: 4,244 million
Actual: 3,125 million
difference: 74% of predicted cost

We are talking about a ~10 percent difference.


Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 11/17/2019 02:00 pm
Quote
Benji Reed: So, the SpaceX Crew Dragon is a space capsule. It's, let's see, it's about 13 feet in diameter. It's about 27 feet tall. And it's kind of the product of a lot of great history and heritage that we have on our own Dragon, Dragon One. The Cargo Dragon that we've been flying for a number of years now. In fact, coming into our 19th cargo mission for that Dragon.
https://www.nasa.gov/johnson/HWHAP/the-spacex-dragon

The phrase "a lot of great history and heritage" is hardly proof that the crew version of Dragon is the same as the cargo version.

How much commonality do you think exists between the two, and what is it?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 11/17/2019 02:30 pm
Edit: BTW, since the Advanced Mission Cost Model got some play recently. I ran it twice with two sets of parameters.

Boeing is building fewer than 6 capsules to get to those 6 missions.  SpaceX is building more than 6 (it would have been 8 if one wasn't lost in testing).  Your choice of "low" difficulty is rather arbitrary and just changing it to "average" raises the prices more than 50%.  Crew Dragon is not just a block upgrade of Dragon 1.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/17/2019 02:35 pm
Edit: BTW, since the Advanced Mission Cost Model got some play recently. I ran it twice with two sets of parameters.

Boeing is building fewer than 6 capsules to get to those 6 missions.  SpaceX is building more than 6 (it would have been 8 if one wasn't lost in testing).  Your choice of "low" difficulty is rather arbitrary and just changing it to "average" raises the prices more than 50%.  Crew Dragon is not just a block upgrade of Dragon 1.

This is what globalsecurity writes about the difficulty level:

Quote
The difficulty factor represents the level of programmatic and technical difficulty anticipated for the new system. This difficulty should be assessed relative to other similar systems that have been developed in the past. For example, if the new system is significantly more complex than previous similar systems, then a difficulty of high or very high should be selected.
https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/intro/reference/calc/AMCM.htm

The 3 most recent past programs for human crew transportation in the united states was the Apollo CSM, CEV/MPCV/Orion and the space shuttle.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 11/17/2019 02:36 pm
Commercial Crew has more stringent LOC requirements than the previously completed programs.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: edkyle99 on 11/17/2019 02:44 pm
The money SpaceX has received to fly CRS missions isn't all that relevant to the Commercial Crew program.
It seem to me that it is clearly relevant to this specific discussion, in that with Cargo Dragon SpaceX used the funds to build infrastructure and - probably more importantly - a development team that have been involved in development of Crew Dragon.  While these folks were working, Boeing was posting job openings for CST-100 and laying plans to gut one of the former OPF's to create its spaceship factory, etc..

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 11/17/2019 02:49 pm
The fact they have recent experience building and flying an uncrewed spacecraft might be relevant.  Stating the amount of money they received to build hardware for and fly 18+ operational missions is less so.  That money wasn't for developing Crew Dragon.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/17/2019 02:55 pm
Here is a relevant job listing example:

Quote
The vehicle engineering team tackles space exploration’s toughest problems through the development of our reusable launch vehicles (Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Starship) and spacecraft (Crew Dragon). Currently responsible for delivering satellites into orbit and cargo to the ISS, these vehicles will be instrumental in extending humanity’s reach to the moon, Mars and beyond.
https://boards.greenhouse.io/spacex/jobs/4438066002?gh_jid=4438066002
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/17/2019 03:25 pm
The money SpaceX has received to fly CRS missions isn't all that relevant to the Commercial Crew program.
It seem to me that it is clearly relevant to this specific discussion, in that with Cargo Dragon SpaceX used the funds to build infrastructure and - probably more importantly - a development team that have been involved in development of Crew Dragon.  While these folks were working, Boeing was posting job openings for CST-100 and laying plans to gut one of the former OPF's to create its spaceship factory, etc..

 - Ed Kyle

it is interesting to me, that they have had the same problems or similar ones anyway
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Tywin on 11/17/2019 10:52 pm
After the Dream Chaser, complete the next 6 missions of cargo the ISS, maybe is possible that NASA open the contract for make the crew version of this space plane?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Tywin on 11/17/2019 10:56 pm
Obviously the Commercial Crew program is more expensive than just buying Soyuz seats when you include the development costs, but getting seat prices lower really wasn't the main reason for doing the program.  (If you just include the CCtCap development costs, SpaceX actually isn't that much higher per seat than what Russia is charging the US now for Soyuz seats.)

You have the number of the cost, per seat, if you include the CCtCap?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/17/2019 11:12 pm
After the Dream Chaser, complete the next 6 missions of cargo the ISS, maybe is possible that NASA open the contract for make the crew version of this space plane?

that would not surprise me.  the main weakness in the other two programs (Dragon2 and CST) is the method of landing.  I "assume" but dont know that eventually Dragon2 will move recovery closer to the east coast, ie off the Atlantic but it will always be a water landing.  CST has the advantage of land recoveries but its always going to be out west.

Dream Chaser will have a major advantage in terms of recovery by the runway landing and simple "walk off".  also from just an operational standpoint the vehicle seems to be the most versatile of the three.  it could for instance do a Hubble revisit with just minor alterations (once you get the crew version)...and I have seen versions with an airlock

it will be interesting to see...but SNC is working on in my view a superb vehicle
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Tywin on 11/17/2019 11:45 pm
After the Dream Chaser, complete the next 6 missions of cargo the ISS, maybe is possible that NASA open the contract for make the crew version of this space plane?

that would not surprise me.  the main weakness in the other two programs (Dragon2 and CST) is the method of landing.  I "assume" but dont know that eventually Dragon2 will move recovery closer to the east coast, ie off the Atlantic but it will always be a water landing.  CST has the advantage of land recoveries but its always going to be out west.

Dream Chaser will have a major advantage in terms of recovery by the runway landing and simple "walk off".  also from just an operational standpoint the vehicle seems to be the most versatile of the three.  it could for instance do a Hubble revisit with just minor alterations (once you get the crew version)...and I have seen versions with an airlock

it will be interesting to see...but SNC is working on in my view a superb vehicle

Totally agree, I think so, the DC, is perfect for the future private spaces stations in LEO, like Axiom, Bigelow, etc...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: su27k on 11/18/2019 03:21 am
Saw this mentioned on nasawatch but it looks like the other articles missed it, from the OIG report (https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-20-005.pdf):

Quote
NASA’s crew access analysis also did not include the five Soyuz seats the Agency was planning to purchase from Boeing for flights in 2017 through 2019. However, HEOMD officials knew in November 2016—one month before the CCP crew access analysis was finalized—that Boeing would be submitting another proposal for Soyuz seats to fill the crew access gap after the last Soyuz mission returned in May 2019.45 These seats, along with others already purchased from Roscosmos, provided uninterrupted crew access through November 2019 and provided the ISS Program redundancies without paying extra for shorter production lead times for four Boeing crewed missions. Five days after NASA committed to pay $287.2 million in price increases for four commercial crew missions, Boeing submitted an official proposal to sell NASA up to five Soyuz seats for $373.5 million for missions during the same time period. In total, Boeing received $660.7 million above the fixed prices set in the CCtCap pricing tables to pay for an accelerated production timetable for four crew missions and five Soyuz seats.

This looks really bad, basically both NASA and Boeing knew Boeing was already planning to sell NASA 5 Soyuz seats which can fill the gap, yet NASA agreed to pay Boeing $287.2M so that Boeing can fill the gap using Starliner. Then just 5 days after paying Boeing $287.2M for Starliner to fill the gap, NASA spent another $373.5M to buy the 5 Soyuz seats from the Boeing to fill the gap, again(!)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/18/2019 03:53 am
Saw this mentioned on nasawatch but it looks like the other articles missed it, from the OIG report (https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-20-005.pdf):

Quote
NASA’s crew access analysis also did not include the five Soyuz seats the Agency was planning to purchase from Boeing for flights in 2017 through 2019. However, HEOMD officials knew in November 2016—one month before the CCP crew access analysis was finalized—that Boeing would be submitting another proposal for Soyuz seats to fill the crew access gap after the last Soyuz mission returned in May 2019.45 These seats, along with others already purchased from Roscosmos, provided uninterrupted crew access through November 2019 and provided the ISS Program redundancies without paying extra for shorter production lead times for four Boeing crewed missions. Five days after NASA committed to pay $287.2 million in price increases for four commercial crew missions, Boeing submitted an official proposal to sell NASA up to five Soyuz seats for $373.5 million for missions during the same time period. In total, Boeing received $660.7 million above the fixed prices set in the CCtCap pricing tables to pay for an accelerated production timetable for four crew missions and five Soyuz seats.

This looks really bad, basically both NASA and Boeing knew Boeing was already planning to sell NASA 5 Soyuz seats which can fill the gap, yet NASA agreed to pay Boeing $287.2M so that Boeing can fill the gap using Starliner. Then just 5 days after paying Boeing $287.2M for Starliner to fill the gap, NASA spent another $373.5M to buy the 5 Soyuz seats from the Boeing to fill the gap, again(!)

They were also concerned that there could be a problem with Soyuz after a Soyuz Progress vehicle failed. So, Soyuz flights weren't guaranteed in that time period. The 18 month gap was seen as occurring from the beginning of 2019 to the middle of 2020. In fact, there was a non-fatal launch failure with Soyuz right before that, in October 2018 that would have likely grounded Soyuz for American astronauts for an extended period had it been a LOC event.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/18/2019 06:57 am
Saw this mentioned on nasawatch but it looks like the other articles missed it, from the OIG report (https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-20-005.pdf):

Quote
NASA’s crew access analysis also did not include the five Soyuz seats the Agency was planning to purchase from Boeing for flights in 2017 through 2019. However, HEOMD officials knew in November 2016—one month before the CCP crew access analysis was finalized—that Boeing would be submitting another proposal for Soyuz seats to fill the crew access gap after the last Soyuz mission returned in May 2019.45 These seats, along with others already purchased from Roscosmos, provided uninterrupted crew access through November 2019 and provided the ISS Program redundancies without paying extra for shorter production lead times for four Boeing crewed missions. Five days after NASA committed to pay $287.2 million in price increases for four commercial crew missions, Boeing submitted an official proposal to sell NASA up to five Soyuz seats for $373.5 million for missions during the same time period. In total, Boeing received $660.7 million above the fixed prices set in the CCtCap pricing tables to pay for an accelerated production timetable for four crew missions and five Soyuz seats.

This looks really bad, basically both NASA and Boeing knew Boeing was already planning to sell NASA 5 Soyuz seats which can fill the gap, yet NASA agreed to pay Boeing $287.2M so that Boeing can fill the gap using Starliner. Then just 5 days after paying Boeing $287.2M for Starliner to fill the gap, NASA spent another $373.5M to buy the 5 Soyuz seats from the Boeing to fill the gap, again(!)

Yes, this is the very reason why OIG concludes that NASA overpaid Boeing for preventing a gap in access to ISS. The additional $287 million which NASA paid to Boeing was largely unnecessary.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/18/2019 07:17 am
Saw this mentioned on nasawatch but it looks like the other articles missed it, from the OIG report (https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-20-005.pdf):

Quote
NASA’s crew access analysis also did not include the five Soyuz seats the Agency was planning to purchase from Boeing for flights in 2017 through 2019. However, HEOMD officials knew in November 2016—one month before the CCP crew access analysis was finalized—that Boeing would be submitting another proposal for Soyuz seats to fill the crew access gap after the last Soyuz mission returned in May 2019.45 These seats, along with others already purchased from Roscosmos, provided uninterrupted crew access through November 2019 and provided the ISS Program redundancies without paying extra for shorter production lead times for four Boeing crewed missions. Five days after NASA committed to pay $287.2 million in price increases for four commercial crew missions, Boeing submitted an official proposal to sell NASA up to five Soyuz seats for $373.5 million for missions during the same time period. In total, Boeing received $660.7 million above the fixed prices set in the CCtCap pricing tables to pay for an accelerated production timetable for four crew missions and five Soyuz seats.

This looks really bad, basically both NASA and Boeing knew Boeing was already planning to sell NASA 5 Soyuz seats which can fill the gap, yet NASA agreed to pay Boeing $287.2M so that Boeing can fill the gap using Starliner. Then just 5 days after paying Boeing $287.2M for Starliner to fill the gap, NASA spent another $373.5M to buy the 5 Soyuz seats from the Boeing to fill the gap, again(!)

They were also concerned that there could be a problem with Soyuz after a Soyuz Progress vehicle failed. So, Soyuz flights weren't guaranteed in that time period. The 18 month gap was seen as occurring from the beginning of 2019 to the middle of 2020. In fact, there was a non-fatal launch failure with Soyuz right before that, in October 2018 that would have likely grounded Soyuz for American astronauts for an extended period had it been a LOC event.

The fact that this "concern" led NASA to pay Boeing $287 million - for closing a theoretical gap - goes to show that NASA had absolutely no clue about the robustness of the Soyuz system and how fast Russia gets back to flying. Had NASA bothered to review the previous 40 years of Soyuz and Progress operations than NASA would have known that generally the Russians resume flying within a few months.

The Soyuz T-10A and MS-10 missions have demonstrated the robustness of the Soyuz LAS. Several other missions suffered separtion failures upon reentry but the sheer robustness of the Soyuz system prevented LOC. Extended gaps, such as happened in US spaceflight when Challenger and Columbia happened, simply do not exist in Russia.

Most recent examples:
- Progress M-12M (2011): Stand down of only 2 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.
- Progress MS-27M (2015): Stand down of only 2.5 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.
- Progress MS (2016): Stand down of only 2.5 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.
- Soyuz MS-10 (2018): Stand down of barely 1.5 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.

Even the spectacular failure of Soyuz T10A in 1983, which resulted in the only real-life pad abort in history, had only limited impact: stand down of 5.5 months between the on-pad explosion and resumption of flight.
Stand downs of 2 years and longer are a US problem. NASA made the mistake of projecting a NASA metric on the Russian spaceflight program.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: meberbs on 11/18/2019 07:52 am
Here is a relevant job listing example:

Quote
The vehicle engineering team tackles space exploration’s toughest problems through the development of our reusable launch vehicles (Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Starship) and spacecraft (Crew Dragon). Currently responsible for delivering satellites into orbit and cargo to the ISS, these vehicles will be instrumental in extending humanity’s reach to the moon, Mars and beyond.
https://boards.greenhouse.io/spacex/jobs/4438066002?gh_jid=4438066002
What is the relevance that you claim? Your bolding is absurdly misleading, as the Falcon 9 and heavy mentioned just before your bolding are what currently deliver satellites to orbit and cargo to the ISS of the listed things.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/18/2019 08:36 am
Saw this mentioned on nasawatch but it looks like the other articles missed it, from the OIG report (https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-20-005.pdf):

Quote
NASA’s crew access analysis also did not include the five Soyuz seats the Agency was planning to purchase from Boeing for flights in 2017 through 2019. However, HEOMD officials knew in November 2016—one month before the CCP crew access analysis was finalized—that Boeing would be submitting another proposal for Soyuz seats to fill the crew access gap after the last Soyuz mission returned in May 2019.45 These seats, along with others already purchased from Roscosmos, provided uninterrupted crew access through November 2019 and provided the ISS Program redundancies without paying extra for shorter production lead times for four Boeing crewed missions. Five days after NASA committed to pay $287.2 million in price increases for four commercial crew missions, Boeing submitted an official proposal to sell NASA up to five Soyuz seats for $373.5 million for missions during the same time period. In total, Boeing received $660.7 million above the fixed prices set in the CCtCap pricing tables to pay for an accelerated production timetable for four crew missions and five Soyuz seats.

This looks really bad, basically both NASA and Boeing knew Boeing was already planning to sell NASA 5 Soyuz seats which can fill the gap, yet NASA agreed to pay Boeing $287.2M so that Boeing can fill the gap using Starliner. Then just 5 days after paying Boeing $287.2M for Starliner to fill the gap, NASA spent another $373.5M to buy the 5 Soyuz seats from the Boeing to fill the gap, again(!)

They were also concerned that there could be a problem with Soyuz after a Soyuz Progress vehicle failed. So, Soyuz flights weren't guaranteed in that time period. The 18 month gap was seen as occurring from the beginning of 2019 to the middle of 2020. In fact, there was a non-fatal launch failure with Soyuz right before that, in October 2018 that would have likely grounded Soyuz for American astronauts for an extended period had it been a LOC event.

The fact that this "concern" led NASA to pay Boeing $287 million - for closing a theoretical gap - goes to show that NASA had absolutely no clue about the robustness of the Soyuz system and how fast Russia gets back to flying. Had NASA bothered to review the previous 40 years of Soyuz and Progress operations than NASA would have known that generally the Russians resume flying within a few months.

The Soyuz T-10A and MS-10 missions have demonstrated the robustness of the Soyuz LAS. Several other missions suffered separtion failures upon reentry but the sheer robustness of the Soyuz system prevented LOC. Extended gaps, such as happened in US spaceflight when Challenger and Columbia happened, simply do not exist in Russia.

Most recent examples:
- Progress M-12M (2011): Stand down of only 2 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.
- Progress MS-27M (2015): Stand down of only 2.5 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.
- Progress MS (2016): Stand down of only 2.5 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.
- Soyuz MS-10 (2018): Stand down of barely 1.5 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.

Even the spectacular failure of Soyuz T10A in 1983, which resulted in the only real-life pad abort in history, had only limited impact: stand down of 5.5 months between the on-pad explosion and resumption of flight.
Stand downs of 2 years and longer are a US problem. NASA made the mistake of projecting a NASA metric on the Russian spaceflight program.

Soyuz is robust only because Soviet/Russian safety systems are minimal
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: tyrred on 11/18/2019 08:42 am
Saw this mentioned on nasawatch but it looks like the other articles missed it, from the OIG report (https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-20-005.pdf):

Quote
NASA’s crew access analysis also did not include the five Soyuz seats the Agency was planning to purchase from Boeing for flights in 2017 through 2019. However, HEOMD officials knew in November 2016—one month before the CCP crew access analysis was finalized—that Boeing would be submitting another proposal for Soyuz seats to fill the crew access gap after the last Soyuz mission returned in May 2019.45 These seats, along with others already purchased from Roscosmos, provided uninterrupted crew access through November 2019 and provided the ISS Program redundancies without paying extra for shorter production lead times for four Boeing crewed missions. Five days after NASA committed to pay $287.2 million in price increases for four commercial crew missions, Boeing submitted an official proposal to sell NASA up to five Soyuz seats for $373.5 million for missions during the same time period. In total, Boeing received $660.7 million above the fixed prices set in the CCtCap pricing tables to pay for an accelerated production timetable for four crew missions and five Soyuz seats.

This looks really bad, basically both NASA and Boeing knew Boeing was already planning to sell NASA 5 Soyuz seats which can fill the gap, yet NASA agreed to pay Boeing $287.2M so that Boeing can fill the gap using Starliner. Then just 5 days after paying Boeing $287.2M for Starliner to fill the gap, NASA spent another $373.5M to buy the 5 Soyuz seats from the Boeing to fill the gap, again(!)

They were also concerned that there could be a problem with Soyuz after a Soyuz Progress vehicle failed. So, Soyuz flights weren't guaranteed in that time period. The 18 month gap was seen as occurring from the beginning of 2019 to the middle of 2020. In fact, there was a non-fatal launch failure with Soyuz right before that, in October 2018 that would have likely grounded Soyuz for American astronauts for an extended period had it been a LOC event.

The fact that this "concern" led NASA to pay Boeing $287 million - for closing a theoretical gap - goes to show that NASA had absolutely no clue about the robustness of the Soyuz system and how fast Russia gets back to flying. Had NASA bothered to review the previous 40 years of Soyuz and Progress operations than NASA would have known that generally the Russians resume flying within a few months.

The Soyuz T-10A and MS-10 missions have demonstrated the robustness of the Soyuz LAS. Several other missions suffered separtion failures upon reentry but the sheer robustness of the Soyuz system prevented LOC. Extended gaps, such as happened in US spaceflight when Challenger and Columbia happened, simply do not exist in Russia.

Most recent examples:
- Progress M-12M (2011): Stand down of only 2 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.
- Progress MS-27M (2015): Stand down of only 2.5 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.
- Progress MS (2016): Stand down of only 2.5 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.
- Soyuz MS-10 (2018): Stand down of barely 1.5 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.

Even the spectacular failure of Soyuz T10A in 1983, which resulted in the only real-life pad abort in history, had only limited impact: stand down of 5.5 months between the on-pad explosion and resumption of flight.
Stand downs of 2 years and longer are a US problem. NASA made the mistake of projecting a NASA metric on the Russian spaceflight program.

Soyuz is robust only because Soviet/Russian safety systems are minimal

How so? Recent Russian safety system saved the crew. And it was present, at the moment needed. Unlike a couple Shuttle safety systems, that did not even exist, at the moment needed.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Ken the Bin on 11/18/2019 03:54 pm
Boeing has issued this statement today:

Boeing Statement Regarding OIG Report on NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (https://boeing.mediaroom.com/2019-11-18-Boeing-Statement-Regarding-OIG-Report-on-NASAs-Commercial-Crew-Program)

Quote from: Boeing
ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 18, 2019 – In response to the Nov. 14 Office of the Inspector General report titled “NASA’s Management of Crew Transportation to the International Space Station,” Boeing today issued the following statement:

“We strongly disagree with the report’s conclusions about CST-100 Starliner pricing and readiness, and we owe it to the space community and the American public to share the facts the Inspector General [IG] missed,” said Jim Chilton, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Launch. “Each member of the Boeing team has a personal stake in the safety, quality and integrity of what we offer our customers, and since Day One, the Starliner team has approached this program with a commitment to design, develop and launch a vehicle that we and NASA can be proud of.”

Specifically, Boeing offers the following responses to the main assertions:

Boeing’s commitment to commercial transportation to ISS

-- Boeing has made significant investments in the Commercial Crew program, and we are fully committed to flying the CST-100 Starliner and keeping the International Space Station crewed and operational. Any implication that we ever wavered in our participation in Commercial Crew is false.

“NASA overpaid Boeing to prepare for multiple crewed missions”

-- Through fair and open negotiations with NASA in a competitive environment, we offered single-mission pricing for post-certification missions (PCMs) 3-6, thus enabling additional flexibility and schedule resiliency to enhance future mission readiness.

-- This single-mission pricing for PCM 3-6 was included in the pricing table in the original contract. That original pricing table remains unchanged.

-- Contrary to the conclusion in the IG report, Boeing contends that the benefits in shorter lead time and flexibility in adjusting launch dates are well worth the higher price in the table.

-- We cut lead time to launch by two-thirds and doubled the launch rate for an overall price increase of only 5%.

-- Boeing assumed more up-front financial risk and is helping NASA with critical decisions key to optimizing future ISS operations.

-- Boeing now holds all the up-front mission costs, which NASA will not have to pay until after each PCM is officially ordered and given the Authority to Proceed (ATP).

$90 million per seat?

-- Boeing rejects the average seat price assessment in the IG report.

-- Boeing will fly the equivalent of a fifth passenger in cargo for NASA, so the per-seat pricing should be considered based on five seats rather than four.

-- For proprietary, competitive reasons Boeing does not disclose specific pricing information, but we are confident our average seat pricing to NASA is below the figure cited.

-- The report also fails to mention Starliner's superior value:

-- Starliner provides a fifth passenger seat or more cargo capacity at the customer’s direction.

-- NASA crews have full vehicle control in all phases of spaceflight, including backup manual capability.

-- Starliner flies on the most reliable lifter in the business, an Atlas V modified for human spaceflight safety by people with actual experience in the domain.

-- The spacecraft touches back down to Earth on land, not a splashdown, something Boeing considers much safer.

-- Starliner astronauts train in Houston with Boeing and NASA working side-by-side in the former space shuttle and ISS training facilities.

Boeing vs. the competition

-- Because of our history in spaceflight, we understood how difficult this program would be on a short timeline, and priced our offering accordingly.

-- Boeing presented a development bid based on creating a safe and reliable orbital crewed space vehicle from scratch, while positioning our pricing to be sustainable long-term.

-- By contrast, our competitor offered a crewed vessel based on a cargo vehicle designed for human rating, whose development had been funded for several years by NASA on a predecessor contract. That cargo vehicle had already flown multiple times at the time of the Commercial Crew awards.

-- Boeing started development much later but attempted to achieve the same schedule, which is a more expensive development approach.

-- Starliner development and flight prices incorporate the rigorous design, test and verification approach we proposed – leaving no stone unturned to ensure we deliver a quality vehicle and service to our customer.

-- Change requests are considered case by case, but generally use a commercial pricing approach, which we see as aligned with NASA’s policy objectives for the program.

-- NASA remains the single buyer in this market, and therefore enjoys significant buying power, tempered only by their policy objectives.

-- Through accepting our bid, NASA agreed we would be delivering them significant value with a spacecraft that meets the original requirement of landing on land, can expand to five passengers, and allows positive control by NASA’s flight crews in all spaceflight phases.

“Technical challenges continue to impact the Commercial Crew program schedule”

-- We have made excellent progress on all outstanding technical challenges since the OIG began collecting information for this report.

-- We have retired nearly all possible risk ahead of our uncrewed and crewed flight tests. We are confident that we have designed and built a safe, quality system that meets NASA’s requirements.

-- In 2019, we completed:

-- Service module hot fire test, validating the performance of our propulsion system in both nominal and contingency scenarios.

-- All parachute qualification tests without a single test failure, demonstrating the resiliency of our parachute system even in dual-fault scenarios.

-- Discussions with NASA about our system led to our mutual agreement to perform even more tests and analysis, which validated our system as designed.

-- We are confident in the safety of our system, and we have proven through extensive testing that we have a robust design that has consistently performed above requirements, even in dual-fault scenarios.

-- Pad Abort Test, which was Starliner’s first flight test and a near-flawless performance of our integrated propulsion and flight control systems in an abort case.

Certification

-- We are working with our customer to achieve crew certification as soon as possible, but safety is our guiding principle and we will not fly our Crew Flight Test (CFT) before we are ready.

-- Orbital Flight Test (OFT) is currently targeted for Dec. 17, and following a successful flight, we are well positioned to fly our first crew in early 2020.

-- Certification depends on the timing and success of both of those flights.

-- We are more than 99% done with Verification Closure Notices (VCNs) for OFT.

-- There are a smaller number of CFT VCNs, and those are mostly reliant on OFT and Pad Abort Test data, the latter of which we are working on submitting right now.

# # #
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: chrisking0997 on 11/18/2019 04:15 pm
Saw this mentioned on nasawatch but it looks like the other articles missed it, from the OIG report (https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-20-005.pdf):

Quote
NASA’s crew access analysis also did not include the five Soyuz seats the Agency was planning to purchase from Boeing for flights in 2017 through 2019. However, HEOMD officials knew in November 2016—one month before the CCP crew access analysis was finalized—that Boeing would be submitting another proposal for Soyuz seats to fill the crew access gap after the last Soyuz mission returned in May 2019.45 These seats, along with others already purchased from Roscosmos, provided uninterrupted crew access through November 2019 and provided the ISS Program redundancies without paying extra for shorter production lead times for four Boeing crewed missions. Five days after NASA committed to pay $287.2 million in price increases for four commercial crew missions, Boeing submitted an official proposal to sell NASA up to five Soyuz seats for $373.5 million for missions during the same time period. In total, Boeing received $660.7 million above the fixed prices set in the CCtCap pricing tables to pay for an accelerated production timetable for four crew missions and five Soyuz seats.

This looks really bad, basically both NASA and Boeing knew Boeing was already planning to sell NASA 5 Soyuz seats which can fill the gap, yet NASA agreed to pay Boeing $287.2M so that Boeing can fill the gap using Starliner. Then just 5 days after paying Boeing $287.2M for Starliner to fill the gap, NASA spent another $373.5M to buy the 5 Soyuz seats from the Boeing to fill the gap, again(!)

They were also concerned that there could be a problem with Soyuz after a Soyuz Progress vehicle failed. So, Soyuz flights weren't guaranteed in that time period. The 18 month gap was seen as occurring from the beginning of 2019 to the middle of 2020. In fact, there was a non-fatal launch failure with Soyuz right before that, in October 2018 that would have likely grounded Soyuz for American astronauts for an extended period had it been a LOC event.

The fact that this "concern" led NASA to pay Boeing $287 million - for closing a theoretical gap - goes to show that NASA had absolutely no clue about the robustness of the Soyuz system and how fast Russia gets back to flying. Had NASA bothered to review the previous 40 years of Soyuz and Progress operations than NASA would have known that generally the Russians resume flying within a few months.

The Soyuz T-10A and MS-10 missions have demonstrated the robustness of the Soyuz LAS. Several other missions suffered separtion failures upon reentry but the sheer robustness of the Soyuz system prevented LOC. Extended gaps, such as happened in US spaceflight when Challenger and Columbia happened, simply do not exist in Russia.

Most recent examples:
- Progress M-12M (2011): Stand down of only 2 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.
- Progress MS-27M (2015): Stand down of only 2.5 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.
- Progress MS (2016): Stand down of only 2.5 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.
- Soyuz MS-10 (2018): Stand down of barely 1.5 months between launch failure and resumption of flight.

Even the spectacular failure of Soyuz T10A in 1983, which resulted in the only real-life pad abort in history, had only limited impact: stand down of 5.5 months between the on-pad explosion and resumption of flight.
Stand downs of 2 years and longer are a US problem. NASA made the mistake of projecting a NASA metric on the Russian spaceflight program.

everything Im seeing in the OIG report indicates all this gap analysis and payments happened prior to the Soyuz abort...I dont see how it led to the "concern" noted.  Further, surely you dont believe NASA has no idea about how the Russians handle an RTF or the robustness of their systems.  Youre throwing them under the bus for the wrong reasons
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Kansan52 on 11/18/2019 04:28 pm
"-- Boeing started development much later but attempted to achieve the same schedule, which is a more expensive development approach."

I disagree with this strongly. They had worked on capsules for the Orion program and the Bigelow program. If anything, they had already started Starliner before Commercial Crew began.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/18/2019 04:29 pm
Boeing are consistent in saying that one parachute failing to deploy on the recent abort test is not a parachute failure ...

https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1196475981357338625

Quote
Boeing senior VP Jim Chilton, in an email to employees, says SpaceX "has not achieved the same level of success" as Boeing's Starliner astronaut system.

Attached Boeing comment about SpaceX’s parachute issues from:

https://twitter.com/wapodavenport/status/1196475220674170880

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: whitelancer64 on 11/18/2019 05:00 pm
Quote
-- Boeing will fly the equivalent of a fifth passenger in cargo for NASA, so the per-seat pricing should be considered based on five seats rather than four.

I literally LOL'd.

Both providers have removed seats to accommodate cargo, so this would apply equally well to SpaceX.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/18/2019 05:31 pm


How so? Recent Russian safety system saved the crew. And it was present, at the moment needed. Unlike a couple Shuttle safety systems, that did not even exist, at the moment needed.

Safety is more then just systems, it is the SYSTEM in which the machines are operated in

Soviet/Russian systems are robust due to 1) their maturity and 2) their reliance on mostly mechanical/electrical systems with little reliance on software :) and 3) backup systems or abort systems that are similar in nature to 1 and 2.

what is weak in the Russian space program and Russian life in general (with some exceptions) is a system in which failures are analyzed past the failure itself and the process changed accordingly.  an example. 

1.  hole drilled in wrong place, 2) no mention of hole drilled in wrong place, 3) hole patch breaks, 4) problem occurs 5) fix problem, 6 find person who drilled hole in wrong place 7) replace person

end of process

There is no real effort to find out "why" the person drilled hole in wrong place.  Was it 1) training, 2) fatigue, 4) process or 5) a personal human factor (booze, sloth whatever)

Until proven otherwise most safety analysis starts with the basic assumption that the person did not intend to make the mistake but somehow events lead them to it...(the anyone could have made this mistake theory) and if that event or what we call error chain, is not corrected it could happen in that or some other form again.  The Russian space agency, at least when I was tied in with them and based on what I hear from my friends at JSC is not very good at that.

This is a function of culture in that "side" of the world.  From Russia down through Pakistan, India, across to China (but not so much in Japan which is very western in that way) its common.

It was common iin NASA during the shuttle era and was responsible for 14 deaths.  It was not the systems failure that killed people...it was the system in which the systems were operated, that did it.  It was a system where error was detected in both people and mechanical things...and the system would not allow questions to be raised as to why the error was occurring or its consequences.  Today we call this CRM, crew resource management...And I think it is one reason that NASA is like they are about commercial crew. 

They have seen this error chain on both operators and are concerned how both operators are responding to it.  The only really good example of commercial ops that you can see, right now at least, good CRM is over at Virgin.  They took the crash to heart. 

When Vladimir P decided that Aeroflot was going to be a profit center and appeal to western cash part of the transformation was bringing in heavy Boeing and Airbus talent.  They hired one of the best safety guys iin the US, away from Boeing and gave him more or  less carte blanche to completely reshape the safety system there...and today it is one of the best in the world.  its unique in Russia

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/18/2019 05:34 pm
Boeing are consistent in saying that one parachute failing to deploy on the recent abort test is not a parachute failure ...

https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1196475981357338625

Quote
Boeing senior VP Jim Chilton, in an email to employees, says SpaceX "has not achieved the same level of success" as Boeing's Starliner astronaut system.

Attached Boeing comment about SpaceX’s parachute issues from:

https://twitter.com/wapodavenport/status/1196475220674170880

in my view both are correct.  Boeing has never on a corporate level considered quitting Commercial crew.  I would like to see what proof there is for the opposite opinion. 

  As for the issue with the chutes...from a safety standpoint they are correct. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/18/2019 05:45 pm
twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1196498396359598080

Quote
NASA said it would conduct an "invasive" safety review of SpaceX and Boeing last year.

SpaceX asked NASA to cover $5 million in costs.
Boeing asked NASA to cover $25 million.

NASA balked at Boeing's cost and went with "a far more limited paper audit:"

https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1196498757854076928

Quote
@wapodavenport reports that "NASA officials were more concerned about SpaceX," with one official saying “Boeing didn’t do anything to trigger a deeper dive."
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 11/18/2019 08:30 pm
"We never had a parachute test failure".

Forgetting to pin one of your chutes on a test has exactly the same result as a chute or line failing. I don't care what you call it.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/18/2019 08:33 pm
"We never had a parachute test failure".

Forgetting to pin one of your chutes on a test has exactly the same result as a chute or line failing. I don't care what you call it.

in the short term (the chute did not deploy) yes, in the long term no.  a parachute failure would require some understanding of why it failed, if it is design or manufacturing flaw extensive rework and more testing. 

this requires neither. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: dlapine on 11/18/2019 08:56 pm
"We never had a parachute test failure".

Forgetting to pin one of your chutes on a test has exactly the same result as a chute or line failing. I don't care what you call it.

in the short term (the chute did not deploy) yes, in the long term no.  a parachute failure would require some understanding of why it failed, if it is design or manufacturing flaw extensive rework and more testing. 

this requires neither.

You are correct in that it is neither of those, but it a process failure, and the amount of investigation into that has been, um, cursory. At least as to what was reported, and how quickly it was resolved.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: whitelancer64 on 11/18/2019 09:10 pm
"We never had a parachute test failure".

Forgetting to pin one of your chutes on a test has exactly the same result as a chute or line failing. I don't care what you call it.

in the short term (the chute did not deploy) yes, in the long term no.  a parachute failure would require some understanding of why it failed, if it is design or manufacturing flaw extensive rework and more testing. 

this requires neither.

You are correct in that it is neither of those, but it a process failure, and the amount of investigation into that has been, um, cursory. At least as to what was reported, and how quickly it was resolved.

How much investigation do you think it takes to confirm that a pin was not correctly inserted into a loop? It's not exactly a complex problem.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TripleSeven on 11/18/2019 10:33 pm
"We never had a parachute test failure".

Forgetting to pin one of your chutes on a test has exactly the same result as a chute or line failing. I don't care what you call it.

in the short term (the chute did not deploy) yes, in the long term no.  a parachute failure would require some understanding of why it failed, if it is design or manufacturing flaw extensive rework and more testing. 

this requires neither.

You are correct in that it is neither of those, but it a process failure, and the amount of investigation into that has been, um, cursory. At least as to what was reported, and how quickly it was resolved.

Cursory "adjective: cursory

    hasty and therefore not thorough or detail

do you have any evidence of that?  quick does not imply hasty, non thorough or in detail. 

what "quick" would imply is "simple"  ie that the error chain was short and the solution to the process "fix" was relatively easy to come by.  I could name several serious process issues that were solved in minutes in fields from open heart surgery to reactor maintenance to flying to...my five year old daughter not forgetting her cell phone

this is particularly easy to do when there is video evidence of procedures, people are honest about what happened and the safety people are pretty good  No one was fired so ....

the trick then is that you want to go through and see if there are any similar process error possibilities but that is something the safety office completed "at the office".  I bet you the igniter issue for SpaceX took about the same time...

I am told that Virgin after their accident found 9 things and corrected process that were similar to the wing unlocking process...I doubt there are many here.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Wargrim on 11/19/2019 09:44 am
Boeing is working really hard to make their business and communication attitude look bad, when their (Commercial Crew Space) - tech mostly looks solid.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Tulse on 11/19/2019 02:02 pm
How much investigation do you think it takes to confirm that a pin was not correctly inserted into a loop? It's not exactly a complex problem.
Arguably the simplicity of the mistake makes it much more disturbing that it happened.  Failure to be able to predict complex parachute interactions is, to me at least, far more understandable than processes that don't ensure a critical pin is inserted correctly. It suggests a culture of practice that is not particularly detail-oriented, and I certainly would have preferred to hear more about this than just "eh, no biggie, we'll ensure that that one particularly thing is looked after more closely in future".
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 11/19/2019 03:54 pm
There has been more than enough discussion on the Boeing parachute issue on the pad abort already.  Nothing new is being added at this point.  Give it a rest.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Comga on 11/19/2019 04:35 pm
"We never had a parachute test failure".

Forgetting to pin one of your chutes on a test has exactly the same result as a chute or line failing. I don't care what you call it.

in the short term (the chute did not deploy) yes, in the long term no.  a parachute failure would require some understanding of why it failed, if it is design or manufacturing flaw extensive rework and more testing. 

this requires neither.

You are correct in that it is neither of those, but it a process failure, and the amount of investigation into that has been, um, cursory. At least as to what was reported, and how quickly it was resolved.

How much investigation do you think it takes to confirm that a pin was not correctly inserted into a loop? It's not exactly a complex problem.

This response is inconsistent with your previous, well written post about the failure of “the system of systems”.

“Don’t forget any of the three pins.” doesn’t cover why a relatively simple step, which must be captured in a procedure, can be skipped without being caught.  Is someone coming back from a bathroom break and just initialing a bunch of steps that may or may not have happened?  Are steps being combined so that someone has to keep count in his or her head?  If this step got skipped, which others are vulnerable to a similar lack of checking?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 11/19/2019 04:55 pm
Seriously.  You can go back a few days and find this exact same conversation, probably by the same people.  Enough already.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: RoboGoofers on 11/19/2019 04:59 pm
"-- Boeing started development much later but attempted to achieve the same schedule, which is a more expensive development approach."

I disagree with this strongly. They had worked on capsules for the Orion program and the Bigelow program. If anything, they had already started Starliner before Commercial Crew began.
SpaceX developed Dragon for CRS but also invested a lot of its own money. saying Boeing should be paid more because it wouldn't invest any of its own money on development is like showing up for a test you haven't studied for and then saying you should get extra points because everyone else studied.

Maybe their argument would make sense to bring new entrants into the market, but this is the market leader who is also saying that their experience merits a bonus, and that their experience shows they can meet the schedule.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: cebri on 11/20/2019 10:00 am
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/11/18/boeing-faced-only-limited-safety-review-nasa-while-spacex-got-full-examination/

25 million for performing an audit. How is it possible that the cost of the audit hasn't been defined in the contract? Can they ask for any number they want?

Imagine if Spacex had asked for 50 million.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Science on 12/21/2019 06:55 am
Dragon had her incident and now Starliner is in the midst of her off-nominal flight. In about  24 hours or so we'll find out her fate. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I wish we had a down-select to three with Dream Chaser. Some will stumble and some will fall, "space is a harsh mistress"... Good luck to all the teams.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ugordan on 12/21/2019 09:41 am
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I wish we had a down-select to three with Dream Chaser.

I don't think you'll find anyone on this site who wouldn't have liked the idea of 3 providers, unfortunately the reality is that all 3 would then have been underfunded even more and likely neither of them would have been even close to flying today.

Not that it would guarantee that Dream Chaser wouldn't run into its own set of issues in flight...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Science on 12/21/2019 03:31 pm
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I wish we had a down-select to three with Dream Chaser.

I don't think you'll find anyone on this site who wouldn't have liked the idea of 3 providers, unfortunately the reality is that all 3 would then have been underfunded even more and likely neither of them would have been even close to flying today.

Not that it would guarantee that Dream Chaser wouldn't run into its own set of issues in flight...
The sad part is that money suddenly becomes available and is spent when "those with the purse" feel like it. Three different vehicles "might of spread the risk"...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 12/21/2019 03:42 pm
...or maybe SNC wins a contract, but loses a vehicle in an accident and can't fund to replace it.  (They were planning on building only two vehicles IIRC).  Or more likely, they have similar issues and have to deal with them but push through to eventual success.

I know SNC is a favorite sacred cow of some folks around here, and I would have liked to see them have a shot at the brass ring myself, but imaging SNC sails smoothly through all of the obstacles the chosen providers have had to deal with is fanciful in my mind.  It's far more likely they too would have had problems along the way.  I agree that a downselect to three would have been a mistake.

I'd prefer to at this point look forward to their cargo vehicle and see how that goes, and hope the two selected Commercial Crew providers can work through their issues and safely return astros to space using US vehicles.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Science on 12/21/2019 03:47 pm
Just make DC the first spacecraft in the new "Space force" and watch it get funded IMHO...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Science on 12/21/2019 03:49 pm
...or maybe SNC wins a contract, but loses a vehicle in an accident and can't fund to replace it.  (They were planning on building only two vehicles IIRC).  Or more likely, they have similar issues and have to deal with them but push through to eventual success.

I know SNC is a favorite sacred cow of some folks around here, and I would have liked to see them have a shot at the brass ring myself, but imaging SNC sails smoothly through all of the obstacles the chosen providers have had to deal with is fanciful in my mind.  It's far more likely they too would have had problems along the way.  I agree that a downselect to three would have been a mistake.

I'd prefer to at this point look forward to their cargo vehicle and see how that goes, and hope the two selected Commercial Crew providers can work through their issues and safely return astros to space using US vehicles.
"Every vehicle will have its development issues" which is why always I believed in spreading the risk especially in the new industry of commercial spaceflight...I stated years ago with the down-select to two that we would end up buying more seats on Soyuz and sometimes I just hate being proven right...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 12/21/2019 08:07 pm
I just hate being proven right...
Luckily for you, you weren't proven right.  You have absolutely no proof that the downselect to two providers is why we are where we are today.  Downselecting to three providers very well might have us further behind the eight ball.

In any case, everyone has opinions, I'm done expressing mine.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Science on 12/21/2019 08:23 pm
I just hate being proven right...
Luckily for you, you weren't proven right.  You have absolutely no proof that the downselect to two providers is why we are where we are today.  Downselecting to three providers very well might have us further behind the eight ball.

In any case, everyone has opinions, I'm done expressing mine.
So you don't believe in spreading risk, that's fine...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 12/21/2019 08:28 pm
Follow-up in today’s Starliner OFT conference call, relating to OIG claim that Boeing said they’d pull out of CC without more funding:

https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1208477098786074624

Quote
I asked Jim Chilton if Boeing would reconsider its participation in commercial crew if NASA requires a second uncrewed test flight, and if Boeing has to pay for it. Reply: "We're in. Simple as that."

My sense is if the landing goes well, NASA is leaning against a second test.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 12/21/2019 09:00 pm
I just hate being proven right...
Luckily for you, you weren't proven right.  You have absolutely no proof that the downselect to two providers is why we are where we are today.  Downselecting to three providers very well might have us further behind the eight ball.

In any case, everyone has opinions, I'm done expressing mine.
So you don't believe in spreading risk, that's fine...
I just hate being proven right...
Luckily for you, you weren't proven right.  You have absolutely no proof that the downselect to two providers is why we are where we are today.  Downselecting to three providers very well might have us further behind the eight ball.

In any case, everyone has opinions, I'm done expressing mine.
If it was three, then they would all receive less annual funding, slowing development down. Two is enough to provide reliable crew service to ISS and there is still Soyzu giving 3rd option.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/22/2019 12:46 am
Seriously.  You can go back a few days and find this exact same conversation, probably by the same people.  Enough already.

All heed this. Had some other mods saying there's problem people on here. Don't make me come back here with "the big stick". ;)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Science on 12/22/2019 05:26 am
I just hate being proven right...
Luckily for you, you weren't proven right.  You have absolutely no proof that the downselect to two providers is why we are where we are today.  Downselecting to three providers very well might have us further behind the eight ball.

In any case, everyone has opinions, I'm done expressing mine.
So you don't believe in spreading risk, that's fine...
I just hate being proven right...
Luckily for you, you weren't proven right.  You have absolutely no proof that the downselect to two providers is why we are where we are today.  Downselecting to three providers very well might have us further behind the eight ball.

In any case, everyone has opinions, I'm done expressing mine.
If it was three, then they would all receive less annual funding, slowing development down. Two is enough to provide reliable crew service to ISS and there is still Soyzu giving 3rd option.
Ok, so my post got deleted which is fine. "As of July 2019, NASA had purchased 70 Soyuz seats worth $3.9 billion to ferry 70 U.S. and partner astronauts to and from the Station." I would have rather see US tax dollars, subsidizing American industry and creating American jobs. So money magically appears... Soyuz is not part of the Commercial Crew program and does not meet crew safety requirements as written. Not looking to argue but facts are facts.
https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-20-005.pdf

Mods: feel free to delete but read the report...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rik ISS-fan on 12/22/2019 12:53 pm
Pease people calm down a litle.
I agree that risks have been spread by selecting two providers. Both required over 2e9 dollar to develop a human launch capability. Ideologically risks could have been spread further by funding the third, but there is a available budget that has to be considered.
Rocket Science states that 70 Soyuz seats have cost the USA 3,9 billion. Didn't the full develoment of Starliner cost roughly the same?
I expect the full development of SNC DreamChacer would also have cost >3 Billion.
So the total cost to develop two commercial crew resupply vehicles is more, than the total cost of all the seats flown on soyuz in 2011-2019. I even expect that when NASA would have continued buying soyuz seats for 2020-2024 (40x 75mln = 3billion) would have saved a lot of US tax dollars.

But indeed these investments have been made in the US. Thus a lot of it returns to US taxes. These investments have a multiplier effect. There is high quality employment. It betters the technological outlook of the USA.
And possibly it enables crewed flight.

Now lets look back at 2011 at the decicion to retire the Space Shuttles, develop Orion and two ARES Launch vehicles and do the commercial cargo development.
AFAIK the cost to us taxpayers of all beyond LEO human launch capabilities is well over 20 billion in the 2011-2019 period. (ARES, Orion, SLS)
There was also the shuttle Direct concept that would have involved several more shuttle flights to bridge the development time for the Direct launch vehicle.
There were also back than concepts to use EELV launchers to launch orion.

AFAIK, the commercial crew program was introduced becouse the cargo program was so succesfull and the Orion couldn't be developed in time for ISS resupply. Considering all, the Commercial crew program is still going very well if you compare it to other NASA projects.

I think the road SpaceX followed is about the best to develop a crew launch capability.
First develop a launcher and cargo supply and return capability. Perform 10 to 20 cargo resupply missions. After five, start the development of crew launch vehicle out of the cargo vehicle.

I hope SNC Dreamchacer can  follow this path as well.
The Boeing Starliner (and Orion SLS) approach is fast, directly to manned orbital. But therefore with high risk. To tackle that, it costs quite a lot.
Do others share the thought that ~300mln for a second uncrewed Starliner launch is well worth the risk reduction that comes with two succesfull launches and landings of the crew vehicle?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 12/22/2019 11:32 pm
Wow

https://twitter.com/rdanglephoto/status/1208890495176495105

Quote
Dragon x Starliner. Space is for everyone. #SpaceX #Falcon9 #Dragon #ULALaunch #AtlasV #Starliner
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: su27k on 12/23/2019 04:16 am
Henry Vanderbilt made an excellent point on nasawatch (http://disq.us/p/269w8dr):

Quote
There's been a lot of focus on Boeing's cultural problems over the last couple days, but I think we may be missing a more fundamental issue here.

I think it's fair to say that the NASA-supervised development process in Commercial Crew has intentionally applied large amounts of time and money and manpower and paperwork to the goal of getting every nitpicking detail right the first time. It's the established NASA way.

As opposed to the old "Right Stuff" era model of fly early, see what breaks, fix it and fly again, rinse & repeat - historically, producing far more rapid progress at far lower cost (along with occasional spectacular blowups.)

So, tell me again what we gained here for spending those extra years and billions on attempting to make Commercial Crew first-flight perfect, rather than continuing the older faster looser development model from COTS (as some of us vehemently argued for)?

I think the recent issues (not just OFT, but the parachute issue in pad abort too) shows serious deficiency in NASA's oversight/insight process on Commercial Crew, at least on Boeing side. Boeing's problems are fairly simple to catch, so why didn't NASA catch them?

The stated reason for NASA using FAR in CCtCAP, which led to schedule delays and higher cost (had to be covered by providers themselves), is that they needed more assurance on crewed missions, but this latest string of anomalies shows this line of reasoning is broken. It seems to me we'd be better of if they use SAA instead and trade more paperwork for more flight testing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 12/23/2019 02:09 pm
Henry Vanderbilt made an excellent point on nasawatch (http://disq.us/p/269w8dr):

Quote
There's been a lot of focus on Boeing's cultural problems over the last couple days, but I think we may be missing a more fundamental issue here.

I think it's fair to say that the NASA-supervised development process in Commercial Crew has intentionally applied large amounts of time and money and manpower and paperwork to the goal of getting every nitpicking detail right the first time. It's the established NASA way.

As opposed to the old "Right Stuff" era model of fly early, see what breaks, fix it and fly again, rinse & repeat - historically, producing far more rapid progress at far lower cost (along with occasional spectacular blowups.)

So, tell me again what we gained here for spending those extra years and billions on attempting to make Commercial Crew first-flight perfect, rather than continuing the older faster looser development model from COTS (as some of us vehemently argued for)?

I think the recent issues (not just OFT, but the parachute issue in pad abort too) shows serious deficiency in NASA's oversight/insight process on Commercial Crew, at least on Boeing side. Boeing's problems are fairly simple to catch, so why didn't NASA catch them?

The stated reason for NASA using FAR in CCtCAP, which led to schedule delays and higher cost (had to be covered by providers themselves), is that they needed more assurance on crewed missions, but this latest string of anomalies shows this line of reasoning is broken. It seems to me we'd be better of if they use SAA instead and trade more paperwork for more flight testing.

The old "Right Stuff" model was not low cost.  It was fast because the government was throwing lots of money at it, the vehicles were simpler, safety standards were looser.  Commercial Crew followed the same contracting structure as the cargo program, SAA's followed by FAR contracts.

edit:  also, Boeing's problems have not been "simple to catch" by the customer.  It's Boeing personnel that should have caught them.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 12/23/2019 04:32 pm
Henry Vanderbilt made an excellent point on nasawatch (http://disq.us/p/269w8dr):

Quote
There's been a lot of focus on Boeing's cultural problems over the last couple days, but I think we may be missing a more fundamental issue here.

I think it's fair to say that the NASA-supervised development process in Commercial Crew has intentionally applied large amounts of time and money and manpower and paperwork to the goal of getting every nitpicking detail right the first time. It's the established NASA way.

As opposed to the old "Right Stuff" era model of fly early, see what breaks, fix it and fly again, rinse & repeat - historically, producing far more rapid progress at far lower cost (along with occasional spectacular blowups.)

So, tell me again what we gained here for spending those extra years and billions on attempting to make Commercial Crew first-flight perfect, rather than continuing the older faster looser development model from COTS (as some of us vehemently argued for)?

I think the recent issues (not just OFT, but the parachute issue in pad abort too) shows serious deficiency in NASA's oversight/insight process on Commercial Crew, at least on Boeing side. Boeing's problems are fairly simple to catch, so why didn't NASA catch them?

The stated reason for NASA using FAR in CCtCAP, which led to schedule delays and higher cost (had to be covered by providers themselves), is that they needed more assurance on crewed missions, but this latest string of anomalies shows this line of reasoning is broken. It seems to me we'd be better of if they use SAA instead and trade more paperwork for more flight testing.

The old "Right Stuff" model was not low cost.  It was fast because the government was throwing lots of money at it, the vehicles were simpler, safety standards were looser.  Commercial Crew followed the same contracting structure as the cargo program, SAA's followed by FAR contracts.

edit:  also, Boeing's problems have not been "simple to catch" by the customer.  It's Boeing personnel that should have caught them.

Emphasis mine.

Not correct. COTS was all SAA and contained all demonstration missions of Dragon and Cygnus. Only the operational CRS is FAR based.
CCP on the other hand was all SAA up to and including CCiCAP, but no demonstration missions. All CCP demo missions are part of FAR based CCtCAP.
And that is a major difference.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 12/23/2019 05:28 pm
The FAR contracts were awarded before the demo missions flew, so I'm not seeing that big of a difference.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 12/23/2019 06:40 pm
The FAR contracts were awarded before the demo missions flew, so I'm not seeing that big of a difference.

The difference is the demo missions being performed under SAA for COTS, which provided a very substantial amount of flexibility. The CCP demo missions are under FAR contracting, which is much more intrusive in nature.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: MakeItSo on 12/24/2019 03:47 pm
The after landing news conference left me baffled.  A reporter finally asked an intelligent question & to his credit Jim Chilton answered.   The clock was off by 11 hours!!! Now as a professional software engineer I'm just aghast that their autonomous navigation program didn't check any sensors (GPS for altitude, inertial measurement,  etc) before blindly firing it's attitude control thrusters? When something occurs such as orbital insertion burn, a success or failure flag isn't set that can be checked? 

Sorry there is much bigger concern here of the software than that it just got the wrong time from the Atlas.  This is supposed to be an autonomous system.  You can't simply rely on one thing, the clock, as input.  Can you imagine a self driving car relying only on the dashboard clock?  Much of the Boeing software design staff and software QA team should be fired.  At least their management should be.

And where were all the NASA civil servants when they did the design reviews?  Obviously they didn't have the experience to ask the correct questions. 

And none of this was caught in any of the simulations!  So are we to trust the simulation of the in flight abort?  NASA should definitely insist on a IFA test.  Especially with it occurring while the solid rocket boosters are still firing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 12/24/2019 04:21 pm
The after landing news conference left me baffled.  A reporter finally asked an intelligent question & to his credit Jim Chilton answered.   The clock was off by 11 hours!!! Now as a professional software engineer I'm just aghast that their autonomous navigation program didn't check any sensors (GPS for altitude, inertial measurement,  etc) before blindly firing it's attitude control thrusters? When something occurs such as orbital insertion burn, a success or failure flag isn't set that can be checked? 

Sorry there is much bigger concern here of the software than that it just got the wrong time from the Atlas.  This is supposed to be an autonomous system.  You can't simply rely on one thing, the clock, as input.  Can you imagine a self driving car relying only on the dashboard clock?  Much of the Boeing software design staff and software QA team should be fired.  At least their management should be.

And where were all the NASA civil servants when they did the design reviews?  Obviously they didn't have the experience to ask the correct questions. 

And none of this was caught in any of the simulations!  So are we to trust the simulation of the in flight abort?  NASA should definitely insist on a IFA test.  Especially with it occurring while the solid rocket boosters are still firing.

Welcome to the forum.

Hate to disappoint you but none of what you think should happen will happen.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 12/24/2019 10:55 pm
Much of the Boeing software design staff and software QA team should be fired.  At least their management should be.

That is absolutely the wrong thing to do and could lead to a worse outcome since the new team could make even more mistakes. The people who wrote and managed the software will have learned a lot more than if the mission had gone perfectly, and will be stronger for it.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: docmordrid on 12/25/2019 04:43 am
The after landing news conference left me baffled.  A reporter finally asked an intelligent question & to his credit Jim Chilton answered.   The clock was off by 11 hours!!! Now as a professional software engineer I'm just aghast that their autonomous navigation program didn't check any sensors (GPS for altitude, inertial measurement,  etc) before blindly firing it's attitude control thrusters? When something occurs such as orbital insertion burn, a success or failure flag isn't set that can be checked? 
>

Sounds like they were preparing to power up Atlas V at T-11:20.  Did Starliner read power up instead of launch time?

SpaceFlightNow... (https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/12/19/ulas-launch-team-to-employ-extended-atlas-5-countdown-for-starliner-missions/)

Quote
The Atlas 5 countdown typically lasts nearly seven hours for a satellite launch. For Starliner’s Orbital Flight Test, , which will head to the International Space Station on an unpiloted shakedown mission, the countdown will run 11 hours, 20 minutes.

The countdown is set to commence at 7:16 p.m. EST Thursday (0016 GMT Friday), when teams in the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center at Cape Canaveral will begin procedures to power up the launch vehicle and conduct propulsion and guidance, navigation and control system checkouts.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: savantu on 12/25/2019 11:35 am
Much of the Boeing software design staff and software QA team should be fired.  At least their management should be.

That is absolutely the wrong thing to do and could lead to a worse outcome since the new team could make even more mistakes. The people who wrote and managed the software will have learned a lot more than if the mission had gone perfectly, and will be stronger for it.

It doesn't work like that in the real world. There is a saying about the old dog and new tricks and it also applies to us, humans. There is a point where you need to reshuffle the team so questions like " Why " are flying again and critical thinking is employed. The Boeing team SW design and implementation is so poor, that just getting them a new boss will not repair the architecture& implementation errors. Their sufficiency and boredom/lack of involvement lead to this failure. Not management.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 12/25/2019 12:05 pm
Much of the Boeing software design staff and software QA team should be fired.  At least their management should be.

That is absolutely the wrong thing to do and could lead to a worse outcome since the new team could make even more mistakes. The people who wrote and managed the software will have learned a lot more than if the mission had gone perfectly, and will be stronger for it.

I disagree with you here Steven. Teams don't automatically learn from their mistakes. I've seen that happen numerous times over the past two decades. The Boeing SW team is NOT going to automatically learn from this mishap. Nor will they be automatically stronger because of the mishap.
It will require significant effort and willingness from both the team members and their management to learn the lessons that need to be learned. Only then can the team become stronger.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: LastWyzard on 12/25/2019 01:08 pm
Much of the Boeing software design staff and software QA team should be fired.  At least their management should be.

That is absolutely the wrong thing to do and could lead to a worse outcome since the new team could make even more mistakes. The people who wrote and managed the software will have learned a lot more than if the mission had gone perfectly, and will be stronger for it.

I disagree with you here Steven. Teams don't automatically learn from their mistakes. I've seen that happen numerous times over the past two decades. The Boeing SW team is NOT going to automatically learn from this mishap. Nor will they be automatically stronger because of the mishap.
It will require significant effort and willingness from both the team members and their management to learn the lessons that need to be learned. Only then can the team become stronger.


It seems like this might require an organizational change.  Several years ago we had a big push to outsource SW with little success, the results were poor to say the least.  The SW developers never really seemed to "own" the final product.  The solution was to embed SW teams into the product development groups.  The SW developers became much more familiar with the final product and understood how the SW was to be integrated into the product and how it was to be used.  Also, in an open office environment it was much easier to turn to a product developer and ask for clarification on a spec issue.  It was more expensive compared to outsourcing but the quality improvement was dramatic.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Eric Hedman on 12/25/2019 03:28 pm
Much of the Boeing software design staff and software QA team should be fired.  At least their management should be.

That is absolutely the wrong thing to do and could lead to a worse outcome since the new team could make even more mistakes. The people who wrote and managed the software will have learned a lot more than if the mission had gone perfectly, and will be stronger for it.
We still don't know enough details on what went wrong.  In addition to resolving this bug, we don't know if the fundamental design of the software is any good.  If this was a one off problem, replacing the staff is a mistake.  If the software is unsound, wholesale replacement of people is called for.  In my close to forty years of working in software development, I haven't seen incompetent people or teams learn much from mistakes.  They usually go from one struggling project to the next.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: lonestriker on 12/25/2019 03:44 pm
Much of the Boeing software design staff and software QA team should be fired.  At least their management should be.

That is absolutely the wrong thing to do and could lead to a worse outcome since the new team could make even more mistakes. The people who wrote and managed the software will have learned a lot more than if the mission had gone perfectly, and will be stronger for it.

I disagree with you here Steven. Teams don't automatically learn from their mistakes. I've seen that happen numerous times over the past two decades. The Boeing SW team is NOT going to automatically learn from this mishap. Nor will they be automatically stronger because of the mishap.
It will require significant effort and willingness from both the team members and their management to learn the lessons that need to be learned. Only then can the team become stronger.

I'll have to agree with woods here. Having been a software engineer for more than 25 years (jeez, I've never actually put that down on paper before, so I'm officially older than dirt), from an outside observer, Boeing's development environment, development methodologies, unit/integration testing, code review, and QA certification would have to be abysmally insufficient to allow such a bug to get all the way through to launch.  Whether it's old school waterfall design or more agile continuous integration/continuous deployment, any process with any sort of rigor should catch these types of "bugs" (the quotes are because it's not a bug in software but in their software development practices.)  The issue isn't that a single bug got through.  The issue is that a single bug should never have the ability to cause such a catastrophic failure.  They were lucky that the manifestation of the bug was relatively benign (just wasting propellant) and not something more disastrous with crew on board.

The Boeing software engineers may be incapable of fixing the underlying issues.  That sort of wide-scale change requires a fundamental redesign of their approach to developing software.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: JonathanD on 12/25/2019 06:34 pm
I think it's premature to turn this into the Spanish Inquisition, at least until the root cause is definitively identified, which in this case *should* be relatively straight-forward given they have the spacecraft and all the logs.  Those working in this program are real people who have proudly dedicated their careers to this work, and I think it is inappropriate to infer they are incompetent or unqualified until we have more information (assuming it is shared).  An investigation should be patient, professional, and thorough, identifying root cause as well as any other problem points and also exonerating those who did their job perfectly and were not involved.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/25/2019 07:21 pm
Sure, this problem happened in a software system, not a hardware one. But that doesn't mean it was bad software. My guess is that the system design is lacking redundancy.

Here we have this big vehicle that is filled with computers, and the only place they can get the mission time information from is the launch vehicle? Really? Who thought that system design up?

It seems like NASA has always been known for having backups on backups, with no single points of failure allowed except in unique circumstances, and they have insisted on the same from their crew providers. Look at how much time and effort they have put into parachutes!

Here we have the failure of a mission due to a (we presume) single wrong clock - WITH NO BACKUP!

That to me is not a software bug, it's a design failure. And while it would be easy to fire the people who did the detailed work, chances are they were following management guidance for the design of the vehicle, so I suggest we all focus our attention on Boeing management, not the workers.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Mondagun on 12/25/2019 07:55 pm
Sure, this problem happened in a software system, not a hardware one. But that doesn't mean it was bad software. My guess is that the system design is lacking redundancy.

Here we have this big vehicle that is filled with computers, and the only place they can get the mission time information from is the launch vehicle? Really? Who thought that system design up?

It seems like NASA has always been known for having backups on backups, with no single points of failure allowed except in unique circumstances, and they have insisted on the same from their crew providers. Look at how much time and effort they have put into parachutes!

Here we have the failure of a mission due to a (we presume) single wrong clock - WITH NO BACKUP!

That to me is not a software bug, it's a design failure. And while it would be easy to fire the people who did the detailed work, chances are they were following management guidance for the design of the vehicle, so I suggest we all focus our attention on Boeing management, not the workers.
Exactly this. To quote one of Akin's 'laws' of spacecraft design (https://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/akins_laws.html):
To design a spacecraft right takes an infinite amount of effort. This is why it's a good idea to design them to operate when some things are wrong.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Ike17055 on 12/28/2019 12:47 pm
it requires no particular level of genius to predict that development might take longer than publicly acknowledged.  Dream Chaser was even further behind conceptually than the others, and would likely have had an even more difficult evolution. They hadn't even picked the engines and fuel yet at the time of contract awards...and the unknowns would likely be plentiful.  THe approach of going with a capsule centered strategy seemed to offer the best chance of a reasonably timely development cycle.  Nobody would be flying yet if we did a downselect to three.


...or maybe SNC wins a contract, but loses a vehicle in an accident and can't fund to replace it.  (They were planning on building only two vehicles IIRC).  Or more likely, they have similar issues and have to deal with them but push through to eventual success.

I know SNC is a favorite sacred cow of some folks around here, and I would have liked to see them have a shot at the brass ring myself, but imaging SNC sails smoothly through all of the obstacles the chosen providers have had to deal with is fanciful in my mind.  It's far more likely they too would have had problems along the way.  I agree that a downselect to three would have been a mistake.

I'd prefer to at this point look forward to their cargo vehicle and see how that goes, and hope the two selected Commercial Crew providers can work through their issues and safely return astros to space using US vehicles.
"Every vehicle will have its development issues" which is why always I believed in spreading the risk especially in the new industry of commercial spaceflight...I stated years ago with the down-select to two that we would end up buying more seats on Soyuz and sometimes I just hate being proven right...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Ike17055 on 12/28/2019 01:00 pm

achievable through other means. you cannot lose the base experience inputs without new consequences.  THAT is "the real world." what you are advocating is the "Soviet approach".

Much of the Boeing software design staff and software QA team should be fired.  At least their management should be.

That is absolutely the wrong thing to do and could lead to a worse outcome since the new team could make even more mistakes. The people who wrote and managed the software will have learned a lot more than if the mission had gone perfectly, and will be stronger for it.

It doesn't work like that in the real world. There is a saying about the old dog and new tricks and it also applies to us, humans. There is a point where you need to reshuffle the team so questions like " Why " are flying again and critical thinking is employed. The Boeing team SW design and implementation is so poor, that just getting them a new boss will not repair the architecture& implementation errors. Their sufficiency and boredom/lack of involvement lead to this failure. Not management.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mme on 12/28/2019 09:29 pm
Much of the Boeing software design staff and software QA team should be fired.  At least their management should be.

That is absolutely the wrong thing to do and could lead to a worse outcome since the new team could make even more mistakes. The people who wrote and managed the software will have learned a lot more than if the mission had gone perfectly, and will be stronger for it.

It doesn't work like that in the real world. There is a saying about the old dog and new tricks and it also applies to us, humans. There is a point where you need to reshuffle the team so questions like " Why " are flying again and critical thinking is employed. The Boeing team SW design and implementation is so poor, that just getting them a new boss will not repair the architecture& implementation errors. Their sufficiency and boredom/lack of involvement lead to this failure. Not management.
That's a lot of assuming - as is most of this thread. This was a really embarrassing outcome but we don't know why it happened. Before we assume everyone on the Boeing software team is an idiot maybe we should see if they figure out what the underlying cause was.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Comga on 12/30/2019 06:20 pm
Much of the Boeing software design staff and software QA team should be fired.  At least their management should be.

That is absolutely the wrong thing to do and could lead to a worse outcome since the new team could make even more mistakes. The people who wrote and managed the software will have learned a lot more than if the mission had gone perfectly, and will be stronger for it.

It doesn't work like that in the real world. There is a saying about the old dog and new tricks and it also applies to us, humans. There is a point where you need to reshuffle the team so questions like " Why " are flying again and critical thinking is employed. The Boeing team SW design and implementation is so poor, that just getting them a new boss will not repair the architecture& implementation errors. Their sufficiency and boredom/lack of involvement lead to this failure. Not management.
That's a lot of assuming - as is most of this thread. This was a really embarrassing outcome but we don't know why it happened. Before we assume everyone on the Boeing software team is an idiot maybe we should see if they figure out what the underlying cause was.

No one is saying that they are all idiots.
Almost everyone may have done the task they were assigned with care and integrity.

But somewhere up in the hierarchy, several people seem to have messed up seriously, we can assume.

The architecture seems fragile, that “one line of code” done wrong could disrupt the mission and nearly cause an uncontrolled reentry. Then the testing didn’t find the immediate problem or the system fragility.

It’s way more than “embarrassing”. It’s extremely concerning IMO. If they didn’t find these seemingly simple issues what subtle ones remain unexplored?

These conclusions from the known facts are fairly generalized and not wild extrapolation or guesses.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: raketa on 12/30/2019 08:17 pm
I am IT architect and I see two basic issue:
-Design
-Testing
1/Design of time handshake between booster was accepted without additional checkup, for example comparing with timer on spacecraft and in case of big difference, stay on spacecraft  time and hold on and wait for launch team input.
I see lot of new developers make mistake to develop interface just for perfect day, not thinking about rainy days.

2/Test
You could not blame developer for failed code, this is test team responsibility. Developer is not able to find these error, since he is to familiar with code.
Most of unexpected errors happen in integration between systems.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mme on 12/30/2019 09:24 pm
Much of the Boeing software design staff and software QA team should be fired.  At least their management should be.

That is absolutely the wrong thing to do and could lead to a worse outcome since the new team could make even more mistakes. The people who wrote and managed the software will have learned a lot more than if the mission had gone perfectly, and will be stronger for it.

It doesn't work like that in the real world. There is a saying about the old dog and new tricks and it also applies to us, humans. There is a point where you need to reshuffle the team so questions like " Why " are flying again and critical thinking is employed. The Boeing team SW design and implementation is so poor, that just getting them a new boss will not repair the architecture& implementation errors. Their sufficiency and boredom/lack of involvement lead to this failure. Not management.
That's a lot of assuming - as is most of this thread. This was a really embarrassing outcome but we don't know why it happened. Before we assume everyone on the Boeing software team is an idiot maybe we should see if they figure out what the underlying cause was.

No one is saying that they are all idiots.
Almost everyone may have done the task they were assigned with care and integrity.

But somewhere up in the hierarchy, several people seem to have messed up seriously, we can assume.

The architecture seems fragile, that “one line of code” done wrong could disrupt the mission and nearly cause an uncontrolled reentry. Then the testing didn’t find the immediate problem or the system fragility.

It’s way more than “embarrassing”. It’s extremely concerning IMO. If they didn’t find these seemingly simple issues what subtle ones remain unexplored?

These conclusions from the known facts are fairly generalized and not wild extrapolation or guesses.
Re-read the posts I am responding to. Not only claiming they are incompetent but they don't care and are basically saying everyone should be fired.

We have been told a timer was off and that it was set from a "wrong" memory location. I've debugged enough weird [email protected]#$ in my life to know that things are not always what they seem. This could be a much more complicated edge case/unfortunate series of events than is obvious. Until I know what really went wrong and what the state the software was really in, I am not going to assume that a couple of statements for the general public tell the whole story.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 01/07/2020 08:12 pm
Annual ASAP report is out, there are a few pages on Commercial Crew.

https://oiir.hq.nasa.gov/asap/documents/2019_ASAP_Report-TAGGED.pdf

Quote
Following the AMOS-6 mission launch pad anomaly in September 2016, there has been a tremendous amount of work done, both by NASA and by SpaceX, to better understand the design and operational parameters associated with composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs). A multiyear study of COPVs has resulted in advancing the state of the art and increasing understanding of grain size, ignition risks, and non-destructive testing techniques. There has also been considerable progress made in evaluating both the benefits and the risks associated with crew insertion prior to propellant loading, sometimes referred to as “load-and-go.” During the past year, both issues and subsequent corrective actions have been thoroughly reviewed by NASA engineering and safety officials, and the residual risks have been accepted by the Program Manager. After many months of discussing these topics with both NASA and SpaceX, the ASAP is satisfied that NASA has executed an appropriate risk management process to address these issues
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 01/08/2020 07:03 am
Annual ASAP report is out, there are a few pages on Commercial Crew.

https://oiir.hq.nasa.gov/asap/documents/2019_ASAP_Report-TAGGED.pdf

Quote
Following the AMOS-6 mission launch pad anomaly in September 2016, there has been a tremendous amount of work done, both by NASA and by SpaceX, to better understand the design and operational parameters associated with composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs). A multiyear study of COPVs has resulted in advancing the state of the art and increasing understanding of grain size, ignition risks, and non-destructive testing techniques. There has also been considerable progress made in evaluating both the benefits and the risks associated with crew insertion prior to propellant loading, sometimes referred to as “load-and-go.” During the past year, both issues and subsequent corrective actions have been thoroughly reviewed by NASA engineering and safety officials, and the residual risks have been accepted by the Program Manager. After many months of discussing these topics with both NASA and SpaceX, the ASAP is satisfied that NASA has executed an appropriate risk management process to address these issues

Here's the short-short summary: Load-and-Go is no longer an issue.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: happyflower on 01/08/2020 09:57 pm
Is the big issue with Starliner a technical one or a legal one? In other words, is the discussion over the fact that the contract states "the capsule has to dock with the ISS" is causing issues?

As the administrator explained it, other crafts have also done their first human docking without an automated docking first. Can't NASA just say "we are changing the contract"? Contract is between these two entities after all and NASA will be the responsible party.

I don't think anybody wants to keep astronauts alive more than NASA.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: llanitedave on 01/08/2020 10:25 pm
No one is saying that they are all idiots.
Almost everyone may have done the task they were assigned with care and integrity.

But somewhere up in the hierarchy, several people seem to have messed up seriously, we can assume.

The architecture seems fragile, that “one line of code” done wrong could disrupt the mission and nearly cause an uncontrolled reentry. Then the testing didn’t find the immediate problem or the system fragility.

It’s way more than “embarrassing”. It’s extremely concerning IMO. If they didn’t find these seemingly simple issues what subtle ones remain unexplored?

These conclusions from the known facts are fairly generalized and not wild extrapolation or guesses.
Re-read the posts I am responding to. Not only claiming they are incompetent but they don't care and are basically saying everyone should be fired.

We have been told a timer was off and that it was set from a "wrong" memory location. I've debugged enough weird [email protected]#$ in my life to know that things are not always what they seem. This could be a much more complicated edge case/unfortunate series of events than is obvious. Until I know what really went wrong and what the state the software was really in, I am not going to assume that a couple of statements for the general public tell the whole story.


This should not be an "edge case."  The launch was on time and the spacecraft was placed on the correct trajectory.  This should have been a nominal case.


You put the system in a strange and unusual circumstance and you find a bug... that's a problem that needs fixing but it's understandable.  But when everything is going right down the middle of the design parameter, and it still fails, then that's a BIG problem, and a lot less understandable.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: savantu on 01/09/2020 12:45 pm

That's a lot of assuming - as is most of this thread. This was a really embarrassing outcome but we don't know why it happened. Before we assume everyone on the Boeing software team is an idiot maybe we should see if they figure out what the underlying cause was.

Don't put words in my mouth; I didn't said they were idiots or incompetent, I said they were complacent and bored; typical of mature, bureacratic dinosaurs organisations. I know what that feels like as I work in a company 140 years old. We have tens of thousands of SW enginereers, system architects and so on. You couldn't imagine the absolute crap they produce, bugged, late and always missing requested features. Overpromising, over-cost and under-delivering. Just like Boeing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: saliva_sweet on 01/21/2020 05:46 pm
Can't NASA just say "we are changing the contract"? Contract is between these two entities after all and NASA will be the responsible party.

Probably difficult. It's a high profile contract involving 4 billion taxpayer dollars. I think it will be hard for NASA to say "oops, we accidentally ordered an unnecessary ISS docking. Now lets all forget about it".
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 01/23/2020 03:12 pm
Regarding the recently mused-about extension of DM-2 to be a longer duration mission...

If NASA chooses to extend DM-2, it would likely delay DM-2 long enough that Starliner would launch first.  Right now, it seems more probable to me SpaceX will be ready to launch first, although who really knows, and these things can and do change all the time.

There are good reasons for NASA to consider extending DM-2, of course, most specifically insurance against Boeing's first crewed flight being delayed.  Add those two together and it sounds like a win-win for NASA; Boeing gets a little more room to get first crack at it, and if they can't get it done in time, NASA gets astro coverage from SpaceX rather than just an eight day mission and a further large gap until the first SpaceX long duration mission.

I will admit there's a lot of guessing on my part, but I wouldn't be surprised to see DM-2 extended.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mgeagon on 01/23/2020 10:48 pm
Does anyone know an average time astronauts need to train for a six month mission to the ISS? This might inform the length of rightward movement for DM-2. It sounds like the Boeing crew has been training for an extended mission since the middle of last year, so I suppose they are just waiting for the hardware. Also, isn’t the decision to extend DM-2 dependent upon the outcome of the OFT investigation?

Edit: grammar
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Semmel on 01/24/2020 08:47 am
In the SpaceX launch abort post flight press conference, Jim was asked why the decision to extend the mission was not already taken. Independently of weather the DM-2 is extended or not, the delay in making this decision is dubious to me. I dont understand what they are waiting for. The question was not answered btw.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: JonathanD on 01/24/2020 01:47 pm
In the SpaceX launch abort post flight press conference, Jim was asked why the decision to extend the mission was not already taken. Independently of weather the DM-2 is extended or not, the delay in making this decision is dubious to me. I dont understand what they are waiting for. The question was not answered btw.

My impression from the Administrator's comments is that they were sticking with Plan A (not extended) until they had a better idea of when each vehicle would actually fly with crew.  They still need to do the last round of approvals on F9/Dragon prior to a DM-2 mission, and they have to make their decision on whether to waive the requirement for a second uncrewed mission from Starliner to demonstrate ISS docking.  Once these come into a little more focus I think they'll feel ready to make the decision on whether to extend.

One could certainly argue that they should have assumed they will wind up extending the first crewed Dragon mission and begun providing the additional training for Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley already.  But it may be more complicated than that in terms of timing, duration, and tasks.  I don't know, just speculating.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: rcoppola on 01/24/2020 04:14 pm
NASA may have gotten a little ahead of itself on this one:

After Dragon's abort fuel system test anomaly, SpaceX brought their short duration DM-2 capsule forward and used it for the IFA. Their originally intended first mission certified crew capsule, now slotted for DM-2, was now going to be long duration mission capable. But NASA probably thought it would take longer for SpaceX to recover from both the anomaly and the parachute redesign & testing program. Regardless, they mainly counted on Boeing having a nominal OFT since Boeing was already slated to have a long duration capable CST for their CFT and previously contracted for a long duration mission.

But...SpaceX recovered quickly, had a seemingly flawless IFA and MkIII  parachute qualification is almost completed with their DM-2 vehicle ready to go by March.

Meanwhile...Boeing had an off-nominal OFT. They never reached the ISS and no clear indication of what's next besides some vague notion of an arbitrary two month investigation. It hasn't been long but we went from, frankly a bizarre set of premature statements that, "if crew were on board everything would have been fine (paraphrase)..." to silence.

So why has NASA not immediately transitioned Doug and Bob to long duration mission training just in case? For an agency that prides itself on having a back-up plan for the back-up plan, it's a mystery. Would you really want the very first long duration mission performed with a vehicle that has never actually been to the ISS? Who's only mission to space was off-nominal? Again, why wouldn't NASA immediately get Bob and Doug training. They can always cut the training short and send them up per the current plan if CFT gets cleared. Would the additional training keep them in Houston too much and away from Hawthorne to complete current DM-2 requirements in a timely manner? Is it just about training logistics? Why not transfer Nicole and Mike to join Bob and Doug. They're already training for ISS and Dragon is 4 seat capable. Yeh, I know, it's not that simple.

Or is this more about how to work within this new public / private paradigm.  Boeing was going to get more money for the extended mission. If SpaceX does it instead, does Boeing lose out? How does that work in this new era? So is this financial and/or dare I say political as well? Wish I knew but there's a lot more to this then simple scheduling...imo.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 01/24/2020 06:03 pm
Or is this more about how to work within this new public / private paradigm.  Boeing was going to get more money for the extended mission. If SpaceX does it instead, does Boeing lose out? How does that work in this new era? So is this financial and/or dare I say political as well? Wish I knew but there's a lot more to this then simple scheduling...imo.
The Boeing CFT has been extended, regardless of whether NASA decides to extend SpaceX DM-2.  So this shouldn't be a factor.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: rcoppola on 01/24/2020 06:41 pm
Or is this more about how to work within this new public / private paradigm.  Boeing was going to get more money for the extended mission. If SpaceX does it instead, does Boeing lose out? How does that work in this new era? So is this financial and/or dare I say political as well? Wish I knew but there's a lot more to this then simple scheduling...imo.
The Boeing CFT has been extended, regardless of whether NASA decides to extend SpaceX DM-2.  So this shouldn't be a factor.
Perhaps but wasn't the primary reason NASA extended Boeing's CFT was because the original DM-2 wasn't going to be capable of it? But now that it is, and if they went with an extended DM-2, would they still need to have an extended CFT?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: saliva_sweet on 01/24/2020 07:47 pm
In the SpaceX launch abort post flight press conference, Jim was asked why the decision to extend the mission was not already taken. Independently of weather the DM-2 is extended or not, the delay in making this decision is dubious to me. I dont understand what they are waiting for. The question was not answered btw.

I think the answer was given in a recent GAO report. Boeing threatened to bail out. A plan was devised. Boeing can skip the CFT and move straight to operational missions AND get extra money for this. This was and is not necessary for SpaceX and therefore was not done.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: freddo411 on 01/25/2020 04:38 am
In the SpaceX launch abort post flight press conference, Jim was asked why the decision to extend the mission was not already taken. Independently of weather the DM-2 is extended or not, the delay in making this decision is dubious to me. I dont understand what they are waiting for. The question was not answered btw.

I think the answer was given in a recent GAO report. Boeing threatened to bail out. A plan was devised. Boeing can skip the CFT and move straight to operational missions AND get extra money for this. This was and is not necessary for SpaceX and therefore was not done.

Most parents know that one does not reward a toddler throwing a tantrum.   It's not in anyone's best interest.   It's time to take the ice cream cone away and send them to the corner.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 01/25/2020 05:46 am
I think the answer was given in a recent GAO report. Boeing threatened to bail out. A plan was devised. Boeing can skip the CFT and move straight to operational missions AND get extra money for this. This was and is not necessary for SpaceX and therefore was not done.

Most parents know that one does not reward a toddler throwing a tantrum.   It's not in anyone's best interest.   It's time to take the ice cream cone away and send them to the corner.

Except that Commercial Crew is not a parent-child relationship, it's a business one. And NASA needs Boeing more than Boeing needs NASA for this particular contract - or at least that is what Boeing likely is trying to make it seem.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 01/25/2020 03:22 pm
In the SpaceX launch abort post flight press conference, Jim was asked why the decision to extend the mission was not already taken. Independently of weather the DM-2 is extended or not, the delay in making this decision is dubious to me. I dont understand what they are waiting for. The question was not answered btw.

I think the answer was given in a recent GAO report. Boeing threatened to bail out. A plan was devised. Boeing can skip the CFT and move straight to operational missions AND get extra money for this. This was and is not necessary for SpaceX and therefore was not done.

It was an OIG report.  Boeing isn't exactly skipping CFT, just expanding it.  It's still their first crewed flight and will need to go through all of the same qualification stuff.  The vehicle still won't be certified for the further missions until after CFT.  The price added to CFT is about the cost of one seat on a normal Boeing mission.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Comga on 01/28/2020 04:40 am
Boeing isn't exactly skipping CFT, just expanding it.  It's still their first crewed flight and will need to go through all of the same qualification stuff.  The vehicle still won't be certified for the further missions until after CFT.  The price added to CFT is about the cost of one seat on a normal Boeing mission.

Yes they are, if NASA approves the flight without rescinding the extension. Particularly if they are allowed to add in what they (were instructed to) skip in the core of the OFT. And promise to do what they forgot (use their QA system) in the Ground Abort. After they blackmailed their way into negotiated a contract for four operational missions (which you acknowledge their craft isn’t certified for) at higher prices than their more successful competitor (Yes: competitor) plus additional sweeteners.

At this time various groups, airlines, the Air Force,... are all bludgeoning Boeing, with justification. We will see if NASA is sufficiently emboldened to join them and shake off their subservient approach and have Boeing do what they claimed to be preeminent at, or quit this too.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 01/28/2020 06:35 pm
New short promo video from NASA

https://youtu.be/WrX0287xk10
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: SoftwareDude on 01/29/2020 07:49 pm
https://www.reddit.com/r/Starliner/comments/evn92n/boeing_incurs_a_410_million_charge_to_provision/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 01/29/2020 08:01 pm
At this time various groups, airlines, the Air Force,... are all bludgeoning Boeing, with justification. We will see if NASA is sufficiently emboldened to join them and shake off their subservient approach and have Boeing do what they claimed to be preeminent at, or quit this too.

Yes, and that is a tough spot for NASA to be in. They have spent years getting to this point, and have valid reasons for needing two independent crew transportation providers.

So while Boeing did propose the crew flight to the ISS, and NASA wrote it into their contract, there is no law stating that NASA can't re-evaluate that requirement. Plus the government does take the health of their contractors into account when deciding penalties, because it behooves the U.S. Government to have more than one provider of a product or service.

That said, encouraging bad behavior is never good, and Boeing has the financial resources to abide with the letter and intent of the current contract.

Ultimately my concern is the utilization of the ISS, so I don't have a dog in this hunt - whatever NASA decides is fine with me, because NASA knows they have to live with the results. This is where we find out if the new associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, Douglas Loverro, is up to the job. Bill Gerstenmaier's decision on such a matter would have been instantly respected, so Loverro has to use this issue as an opportunity to show why his decisions merit the same level of respect.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: S.Paulissen on 01/30/2020 02:52 am
https://www.reddit.com/r/Starliner/comments/evn92n/boeing_incurs_a_410_million_charge_to_provision/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf
Should we take this to mean that the internal Starliner marginal cost is $410 million?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Comga on 01/30/2020 03:29 am
https://www.reddit.com/r/Starliner/comments/evn92n/boeing_incurs_a_410_million_charge_to_provision/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf (https://www.reddit.com/r/Starliner/comments/evn92n/boeing_incurs_a_410_million_charge_to_provision/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf)
Should we take this to mean that the internal Starliner marginal cost is $410 million?

This is also posted in the Starliner Update thread and in the CST-100 Starliner Discussion thread:

Boeing seems to think a repeat unmanned test flight is a real possibility, or simply scraping around for plausible accounting writeoffs?

https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/29/boeing-reports-a-410m-charge-in-case-nasa-decides-starliner-needs-another-uncrewed-launch/ (https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/29/boeing-reports-a-410m-charge-in-case-nasa-decides-starliner-needs-another-uncrewed-launch/)


Wouldn’t it be more organized to keep the discussion over there, rather than a parallel discussion in this general Commercial Crew thread?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: cebri on 02/07/2020 04:26 pm
NASA Shares Initial Findings from Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Test Investigation

https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2020/02/07/nasa-shares-initial-findings-from-boeing-starliner-orbital-flight-test-investigation/

NASA and Boeing will host a media teleconference at 3:30 p.m. EST Friday, Feb. 7, to discuss the status of the joint independent review team investigation into the primary issues detected during the company’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test in December.

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-boeing-to-provide-update-on-starliner-orbital-flight-test-reviews

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 02/07/2020 10:27 pm
Interesting Tweets by Lori Garver:

https://twitter.com/Lori_Garver/status/1225919829569343489

https://twitter.com/Lori_Garver/status/1225919970225393665

She mentions that she fought with Gerst to have two commercial crew providers (since he only wanted one which was Boeing).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ugordan on 02/08/2020 12:38 pm
During that telecon, Doug Loverro admitted that NASA's oversight was insufficient and that the independent review team had recommendations for NASA as well. Could the fallout from this Starliner story mean that additional (re)reviews are instigated on SpaceX software as well?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: kevinof on 02/08/2020 12:52 pm
That was my thought exactly. Given the political nature of Nasa and it's overlords, I would not be surprised if they include SpaceX in the review.



During that telecon, Doug Loverro admitted that NASA's oversight was insufficient and that the independent review team had recommendations for NASA as well. Could the fallout from this Starliner story mean that additional (re)reviews are instigated on SpaceX software as well?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: hplan on 02/08/2020 12:55 pm
This will result in intensive external scrutiny of Boeing’s software development and testing procedures.

But will ASAP’s other recommendation, that _NASA’s_ procedures need review, result in an intensive external review of NASA?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jak Kennedy on 02/08/2020 01:01 pm
https://www.reddit.com/r/Starliner/comments/evn92n/boeing_incurs_a_410_million_charge_to_provision/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf
Should we take this to mean that the internal Starliner marginal cost is $410 million?

Boeing is setting the bar for what they will charge NASA per flight for the next round after CCtCap.  :o
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 02/11/2020 03:23 pm
Quote
SpaceX set to launch NASA astronauts first after Boeing narrowly avoids catastrophe in space
By Eric Ralph
Posted on February 11, 2020

SpaceX is set to become the first private company to launch NASA astronauts as few as three months from now, all but guaranteed after Boeing’s competing Starliner spacecraft narrowly avoided a catastrophe in space on its orbital launch debut.

https://www.teslarati.com/spacex-first-private-nasa-astronaut-launch-boeing-catastrophe/
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: cebri on 02/12/2020 10:07 am
I hate that "all but guaranteed". Fingers crossed everything goes well for both suppliers from now on. The last year has been a wake up call for everyone. Test, retest, challenge your own assumptions, keep growing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: cebri on 02/15/2020 09:43 am
https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacex/2020/02/14/spacex-crew-dragon-arrives-for-demo-2-mission/

(https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacex/wp-content/uploads/sites/227/2020/02/SpaceX-Demo-2-Dragon-1024x683.jpg)
@spacex

Quote
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for its first crew launch from American soil has arrived at the launch site. NASA and SpaceX are preparing for the company’s first flight test with astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley from historic Launch Complex 39A from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft now will undergo final testing and prelaunch processing in a SpaceX facility on nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Comga on 02/21/2020 05:49 am
https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacex/2020/02/14/spacex-crew-dragon-arrives-for-demo-2-mission/ (https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacex/2020/02/14/spacex-crew-dragon-arrives-for-demo-2-mission/)

Quote
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for its first crew launch from American soil has arrived at the launch site. NASA and SpaceX are preparing for the company’s first flight test with astronauts to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley from historic Launch Complex 39A from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft now will undergo final testing and prelaunch processing in a SpaceX facility on nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

But did you read the earlier version before they ... tempered their enthusiasm and added the two words in bold?😉

It’s like those old Star Trek episodes where Spock smiles broadly before regaining his Vulcan composure.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Comga on 02/24/2020 07:56 pm
Trying to remember from the shuttle days, but that seems the usual way astronauts are loaded up on the astrovan. That's probably so that they get photographed and be seen by the public when they are getting on it.

Edit, I remembered correctly:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UwFJML0fUI

Looks like a prequel for Commercial Crew.  Ferguson, Hurley,... Even Reisman
Hurley: "I don't know if any of us will get to fly on the next vehicle, whatever that vehicle will be, US vehicle."
But we are pretty close to knowing.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Yxalag on 03/25/2020 11:54 am
https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Boeings_first_manned_Starliner_to_be_launched_to_ISS_on_31_August_999.html

Russian source says Starliner Crew launch August 31st.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 03/25/2020 12:33 pm
https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Boeings_first_manned_Starliner_to_be_launched_to_ISS_on_31_August_999.html

Russian source says Starliner Crew launch August 31st.

Old news....

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=47917.msg2060596#msg2060596
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 05/12/2020 04:14 am
UAE to select next astronauts in January (that may fly on commercial crew):

Quote from: Jeff Foust
“While they are training, we will be looking at the different options for flights and select the most suitable for us going forward,” he said [Salem AlMarri, the head of the UAE astronaut program],  That could include flights on Russian Soyuz spacecraft as well as SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner. “We plan through next year to look at trying to get different opportunities to secure a seat for one of our astronauts.”

https://spacenews.com/uae-to-select-next-astronauts-in-january/
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 05/13/2020 07:23 pm
Very telling slide in the most recent NAC HEO CCP presentation.

This is NASA publically confirming that going from "NASA owns and operates the entire system under cost-plus contracts" to "NASA rents a firm fixed price service" saves a ton of money.
Added bonus: two dissimilar redundant systems. And that for just one-fifth of the old-school price tag for a single system.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 05/13/2020 08:56 pm
In a similar vein:

https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1260638187640193024

Quote
NASA's Phil McAlister notes that the Commercial Crew program represents "the largest fixed-price contracts for spacecraft development in the history of the Agency" and yet are "still within 5% of the contract baseline."
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/13/nasa-estimates-having-spacex-and-boeing-build-spacecraft-for-astronauts-saved-up-to-30-billion.html

And yet ...

twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1260592638878797825

Quote
Interesting dynamic emerging in this NASA advisory committee meeting. Boeing's failure on Starliner is being used as an example to favor cost-plus rather than commercial contracts. I.e. NASA would have caught it under traditional contract.

https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1260593095021867018

Quote
Of course the counter-argument to this is that maybe some traditional companies  just can't thrive in the new world of competitive spaceflight. Maybe you shouldn't punish companies that can handle fixed price contracts because others can't.

https://twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1260595109051187202

Quote
To be clear this is a fairly common viewpoint among the older guard of aerospace. There's still a mistrust about "commercial" because they've heard about it for so long. A successful Demo-2 flight should go a long way toward dispelling some of these beliefs, I suspect.

ISTM that schedule pressure was a significant contributing factor to Starliner issues (not testing with the right hardware as it was needed elsewhere at the same time). I’m not convinced that even if NASA had been more hands on under cost plus that NASA staff wouldn’t have been under the same pressure to deliver and ended up with the same group think?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 05/13/2020 10:45 pm
Quote
[Eric Berger]Boeing's failure on Starliner is being used as an example to favor cost-plus rather than commercial contracts. I.e. NASA would have caught it under traditional contract.
...which is underscored by Boeing's perfectly flawless performance with the SLS contract... right?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 05/14/2020 06:15 am
In a similar vein:

twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1260638187640193024

Quote
NASA's Phil McAlister notes that the Commercial Crew program represents "the largest fixed-price contracts for spacecraft development in the history of the Agency" and yet are "still within 5% of the contract baseline."
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/13/nasa-estimates-having-spacex-and-boeing-build-spacecraft-for-astronauts-saved-up-to-30-billion.html

Note that this was for a six person Lunar capable spacecraft with over 1 km/s delta-V and an all new launch vehicle. NASA could have developed a smaller vehicle with limited delta-V and used a commercial launch vehicle. Oh wait. They were doing that and then cancelled it in favour of Orion/Ares-I. It was called OSP. That would have cost from $11B to $13B. Still a lot more expensive than commercial, but it would have been ready by 2012.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3541478/ns/technology_and_science-space/t/changing-shape-spacecraft-come/
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 05/14/2020 09:40 am

And yet ...

twitter.com/sciguyspace/status/1260592638878797825

Quote
Interesting dynamic emerging in this NASA advisory committee meeting. Boeing's failure on Starliner is being used as an example to favor cost-plus rather than commercial contracts. I.e. NASA would have caught it under traditional contract.

Emphasis mine.

That is a completely bogus argument. Shocking to see that NAC HEO members actually come up with this load of cr*p.

The test plan which Boeing had developed for Starliner was submitted to NASA for extensive reviewing. And guess what: NASA approved that test plan. They signed for it.
Yet, despite NASA having full insight in the intended tests, NASA also failed to identify that you don't catch transition failures when one test block ends on said transition and the next testblock starts after said transition.

That inherently dumb oversight would also have been missed by NASA under a traditional contract.


Having NASA in the lead, instead of the contractor, is by no means a guarantee that every bug will be found prior to flight. Otherwise unmanned test flights would not be necessary.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 05/14/2020 02:53 pm
In a similar vein:

twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1260638187640193024

Quote
NASA's Phil McAlister notes that the Commercial Crew program represents "the largest fixed-price contracts for spacecraft development in the history of the Agency" and yet are "still within 5% of the contract baseline."
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/13/nasa-estimates-having-spacex-and-boeing-build-spacecraft-for-astronauts-saved-up-to-30-billion.html

Note that this was for a six person Lunar capable spacecraft with over 1 km/s delta-V and an all new launch vehicle. NASA could have developed a smaller vehicle with limited delta-V and used a commercial launch vehicle. Oh wait. They were doing that and then cancelled it in favour of Orion/Ares-I. It was called OSP. That would have cost from $11B to $13B. Still a lot more expensive than commercial, but it would have been ready by 2012.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3541478/ns/technology_and_science-space/t/changing-shape-spacecraft-come/

Minor nits:

- Orion never was lunar capable with six persons. The only Orion version with six persons was the LEO version for ISS crew runs. Lunar orion was limited to four persons from the very start.

- Orion is hardly lunar capable. It can't get itself in- and out of LLO. Insertion into LLO was to be performed by the Altair lunar lander. The Apollo CSM was much more capable.

- The all-new launch vehicle argument doesn't hold that much weight. The launch vehicle for Crew Dragon is Falcon 9 v1.X. Which was a completely new vehicle compared to Falcon 9 v1.0. Ed Kyle can tell you all about it.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Nomadd on 05/14/2020 05:30 pm
 Hoping for the best for all involved because we really need the diversity and redundancy and all those other words ending in y, (Standard disclaimer) is it a good bet SpaceX could handle the whole program, assuming all goes well for them, if the other guys are delayed for a few years for any reason? I saw once that they're pretty far ahead of requirements in Dragon production.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 05/14/2020 06:46 pm
It is worth pointing out that Orion was developed regardless. So, you didn't really save much in terms of development especially if you just plop Orion onto Atlas V or whatever. Most of Ares I was developed as well, including the Ares 1 test flight, Ares 1 mobile launcher, J-2X upper stage engine and 5 segment solid booster.

And the Augustine estimate for Ares 1 + Orion seems pretty close to the result for Orion + SLS. So, not sure how credible that is.

Anyways, these programs should probably transport a single hair on an astronauts head without harming said hair before doing a victory lap.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Comga on 05/14/2020 07:28 pm
It is worth pointing out that Orion was developed regardless. So, you didn't really save much in terms of development especially if you just plop Orion onto Atlas V or whatever. Most of Ares I was developed as well, including the Ares 1 test flight, Ares 1 mobile launcher, J-2X upper stage engine and 5 segment solid booster.

And the Augustine estimate for Ares 1 + Orion seems pretty close to the result for Orion + SLS. So, not sure how credible that is.

Ares I was not "developed".
Ares 1X was a mockup, with a 4 segment solid rocket made to look like a 5 segment a featureless, engineless second stage shaped tube, and mocked up capsule and launch abort system. 

Nothing here is any refutation of the conclusion about the thread's topic, Commercial Crew, that it would have been many times more expensive to have it done with traditional cost plus contracting.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 05/14/2020 07:35 pm
It is worth pointing out that Orion was developed regardless. So, you didn't really save much in terms of development especially if you just plop Orion onto Atlas V or whatever. Most of Ares I was developed as well, including the Ares 1 test flight, Ares 1 mobile launcher, J-2X upper stage engine and 5 segment solid booster.

And the Augustine estimate for Ares 1 + Orion seems pretty close to the result for Orion + SLS. So, not sure how credible that is.

Ares I was not "developed".
Ares 1X was a mockup, with a 4 segment solid rocket made to look like a 5 segment a featureless, engineless second stage shaped tube, and mocked up capsule and launch abort system. 

Nothing here is any refutation of the conclusion about the thread's topic, Commercial Crew, that it would have been many times more expensive to have it done with traditional cost plus contracting.

The problem with this thesis is that both contractors have had moments that give you pause and make you question what short cuts were taken to come in many times less expensive (ignoring the LEO vs lunar aspect and that the contractors ate the cost overruns). Are said "moments" over and done with and put behind us? We won't know tell much later. But both providers have been given a soft ball. They have 6 flights each manifested. Even with a LOC rate much worse than 1/270, they probably should skate by no problem.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: dglow on 05/14/2020 07:44 pm
It is worth pointing out that Orion was developed regardless. So, you didn't really save much in terms of development especially if you just plop Orion onto Atlas V or whatever. Most of Ares I was developed as well, including the Ares 1 test flight, Ares 1 mobile launcher, J-2X upper stage engine and 5 segment solid booster.

And the Augustine estimate for Ares 1 + Orion seems pretty close to the result for Orion + SLS. So, not sure how credible that is.

Ares I was not "developed".
Ares 1X was a mockup, with a 4 segment solid rocket made to look like a 5 segment a featureless, engineless second stage shaped tube, and mocked up capsule and launch abort system. 

Nothing here is any refutation of the conclusion about the thread's topic, Commercial Crew, that it would have been many times more expensive to have it done with traditional cost plus contracting.

The problem with this thesis is that both contractors have had moments that give you pause and make you question what short cuts were taken to come in many times less expensive (ignoring the LEO vs lunar aspect and that the contractors ate the cost overruns). Are said "moments" over and done with and put behind us? We won't know tell much later. But both providers have been given a soft ball. They have 6 flights each manifested. Even with a LOC rate much worse than 1/270, they probably should skate by no problem.

Good gosh. Would you like a beer with that FUD sandwich?


Quote
The problem with this thesis is that both contractors have had moments that give you pause...
Begin by establishing an equivalence between the contractors, which is false.

Quote
...give you pause and make you question what short cuts were taken to come in many times less expensive...
Less expensive than what, exactly? Please be clear.

Quote
Are said "moments" over and done with and put behind us?
FUD-tastic indeed – complete with scare-quotes. And what is the answer to your rhetorical question?

Quote
We won't know till much later.
Oh no, it's unknowable!

Quote
But both providers have been given a soft ball.
Have they? Don't just assert, explain.

Quote
Even with a LOC rate much worse than 1/270, they probably should skate by no problem.
And we call this particular flavor "ominous".
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ulm_atms on 05/14/2020 08:05 pm
Quote
Interesting dynamic emerging in this NASA advisory committee meeting. Boeing's failure on Starliner is being used as an example to favor cost-plus rather than commercial contracts. I.e. NASA would have caught it under traditional contract.

Um....so because of Boeing's failure on Starliner.....we should of used a contract where that failure would of cost more...um...what??  :o

If that is the case...SpaceX doing better for much less means what then?

Woods is correct...NASA signed off on their testing...no contract difference would of mattered.  Whoever signed off from NASA is the one they need to talk to.

Quote
ISTM that schedule pressure was a significant contributing factor to Starliner issues (not testing with the right hardware as it was needed elsewhere at the same time).

No, Boeing not being able to EVER hit a schedule the last few decades was part of the factor...the other part was $$$.

But everyone remember...Boeing was selected because they were the safer/known choice.....  ::)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: joek on 05/14/2020 08:47 pm
Quote
Interesting dynamic emerging in this NASA advisory committee meeting. Boeing's failure on Starliner is being used as an example to favor cost-plus rather than commercial contracts. I.e. NASA would have caught it under traditional contract.

That's rich, and is little more than code for "government good, commercial bad".

Like they caught the SLS VAC issues, or JWST, or any number of other issues with programs that involved "traditional contract" methods and incurred major issues and cost over-runs.  NASA's "traditional" contracting approach (cost+whatever) has a terrible track record.

This is not a problem with a given contracting approach, but the mis-application of contracting approaches--and frankly NASA not doing its job.  That said, let's remember that this is still a work-in-progress; NASA and providers are still learning, so maybe cut them some slack.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DigitalMan on 05/14/2020 08:57 pm
Quote
Interesting dynamic emerging in this NASA advisory committee meeting. Boeing's failure on Starliner is being used as an example to favor cost-plus rather than commercial contracts. I.e. NASA would have caught it under traditional contract.

Um....so because of Boeing's failure on Starliner.....we should of used a contract where that failure would of cost more...um...what??  :o

If that is the case...SpaceX doing better for much less means what then?

Woods is correct...NASA signed off on their testing...no contract difference would of mattered.  Whoever signed off from NASA is the one they need to talk to.

Quote
ISTM that schedule pressure was a significant contributing factor to Starliner issues (not testing with the right hardware as it was needed elsewhere at the same time).

No, Boeing not being able to EVER hit a schedule the last few decades was part of the factor...the other part was $$$.

But everyone remember...Boeing was selected because they were the safer/known choice.....  ::)


Worse I think is that NASA saw the need to do an intensive safety review of SpaceX but determined that a less intrusive one was ok for Boeing.

To me, this indicates a problem on the NASA side as well.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 05/14/2020 08:58 pm
Quote
Interesting dynamic emerging in this NASA advisory committee meeting. Boeing's failure on Starliner is being used as an example to favor cost-plus rather than commercial contracts. I.e. NASA would have caught it under traditional contract.

Um....so because of Boeing's failure on Starliner.....we should of used a contract where that failure would of cost more...um...what??  :o

If that is the case...SpaceX doing better for much less means what then?

Woods is correct...NASA signed off on their testing...no contract difference would of mattered.  Whoever signed off from NASA is the one they need to talk to.

Quote
ISTM that schedule pressure was a significant contributing factor to Starliner issues (not testing with the right hardware as it was needed elsewhere at the same time).

No, Boeing not being able to EVER hit a schedule the last few decades was part of the factor...the other part was $$$.

But everyone remember...Boeing was selected because they were the safer/known choice.....  ::)


Yes, and that flawed logic came back to bite NASA in the behind...hard.

But NASA has apparently learned its lesson: Boeing was not selected for the Gateway Logistics Services contract. Boeing was also not selected for the Human Lander System. NASA has now finally understood that Boeing no longer is the “safer/known” choice.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ulm_atms on 05/14/2020 09:08 pm
Quote
Interesting dynamic emerging in this NASA advisory committee meeting. Boeing's failure on Starliner is being used as an example to favor cost-plus rather than commercial contracts. I.e. NASA would have caught it under traditional contract.

Um....so because of Boeing's failure on Starliner.....we should of used a contract where that failure would of cost more...um...what??  :o

If that is the case...SpaceX doing better for much less means what then?

Woods is correct...NASA signed off on their testing...no contract difference would of mattered.  Whoever signed off from NASA is the one they need to talk to.

Quote
ISTM that schedule pressure was a significant contributing factor to Starliner issues (not testing with the right hardware as it was needed elsewhere at the same time).

No, Boeing not being able to EVER hit a schedule the last few decades was part of the factor...the other part was $$$.

But everyone remember...Boeing was selected because they were the safer/known choice.....  ::)


Yes, and that flawed logic came back to bite NASA in the behind...hard.

But NASA has apparently learned its lesson: Boeing was not selected for the Gateway Logistics Services contract. Boeing was also not selected for the Human Lander System. NASA has now finally understood that Boeing no longer is the “safer/known” choice.

I completely agree...the fact that their bids were basically laughed at and thrown out was actually nice to see for a change.  People were starting to wonder why Boeing was always a winner when they always blew both the budget and schedule up on every single contract given to them.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: dglow on 05/14/2020 09:19 pm
Yes, and that flawed logic came back to bite NASA in the behind...hard.

But NASA has apparently learned its lesson: Boeing was not selected for the Gateway Logistics Services contract. Boeing was also not selected for the Human Lander System. NASA has now finally understood that Boeing no longer is the “safer/known” choice.

The pity is that Boeing pushed right in, taking a slot in Commercial Crew that could have – and, IIRC, was whispered up until the very last moment would have – gone to SNC and DreamChaser. Let's be real: DC as a cargo-only vehicle is a depressing waste of potential.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: whitelancer64 on 05/14/2020 09:39 pm
Yes, and that flawed logic came back to bite NASA in the behind...hard.

But NASA has apparently learned its lesson: Boeing was not selected for the Gateway Logistics Services contract. Boeing was also not selected for the Human Lander System. NASA has now finally understood that Boeing no longer is the “safer/known” choice.

The pity is that Boeing pushed right in, taking a slot in Commercial Crew that could have – and, IIRC, was whispered up until the very last moment would have – gone to SNC and DreamChaser. Let's be real: DC as a cargo-only vehicle is a depressing waste of potential.

SNC / DreamChaser shot itself in the foot by making the (IMO, very wise and prudent) decision to switch its primary propulsion from a hybrid system to all liquid fuel. While this was probably a really good move long-term (looking at how Virgin Galactic / SpaceShip Two is going), in the immediate term (in 2014) it put them at least a year behind Boeing and SpaceX in terms of schedule. Keep in mind NASA was at that point looking to start commercial crew rotations in 2017. With the benefit of hindsight, thanks to multiple and varying delays to both SpaceX and Boeing for various reasons, SNC may have been able to catch up to the other (which likely would have been Boeing anyway) by now and we'd probably still be about where we are now.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: dglow on 05/15/2020 05:07 am
Yes, and that flawed logic came back to bite NASA in the behind...hard.

But NASA has apparently learned its lesson: Boeing was not selected for the Gateway Logistics Services contract. Boeing was also not selected for the Human Lander System. NASA has now finally understood that Boeing no longer is the “safer/known” choice.

The pity is that Boeing pushed right in, taking a slot in Commercial Crew that could have – and, IIRC, was whispered up until the very last moment would have – gone to SNC and DreamChaser. Let's be real: DC as a cargo-only vehicle is a depressing waste of potential.

SNC / DreamChaser shot itself in the foot by making the (IMO, very wise and prudent) decision to switch its primary propulsion from a hybrid system to all liquid fuel. While this was probably a really good move long-term (looking at how Virgin Galactic / SpaceShip Two is going), in the immediate term (in 2014) it put them at least a year behind Boeing and SpaceX in terms of schedule. Keep in mind NASA was at that point looking to start commercial crew rotations in 2017. With the benefit of hindsight, thanks to multiple and varying delays to both SpaceX and Boeing for various reasons, SNC may have been able to catch up to the other (which likely would have been Boeing anyway) by now and we'd probably still be about where we are now.

All true and valid, and I know that hindsight offers perfect vision. But DC development has continued, nonetheless, and we will see it flying to ISS. I just wish its development had continued as part of CC instead of CRS2.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 05/15/2020 02:59 pm
In a similar vein:

twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1260638187640193024

Quote
NASA's Phil McAlister notes that the Commercial Crew program represents "the largest fixed-price contracts for spacecraft development in the history of the Agency" and yet are "still within 5% of the contract baseline."
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/13/nasa-estimates-having-spacex-and-boeing-build-spacecraft-for-astronauts-saved-up-to-30-billion.html

Note that this was for a six person Lunar capable spacecraft with over 1 km/s delta-V and an all new launch vehicle. NASA could have developed a smaller vehicle with limited delta-V and used a commercial launch vehicle....

Dragon was baselined for high energy reentry and 7 crew, and still has about 800 m/s of delta-v and the same internal volume as Orion. So the "but Orion is much more capable" disclaimer to account for the 10x greater cost isn't particularly convincing. The cost to NASA to develop and validate Dragon (and F9) including the uncrewed test flight should be about $1.5B (taking the total $3.1B value for all SpaceX commercial crew contracts and removing 28 seats at the $55M/seat baseline price per NASA OIG).

Developing a version able to do the Orion mission, and certifying FH for the crew launch, would add some cost... but probably not multiple billions. I think SpaceX would bid between $1B and $1.5B to enhance Dragon for Gateway crew delivery, including an uncrewed test flight to the Gateway and back, if the dev contract included several guaranteed crew flights much like CCtCap.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: dglow on 05/15/2020 03:06 pm
Developing a version able to do the Orion mission, and certifying FH for the crew launch, would add some cost... but probably not multiple billions. I think SpaceX would bid between $1B and $1.5B to enhance Dragon for Gateway crew delivery, including an uncrewed test flight to the Gateway and back, if the dev contract included several guaranteed crew flights much like CCtCap.

If Elon gets his way and Lunar Starship returns to Earth orbit, they won't even need to do that.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 05/15/2020 04:34 pm
The pity is that Boeing pushed right in, taking a slot in Commercial Crew that could have – and, IIRC, was whispered up until the very last moment would have – gone to SNC and DreamChaser. Let's be real: DC as a cargo-only vehicle is a depressing waste of potential.
Based on more recent information that Gerst was very seriously considering a sole selection of Boeing, that whispering seems likely to have been based more on wish fulfillment than credible information.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 05/15/2020 05:36 pm
With the benefit of hindsight, thanks to multiple and varying delays to both SpaceX and Boeing for various reasons, SNC may have been able to catch up to the other (which likely would have been Boeing anyway) by now and we'd probably still be about where we are now.
Or, more likely, SNC would also have had multiple and varying delays too.  At a minimum, they would have been just as underfunded as SpaceX and Boeing actually were in the early years, with a corresponding impact on their certification timeline.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 05/15/2020 07:37 pm

Dragon was baselined for high energy reentry and 7 crew, and still has about 800 m/s of delta-v and the same internal volume as Orion.

Not really the same internal volume. ~20 cubic meters vs 9.3 cubic meters pressurized.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 05/16/2020 07:00 pm
Yes, and that flawed logic came back to bite NASA in the behind...hard.

But NASA has apparently learned its lesson: Boeing was not selected for the Gateway Logistics Services contract. Boeing was also not selected for the Human Lander System. NASA has now finally understood that Boeing no longer is the “safer/known” choice.

The pity is that Boeing pushed right in, taking a slot in Commercial Crew that could have – and, IIRC, was whispered up until the very last moment would have – gone to SNC and DreamChaser. Let's be real: DC as a cargo-only vehicle is a depressing waste of potential.

SNC / DreamChaser shot itself in the foot by making the (IMO, very wise and prudent) decision to switch its primary propulsion from a hybrid system to all liquid fuel. While this was probably a really good move long-term (looking at how Virgin Galactic / SpaceShip Two is going), in the immediate term (in 2014) it put them at least a year behind Boeing and SpaceX in terms of schedule. Keep in mind NASA was at that point looking to start commercial crew rotations in 2017. With the benefit of hindsight, thanks to multiple and varying delays to both SpaceX and Boeing for various reasons, SNC may have been able to catch up to the other (which likely would have been Boeing anyway) by now and we'd probably still be about where we are now.

All true and valid, and I know that hindsight offers perfect vision. But DC development has continued, nonetheless, and we will see it flying to ISS. I just wish its development had continued as part of CC instead of CRS2.

CCtCap has a maximum of 6 post-certification flights per company. If NASA decides to have a new commercial crew contract after CCtCap, SNC would have a chance. CCtCap also has an on-ramp clause.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 05/16/2020 08:11 pm

Dragon was baselined for high energy reentry and 7 crew, and still has about 800 m/s of delta-v and the same internal volume as Orion.

Not really the same internal volume. ~20 cubic meters vs 9.3 cubic meters pressurized.

Unfortunately, you are partly mistaken.

The TOTAL pressurized volume of Orion is 19.6 cubic meters. But, over half of that volume (10.7 cubic meters) is reserved for stowage space. The actual HABITABLE volume of Orion is only 8.9 cubic meters.

SpaceX, on its website lists the volume of Crew Dragon as 9.3 cubic meters. What they didn't mention was that this figure represents the HABITABLE volume of Crew Dragon.
The TOTAL pressurized volume of Crew Dragon is 12.5 cubic meters. 3.2 Cubic meters of this is "under the floor" (stowage and systems).

So, when envy887 stated that Crew Dragon and Orion have the same internal volume, he was partly correct. Correct on HABITABLE volume. Incorrect on total pressurized volume.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 05/17/2020 05:48 am

Dragon was baselined for high energy reentry and 7 crew, and still has about 800 m/s of delta-v and the same internal volume as Orion.

Not really the same internal volume. ~20 cubic meters vs 9.3 cubic meters pressurized.

Unfortunately, you are partly mistaken.

The TOTAL pressurized volume of Orion is 19.6 cubic meters. But, over half of that volume (10.7 cubic meters) is reserved for stowage space. The actual HABITABLE volume of Orion is only 8.9 cubic meters.

SpaceX, on its website lists the volume of Crew Dragon as 9.3 cubic meters. What they didn't mention was that this figure represents the HABITABLE volume of Crew Dragon.
The TOTAL pressurized volume of Crew Dragon is 12.5 cubic meters. 3.2 Cubic meters of this is "under the floor" (stowage and systems).

So, when envy887 stated that Crew Dragon and Orion have the same internal volume, he was partly correct. Correct on HABITABLE volume. Incorrect on total pressurized volume.

The traditional definition of net habitable volume is this:

Quote
Net habitable volume is defined for this study as the pressurized volume left available to the
crew after accounting for the Loss of Volume (LOV) due to deployed equipment, stowage,
trash, and any other structural inefficiency that decreases functional volume. The gravity
environment corresponding to the habitable volume must also be taken into consideration. Net
habitable volume is the volume the crew has at their disposal to perform all of their operations.
In order to estimate the net habitable volume requirement for the CEV for each phase of flight,
this study first looked at the crewed operations required in the spacecraft, what operations
must be done simultaneously, how many crew members might be expected to perform each
operation, how long each operation might last, how often each operation might be required
during the mission, the complexity of the task, and the potential impact to the task by vehicle
structure, shape, and gravity environment. The analysis took into account the entire spacecraft
pressurized volume and the estimated volume and layout of internal systems equipment and
stowage volumes by mission type and phase. Pressurized and net habitable volumes of previous and current spacecraft were used for comparison. Full-scale rough mockups were made
for the internal volumes of both the CEV CM and LSAM to assist in the visualization and
evaluation process.
https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/140636main_ESAS_05.pdf

Those variables are flight profile and nominal mission dependent (stowage/trash for instance), and as such aren't necessarily directly comparable. For instance, if you were to increase the crew dragon duration on orbit (free flying) by 10x, habitable volume for the crew to work in would necessarily decrease. It is a human factors calculation derived based on a number of assumptions, and isn't necessarily transferable between spacecraft. Sure, if you subtract ~11 cubic meters from Orion and ~3 from Dragon, they are the same size. Anyways, both photos below are each system occupied by 4 astronauts. You can literally fit Dragon's crew compliment in one section of the floor of Orion.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 05/17/2020 07:05 pm
if you were to increase the crew dragon duration on orbit (free flying) by 10x, habitable volume for the crew to work in would necessarily decrease.

I was referring to habitable volume, since I couldn't find the total pressurized volume. As woods was kind enough to provide it, we can make a better comparison: Dragon has about 60% of pressurized volume and 60% of the delta-v, but only about 35% of the liftoff mass of Orion.

Dragon is advertised as capable of 20 person-days of free flight. The nominal Gateway mission is IIRC not 10x but about 2x that: 4 crew for 5 or 6 days each way, remainder of the flight docked at Gateway. How much would the habitable volume decrease with doubling the flight time?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: dglow on 05/18/2020 02:31 am
How much would the habitable volume decrease with doubling the flight time?

I wonder if it needs to decrease at all. Why couldn't Dragon's trunk house additional consumables and other gear, SM-style?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 05/18/2020 02:14 pm
How much would the habitable volume decrease with doubling the flight time?

I wonder if it needs to decrease at all. Why couldn't Dragon's trunk house additional consumables and other gear, SM-style?

Hard consumables and other things the crew needs to access have to go inside the pressure vessel.

But fluids, and equipment that handles fluids, could go in the trunk. For example, if they need to increase capacity for scrubbing CO2, they could pump air to scrubbers in the trunk and then back into the crew compartment.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: dglow on 05/18/2020 03:24 pm
How much would the habitable volume decrease with doubling the flight time?

I wonder if it needs to decrease at all. Why couldn't Dragon's trunk house additional consumables and other gear, SM-style?

Hard consumables and other things the crew needs to access have to go inside the pressure vessel.

But fluids, and equipment that handles fluids, could go in the trunk. For example, if they need to increase capacity for scrubbing CO2, they could pump air to scrubbers in the trunk and then back into the crew compartment.

Okay, thanks; so extra O2/H2/H2O in the trunk. What types of lines and connections are currently present on Dragon's trunk umbilical? At minimum there must be some comms and power from the solar. How is the radiator handled?

Also, allow me to ask, if Dragon needed additional delta-V (for, let's say, Gateway rendezvous) what would make most sense: propellant tanks in the trunk feeding the onboard Dracos, or feeding a separate engine housed within the trunk?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 05/18/2020 04:17 pm
I feel like we're straying away from Commercial Crew Dragon, and into "how can we make Crew Dragon into Orion" isn't really on topic for this thread.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 05/18/2020 04:40 pm
I feel like we're straying away from Commercial Crew Dragon, and into "how can we make Crew Dragon into Orion" isn't really on topic for this thread.

Agreed. There is actually a thread for this:

Are Commercial Crew Vehicles Usable or Upgradeable for Beyond-LEO Needs? (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35787.0)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: dglow on 05/18/2020 04:47 pm
I feel like we're straying away from Commercial Crew Dragon, and into "how can we make Crew Dragon into Orion" isn't really on topic for this thread.

Boo, hiss. Light inquiry into the nature and potential limits of CC vehicle performance feels on-topic to me. Probably less so the comparisons to Orion, which began further upthread.

"Could Starliner or Dragon ferry crew to Gateway?"   Perfectly legitimate here, IMO.
"Would NASA ever do (or Congress fund) this?"   Belongs in another thread.


Agreed. There is actually a thread for this:

Are Commercial Crew Vehicles Usable or Upgradeable for Beyond-LEO Needs? (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35787.0)

Sure, but that thread hasn't seen activity since August of 2017. So let's be real, we gravitate to the places people are talking - right?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 05/20/2020 01:41 pm
Quote
The numbers don’t lie—NASA’s move to commercial space has saved money
“Together, we have become stronger for this nation.”

ERIC BERGER - 5/20/2020, 12:30 PM

When NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken blast off inside a Crew Dragon spacecraft later this month, they will not only launch into space. They will also inaugurate a potentially transformative era for the space agency.

No private company has ever launched humans into orbit before. Therefore the success of their mission, and others to come in the near future, may go a long way toward determining whether the promise of commercial spaceflight and lower cost access to space becomes the new reality.

https://arstechnica.com/features/2020/05/the-numbers-dont-lie-nasas-move-to-commercial-space-has-saved-money/
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 05/20/2020 02:09 pm
Quote
The numbers don’t lie—NASA’s move to commercial space has saved money
“Together, we have become stronger for this nation.”

ERIC BERGER - 5/20/2020, 12:30 PM

When NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken blast off inside a Crew Dragon spacecraft later this month, they will not only launch into space. They will also inaugurate a potentially transformative era for the space agency.

No private company has ever launched humans into orbit before. Therefore the success of their mission, and others to come in the near future, may go a long way toward determining whether the promise of commercial spaceflight and lower cost access to space becomes the new reality.

https://arstechnica.com/features/2020/05/the-numbers-dont-lie-nasas-move-to-commercial-space-has-saved-money/ (https://arstechnica.com/features/2020/05/the-numbers-dont-lie-nasas-move-to-commercial-space-has-saved-money/)

Ouch!

Former shuttle astronaut Scott Horowitz just got toasted by Eric Berger over his involvement in Ares I.
If Scott Horowitz really did make that ludicrous $400 million comparison between Ares I-X and F9 v1.0... not good.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Nomadd on 05/20/2020 03:22 pm
Quote
The numbers don’t lie—NASA’s move to commercial space has saved money
“Together, we have become stronger for this nation.”

ERIC BERGER - 5/20/2020, 12:30 PM

When NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken blast off inside a Crew Dragon spacecraft later this month, they will not only launch into space. They will also inaugurate a potentially transformative era for the space agency.

No private company has ever launched humans into orbit before. Therefore the success of their mission, and others to come in the near future, may go a long way toward determining whether the promise of commercial spaceflight and lower cost access to space becomes the new reality.

https://arstechnica.com/features/2020/05/the-numbers-dont-lie-nasas-move-to-commercial-space-has-saved-money/ (https://arstechnica.com/features/2020/05/the-numbers-dont-lie-nasas-move-to-commercial-space-has-saved-money/)

Ouch!

Former shuttle astronaut Scott Horowitz just got toasted by Eric Berger over his involvement in Ares I.
If Scott Horowitz really did make that ludicrous $400 million comparison between Ares I-X and F9 v1.0... not good.
  I thought you were exaggerating with the ludicrous comment until I read the article. Sorry.
 It boggles the mind that someone who's supposedly intelligent could think he'd get away with nonsense like that. It's like comparing the cost of buying an updated Dodge Ram at the dealership to the cost of designing, developing and building the manufacturing facilities for a Model S.
 Did he forget minor items like "$1.8 billion to begin design work"?
 What a way to finish up your legacy after a career like that.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 06/01/2020 01:12 pm
I missed it when it came out in November 2019 but this OIG report has the price per seat for commercial crew:

Quote from: page 4 of OIG Report
As of May 2019, Boeing and SpaceX’s contracts were valued at $4.3 billion and $2.5 billion, respectively. Of those amounts, Boeing’s costs for development and test flights were $2.2 billion, while SpaceX’s were $1.2 billion. For crewed missions to the ISS, NASA awarded each contractor six round-trip missions. Assuming four astronauts per flight and using publicly available information, the estimated average cost per seat is approximately $90 million for Boeing and approximately $55 million for SpaceX, potentially providing cost savings over current Soyuz prices.[6]

[6] The average cost per seat was calculated by taking the total contract value and subtracting the development and test flight costs (previously disclosed in NASA’s fiscal year 2020 budget request) and the special studies costs (disclosed in past Government Accountability Office reports) to determine the total mission cost for each contractor. This number was divided by the 24 seats currently assumed over the contactors’ six confirmed missions. These figures were calculated using publicly available information and are averages, not exact costs.

Quote from: page 21 of OIG Report
Due to slippage in the commercial crew schedule, in March 2018 NASA purchased two additional Soyuz seats for $86 million each, one for the September 2019 Soyuz flight and another on the upcoming April 2020 mission.

https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-20-005.pdf

However, Boeing disputes these prices per seat namely because it doesn't take into account the potential 5th seat on Starliner (which can be replaced with cargo):

Quote
In regards to to the per-seat cost estimate, Boeing said that its craft "will fly the equivalent of a fifth passenger in cargo for NASA, so the per-seat pricing should be considered based on five seats rather than four."

https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Boeing_Starliner_to_cost_90_Million_per_seat_999.html
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: AbuSimbel on 06/01/2020 01:44 pm
Quote
However, Boeing dispute these prices per seat namely because it doesn't take into account the potential 5th seat on Starliner (which can be replaced with cargo):

Quote
In regards to to the per-seat cost estimate, Boeing said that its craft "will fly the equivalent of a fifth passenger in cargo for NASA, so the per-seat pricing should be considered based on five seats rather than four."

https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Boeing_Starliner_to_cost_90_Million_per_seat_999.html

What does this even mean... both Dragon and Starliner have theoretical capacity for 7 seats.
‘The equivalent of a fifth passenger in cargo’ sounds like nonsense to me, comparing apples to oranges. Is Dragon’s cargo capacity even lower than Starliner’s, never mind lower enough to justify a 35*4= 140 million $ difference in cost per mission?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 06/01/2020 03:29 pm
In fairness, this quote was from November '19 when things were a little different.  I suspect Boeing might not make the same claim now as they did then.

Regardless, it's a weasel argument and yet another indication how bad Boeing's PR was at this time.  Hopefully they've learned their lesson.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Nomadd on 06/01/2020 04:02 pm
Quote
However, Boeing dispute these prices per seat namely because it doesn't take into account the potential 5th seat on Starliner (which can be replaced with cargo):

Quote
In regards to to the per-seat cost estimate, Boeing said that its craft "will fly the equivalent of a fifth passenger in cargo for NASA, so the per-seat pricing should be considered based on five seats rather than four."

https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Boeing_Starliner_to_cost_90_Million_per_seat_999.html

What does this even mean... both Dragon and Starliner have theoretical capacity for 7 seats.
‘The equivalent of a fifth passenger in cargo’ sounds like nonsense to me, comparing apples to oranges. Is Dragon’s cargo capacity even lower than Starliner’s, never mind lower enough to justify a 35*4= 140 million $ difference in cost per mission?
They didn't say anything about Dragon. Just the $90 million figure. Give that 5th seat number ($72 million) to Boeing as long as you do the same for SpaceX and reduce their price to $44 million a seat.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: kdhilliard on 06/01/2020 05:42 pm
...
 They didn't say anything about Dragon. Just the $90 million figure. Give that 5th seat number ($72 million) to Boeing as long as you do the same for SpaceX and reduce their price to $44 million a seat.
Indeed.  It is more about comparisons with the cost to NASA of a Soyuz seat.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DistantTemple on 06/01/2020 06:59 pm
...
 They didn't say anything about Dragon. Just the $90 million figure. Give that 5th seat number ($72 million) to Boeing as long as you do the same for SpaceX and reduce their price to $44 million a seat.
Indeed.  It is more about comparisons with the cost to NASA of a Soyuz seat.
I know there has been frequent moans about how expensive Roscosmos is, and "giving Russia $90M per seat", but on that basis alone SpaceX will cost much more if you include the development cost. Despite SX's aim to reduce spaceflight costs, the CC programme has only limited flights and high (necessarily so) safety and oversight standards. As well as limited re-use. SpaceX is competing against Boeing, not the Russians.

The arguments for SX vs the Russians, are things like, independent launch ability, developing US capabilities, and US space industry, having proper REDUNDANCY so a problem with the Soyuz doesn't halt launches... etc. Removing the indignity of having to rely on Soyuz! And having their own programme as part of expanding HSF from American soil, and so being able to claim leadership etc, as well as making strides in exploration.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Nomadd on 06/01/2020 07:34 pm
...
 They didn't say anything about Dragon. Just the $90 million figure. Give that 5th seat number ($72 million) to Boeing as long as you do the same for SpaceX and reduce their price to $44 million a seat.
Indeed.  It is more about comparisons with the cost to NASA of a Soyuz seat.
I know there has been frequent moans about how expensive Roscosmos is, and "giving Russia $90M per seat", but on that basis alone SpaceX will cost much more if you include the development cost. Despite SX's aim to reduce spaceflight costs, the CC programme has only limited flights and high (necessarily so) safety and oversight standards. As well as limited re-use. SpaceX is competing against Boeing, not the Russians.

The arguments for SX vs the Russians, are things like, independent launch ability, developing US capabilities, and US space industry, having proper REDUNDANCY so a problem with the Soyuz doesn't halt launches... etc. Removing the indignity of having to rely on Soyuz! And having their own programme as part of expanding HSF from American soil, and so being able to claim leadership etc, as well as making strides in exploration.
I really don't understand people implying Roscosmos is doing something unethical with their pricing. Why should they sell a service for less than the customer is willing to pay? They've kept human spaceflight alive for the nine years the other guys have been fooling around with various projects. If the boss making dumb comments is a reason to belittle the company, we really don't have much room to say anything. I'm in awe at the way they've kept the dream alive through the incredible upheaval they've endured in the last 60 years, and anybody I meet who's been involved in the Russian space program won't be paying for drinks that night. Except for the guy who drilled that hole.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 06/01/2020 08:44 pm
I know there has been frequent moans about how expensive Roscosmos is, and "giving Russia $90M per seat", but on that basis alone SpaceX will cost much more if you include the development cost.
Based on the OIG report, $2.5 billion for 26 seats* is $96 million, so only a little more than the current per-seat price for a Roscosmos seat.  If you factor in the likelihood that the Russian seat price would increase over the duration of the SpaceX service, it probably comes out pretty much the same.
Quote
The arguments for SX vs the Russians, are things like, independent launch ability, developing US capabilities, and US space industry, having proper REDUNDANCY so a problem with the Soyuz doesn't halt launches... etc.
You forgot the most important one; having more than one US astronaut on the ISS at a time.

*26 because the two DM-2 astronauts have effectively been converted from a short-stay mission to a long-duration mission
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DistantTemple on 06/01/2020 08:54 pm
I know there has been frequent moans about how expensive Roscosmos is, and "giving Russia $90M per seat", but on that basis alone SpaceX will cost much more if you include the development cost.
Based on the OIG report, $2.5 billion for 26 seats* is $96 million, so only a little more than the current per-seat price for a Roscosmos seat.  If you factor in the likelihood that the Russian seat price would increase over the duration of the SpaceX service, it probably comes out pretty much the same.
Quote
The arguments for SX vs the Russians, are things like, independent launch ability, developing US capabilities, and US space industry, having proper REDUNDANCY so a problem with the Soyuz doesn't halt launches... etc.
You forgot the most important one; having more than one US astronaut on the ISS at a time.

*26 because the two DM-2 astronauts have effectively been converted from a short-stay mission to a long-duration mission
Yes I agree that is essential; I thought of that, but that was caused by a choice to stop buying more seats, because CC was due to come on line... shortly ....  And its pretty implicit in "independent launch ability" etc. And redundancy is perhaps even more important, as a time-consuming problem with Soyuz  as the only HSF vehicle could mean the de-manning of the ICC, and its possible resulting (through complications of this) of early end of mission.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 06/01/2020 09:25 pm
Yes I agree that is essential; I thought of that, but that was caused by a choice to stop buying more seats, because CC was due to come on line... shortly ....
Russia has scaled down the production of Soyuz and this does not allow for the two at a time that are required for six crew and therefore more than one US astronaut on station at a time.  ISTR this was a Russian decision independent of NASA seat purchases, but I could be wrong about that.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: lonestriker on 06/02/2020 03:06 am
I really don't understand people implying Roscosmos is doing something unethical with their pricing. Why should they sell a service for less than the customer is willing to pay? They've kept human spaceflight alive for the nine years the other guys have been fooling around with various projects. If the boss making dumb comments is a reason to belittle the company, we really don't have much room to say anything. I'm in awe at the way they've kept the dream alive through the incredible upheaval they've endured in the last 60 years, and anybody I meet who's been involved in the Russian space program won't be paying for drinks that night. Except for the guy who drilled that hole.

Having worked with many many Russians over the years, you're playing a very dangerous game providing unlimited drinks to any Russian.  Even the Russian ladies can easily drink me under the table (and I outweighed them 2:1)...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: su27k on 06/02/2020 03:38 am
The arguments for SX vs the Russians, are things like, independent launch ability, developing US capabilities, and US space industry, having proper REDUNDANCY so a problem with the Soyuz doesn't halt launches... etc.
You forgot the most important one; having more than one US astronaut on the ISS at a time.

I'm sure Russians won't scale down Soyuz production if NASA keeps paying them. However Commercial Crew does provide one more astronauts on the US side comparing to Soyuz (4 instead of 3), this is an important benefit in terms of ISS science output.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 06/02/2020 05:48 am
Based on the OIG report, $2.5 billion for 26 seats* is $96 million, so only a little more than the current per-seat price for a Roscosmos seat.  If you factor in the likelihood that the Russian seat price would increase over the duration of the SpaceX service, it probably comes out pretty much the same.

You also need to include Boeing costs and all the development costs prior to CCtCAP. I work out that to be $8362.4M for 53 seats (26 for SpaceX and 27 for Boeing). That gives an average seat cost of $158M over the life of the program.

CCDEV          CCDEV1 CCDEV2 CCDEV2+ CCiCap   CPC  CCiCap2 CCtCAP  Total
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Boeing         $18.0  $92.3  $20.6  $460.0  $10.0  $20.0  $4200  $4820.9
SpaceX          $0.0  $75.0   $0.0  $440.0   $9.6  $20.0  $2600  $3144.6
SNC            $20.0  $80.0  $25.6  $212.5  $10.0  $15.0          $363.1
Blue Origin     $3.7  $22.0                                        $25.7
ULA             $6.7                                                $6.7
Paragon         $1.4                                                $1.4
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total          $49.8  $269.3 $46.2 $1112.5  $29.6  $55.0  $6800  $8362.4
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 06/02/2020 01:10 pm
Based on the OIG report, $2.5 billion for 26 seats* is $96 million, so only a little more than the current per-seat price for a Roscosmos seat.  If you factor in the likelihood that the Russian seat price would increase over the duration of the SpaceX service, it probably comes out pretty much the same.

You also need to include Boeing costs and all the development costs prior to CCtCAP. I work out that to be $8362.4M for 53 seats (26 for SpaceX and 27 for Boeing). That gives an average seat cost of $158M over the life of the program.

CCDEV          CCDEV1 CCDEV2 CCDEV2+ CCiCap   CPC  CCiCap2 CCtCAP  Total
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Boeing         $18.0  $92.3  $20.6  $460.0  $10.0  $20.0  $4200  $4820.9
SpaceX          $0.0  $75.0   $0.0  $440.0   $9.6  $20.0  $2600  $3144.6
SNC            $20.0  $80.0  $25.6  $212.5  $10.0  $15.0          $363.1
Blue Origin     $3.7  $22.0                                        $25.7
ULA             $6.7                                                $6.7
Paragon         $1.4                                                $1.4
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total          $49.8  $269.3 $46.2 $1112.5  $29.6  $55.0  $6800  $8362.4


Over the duration of the current contract, not the life of the program. Unless ISS is deorbited in 2026, NASA will need more than 12 operational flights, so they will need to buy more flights. Which will probably reduce the overall program per-seat cost, as development costs are a large chunk of that price.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DigitalMan on 06/02/2020 01:47 pm
Based on the OIG report, $2.5 billion for 26 seats* is $96 million, so only a little more than the current per-seat price for a Roscosmos seat.  If you factor in the likelihood that the Russian seat price would increase over the duration of the SpaceX service, it probably comes out pretty much the same.

You also need to include Boeing costs and all the development costs prior to CCtCAP. I work out that to be $8362.4M for 53 seats (26 for SpaceX and 27 for Boeing). That gives an average seat cost of $158M over the life of the program.

CCDEV          CCDEV1 CCDEV2 CCDEV2+ CCiCap   CPC  CCiCap2 CCtCAP  Total
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Boeing         $18.0  $92.3  $20.6  $460.0  $10.0  $20.0  $4200  $4820.9
SpaceX          $0.0  $75.0   $0.0  $440.0   $9.6  $20.0  $2600  $3144.6
SNC            $20.0  $80.0  $25.6  $212.5  $10.0  $15.0          $363.1
Blue Origin     $3.7  $22.0                                        $25.7
ULA             $6.7                                                $6.7
Paragon         $1.4                                                $1.4
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total          $49.8  $269.3 $46.2 $1112.5  $29.6  $55.0  $6800  $8362.4


Over the duration of the current contract, not the life of the program. Unless ISS is deorbited in 2026, NASA will need more than 12 operational flights, so they will need to buy more flights. Which will probably reduce the overall program per-seat cost, as development costs are a large chunk of that price.

What about figuring non-NASA flights into the equation?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Redclaws on 06/02/2020 02:02 pm
Why?  Isn’t this discussion about cost to NASA, rather than benefit to SpaceX of the program?  Non-NASA flights benefit SpaceX by letting them leverage the NASA investment, but have no (direct, anyway) impact on NASA or its costs.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DigitalMan on 06/02/2020 05:52 pm
Why?  Isn’t this discussion about cost to NASA, rather than benefit to SpaceX of the program?  Non-NASA flights benefit SpaceX by letting them leverage the NASA investment, but have no (direct, anyway) impact on NASA or its costs.

NASA seems to indicate that having other customers will reduce their costs. What evidence do you have that they are wrong in that statement?

edit: to save some time, also consider that SpaceX has fixed costs and development costs of its own that were contributed. The CRS contract is a potential indicator of what can happen to NASA costs as the cost environment changes.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 06/02/2020 11:46 pm
For CCtCap, the cost for NASA of each missions are fixed. But if there is another commercial crew round, I expect prices to drop. So having customers other than NASA could make a difference in the next round. New providers such as SNC could also enter this new round.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 06/03/2020 12:15 am
I know there has been frequent moans about how expensive Roscosmos is, and "giving Russia $90M per seat", but on that basis alone SpaceX will cost much more if you include the development cost.
Based on the OIG report, $2.5 billion for 26 seats* is $96 million, so only a little more than the current per-seat price for a Roscosmos seat.  If you factor in the likelihood that the Russian seat price would increase over the duration of the SpaceX service, it probably comes out pretty much the same.
Quote
The arguments for SX vs the Russians, are things like, independent launch ability, developing US capabilities, and US space industry, having proper REDUNDANCY so a problem with the Soyuz doesn't halt launches... etc.
You forgot the most important one; having more than one US astronaut on the ISS at a time.

*26 because the two DM-2 astronauts have effectively been converted from a short-stay mission to a long-duration mission

Don't forget that the price per flight also includes a significant amount of cargo that can be hauled up (and down) in Crew Dragon on crew rotation flights.  Since Crew Dragon was designed for up to 7 astronauts and they're only flying 4, that leaves the entire lower tier as space for cargo, plus the trunk. 

While I'm not sure of the actual mass figures, it is almost certainly more than a comparable Soyuz crew rotation flight would carry.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Redclaws on 06/03/2020 12:31 am
Why?  Isn’t this discussion about cost to NASA, rather than benefit to SpaceX of the program?  Non-NASA flights benefit SpaceX by letting them leverage the NASA investment, but have no (direct, anyway) impact on NASA or its costs.

NASA seems to indicate that having other customers will reduce their costs. What evidence do you have that they are wrong in that statement?

edit: to save some time, also consider that SpaceX has fixed costs and development costs of its own that were contributed. The CRS contract is a potential indicator of what can happen to NASA costs as the cost environment changes.

I’m not suggesting they were (And I don’t think they are!) - I was just confused, the previous post seemed to be just a simple calculation of the cost to NASA.  Literally just addition and division, so I didn’t see how other customers factored in to that calculation.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DigitalMan on 06/03/2020 01:40 am
Why?  Isn’t this discussion about cost to NASA, rather than benefit to SpaceX of the program?  Non-NASA flights benefit SpaceX by letting them leverage the NASA investment, but have no (direct, anyway) impact on NASA or its costs.

NASA seems to indicate that having other customers will reduce their costs. What evidence do you have that they are wrong in that statement?

edit: to save some time, also consider that SpaceX has fixed costs and development costs of its own that were contributed. The CRS contract is a potential indicator of what can happen to NASA costs as the cost environment changes.

I’m not suggesting they were (And I don’t think they are!) - I was just confused, the previous post seemed to be just a simple calculation of the cost to NASA.  Literally just addition and division, so I didn’t see how other customers factored in to that calculation.

SpaceX has negotiated prices with NASA in regards to reuse during CRS. The statements from Jim Bridenstine on multiple occasions indicate they are expecting cost advantages in the future providing a competitive environment where NASA is one customer of many.

SpaceX has 2 other customers lined up. That's a start. I wouldn't expect prices to change during the current contract, but launches past the 6, yea, most likely they will. If reuse becomes a factor it could change sooner.

To simplify the point. I think it is nothing more than an estimate if you try to determine contract costs until the contract is completed. Boeings contract was increased, for example.

https://spacenews.com/nasa-inspector-general-criticizes-additional-boeing-commercial-crew-payments/
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DistantTemple on 06/03/2020 03:07 pm
DM-2 must complete it’s mission before certification and USCV-1.  There will be no direct handover.

This is also off-topic for this thread which should stay focused on Starliner.
It's not off topic. The purpose was to decide when Starliner needs to launch, in addition to when it can launch.
It would be in the interest of SpaceX, NASA, the ISS and even Boeing, and its safe progress with Starliner, for SpaceX to bring forward its manufacturing, and preparations for its SECOND CC mission, so if needed it can jump ahead of Starliner. It is not guaranteed that Boeing will have only minimal work between each of its repeat un-crewed flight, its crewed demo, and first operational flight.
Russia cannot easily/quickly offer any/many extra seats. That leaves SpaceX. They would have to work very hard to keep the grins out of sight, if they were ready to step into the breach, especially with limited notice! Crew training, and crew scheduling may be a big headache, but maybe NASA should make such preparations as flexible as they can!
Booster manufacture is easy as they have spare capacity. I bet SX have already started to game such a leapfrog, and put their ducks in line for accelerated Dragon2 build etc!
Edit: on topic: relevant to Starliner timeline, and timeline pressure/safety.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 06/03/2020 04:40 pm
DM-2 must complete it’s mission before certification and USCV-1.  There will be no direct handover.

This is also off-topic for this thread which should stay focused on Starliner.
It's not off topic. The purpose was to decide when Starliner needs to launch, in addition to when it can launch.
The dirty little secret is Starliner doesn't need to launch at all, until if/when SpaceX has a mishap*.  In fact, it'd be cheaper for it not to launch.  SpaceX is building plenty of capsules and the capsules could and should (and probably will be) certified for reuse at some point.

More practically speaking, Starliner will launch when Starliner can safely launch at earliest.  It might slip some based on crew schedule and alignment, true, but the timing of DM-2 and USCV-1 is not relevant in that regard, because it's not going to be ready in time for it to be relevant.

* No, I'm not suggesting that's appropriate or possible to only launch when the other provider has a problem, clearly that doesn't work.  Just pointing out that SpaceX is capable of filling the crewed need RIGHT NOW to give Boeing and NASA time to get Starliner certified without schedule pressure.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lars-J on 06/03/2020 05:46 pm
DM-2 must complete it’s mission before certification and USCV-1.  There will be no direct handover.

This is also off-topic for this thread which should stay focused on Starliner.
It's not off topic. The purpose was to decide when Starliner needs to launch, in addition to when it can launch.
The dirty little secret is Starliner doesn't need to launch at all, until if/when SpaceX has a mishap*.  In fact, it'd be cheaper for it not to launch.  SpaceX is building plenty of capsules and the capsules could and should (and probably will be) certified for reuse at some point.

That makes no sense. I don't... think you understand the concept of redundancy. At all. Starliner doesn't provide redundancy until it demonstrates that it works. And it has to fly to do that.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 06/03/2020 06:09 pm
DM-2 must complete it’s mission before certification and USCV-1.  There will be no direct handover.

This is also off-topic for this thread which should stay focused on Starliner.
It's not off topic. The purpose was to decide when Starliner needs to launch, in addition to when it can launch.
The dirty little secret is Starliner doesn't need to launch at all, until if/when SpaceX has a mishap*.  In fact, it'd be cheaper for it not to launch.  SpaceX is building plenty of capsules and the capsules could and should (and probably will be) certified for reuse at some point.

That makes no sense. I don't... think you understand the concept of redundancy. At all. Starliner doesn't provide redundancy until it demonstrates that it works. And it has to fly to do that.
Maybe it makes no sense because you deleted the asterisk I put at the bottom?  If you read that, it might make more sense to you:
Quote
No, I'm not suggesting that's appropriate or possible to only launch when the other provider has a problem, clearly that doesn't work.  Just pointing out that SpaceX is capable of filling the crewed need RIGHT NOW to give Boeing and NASA time to get Starliner certified without schedule pressure.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: lonestriker on 06/03/2020 09:58 pm
That makes no sense. I don't... think you understand the concept of redundancy. At all. Starliner doesn't provide redundancy until it demonstrates that it works. And it has to fly to do that.

Soyuz would like to say "hi!" in the redundancy conversation.  Of course it would be better if we had American redundancy across two providers, but at least we're (almost) at two certified crew transport providers now.

I'm sure NASA and SpaceX are already having "what if" planning scenarios now to bring forward schedules.  They mentioned some of this accelerated capability for SpaceX to build D2s quickly after the IFA and ahead of the FRR.

Starliner has the luxury now of absolutely no time pressure to get everything done and triple-checked.  Given how much scrutiny both NASA and Boeing will be under for the repeat of OFT and then the crewed test flight, I bet they will use as much time as needed.  Especially if there is a new president sitting in the Oval Office next year, there may be changes to the NASA administration.  If Jim is replaced, that will undoubtedly put the brakes on certifying Starliner.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DigitalMan on 06/04/2020 01:37 am
I’m surprised NASA made a reuse contract change with SpaceX so quickly.

Anyone have numbers?

Edit: ok it looks like no cost modification
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: king1999 on 06/04/2020 02:45 am
The dirty little secret is Starliner doesn't need to launch at all, until if/when SpaceX has a mishap*.  In fact, it'd be cheaper for it not to launch.  SpaceX is building plenty of capsules and the capsules could and should (and probably will be) certified for reuse at some point.

Recent mod of contract between NASA and SpaceX showed that reuse of BOTH F9 and Crew Dragon will be allowed after USCV-2. That will enable SpaceX for higher flight rate if Boeing is not ready by then.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 06/04/2020 07:27 am
The dirty little secret is Starliner doesn't need to launch at all, until if/when SpaceX has a mishap*.  In fact, it'd be cheaper for it not to launch.  SpaceX is building plenty of capsules and the capsules could and should (and probably will be) certified for reuse at some point.

Recent mod of contract between NASA and SpaceX showed that reuse of BOTH F9 and Crew Dragon will be allowed after USCV-2. That will enable SpaceX for higher flight rate if Boeing is not ready by then.

Minor nit: not USCV-2, but PCM-2. As in: NASA has allowed SpaceX to reuse the booster and Crew Dragon after the second operational SpaceX CCP mission.

PCM-2 is not necessarily equal to USCV-2 because there is a small chance that USCV-2 could actually be flown by Starliner.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 06/04/2020 07:32 am
I’m surprised NASA made a reuse contract change with SpaceX so quickly.

Anyone have numbers?

Edit: ok it looks like no cost modification

No cost modification due to the fact that it is an exchange.

Originally DM-2 would last only a week. But given the dire situation with regards to the presence of US astronauts on ISS there was a pressing need to turn DM-2 into a longer mission.
In doing so NASA would have to come up with compensation for SpaceX. That could be either additional money or something else.

In this case NASA and SpaceX agreed to not provide additional money but to drop the requirement of all-new boosters and all-new Crew Dragon spacecraft for all six contracted Post-Certification Missions.

In short: SpaceX gets to fly reused F9 boosters and Crew Dragons on CCP missions in exchange for extending the DM-2 mission from one week to (up to) 119 days.


IMO a really good deal.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: edzieba on 06/04/2020 10:32 am
I’m surprised NASA made a reuse contract change with SpaceX so quickly.
I suspect this has been in the works for some time. Initially it was mooted that post-use Crew Dragons could be converted to Cargo Dragons (as opposed to scrapping them as single-use items), but that flipped to a pretty definitive "no, we won't be doing that" a year or so ago. I expect that would coincide with positive progress in proposed re-use of Crew Dragon vehicles.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jpo234 on 06/04/2020 11:16 am
You also need to include Boeing costs and all the development costs prior to CCtCAP. I work out that to be $8362.4M for 53 seats (26 for SpaceX and 27 for Boeing).
The US Government got some of this money back as taxes...
Not just from the companies themselves but also from suppliers and other secondary increases of economic activity. There are probably economic models to make an educated guess about the monetary value.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 06/04/2020 03:43 pm
I was trying to find what Boeing got for extending their mission (see https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-and-boeing-extend-starliner-crew-flight-test-duration-to-space-station-target-new and https://spacenews.com/nasa-approves-extension-of-boeing-commercial-crew-test-flight/), but I couldn't find any reference.  It might be that whatever the deal is won't be fully arranged until the duration of the mission is determined, and that hasn't happened yet.  Or I couldn't find it.  But that would give us an apples to apples comparison as to the value of extending a short-duration flight to a long-duration flight.

This feels like a good deal for SpaceX but an even better deal for NASA (and us taxpayers).  Boeing was already going to reuse capsules - at a much steeper price, while SpaceX is the one with experience refurbishing and reflying Dragon capsules.  And either NASA thinks flying on a SpaceX previously flown booster is as safe or safer than a new booster, or it does not.  That doesn't seem like a financial consideration for NASA, strictly a safety assessment.

I'm glad to see it happen and think it benefits both SpaceX and NASA.  But it this seems great deal for NASA - getting two more seats (estimated anywhere from $55 million to $130 million per seat, depending on which accounting measure you use) for free.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 06/04/2020 03:53 pm
The dirty little secret is Starliner doesn't need to launch at all, until if/when SpaceX has a mishap*.  In fact, it'd be cheaper for it not to launch.  SpaceX is building plenty of capsules and the capsules could and should (and probably will be) certified for reuse at some point.

Recent mod of contract between NASA and SpaceX showed that reuse of BOTH F9 and Crew Dragon will be allowed after USCV-2. That will enable SpaceX for higher flight rate if Boeing is not ready by then.
Yeah, my timing on that comment was (totally accidentally) great.  I guess I got to be the broken clock for once!  I imagine it's one of the paths NASA has been exploring to give them increased margin and flexibility, but honestly, the capsule refurbishment was probably the only thing they really needed to do for that, SpaceX should be able to build a new booster in plenty of time if they are asked to fill USCV-2.

@mgeagon - great question - I imagine the milestones will be largely proprietary and closely held between Boeing and NASA until they have a very good idea of what its going to look like.  IIRC they already have an Atlas V built/being built - previously for their crewed demo flight - so we should not expect to get any insight from ULA.  Based on previous situations it might be that we hear of it first from ASAP.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DigitalMan on 06/04/2020 04:04 pm
I’m surprised NASA made a reuse contract change with SpaceX so quickly.

Anyone have numbers?

Edit: ok it looks like no cost modification

No cost modification due to the fact that it is an exchange.

Originally DM-2 would last only a week. But given the dire situation with regards to the presence of US astronauts on ISS there was a pressing need to turn DM-2 into a longer mission.
In doing so NASA would have to come up with compensation for SpaceX. That could be either additional money or something else.

In this case NASA and SpaceX agreed to not provide additional money but to drop the requirement of all-new boosters and all-new Crew Dragon spacecraft for all six contracted Post-Certification Missions.

In short: SpaceX gets to fly reused F9 boosters and Crew Dragons on CCP missions in exchange for extending the DM-2 mission from one week to (up to) 119 days.


IMO a really good deal.

That is quite logical, thanks. I think the training for Space Force for abort rescue is good not only for SpaceX, if they need the capability, but good for Space Force itself, which gets to practice procedures and logistics, but also other commercial providers which might also need to rely on assistance from Space Force.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 06/04/2020 04:33 pm
DM-2 must complete it’s mission before certification and USCV-1.  There will be no direct handover.

This is also off-topic for this thread which should stay focused on Starliner.
It's not off topic. The purpose was to decide when Starliner needs to launch, in addition to when it can launch.
The dirty little secret is Starliner doesn't need to launch at all, until if/when SpaceX has a mishap*.  In fact, it'd be cheaper for it not to launch.  SpaceX is building plenty of capsules and the capsules could and should (and probably will be) certified for reuse at some point.

There really isn't much evidence that SpaceX can reliably provide crew rotation services to keep ISS up and running alone. They were never planning for that and haven't even done one full crew rotation. And re-use likely won't help given the shortest interval between launches of the same Dragon cargo capsule was 459 days (CRS-16 and CRS-20). That would suggest that the DM-2 capsule would be ready for reflight on or after September 1, 2021. So, it won't help with the need for a flight to ISS in the ~March 2021 time frame. For the health of the ISS and not being put in another potential de-crewing situation (and another expedited Soyuz contract situation) , these Starliner flights in November 2020 and April 2021 need to hold.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 06/04/2020 04:46 pm
Some may think this is weird coming from me, but I don't think we have to worry about Starliner becoming available for crew rotation services within the next year. I think Boeing will fix everything up, do a successful test, and NASA will allow them to do their crewed test - likely with a mission extension like the current SpaceX one.

As to Dragon Crew missions, and what they are and are not capable of doing, there is another thread for that...  ;)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Welsh Dragon on 06/04/2020 04:47 pm
DM-2 must complete it’s mission before certification and USCV-1.  There will be no direct handover.

This is also off-topic for this thread which should stay focused on Starliner.
It's not off topic. The purpose was to decide when Starliner needs to launch, in addition to when it can launch.
The dirty little secret is Starliner doesn't need to launch at all, until if/when SpaceX has a mishap*.  In fact, it'd be cheaper for it not to launch.  SpaceX is building plenty of capsules and the capsules could and should (and probably will be) certified for reuse at some point.

There really isn't much evidence that SpaceX can reliably provide crew rotation services to keep ISS up and running alone. They were never planning for that and haven't even done one full crew rotation. And re-use likely won't help given the shortest interval between launches of the same Dragon cargo capsule was 459 days (CRS-16 and CRS-20). That would suggest that the DM-2 capsule would be ready for reflight on or after September 1, 2021. So, it won't help with the need for a flight to ISS in the ~March 2021 time frame. For the health of the ISS and not being put in another potential de-crewing situation (and another expedited Soyuz contract situation) , these Starliner flights in November 2020 and April 2021 need to hold.
You think they'll only have one capsule in the rotation? Come on..... Once again with the misleading numbers. Give it up.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Vettedrmr on 06/04/2020 04:49 pm
And re-use likely won't help given the shortest interval between launches of the same Dragon cargo capsule was 459 days (CRS-16 and CRS-20).

A. Not relevant to Starliner
B. You assume the entire period was due to the amount of time to refurb the capsule
C. You assume that Crew Dragon will take as long to refurb as Cargo Dragon, which has been retired.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: snotis on 06/04/2020 05:46 pm
There really isn't much evidence that SpaceX can reliably provide crew rotation services to keep ISS up and running alone. They were never planning for that and haven't even done one full crew rotation. And re-use likely won't help...

If NASA needed SpaceX to "reliably provide crew rotation services to keep ISS up and running alone" I have no doubt SpaceX would figure it out.  Like 0% doubt.

That being said - Starliner will do OFT2 by the end of the year - and then assuming all went will with OFT2 (which it most likely will) they will do CFT ~4 months later.  They only have 2 operational capsules correct? (I don't think the pad-abort capsule is a fully operational one...)  If so - I don't know how fast they could turn around the capsule they use for OFT2 to be used in an operational mission after CFT.  My guess is that it takes about a year to refurb a capsule and build a new service section (because that is the cadence they were planning on for operational missions).  So they would be ready to do their first operational missions by end of 2021?

Personal log: It is becoming a fun past-time of mine to see how ncb1397 comments on news and situations regarding SpaceX - it is quite interesting!
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 06/04/2020 06:14 pm
C. You assume that Crew Dragon will take as long to refurb as Cargo Dragon, which has been retired.

You are right, it will likely take longer. First cargo dragon reuse launch interval was 915 days. Average was ~738 days. And that was without crew rating requirements. DM-2 and USCV-1 won't help with a flight in the ~March 2021 timeframe. They either have a new capsule configured for crew in the pipeline or they don't. If they don't, then Starliner has to hold the ~april 2021 crewed flight date or we have to buy another Soyuz seat.

There really isn't much evidence that SpaceX can reliably provide crew rotation services to keep ISS up and running alone. They were never planning for that and haven't even done one full crew rotation. And re-use likely won't help...

If NASA needed SpaceX to "reliably provide crew rotation services to keep ISS up and running alone" I have no doubt SpaceX would figure it out.  Like 0% doubt.

That isn't really much of a plan in the short term. Long term, having SpaceX just figure it out could be a plan.

edit: Possibly the best bet for re-use would be the In Flight abort test vehicle that is on the ground now and ready to be worked on. But the activation of the abort system adds another wrinkle on top of all the other ones. You are possibly looking at completely replacing that system(beyond just the burst disks). Another option might be to not fly CRS-21 in ~October and try to reconfigure something not initially intended to carry humans as a crew dragon rather than a cargo dragon. That doesn't look to be a good option either as it interrupts cargo resupply beyond just the question of feasibility and schedule.

All in all, putting USCV-2 duties onto Dragon v2 on top of cargo requirements is putting a ton of schedule pressure on a crew/spacecraft program in its infancy. It is not a good option in my book. You could get by, maybe, possibly - not a qualifier that you want to place on a crewed program.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 06/04/2020 08:24 pm
I was trying to find what Boeing got for extending their mission (see https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-and-boeing-extend-starliner-crew-flight-test-duration-to-space-station-target-new and https://spacenews.com/nasa-approves-extension-of-boeing-commercial-crew-test-flight/), but I couldn't find any reference.  It might be that whatever the deal is won't be fully arranged until the duration of the mission is determined, and that hasn't happened yet.  Or I couldn't find it.  But that would give us an apples to apples comparison as to the value of extending a short-duration flight to a long-duration flight.

This feels like a good deal for SpaceX but an even better deal for NASA (and us taxpayers).  Boeing was already going to reuse capsules - at a much steeper price, while SpaceX is the one with experience refurbishing and reflying Dragon capsules.  And either NASA thinks flying on a SpaceX previously flown booster is as safe or safer than a new booster, or it does not.  That doesn't seem like a financial consideration for NASA, strictly a safety assessment.

I'm glad to see it happen and think it benefits both SpaceX and NASA.  But it this seems great deal for NASA - getting two more seats (estimated anywhere from $55 million to $130 million per seat, depending on which accounting measure you use) for free.

NASA isn't getting 2 more seats, it's getting a longer duration flight.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: snotis on 06/04/2020 09:02 pm
NASA isn't getting 2 more seats, it's getting a longer duration flight.

The ISS has 2 astronauts that are going to be working for 119 days instead of 7~14 days.  14 days = ~7% of a normal crew rotation.  119 days = ~57%.  So I guess it would be more accurate to say they are getting 1 more seat in equivalent astronaut work time on the ISS.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: king1999 on 06/05/2020 02:10 am
C. You assume that Crew Dragon will take as long to refurb as Cargo Dragon, which has been retired.

You are right, it will likely take longer. First cargo dragon reuse launch interval was 915 days. Average was ~738 days. And that was without crew rating requirements. DM-2 and USCV-1 won't help with a flight in the ~March 2021 timeframe. They either have a new capsule configured for crew in the pipeline or they don't. If they don't, then Starliner has to hold the ~april 2021 crewed flight date or we have to buy another Soyuz seat.
This assumption has no merits. First of all, cargo dragon reuse intervals are not a good indication of the refurbishing time. SpaceX has other priorities other than refurbishing the dragons. But if it is higher priority to refurbish the crew dragon, they can certainly speed things up. Second and more importantly, crew dragon was designed to be reuse from the get-go, from a lot of lessons learned from cargo dragon. For example, water intrusion was a main problem with earlier cargo dragons, and the design of crew dragon has paid attention to this issue.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 06/05/2020 06:10 am
This feels like a good deal for SpaceX but an even better deal for NASA (and us taxpayers).

Huh? NASA was paying for seven new Falcon 9 first stages and seven new Dragon's. Now it is paying for at least one new Falcon 9 first stage (with the remaining being used) and at least two new Dragon's (with the remaining being used) for operating Dragon in orbit for an extra 1 to 3 months and some training. That's a saving for SpaceX I guess of up to 6x$20 + 5x$100 = $620M. That's a huge win for SpaceX and by my calculation a loss for the US taxpayer.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: edzieba on 06/05/2020 11:03 am
This feels like a good deal for SpaceX but an even better deal for NASA (and us taxpayers).

Huh? NASA was paying for seven new Falcon 9 first stages and seven new Dragon's. Now it is paying for at least one new Falcon 9 first stage (with the remaining being used) and at least two new Dragon's (with the remaining being used) for operating Dragon in orbit for an extra 1 to 3 months and some training. That's a saving for SpaceX I guess of up to 6x$20 + 5x$100 = $620M. That's a huge win for SpaceX and by my calculation a loss for the US taxpayer.
It's a big win for SpaceX, but at absolute worst a net zero for the US taxpayer: before-reuse / after-reuse, they're paying the same for getting the same number of crew seats to the ISS (in reality a small gain from the DM2 test crew becoming a brevet crew rotation).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Arb on 06/05/2020 11:18 am
This feels like a good deal for SpaceX but an even better deal for NASA (and us taxpayers).

Huh? NASA was paying for seven new Falcon 9 first stages and seven new Dragon's. Now it is paying for at least one new Falcon 9 first stage (with the remaining being used) and at least two new Dragon's (with the remaining being used) for operating Dragon in orbit for an extra 1 to 3 months and some training. That's a saving for SpaceX I guess of up to 6x$20 + 5x$100 = $620M. That's a huge win for SpaceX and by my calculation a loss for the US taxpayer.
Don't forget the recovery training for Space Force. Depending on exactly what it involves it could easily run into double digit millions. Ships, training capsule(s), perhaps helicopters, repeatedly...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: IntoTheVoid on 06/05/2020 11:23 am
This feels like a good deal for SpaceX but an even better deal for NASA (and us taxpayers).

Huh? NASA was paying for seven new Falcon 9 first stages and seven new Dragon's. Now it is paying for at least one new Falcon 9 first stage (with the remaining being used) and at least two new Dragon's (with the remaining being used) for operating Dragon in orbit for an extra 1 to 3 months and some training. That's a saving for SpaceX I guess of up to 6x$20 + 5x$100 = $620M. That's a huge win for SpaceX and by my calculation a loss for the US taxpayer.

As a US taxpayer, I don't see it as zero sum. I agree it's a great deal for SpaceX, and less so for NASA, but NASA isn't losing anything. As is often discussed, NASA is paying for a service, not buying hardware, and they will still receive the agreed service. NASA gains the 1 - 3 months on on orbit ops, and the training, at the cost of additional certification work.

SpaceX is required to build less hardware, but the on orbit ops still have a real cost, as does the training, as well as the refurb costs and certification costs. Agreed that these new costs are less than the hardware, but not necessarily by so much. Speculation: There is also the possibility that moving PCM-2 up, as contingency to Boeing, would have incurred additional facilitization costs, that reuse obviates. As alternative contingency, we can reasonably presume that 4 soyuz seats for spring 2021, would have cost upward of $90M x 4 = $360M, if even available, which is not assured, and would look bad.

NASA gets something they need/want for something they knew they were probably going to do eventually anyway. Could they have gotten more? Very possibly, but they got the deal they took.

(IMHO IANARS)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 06/05/2020 11:43 am
This feels like a good deal for SpaceX but an even better deal for NASA (and us taxpayers).

Huh? NASA was paying for seven new Falcon 9 first stages and seven new Dragon's. Now it is paying for at least one new Falcon 9 first stage (with the remaining being used) and at least two new Dragon's (with the remaining being used) for operating Dragon in orbit for an extra 1 to 3 months and some training. That's a saving for SpaceX I guess of up to 6x$20 + 5x$100 = $620M. That's a huge win for SpaceX and by my calculation a loss for the US taxpayer.

As a US taxpayer, I don't see it as zero sum. I agree it's a great deal for SpaceX, and less so for NASA, but NASA isn't losing anything. As is often discussed, NASA is paying for a service, not buying hardware, and they will still receive the agreed service. NASA gains the 1 - 3 months on on orbit ops, and the training, at the cost of additional certification work.

Emphasis mine.

This. NASA is indeed buying a service. The service comes down to this: transport a given number of astronauts to the ISS and back home again, and do so while meeting NASA's safety standards.

Initially SpaceX and NASA agreed that all-new boosters and all-new spacecraft would be the way to meet NASA's safety standards.

But, the work done on reuse of boosters and capsules for the original CRS contract have shown NASA that it is also possible to meet the safety standards with reused boosters and reused spacecraft.

So, when NASA wished the agreed-upon service contract to be amended (turn DM-2 from a 7 day mission to a 119-day mission) it knew that SpaceX would want something in return. After all, the additionally required service was outside the scope of the original CCtCAP contract.

Compensation can be done in multiple ways. One was reimbursing SpaceX directly for the additional costs incurred for turning the DM-2 Crew Dragon into a 119-day-capable spacecraft, as well as providing mission control services and many other services for a much longer time (119 days versus 7 days).

Another way to do compensation is to barter. And that is exactly what SpaceX and NASA did. NASA agreed to let SpaceX reuse boosters and spacecraft for CCtCAP. This drops cost for SpaceX by having to build fewer new boosters and fewer new Crew Dragons. Those cost savings offset the additional costs incurred for turning DM-2 into a long-duration flight.

Personally I feel that the barter results in a greater net gain for SpaceX than does direct reimbursment. But hey, nobody ever said that SpaceX is not allowed to make a profit.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: envy887 on 06/05/2020 01:50 pm
This feels like a good deal for SpaceX but an even better deal for NASA (and us taxpayers).

Huh? NASA was paying for seven new Falcon 9 first stages and seven new Dragon's. Now it is paying for at least one new Falcon 9 first stage (with the remaining being used) and at least two new Dragon's (with the remaining being used) for operating Dragon in orbit for an extra 1 to 3 months and some training. That's a saving for SpaceX I guess of up to 6x$20 + 5x$100 = $620M. That's a huge win for SpaceX and by my calculation a loss for the US taxpayer.

What is the taxpayer losing, exactly?

I see it quite the opposite, NASA is actually getting MORE services, while not paying any more money. That's a net gain.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 06/05/2020 02:59 pm
On the subject of new capsules...

This feels like a good deal for SpaceX but an even better deal for NASA (and us taxpayers).

Huh? NASA was paying for seven new Falcon 9 first stages and seven new Dragon's. Now it is paying for at least one new Falcon 9 first stage (with the remaining being used) and at least two new Dragon's (with the remaining being used) for operating Dragon in orbit for an extra 1 to 3 months and some training. That's a saving for SpaceX I guess of up to 6x$20 + 5x$100 = $620M. That's a huge win for SpaceX and by my calculation a loss for the US taxpayer.

Initially SpaceX and NASA agreed that all-new boosters and all-new spacecraft would be the way to meet NASA's safety standards.
...while Boeing was allowed to reuse capsules right off the bat due to their proven heritage and dependability.  Yeah.

Fact is, SpaceX severely underbid Boeing while also committing to building new capsules for every mission, where Boeing did not.  Before anyone chimes in with "SpaceX bid that, it's not NASA's fault", we now know that Boeing was almost sole-selected despite being vastly overpriced (and as has been proven since, underdelivering).  The fact of the matter is SpaceX had to underbid and had to bid new capsules.  If there was more risk added to their category assessment, they might not have been selected at all.  The re-balancing of the scales after the fact is now being viewed as a 'great deal for SpaceX' but is in fact just giving SpaceX the credit that NASA already gave Boeing, despite SpaceX having all of the recent experience in flying and re-flying capsules, and Boeing having none.  (Boosters are clearly a separate thing).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: su27k on 06/05/2020 03:15 pm
This feels like a good deal for SpaceX but an even better deal for NASA (and us taxpayers).

Huh? NASA was paying for seven new Falcon 9 first stages and seven new Dragon's. Now it is paying for at least one new Falcon 9 first stage (with the remaining being used) and at least two new Dragon's (with the remaining being used) for operating Dragon in orbit for an extra 1 to 3 months and some training. That's a saving for SpaceX I guess of up to 6x$20 + 5x$100 = $620M. That's a huge win for SpaceX and by my calculation a loss for the US taxpayer.

What is the taxpayer losing, exactly?

I see it quite the opposite, NASA is actually getting MORE services, while not paying any more money. That's a net gain.

NASA does have a duty to the taxpayers to get the best deal it can from such bartering. I don't think failure to do so would get someone fired, but it could be written up in a page or two in a GAO or OIG report.

Not that I think NASA made a bad deal here, since we don't know the details. It's not like SpaceX can just do the reuse without any work, there will likely be some paperwork involved to certify reuse, that doesn't even count the original design work to get Dragon 2 reusable in the first place.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: SteveU on 06/05/2020 03:46 pm
This feels like a good deal for SpaceX but an even better deal for NASA (and us taxpayers).

Huh? NASA was paying for seven new Falcon 9 first stages and seven new Dragon's. Now it is paying for at least one new Falcon 9 first stage (with the remaining being used) and at least two new Dragon's (with the remaining being used) for operating Dragon in orbit for an extra 1 to 3 months and some training. That's a saving for SpaceX I guess of up to 6x$20 + 5x$100 = $620M. That's a huge win for SpaceX and by my calculation a loss for the US taxpayer.

What is the taxpayer losing, exactly?

I see it quite the opposite, NASA is actually getting MORE services, while not paying any more money. That's a net gain.
My $0.02 - SpaceX did get the better end of the deal financially for this.  However, NASA and the taxpayer aren't exactly loosing out - simply because SpaceX pricing was significantly less than Boeing,

I see this as a reward, a giant "Atta-boy", for the serious way SpaceX has handled Commercial Crew - especially in the last eight months or so.  When JB implied SpaceX was ignoring Crew Dragon for SS, EM simply said we've got 90%+ of the company dedicated to Crew Dragon and dropped it.  SpaceX then put their heads down, cleared the Supper Draco review, closed out the parachute redesign testing, didn't say a word about Starliner's flaws, simply worked to get Demo-2 to the ISS when and for how long NASA wanted.

TL;DR - SpaceX proved that while they may not be "Old Space",  they have shown that they are truly a VERY qualified and mature space services company.

Edit to fix horrendous spelling and grammer :-[
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: king1999 on 06/05/2020 11:43 pm
In one scenario, this actually could SAVE NASA big money IF Boeing can't deliver next year and SpaceX can speed up their services thru reuse, thus NASA doesn't need to buy seats or can buy fewer seats from Russia.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 06/05/2020 11:58 pm
That's a huge win for SpaceX and by my calculation a loss for the US taxpayer.

Remember that the Commercial Crew program was created so that companies could provide NASA services, not to build hardware for NASA.

So as long as the service remains the same, who cares if SpaceX was smart enough to design their 1st stage and crew vehicle to be reusable, and NASA decides that they are OK with reusable hardware?

One could argue that SpaceX bid lower in anticipation of being able to fly reusable hardware, and though that was a risk they took knowingly, that it appears to have paid off.

But again, since NASA is still getting the same service, paying the same should not be a problem. Isn't that how you incentivize the private sector to partner with NASA?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 06/06/2020 12:45 am
On a somewhat related note, had not SpaceX already indicated that it was planning to refly the CrewDragon capsules for the Cargo2 contracts once they had them available in the workflow? 

Considering that this was already something planned for, and somewhat proven with the original Cargo Dragon refurbishments, it would not have been too large of a step for NASA and SpaceX to put into place certifications and testing for those refurbs to go all the way to crew status.

The biggest risk profile is on the reuse of the Falcon 9 1st stages.  However, even here, reuse can be a positive as the vehicle is now a known commodity, whereas a new build could be hiding flaws of one sort or another.  I can actually see a day where new builds are perhaps flown first unmanned, sort of as a test or validation flight of the vehicle before making it available for use as a crew launch vehicle.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DigitalMan on 06/06/2020 04:30 am
On a somewhat related note, had not SpaceX already indicated that it was planning to refly the CrewDragon capsules for the Cargo2 contracts once they had them available in the workflow? 

SpaceX statements are the opposite of that. Cargo Services 2 is a different build. No Super Draco’s, for instance.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: pmhparis on 06/06/2020 03:55 pm
On a somewhat related note, had not SpaceX already indicated that it was planning to refly the CrewDragon capsules for the Cargo2 contracts once they had them available in the workflow? 

SpaceX statements are the opposite of that. Cargo Services 2 is a different build. No Super Draco’s, for instance.

No. The absence of SuperDracos does not make Cargo Dragon a substantially different build from Crew Dragon. Maybe if it was Boeing, they would have come up with two totally different designs with very little or even nothing in common between them for cargo and crew, but this is Space-X and Elon Musk we are talking about: Everything that CAN be reused/in common between D2 Cargo and D2 Crew WILL be because it is cheaper and faster to design it that way. Thus the absence of SuperDracos on D2 Cargo is merely the absence of an unneeded option and should Space-X need to convert a D2 Cargo to a D2 Crew, they will be able to do so with a minimum of fuss by adding the SuperDracos to the mounts that will already be present but unused on the Cargo D2.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: king1999 on 06/06/2020 04:40 pm
On a somewhat related note, had not SpaceX already indicated that it was planning to refly the CrewDragon capsules for the Cargo2 contracts once they had them available in the workflow? 

SpaceX statements are the opposite of that. Cargo Services 2 is a different build. No Super Draco’s, for instance.

No. The absence of SuperDracos does not make Cargo Dragon a substantially different build from Crew Dragon. Maybe if it was Boeing, they would have come up with two totally different designs with very little or even nothing in common between them for cargo and crew, but this is Space-X and Elon Musk we are talking about: Everything that CAN be reused/in common between D2 Cargo and D2 Crew WILL be because it is cheaper and faster to design it that way. Thus the absence of SuperDracos on D2 Cargo is merely the absence of an unneeded option and should Space-X need to convert a D2 Cargo to a D2 Crew, they will be able to do so with a minimum of fuss by adding the SuperDracos to the mounts that will already be present but unused on the Cargo D2.
Got your points but that's the SpaceX philosophy everybody knows. I don't think he said "substantially" different. But they are indeed different.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rocket Science on 06/06/2020 04:45 pm
On a somewhat related note, had not SpaceX already indicated that it was planning to refly the CrewDragon capsules for the Cargo2 contracts once they had them available in the workflow? 

SpaceX statements are the opposite of that. Cargo Services 2 is a different build. No Super Draco’s, for instance.

No. The absence of SuperDracos does not make Cargo Dragon a substantially different build from Crew Dragon. Maybe if it was Boeing, they would have come up with two totally different designs with very little or even nothing in common between them for cargo and crew, but this is Space-X and Elon Musk we are talking about: Everything that CAN be reused/in common between D2 Cargo and D2 Crew WILL be because it is cheaper and faster to design it that way. Thus the absence of SuperDracos on D2 Cargo is merely the absence of an unneeded option and should Space-X need to convert a D2 Cargo to a D2 Crew, they will be able to do so with a minimum of fuss by adding the SuperDracos to the mounts that will already be present but unused on the Cargo D2.
Welcome to the forum! :)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: joek on 06/06/2020 05:01 pm
On a somewhat related note, had not SpaceX already indicated that it was planning to refly the CrewDragon capsules for the Cargo2 contracts once they had them available in the workflow? 
SpaceX statements are the opposite of that. Cargo Services 2 is a different build. No Super Draco’s, for instance.

IIRC at the Demo-2 post-launch brief, Musk stated that Crew Dragon would not be reused for Crew flights, but would? could? might? be reused for Cargo (sorry do not have reference handy).

As to the differences between Crew and Cargo Dragon 2, see snip below; from Audit of Commercial Resupply Services to the International Space Station (https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-18-016.pdf), NASA OIG, IG-18-016, 26-Apr-2018.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 06/06/2020 05:06 pm
On a somewhat related note, had not SpaceX already indicated that it was planning to refly the CrewDragon capsules for the Cargo2 contracts once they had them available in the workflow? 

SpaceX statements are the opposite of that. Cargo Services 2 is a different build. No Super Draco’s, for instance.

No. The absence of SuperDracos does not make Cargo Dragon a substantially different build from Crew Dragon. Maybe if it was Boeing, they would have come up with two totally different designs with very little or even nothing in common between them for cargo and crew, but this is Space-X and Elon Musk we are talking about: Everything that CAN be reused/in common between D2 Cargo and D2 Crew WILL be because it is cheaper and faster to design it that way. Thus the absence of SuperDracos on D2 Cargo is merely the absence of an unneeded option and should Space-X need to convert a D2 Cargo to a D2 Crew, they will be able to do so with a minimum of fuss by adding the SuperDracos to the mounts that will already be present but unused on the Cargo D2.

They aren't converting Crew Dragon to Cargo Dragon.  SuperDracos are not the only difference.  They might be able to reuse some parts, but the weldment is different.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DigitalMan on 06/06/2020 05:39 pm
On a somewhat related note, had not SpaceX already indicated that it was planning to refly the CrewDragon capsules for the Cargo2 contracts once they had them available in the workflow? 

SpaceX statements are the opposite of that. Cargo Services 2 is a different build. No Super Draco’s, for instance.

No. The absence of SuperDracos does not make Cargo Dragon a substantially different build from Crew Dragon. Maybe if it was Boeing, they would have come up with two totally different designs with very little or even nothing in common between them for cargo and crew, but this is Space-X and Elon Musk we are talking about: Everything that CAN be reused/in common between D2 Cargo and D2 Crew WILL be because it is cheaper and faster to design it that way. Thus the absence of SuperDracos on D2 Cargo is merely the absence of an unneeded option and should Space-X need to convert a D2 Cargo to a D2 Crew, they will be able to do so with a minimum of fuss by adding the SuperDracos to the mounts that will already be present but unused on the Cargo D2.

Don't add words to my statement. I never said it was substantially different. SpaceX intentions don't align with yours in regards to converting them.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 06/06/2020 09:07 pm
On a somewhat related note, had not SpaceX already indicated that it was planning to refly the CrewDragon capsules for the Cargo2 contracts once they had them available in the workflow? 
SpaceX statements are the opposite of that. Cargo Services 2 is a different build. No Super Draco’s, for instance.

IIRC at the Demo-2 post-launch brief, Musk stated that Crew Dragon would not be reused for Crew flights, but would? could? might? be reused for Cargo (sorry do not have reference handy).

As to the differences between Crew and Cargo Dragon 2, see snip below; from Audit of Commercial Resupply Services to the International Space Station (https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-18-016.pdf), NASA OIG, IG-18-016, 26-Apr-2018.

I believe that there was a press conference with Jessica from SpaceX where she said that they wouldn't be using the crewed Dragon for cargo missions.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: snotis on 06/07/2020 06:15 am
On a somewhat related note, had not SpaceX already indicated that it was planning to refly the CrewDragon capsules for the Cargo2 contracts once they had them available in the workflow? 
SpaceX statements are the opposite of that. Cargo Services 2 is a different build. No Super Draco’s, for instance.

IIRC at the Demo-2 post-launch brief, Musk stated that Crew Dragon would not be reused for Crew flights, but would? could? might? be reused for Cargo (sorry do not have reference handy).

As to the differences between Crew and Cargo Dragon 2, see snip below; from Audit of Commercial Resupply Services to the International Space Station (https://oig.nasa.gov/docs/IG-18-016.pdf), NASA OIG, IG-18-016, 26-Apr-2018.

I believe that there was a press conference with Jessica from SpaceX where she said that they wouldn't be using the crewed Dragon for cargo missions.

Yes - see here (at 40:52 mark): https://youtu.be/kSSAZmMG15A?t=2457 (https://youtu.be/kSSAZmMG15A?t=2457)
Quote
...As soon as we build the weldment there are slight differences ... while a lot of the sub-systems are the same... they will be different vehicles.  We won't interchange between cargo and crew vehicles.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 06/09/2020 08:08 pm
https://twitter.com/spcplcyonline/status/1270445134614794240

Quote
Bowersox: biggest cost of ISS is transportation.  Cmrcl crew and cargo lowered it compared to shuttle, but not as much as ppl hoped.  Wanted factor of 10 reduction, but only 20-40% based on what I've seen.

Rather surprised by those numbers. Is he including commercial crew development costs too? Or basing it on total payload / something else? Individual crew flights are clearly significantly less than a shuttle flight, although not by an order of magnitude.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 06/09/2020 09:33 pm
https://twitter.com/spcplcyonline/status/1270445134614794240

Quote
Bowersox: biggest cost of ISS is transportation.  Cmrcl crew and cargo lowered it compared to shuttle, but not as much as ppl hoped.  Wanted factor of 10 reduction, but only 20-40% based on what I've seen.

Rather surprised by those numbers. Is he including commercial crew development costs too? Or basing it on total payload / something else? Individual crew flights are clearly significantly less than a shuttle flight, although not by an order of magnitude.
Shuttle took up a LOT of cargo and crew at the same time.  The forced cargo/crew combination was identified as a problem, but that doesn't enter into a pure cost equation.  I'd assume this comparison was also not considering development costs (or amortizing it over flights, which the Shuttle had a lot of) as doing otherwise would cause Shuttle's costs to soar.

On a pure per-mission basis, on a per seat basis... yeah, this sounds possible to me.  How many CRS/CCS missions in combination does it take to replace a Shuttle flight?  I don't know the answer.  Then again, we didn't retire the Shuttle because it cost too much, we retired it because it wasn't safe enough,  We also can have six-month rotations with CCS where we had 14-day missions with Shuttle.  It's not really an apples-to-apples comparison.  Which makes it all a bit strange if you ask me.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 06/09/2020 11:56 pm
Quote
Bowersox: biggest cost of ISS is transportation.  Cmrcl crew and cargo lowered it compared to shuttle, but not as much as ppl hoped.  Wanted factor of 10 reduction, but only 20-40% based on what I've seen.
Rather surprised by those numbers. Is he including commercial crew development costs too?

He should. We all should actually. Development costs are not "free", as the $40B to develop the SLS and Orion so far show - even if it cost $0 to build and launch each combination of SLS & Orion that would still equal $1B per launch after 40 launches.

So for Commercial Crew, yes, the total invested to get all of the initial contracted flights need to be taken into account.

Quote
Individual crew flights are clearly significantly less than a shuttle flight, although not by an order of magnitude.

The average cost for a Shuttle flight at the end of the program in 2011 was $1.5B, including DDT&E. Of course a lot of those costs were amortized over decades of use, so not apples-to-apples with the brand new Commercial Crew vehicles.

Still, $6.8B for up to 12 flights works out to about $567M per flight (and not counting contracts before CCtCap), so not cheap, but considering the Shuttle couldn't keep crew at the ISS, only rotate them, America is getting new capabilities we didn't have before.

Certainly one factor in the total cost for Commercial Crew is that NASA has never done this before, and industry has never been the owner of crewed spacecraft before. Lots of chatter about NASA being TOO involved with Boeing & SpaceX, and maybe they were, but then again both companies had significant problems along the way, so its hard to judge whether NASA was too involved or not involved enough.

I do think that industry will learn a lot from the Commercial Crew program, but the big question is WHAT?

Will they learn that NASA is too involved? Will they learn that there are ways to cut costs?

Not sure we know the answers to these, and many more, questions...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mandrewa on 06/10/2020 01:07 am
https://twitter.com/spcplcyonline/status/1270445134614794240

Quote
Bowersox: biggest cost of ISS is transportation.  Cmrcl crew and cargo lowered it compared to shuttle, but not as much as ppl hoped.  Wanted factor of 10 reduction, but only 20-40% based on what I've seen.

Rather surprised by those numbers. Is he including commercial crew development costs too? Or basing it on total payload / something else? Individual crew flights are clearly significantly less than a shuttle flight, although not by an order of magnitude.

Money paid, or that will be paid, to SpaceX by NASA for Commercial Crew.

   CCDev 2     (2011)   $   75 million
   CCiCap      (2012)   $  440 million
   CPC phase 1 (2012)   $   10 million
   CCtCap      (2013)   $ 2600 million
   --------------------------------------
   Total       (2025)   $ 3125 million

But it's important to realize that SpaceX has not received $3.125 billion from NASA. 
CCtCap's $2.6 billion includes a commitment by NASA to buy six commercial crew missions
at a fixed price of $220 million per mission.  But this money is only paid out as
the missions occur (see Wikipedia, Commercial Crew Development, 2020-6-9).

Thus as of today SpaceX has received $1.255 billion from NASA for the development
of its Commercial Crew capability.  The remaining $1.320 billion will be paid out
mission by mission with the last mission and payment in 2025.

In addition to the money that NASA has paid or will be paying to SpaceX there is the
money NASA spent internally to support the effort.  There would be, I would guess,
quite a few people on NASA's payroll that have aided, inspected, supervised, and certified
SpaceX's Commercial Crew program.  To do a true comparison of the cost of Commercial
Crew (SpaceX) to the Space Shuttle program we need to know that number.

We do not need to know what SpaceX spent internally on the program since as a profit-making
enterprise it will eventually recover all of that from what it charges for this service
and thus that amount, whatever it is, is included in the costs already.

Naturally just how much the Space Shuttle program cost is a matter of dispute.  But
I will start, perhaps naively, with space.com's estimate of $209 billion for the program
which of course includes the development costs.

At 135 missions that is $1.548 billion per mission.

At 833 crew members that is $251 million per astronaut.

But the Space Shuttle did more than just send people into space, it also had a large
uplift and downmass capability.  To do a fair comparison we need to calculate how
many additional Falcon Heavy, Falcon 9, and Cargo Dragon missions would be needed
to duplicate what the Space Shuttle did.

Unfortunately SpaceX cannot duplicate everything that the Space Shuttle did since
there were times when the Space Shuttle brought back large objects that cannot be
returned on the Cargo Dragon.

It would a time consuming, but perhaps enjoyable, exercise to calculate the optimal mix
of Falcon Heavy, Falcon 9, Cargo Dragon and Crew Dragon missions to replicate most
of what the Space Shuttle accomplished, and then estimate their cost, but skipping that for
now I will crudely estimate that each Space Shuttle mission is the equivalent of
a Falcon Heavy mission plus a Crew Dragon mission.  I will further guess that for NASA
these Falcon Heavy missions would average $150 million apiece.

So at 135 missions that would be $20.3 billion for 135 Falcon Heavy missions.  Subtracting
$20.3 billion from $209 billion leaves $188.7 billon.  Dividing that by 833 crew members
gives a launch cost of $227 million per astronaut.

Since we are assuming additional Falcon Heavy, Falcon 9, and Cargo Dragons to replicate the
capability of the Space Shuttle, we need to add in the money that NASA spent to help finance
those efforts.

Money paid to SpaceX by NASA to aid in the development of Falcon 9 and Cargo Dragon.

   COTS (2006, 2011)   $ 396 million
   
So the new SpaceX total (from NASA's perspective) is $3.52 billion, paid and to be paid,
for the development of Falcon 9, Cargo Dragon, and Crew Dragon plus six full Crew Dragon
missions and including the two demo missions as development costs.

In addition we need to add in the cost of the assistance, inspection, supervision, and
certification provided by NASA employees for both the Crew Dragon and Cargo Dragon programs. 
And again I hesitate to guess what that amount is.

So noting but skipping this, six missions or twenty-six crew members total gives $135 million
per crew member launched.  At $135 million versus $227 million, this would mean the Crew Dragon
plus Falcon Heavy equivalent of the Space Shuttle costs 59 percent, or 41% less, than what
the Space Shuttle cost per crew member. 

But this doesn't seem quite right since the development cost of the SpaceX program is spread out
over only 26 crew members while the Space Shuttle program had 833.  To be fair we should assume
the same number of people launched by both programs.

But then that raises the question of what SpaceX will charge per NASA astronaut in the
future. The current $55 million per astronaut is only for the first six flights.  After
that there will be a new agreement.  What SpaceX will want to charge will no doubt depend
on their costs between now and then.  Since we don't know this yet I will do two price
estimates.  One where the charge per astronaut stays at $55 million and another where
it drops to $40 million.

Two hundred and two Crew Dragon missions at $220 million each (four astronauts at $55 million apiece)
plus $3.52 billion gives $48 billion for 833 astronauts, or $57.6 million per astronaut, or
25 percent of the cost of launching an astronaut on the Space Shuttle.

Two hundred and two Crew Dragon missions at $160 million each (four astronauts at $40 million apiece)
plus $3.52 billion gives $36 billion for 833 astronauts, or $43.0 million per astronaut, or
19 percent of the cost of launching an astronaut on the Space Shuttle.

But the Crew Dragon is designed to carry seven people.  I know that NASA hasn't certified
it for this but let us suppose that after 80 successful missions with four astronauts they
change that certification to allow for seven astronauts while the average mission cost stays
at $160 million.  Note that this would lower the additional up and down cargo mass of the
Crew Dragon but remember we have already assumed in our cost estimates additional Falcon Heavy,
Falcon 9, and Cargo Dragon missions to make up for the greater upmass and downmass of the Space
Shuttle.  In these estimates those missions have already been paid for.

So with this second attempt to guess at a plausible future, we have $3.25 billion for the
development of all of this including the first six full missions plus seventy-two $160 million
missions with four astronauts apiece plus seventy-five $160 million missions with seven astronauts
apiece giving a grand total of $26.8 billion for 833 astronauts launched, or $32.1 million per
astronaut, or 14 percent of what it cost to launch an astronaut on the Space Shuttle.

I think this last is a more reasonable estimate of the potential future cost of the Crew Dragon
versus the Space Shuttle.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jpo234 on 06/10/2020 08:20 am
But the Crew Dragon is designed to carry seven people.  I know that NASA hasn't certified
it for this but let us suppose that after 80 successful missions with four astronauts they
change that certification to allow for seven astronauts while the average mission cost stays
at $160 million.
If you increase the number of astronauts by a factor of 1.75, you also have to increase the supply flights by the same factor.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 06/10/2020 03:08 pm
You didn't factor in that Commercial Crew vehicles will be able to achieve a six-month mission for their four astronauts, as opposed to two weeks for Shuttle's seven.  I'm not really sure how to account for that as prorating will underrate the impact, as there are some tasks that would require a longer than two week mission.  You should also not pretend Commerical Crew might carry seven astronauts, because it won't.  But even a straight proration of two weeks to six months will heavily outweigh that correction.

Shuttle had capabilities that CC does not.  CC has capabilities that Shuttle does not.  And none of this considers the fact we didn't retire Shuttle due to cost, we retired it due to safety.  Which seems to be getting lost in this discussion of costs.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mandrewa on 06/10/2020 05:47 pm
But the Crew Dragon is designed to carry seven people.  I know that NASA hasn't certified
it for this but let us suppose that after 80 successful missions with four astronauts they
change that certification to allow for seven astronauts while the average mission cost stays
at $160 million.
If you increase the number of astronauts by a factor of 1.75, you also have to increase the supply flights by the same factor.

My first thought was that you are right and that I need to include an estimate of
the additional cargo flights needed to support three more people on the ISS.  My
second thought, which took some time to arrive, was that this is way more complicated
than that and this gets away from the point of this exercise, or in other words
estimating the relative costs of transporting people to the ISS on the Crew Dragon
versus the Space Shuttle.

The Space Shuttle did far more than just transporting people to the ISS.  In addition
to being able to carry large objects up and down, it also, crucially, often carried
a mechanical arm and a crew so that it could assemble large structures in space.

There are several possible ways to accomplish the same thing by different means
but I think that the least expensive and most versatile approach in the longer run
would be to develop a space tug supported by a fuel depot.  If such a system already
existed then rockets like the Falcon Heavy and the Vulcan could launch components
to a target zone and then a space tug would then come to retrieve them and put them
precisely next to other components so that they can self-assemble or if that wouldn't
work and human intervention was needed, the space tug would carry the component to
an occupied space station, such as possibly the ISS, where people could then do
spacewalks, as was the case with the Space Shuttle, and assemble these larger structures.

Now in the estimate I posted above I crudely guessed that it would cost $20 billion
to replicate these additional capacities of the Space Shuttle, that is other than
transporting people into space, with current technology.  If we look at the total
mass and volume lifted by the Space Shuttle it would take considerably less than
135 Falcon Heavy missions to lift the same thing.  What is missing is the ability to
manipulate those masses in space as the Space Shuttle could do.  So really we have
not yet replaced the functionality of the Space Shuttle. 

So a considerable part of the $20 billion estimate is really for developing and
building the first orbital fuel depot and its associated space tugs.

Now this $20 billion is subtracted from the overall cost of the Space Shuttle program
to reflect what it would cost to replace that capability with current technology.
All of the remaining costs of the Space Shuttle are then treated as the cost of
transporting astronauts to space.  Now the question is, is that fair?  No, not
really.  In reality there has been a significant reduction in the cost of doing
the other things that Space Shuttle did beyond transporting people to and from space.

But on the other hand, the human angle is the reason for the majority of the cost
of the Space Shuttle.  Having people on the Space Shuttle made it very costly to
change or improve or lower the cost of these other functionalities.  So although
it is a bit misleading as to where the cost savings are actually coming from, and
in particular the costs being assigned to sending astronauts to space on the Space
Shuttle are a bit high, still the overall story, the comparison of the combination
of the cost of these two things is correct.

Now the primary virtue of the Crew Dragon versus the Space Shuttle is the lower
cost and, we expect and hope, greater safety.  But the Crew Dragon can also stay
at the ISS for six months at a time.  The longest Space Shuttle mission was 17 days,
although it could have been 28 days with a second Extended Duration Orbital Pallet.
This means that as long as we mandate that there has to be a way for the crew of
the ISS to get back if something goes wrong then the Space Shuttle could not be
used to support more astonauts on six-month missions beyond the three (plus three
Russian) allowed for in the ISS as it was actually implemented.

It's a worthwhile question of what it will cost for each astronaut maintained on
the ISS but this is a separate question from what it costs to get them there.

This scenario,

So with this second attempt to guess at a plausible future, we have $3.25 billion for the
development of all of this including the first six full missions plus seventy-two $160 million
missions with four astronauts apiece plus seventy-five $160 million missions with seven astronauts
apiece giving a grand total of $26.8 billion for 833 astronauts launched, or $32.1 million per
astronaut, or 14 percent of what it cost to launch an astronaut on the Space Shuttle.


doesn't include the cost of cargo flights to supply the additional food and consumables
that three more astronauts would need, nor does it include the additional demand for
scientific payload that they would probably imply, but I don't think these costs should
be assigned to the transportation budget.  These astronauts wouldn't be sent up just
for the heck of it.  They would be there for a purpose and presumably it is that purpose that
is paying for them being there -- including the cost of their transportation -- but also
these other things.

Having said all of that -- my third take on this -- is that it is still a very interesting
question to compare the relative cost of using the Space Shuttle to maintain an astronaut
on a six-month mission to the ISS versus the Crew Dragon plus Cargo Dragon.  To answer that
question we need to include the cost of the Cargo Dragon missions.  But I will save that for
another comment.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 06/10/2020 06:02 pm
You are making this too complicated. Commercial crew is $220 million per flight not counting development(specifically the crew dragon which is the cheaper of the two vehicles). You need two of these to replace a space shuttle flight(yes, we could go through the hoops of hypothetically suggesting 7 crew per flight, but we could also imagine putting significantly more people on Shuttle than the nominal 7 (in fact it did fly with 8 people on occasion). You also need 2-3 cargo vehicles to replace its logistics capability when paired with a MPLM. Those cargo vehicles tend to cost about $200 million per flight (it varies based on vehicle and CRS-2 prices are more opaque than CRS-1 prices). So, the Shuttle replacement cost is probably on the order of $840-$1040 million dollars. Shuttle costs were somewhat higher than that counting development, but Ken Bowersox's estimate of 20%-40% isn't terribly inaccurate (it indeed is in the ballpark, not surprising coming from the acting HEOMD AA). There are decent savings, but the savings are often exaggerated.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: MattMason on 06/10/2020 06:05 pm

But the Crew Dragon is designed to carry seven people.  I know that NASA hasn't certified
it for this but let us suppose that after 80 successful missions with four astronauts they
change that certification to allow for seven astronauts while the average mission cost stays
at $160 million.

Crew Dragon, by SpaceX design, could carry up to seven people.

But NASA's specific Commercial Crew specifications. with Crew Dragon used by this sole customer thus far, revised this so that no more than 4 astronauts are possible in the Dragons built for NASA. For seven astronauts, SpaceX would need to re-customize the interiors.

This article notes that NASA's change to swivel the seats and add other modifications meant that the NASA-built Crew Dragons will only support 4 people.

Quote
After SpaceX had already designed the interior layout of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, NASA decided to change the specification for the angle of the ship’s seats due to concerns about the g-forces crew members might experience during splashdown.

The change meant SpaceX had to do away with the company’s original seven-seat design for the Crew Dragon.

“With this change and the angle of the seats, we could not get seven anymore,” [Gwynne] Shotwell said. “So now we only have four seats. That was kind of a big change for us.”

https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/12/07/after-redesigns-the-finish-line-is-in-sight-for-spacexs-crew-dragon/
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Brovane on 06/10/2020 07:52 pm
You didn't factor in that Commercial Crew vehicles will be able to achieve a six-month mission for their four astronauts, as opposed to two weeks for Shuttle's seven.  I'm not really sure how to account for that as prorating will underrate the impact, as there are some tasks that would require a longer than two week mission.  You should also not pretend Commerical Crew might carry seven astronauts, because it won't.  But even a straight proration of two weeks to six months will heavily outweigh that correction.

Shuttle had capabilities that CC does not.  CC has capabilities that Shuttle does not.  And none of this considers the fact we didn't retire Shuttle due to cost, we retired it due to safety.  Which seems to be getting lost in this discussion of costs.

The CC also has a redundancy that the Shuttle could never had in that you will have two separate crew spacecrafts and launch vehicles. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Brovane on 06/10/2020 07:56 pm
Having said all of that -- my third take on this -- is that it is still a very interesting
question to compare the relative cost of using the Space Shuttle to maintain an astronaut
on a six-month mission to the ISS versus the Crew Dragon plus Cargo Dragon.  To answer that
question we need to include the cost of the Cargo Dragon missions.  But I will save that for
another comment.

I wanted to share this study with you in-case you had not seen it.

"An Assessment of Cost Improvements in the NASA COTS/CRS programs and implications for future NASA missions." Edgar Zapata

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20170008895 (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20170008895)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: niwax on 06/10/2020 08:22 pm
You are making this too complicated. Commercial crew is $220 million per flight not counting development(specifically the crew dragon which is the cheaper of the two vehicles). You need two of these to replace a space shuttle flight(yes, we could go through the hoops of hypothetically suggesting 7 crew per flight, but we could also imagine putting significantly more people on Shuttle than the nominal 7 (in fact it did fly with 8 people on occasion). You also need 2-3 cargo vehicles to replace its logistics capability when paired with a MPLM. Those cargo vehicles tend to cost about $200 million per flight (it varies based on vehicle and CRS-2 prices are more opaque than CRS-1 prices). So, the Shuttle replacement cost is probably on the order of $840-$1040 million dollars. Shuttle costs were somewhat higher than that counting development, but Ken Bowersox's estimate of 20%-40% isn't terribly inaccurate (it indeed is in the ballpark, not surprising coming from the acting HEOMD AA). There are decent savings, but the savings are often exaggerated.

You can explore that rabbit hole in any way you want and come up with number anywhere from 1/10th to the same. If shuttle is only used to send up a new toilet seat, then it still transports many astronauts and tons of equipment. That doesn't mean it's the equivalent of four capsules. In fact, the ISS crew was never large enough that all those seats on a shutte were actually used for resupply purposes. Launching seven people to drop one off and bring one back is a fraction of the value of a docked capsule. We see the same now, a Dragon could launch 6t of cargo, but after 20 flights they've only done someting like 40t total.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 06/10/2020 08:26 pm
You are making this too complicated. Commercial crew is $220 million per flight not counting development(specifically the crew dragon which is the cheaper of the two vehicles). You need two of these to replace a space shuttle flight
Conversely, you need 12.8 shuttle flights for the 14 day duration to replace the 180 day (six month) duration.  (With the note that anything that requires a longer than two week stay is impossible).  You also have to magically walk back that Shuttle was retired for being unfixably unsafe.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 06/11/2020 01:10 am
You are making this too complicated. Commercial crew is $220 million per flight not counting development(specifically the crew dragon which is the cheaper of the two vehicles). You need two of these to replace a space shuttle flight
Conversely, you need 12.8 shuttle flights for the 14 day duration to replace the 180 day (six month) duration.  (With the note that anything that requires a longer than two week stay is impossible).  You also have to magically walk back that Shuttle was retired for being unfixably unsafe.

You don't know that. There were a myriad of changes introduced after Challenger and that specific issue never reoccured. There was also a myriad of changes post Columbia(all factored into Shuttle operational costs) including changes to the ET, on orbit repair and inspection and keeping shuttles on standby in the event a Shuttle was disabled on orbit or couldn't return and needed to be rescued. A lot of that is above and beyond what is being done on the follow on program.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: hplan on 06/11/2020 01:24 am
You are making this too complicated. Commercial crew is $220 million per flight not counting development(specifically the crew dragon which is the cheaper of the two vehicles). You need two of these to replace a space shuttle flight
Conversely, you need 12.8 shuttle flights for the 14 day duration to replace the 180 day (six month) duration.  (With the note that anything that requires a longer than two week stay is impossible).  You also have to magically walk back that Shuttle was retired for being unfixably unsafe.

You don't know that. There were a myriad of changes introduced after Challenger and that specific issue never reoccured. There was also a myriad of changes post Columbia(all factored into Shuttle operational costs) including changes to the ET, on orbit repair and inspection and keeping shuttles on standby in the event a Shuttle was disabled on orbit or couldn't return and needed to be rescued. A lot of that is above and beyond what is being done on the follow on program.

Are you suggesting that in order to get up to the level of safety of the Space Shuttle SpaceX and Boeing ought to have heat shield repair kits for use in orbit and a spare shuttle on standby?

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 06/11/2020 03:01 am
You are making this too complicated. Commercial crew is $220 million per flight not counting development(specifically the crew dragon which is the cheaper of the two vehicles). You need two of these to replace a space shuttle flight
Conversely, you need 12.8 shuttle flights for the 14 day duration to replace the 180 day (six month) duration.  (With the note that anything that requires a longer than two week stay is impossible).  You also have to magically walk back that Shuttle was retired for being unfixably unsafe.

You don't know that. There were a myriad of changes introduced after Challenger and that specific issue never reoccured. There was also a myriad of changes post Columbia(all factored into Shuttle operational costs) including changes to the ET, on orbit repair and inspection and keeping shuttles on standby in the event a Shuttle was disabled on orbit or couldn't return and needed to be rescued. A lot of that is above and beyond what is being done on the follow on program.
You should go back in time and let everyone who shut the program down know that they were wrong.  As well as all of the folks who calculated the projected LOM/LOC at 1 in 90 at the time of the end of the program.  I am sure they will all be fascinated to hear that you think they're wrong.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 06/11/2020 05:09 am
You are making this too complicated. Commercial crew is $220 million per flight not counting development(specifically the crew dragon which is the cheaper of the two vehicles). You need two of these to replace a space shuttle flight
Conversely, you need 12.8 shuttle flights for the 14 day duration to replace the 180 day (six month) duration.  (With the note that anything that requires a longer than two week stay is impossible).  You also have to magically walk back that Shuttle was retired for being unfixably unsafe.

You don't know that. There were a myriad of changes introduced after Challenger and that specific issue never reoccured. There was also a myriad of changes post Columbia(all factored into Shuttle operational costs) including changes to the ET, on orbit repair and inspection and keeping shuttles on standby in the event a Shuttle was disabled on orbit or couldn't return and needed to be rescued. A lot of that is above and beyond what is being done on the follow on program.
You should go back in time and let everyone who shut the program down know that they were wrong.  As well as all of the folks who calculated the projected LOM/LOC at 1 in 90 at the time of the end of the program.  I am sure they will all be fascinated to hear that you think they're wrong.

It was more aimed at the issues being unfixable. According to one of the later probabilistic risk assessments, the 4 greatest risks to the orbiter and crew in order of severity were...

1. MMOD debris risk (1 in 277)
2. SSME failure (1 in 652)
3. ascent debris (1 in 840)
4. crew error on entry (1 in 1220)
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20100005659.pdf

The ascent debris is traditionally the only thing that was looked upon as intractable due to the side mount configuration. The increased MMOD risk due to the size of the vehicle would apply to almost anything of large size, but was hardly an intractable problem (better tracking for instance would reduce risks). In fact, the current crew vehicle(s) will only operate in an environment with improved tracking - given the air force(space force?) only deemed the space fence operational in March 2020 (prior to the first crewed Commercial Crew flight).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 06/11/2020 08:07 am
You are making this too complicated. Commercial crew is $220 million per flight not counting development(specifically the crew dragon which is the cheaper of the two vehicles). You need two of these to replace a space shuttle flight
Conversely, you need 12.8 shuttle flights for the 14 day duration to replace the 180 day (six month) duration.  (With the note that anything that requires a longer than two week stay is impossible).  You also have to magically walk back that Shuttle was retired for being unfixably unsafe.

You don't know that. There were a myriad of changes introduced after Challenger and that specific issue never reoccured. There was also a myriad of changes post Columbia(all factored into Shuttle operational costs) including changes to the ET, on orbit repair and inspection and keeping shuttles on standby in the event a Shuttle was disabled on orbit or couldn't return and needed to be rescued. A lot of that is above and beyond what is being done on the follow on program.
You should go back in time and let everyone who shut the program down know that they were wrong.  As well as all of the folks who calculated the projected LOM/LOC at 1 in 90 at the time of the end of the program.  I am sure they will all be fascinated to hear that you think they're wrong.

It was more aimed at the issues being unfixable. According to one of the later probabilistic risk assessments, the 4 greatest risks to the orbiter and crew in order of severity were...

1. MMOD debris risk (1 in 277)
2. SSME failure (1 in 652)
3. ascent debris (1 in 840)
4. crew error on entry (1 in 1220)
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20100005659.pdf (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20100005659.pdf)

The ascent debris is traditionally the only thing that was looked upon as intractable due to the side mount configuration. The increased MMOD risk due to the size of the vehicle would apply to almost anything of large size, but was hardly an intractable problem (better tracking for instance would reduce risks). In fact, the current crew vehicle(s) will only operate in an environment with improved tracking - given the air force(space force?) only deemed the space fence operational in March 2020 (prior to the first crewed Commercial Crew flight).

Half the people who died on shuttle missions would not have died had the Shuttle had a proper launch escape system. Which would have required the shuttle to be on top of the stack, not hanging off the side of it. And in that case the Columbia disaster would not have happened either, with the shuttle sitting on top of the stack: no risk of it being hit by ET debris.

So, with a shuttle design sporting a proper launch escape system those 14 astronauts would not have been dead.

That's why Shuttle was unfixably unsafe: there was no way to correct THE major design flaw in shuttle: side-mounted crew vehicle.

All improvements made after Challenger and Columbia were only attempts to mitigate only some of the consequences of this design flaw. They did NOT fix the design flaw itself.

Fixing the design flaw would have meant an entirely new design. That's how fundamentally wrong the design-decision was to side-mount the orbiter.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mandrewa on 06/11/2020 11:09 am
Having said all of that -- my third take on this -- is that it is still a very interesting
question to compare the relative cost of using the Space Shuttle to maintain an astronaut
on a six-month mission to the ISS versus the Crew Dragon plus Cargo Dragon.  To answer that
question we need to include the cost of the Cargo Dragon missions.  But I will save that for
another comment.

I wanted to share this study with you in-case you had not seen it.

"An Assessment of Cost Improvements in the NASA COTS/CRS programs and implications for future NASA missions." Edgar Zapata

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20170008895 (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20170008895)

Thanks very much for pointing this out.  No, I had not seen this.

I am in the midst of reading it -- I'm on page 11 -- and this is very good.  But even though the author and I seem to be on the same wavelength, for instance when he briefly mentions "life cycle costs" at the beginning then I am pretty sure this is going to turn out to mean comparing things with development costs included -- and that he gets why that may be a better way to look at things than operational costs -- still I have many comments to make on the paper.

For instance on page 8 he has the "operational reoccurring cost per actual kg of cargo delivered to the ISS" at $89,000 per kg in 2017 dollars for SpaceX versus $135,000 for Orbital ATK versus $272,000 for a hypothetical Space Shuttle scenario.  And then I think well is that really the right price? 

Because here is the problem, all of these vehicles have multiple roles, but some more than others.  Shouldn't we try to put a discount on the price per kg for the other objectives being achieved?  One function of a Cargo Dragon is the pressurized cargo section which is used to carry food, consumables, and scientific equipment and experiments.  This is comparable to the pressurized cargo section of the Cygnus and the MPLM module on the Space Shuttle, and the numbers above are basically comparing each vehicle assuming that for each of these the only purpose of the vehicle is to carry up cargo in the pressurized section.

But the Cargo Dragon also has a large unpressurized trunk, and even though the mass of what is transported in the trunk is included in the calculations, still the contents of the trunk are usually of higher value per kg than what is in the pressurized section.  As evidence for that I note that there is a long list of equipment waiting to go up in the trunk of the Cargo Dragon.

And even more important is the Cargo Dragon's ability to return experiments.  This has made it possible to do many kinds of research that were impossible to do in the absence of the Space Shuttle, and in fact the Cargo Dragon's science return capability is better than the Space Shuttle since it runs approximately three times a year.

And if this is true for the Cargo Dragon isn't it even more the case for the Space Shuttle?  Shouldn't there be a discount on the cargo price to reflect the value of the astronauts carried up and down?  Shouldn't there be a discount for the science experiments returned once a year?

Or another example, and this is huge.  I get the virtue of looking at things from an operational cost perspective while ignoring the development cost.  In some contexts that really is the best way to look at things.  But I hadn't realized that the operational cost estimates for the Space Shuttle exclude the large amounts of money being spent every year during the life of the program in the attempt to improve the Space Shuttle.  Of course Edgar Zapata makes that point.  I'm gratefully to him for pointing it out.  And I would never have guessed that people were ignoring it.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 06/11/2020 11:20 am
Having said all of that -- my third take on this -- is that it is still a very interesting
question to compare the relative cost of using the Space Shuttle to maintain an astronaut
on a six-month mission to the ISS versus the Crew Dragon plus Cargo Dragon.  To answer that
question we need to include the cost of the Cargo Dragon missions.  But I will save that for
another comment.

I wanted to share this study with you in-case you had not seen it.

"An Assessment of Cost Improvements in the NASA COTS/CRS programs and implications for future NASA missions." Edgar Zapata

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20170008895 (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20170008895)

Thanks very much for pointing this out.  No, I had not seen this.

I am in the midst of reading it -- I'm on page 11 -- and this is very good.  But even though the author and I seem to be on the same wavelength, for instance when he briefly mentions "life cycle costs" at the beginning then I am pretty sure this is going to turn out to mean comparing things with development costs included -- and that he gets why that may be a better way to look at things than operational costs -- still I have many comments to make on the paper.

For instance on page 8 he has the "operational reoccurring cost per actual kg of cargo delivered to the ISS" at $89,000 per kg in 2017 dollars for SpaceX versus $135,000 for Orbital ATK versus $272,000 for a hypothetical Space Shuttle scenario.  And then I think well is that really the right price? 

Because here is the problem, all of these vehicles have multiple roles, but some more than others.  Shouldn't we try to put a discount on the price per kg for the other objectives being achieved?  One function of a Cargo Dragon is the pressurized cargo section which is used to carry food, consumables, and scientific equipment and experiments.  This is comparable to the pressurized cargo section of the Cygnus and the MPLM module on the Space Shuttle, and the numbers above are basically comparing each vehicle assuming that for each of these the only purpose of the vehicle is to carry up cargo in the pressurized section.

But the Cargo Dragon also has a large unpressurized trunk, and even though the mass of what is transported in the trunk is included in the calculations, still the contents of the trunk are usually of higher value per kg than what is in the pressurized section.  As evidence for that I note that there is a long list of equipment waiting to go up in the trunk of the Cargo Dragon.

And even more important is the Cargo Dragon's ability to return experiments.  This has made it possible to do many kinds of research that were impossible to do in the absence of the Space Shuttle, and in fact the Cargo Dragon's science return capability is better than the Space Shuttle since it runs approximately three times a year.

And if this is true for the Cargo Dragon isn't it even more the case for the Space Shuttle?  Shouldn't there be a discount on the cargo price to reflect the value of the astronauts carried up and down?  Shouldn't there be a discount for the science experiments returned once a year?

Or another example, and this is huge.  I get the virtue of looking at things from an operational cost perspective while ignoring the development cost.  In some contexts that really is the best way to look at things.  But I hadn't realized that the operational cost estimates for the Space Shuttle exclude the large amounts of money being spent every year during the life of the program in the attempt to improve the Space Shuttle.  Of course Edgar Zapata makes that point.  I'm gratefully to him for pointing it out.  And I would never have guessed that people were ignoring it.

You are going into this analysis all wrong IMO. The metric NASA used for COTS/CRS was very simple: a fixed price for a fixed amount of upmass. For example: paying SpaceX $1.6 billion to deliver 20 metric tons op upmass to the ISS. NASA did not make distinction between pressurized and unpressurized upmass. Similar for Cygnus.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 06/11/2020 05:38 pm
You are making this too complicated. Commercial crew is $220 million per flight not counting development(specifically the crew dragon which is the cheaper of the two vehicles). You need two of these to replace a space shuttle flight
Conversely, you need 12.8 shuttle flights for the 14 day duration to replace the 180 day (six month) duration.  (With the note that anything that requires a longer than two week stay is impossible).  You also have to magically walk back that Shuttle was retired for being unfixably unsafe.

You don't know that. There were a myriad of changes introduced after Challenger and that specific issue never reoccured. There was also a myriad of changes post Columbia(all factored into Shuttle operational costs) including changes to the ET, on orbit repair and inspection and keeping shuttles on standby in the event a Shuttle was disabled on orbit or couldn't return and needed to be rescued. A lot of that is above and beyond what is being done on the follow on program.
You should go back in time and let everyone who shut the program down know that they were wrong.  As well as all of the folks who calculated the projected LOM/LOC at 1 in 90 at the time of the end of the program.  I am sure they will all be fascinated to hear that you think they're wrong.

It was more aimed at the issues being unfixable. According to one of the later probabilistic risk assessments, the 4 greatest risks to the orbiter and crew in order of severity were...

1. MMOD debris risk (1 in 277)
2. SSME failure (1 in 652)
3. ascent debris (1 in 840)
4. crew error on entry (1 in 1220)
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20100005659.pdf (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20100005659.pdf)

The ascent debris is traditionally the only thing that was looked upon as intractable due to the side mount configuration. The increased MMOD risk due to the size of the vehicle would apply to almost anything of large size, but was hardly an intractable problem (better tracking for instance would reduce risks). In fact, the current crew vehicle(s) will only operate in an environment with improved tracking - given the air force(space force?) only deemed the space fence operational in March 2020 (prior to the first crewed Commercial Crew flight).

Half the people who died on shuttle missions would not have died had the Shuttle had a proper launch escape system. Which would have required the shuttle to be on top of the stack...

No, sidemount didn't have anything to do with launch abort. Any launch abort system could work on a similar trajectory to the ejection seats early on. The problem was the two deck seating arrangement. Regardless, the control surfaces produced the separation force for shuttle escape from the ET/SRBs, something that wouldn't be possible on a top mount configuration.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mandrewa on 06/11/2020 07:20 pm
You are making this too complicated. Commercial crew is $220 million per flight not counting development(specifically the crew dragon which is the cheaper of the two vehicles). You need two of these to replace a space shuttle flight(yes, we could go through the hoops of hypothetically suggesting 7 crew per flight, but we could also imagine putting significantly more people on Shuttle than the nominal 7 (in fact it did fly with 8 people on occasion). You also need 2-3 cargo vehicles to replace its logistics capability when paired with a MPLM. Those cargo vehicles tend to cost about $200 million per flight (it varies based on vehicle and CRS-2 prices are more opaque than CRS-1 prices). So, the Shuttle replacement cost is probably on the order of $840-$1040 million dollars. Shuttle costs were somewhat higher than that counting development, but Ken Bowersox's estimate of 20%-40% isn't terribly inaccurate (it indeed is in the ballpark, not surprising coming from the acting HEOMD AA). There are decent savings, but the savings are often exaggerated.

Per Edgar Zapata, page 15, the reoccuring or incremental cost of the Space Shuttle
projected forward to 2017 would have been approximately $5.6 billion per year.  This
is the projected sum of the Space Shuttle operations budget and the yearly upgrade
budget, and although that latter is part of the development budget it still should be
included in the incremental budget given that it happened every year prior to the
decision to end the Space Shuttle program.
 
By 2005 the Space Shuttle manifest had been reduced to supporting the ISS and its
assembly (plus one service mission for the Hubble Space Telescope) because of
unacceptable odds of loss of crew.  This would have meant two flights a year to support
the ISS, once assembly was completed, assuming the Space Shuttle program had been continued.

Thus in this scenario it would have cost something close to $5.6 billion a year for
the Space Shuttle to have supported the ISS including supply, crew rotation, and
minor improvements to the ISS.

Two Crew Dragon missions at $220 million apiece plus $500 million for the current
American cargo missions to support the ISS (I'm using your estimate as I have not checked
this) adds up to $940 million per year, or 17% of the $5.6 billion the Space Shuttle program
would have cost in 2017 per Edgar Zapata's paper "An assessment of cost improvements in
the NASA COTS/CRS program and implications for future NASA missions."


I know I'm missing the point a bit, since you are, I suspect, talking about what the Space Shuttle
would have cost if it had not lost two Space Shuttles.  But if that is the case you should make
it clear that this is what you are assuming.  Unfortunately, even if you and I would imagine also Ken
Bowersox are making that assumption -- and you make it clear that this is the case -- it is still not
going be easy to separate what costs are coming from the accidents and what would remain
behind if they had not occurred.

Note also that all of this is basically from an operational perspective.  If we include the full development
costs of the programs the disparity grows greater.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 06/11/2020 08:11 pm
Half the people who died on shuttle missions would not have died had the Shuttle had a proper launch escape system. Which would have required the shuttle to be on top of the stack...

No, sidemount didn't have anything to do with launch abort. Any launch abort system could work on a similar trajectory to the ejection seats early on. The problem was the two deck seating arrangement. Regardless, the control surfaces produced the separation force for shuttle escape from the ET/SRBs, something that wouldn't be possible on a top mount configuration.

Emphasis mine.

No. It was understood early on that such a set up (partially horizontal pad abort trajectory) would result in driving the crew escape cabin into the ground before any chance of opening parachutes. Same problem as the highly insufficient crew escape ejection seats that were on Gemini: no chance of survival in case of an ejected pad abort.
The only viable launch escape system that provided sufficient pad-abort survivability was one that shot the crew escape cabin straight up. The only shuttle concepts providing the launch vehicle clearance for a straight up pad abort trajectory were the top-mounted designs. When the top mounted designs lost out to the side mounted designs the fates of 14 astronauts were sealed.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 06/12/2020 07:36 am
Per Edgar Zapata, page 15, the reoccuring or incremental cost of the Space Shuttle
projected forward to 2017 would have been approximately $5.6 billion per year.

For FY1997 to FY2004, the cost was about $4B a year in $2010. The budget then went up to fix the problems found by Columbia, and then settled to $3B a year for FY2009 to FY2010. Thus, I think a more reasonable number for Shuttle costs had the program continued would be about $4B a year.

http://claudelafleur.qc.ca/Programcosts.html#Shuttle

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: eric z on 06/12/2020 12:43 pm
 People and relevant robots, I don't have the intellectual firepower or technical prowess to contribute much on this, but with your indulgence let me throw out some stuff. I agree the lack of a good launch escape system was a shuttle flaw, but wasn't part of the rational bandied about was that airliners don't have protection for the people either? We should also remember, and this is the tragedy of it, the accidents were predictable. The o-ring problem was known about; and so was the foam/debris shedding. IMHO, there is just too much shuttle-bashing around here - move on, please. It was a fantastic, innovative, ballsy [stand under one at the museums and think what it took to get that thing the size of an airliner up there!] stab at a whole new way of looking at space. Warts and all it opened up space to the world.
 Now when it comes to comparing apples and pound-cake, uh, shuttle and commercial crew, a lot of fixed-costs usually get counted against the shuttle program and often development costs too. Does the cost of Dragon 2 include the costs of Falcon development? Does Starliner's cost include the decades-long costs of buffing the Atlas into the great rocket it is now? Do the commercial crew providers reimburse the Pentagon for the cost of the Space Fence?
 Who paid for all the roads and rails this stuff boogies around on to get to the launch pad? You get my drift.
 Overdoing these comparisons leads only to headache- though in small ways they may be useful here and there.
Stinck to Dragon vs. Starliner , and not keep bringing the long-retired shuttle into it may be the best bet. After all we don't go around arguing should we have built the interstate highways, or fought WW2 more "Efficiently".
 Next up, how in heck can they come up with these mmod Numbers? ;)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 06/12/2020 12:59 pm
Bowersox opened that door.  Perhaps you should aim your lecture at him.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mandrewa on 06/12/2020 01:56 pm
Per Edgar Zapata, page 15, the reoccuring or incremental cost of the Space Shuttle
projected forward to 2017 would have been approximately $5.6 billion per year.

For FY1997 to FY2004, the cost was about $4B a year in $2010. The budget then went up to fix the problems found by Columbia, and then settled to $3B a year for FY2009 to FY2010. Thus, I think a more reasonable number for Shuttle costs had the program continued would be about $4B a year.

http://claudelafleur.qc.ca/Programcosts.html#Shuttle

Claude Lafleur's numbers are in 2010 dollars and Edgar Zapata's are in 2017 dollars.

NASA stopped funding new R&D to improve the Space Shuttle in 2005 when the decision was made
to restrict the Space Shuttle to ISS assembly.  The R&D programs that had already begun, and that
would include those that were initiated in response to the loss of Columbia were allowed to
play out, but basically the amount of money being spent on Space Shuttle development rapidly
ramped down.

Edgar Zapata's point of departure was the 2003 budget, or the sum of the Space Shuttle operational
budget and the Space Shuttle R&D budget before the loss of Columbia, and then project that
forward, adjusted for inflation.  And then if I understand him, he adjusted that number downward
since it would have been too large a percentage of NASA's actual budget in 2017.

Quote: "Another approach is to take the Shuttle’s costs and adjust upwards only for the budget
increases NASA has actually seen since the Shuttle was operational."


And that is the approach that Zapata followed.

The sad truth is that $5.6 billion probably understates the amount of money that NASA would have
been spending on the Space Shuttle in 2017 if the program had been continued.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Hog on 06/12/2020 05:25 pm
Half the people who died on shuttle missions would not have died had the Shuttle had a proper launch escape system. Which would have required the shuttle to be on top of the stack...

No, sidemount didn't have anything to do with launch abort. Any launch abort system could work on a similar trajectory to the ejection seats early on. The problem was the two deck seating arrangement. Regardless, the control surfaces produced the separation force for shuttle escape from the ET/SRBs, something that wouldn't be possible on a top mount configuration.

Emphasis mine.

No. It was understood early on that such a set up (partially horizontal pad abort trajectory) would result in driving the crew escape cabin into the ground before any chance of opening parachutes. Same problem as the highly insufficient crew escape ejection seats that were on Gemini: no chance of survival in case of an ejected pad abort.
The only viable launch escape system that provided sufficient pad-abort survivability was one that shot the crew escape cabin straight up. The only shuttle concepts providing the launch vehicle clearance for a straight up pad abort trajectory were the top-mounted designs. When the top mounted designs lost out to the side mounted designs the fates of 14 astronauts were sealed.
Emphasis mine
That's pure poppycock.
The Gemini ejection seats provided sufficient envelop for a safe "pad abort" scenario. You are describing an often repeated falsehood about the Gemini ejection system.  The beliefs/attitudes of astronauts are one thing, but the data and first hand experiences of engineers involved in the testing/development of the system is quite another.

A brief excerpt from a Gemini project engineer
"I was the project test engineer on Gemini for Weber Aircraft.  We were tasked to design, test and qualify it for McDonnell Aircraft (MAC) and NASA.  We, Weber Aircraft spent three years in providing an escape system that was the most sophisticated and complex system ever envisioned.  It had to provide the astronaut occupants with safe egress and recovery from (1) a pad abort condition should the booster suffer a catastrophic failure.  The system had to eject the occupants more than 500 feet away and bring them safely to earth via a personal parachute, (2) a high speed max Q condition during the boost phase, (3) a high speed Mach 4 ejection at 45,000 and (4) a high altitude ejection up to 70,000 feet.  A whole lot more than those currently in service with the F-35, F-22, F-16, F-15, B-2, etc.  Weber also provided the lightweight systems used in NASA lifting bodies M2-F2, HL-10 and X-24 in addition to those for the LLRV and LLTV ( have the filmed footage of Neil Armstrong, Joe Algranti and Stuart Present ejecting from it).

Astronaut safety was the primary concern throughout the program and every conceivable failure mode and environment was considered. 
"

 Pressure suits, or the lack thereof prevented them from retaining consciousness and prevented them from being able to attempt to escape from the crew cabin. Post STS-51-L flight manuals had manual bailout procedures specifically for Post liftoff, pre SRB-separation vehicle breakup scenarios located on the last page.

And why did the Orbiter move from the top mount to the side mount?  To allow for a larger cargo bay, which required a larger orbiter. And why did the Orbiter Vehicle need a larger payload bay?  There is no single answer.  STS was cancelled due to "safety".  Pure BS, it was a political move in the guise of "safety".  The American public was/is living in a culture that is 100% averse to adversity.  We can't seem to stomach death even though not a single one of us will escape it.  I'd rather "punch out" riding a rocket at 50 years of age, than die at 90 riding a bedpan. 
.
1 failed launch out of 135 attempts
1 failed entry out of 134 attempts.  If that's "inherently unsafe", I question exactly what people think "safe" is?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 06/12/2020 05:48 pm
Half the people who died on shuttle missions would not have died had the Shuttle had a proper launch escape system. Which would have required the shuttle to be on top of the stack...

No, sidemount didn't have anything to do with launch abort. Any launch abort system could work on a similar trajectory to the ejection seats early on. The problem was the two deck seating arrangement. Regardless, the control surfaces produced the separation force for shuttle escape from the ET/SRBs, something that wouldn't be possible on a top mount configuration.

Emphasis mine.

No. It was understood early on that such a set up (partially horizontal pad abort trajectory) would result in driving the crew escape cabin into the ground before any chance of opening parachutes. Same problem as the highly insufficient crew escape ejection seats that were on Gemini: no chance of survival in case of an ejected pad abort.
The only viable launch escape system that provided sufficient pad-abort survivability was one that shot the crew escape cabin straight up. The only shuttle concepts providing the launch vehicle clearance for a straight up pad abort trajectory were the top-mounted designs. When the top mounted designs lost out to the side mounted designs the fates of 14 astronauts were sealed.
Emphasis mine
That's pure poppycock.
The Gemini ejection seats provided sufficient envelop for a safe "pad abort" scenario. You are describing an often repeated falsehood about the Gemini ejection system.  The beliefs/attitudes of astronauts are one thing, but the data and first hand experiences of engineers involved in the testing/development of the system is quite another.

A brief excerpt from a Gemini project engineer
"I was the project test engineer on Gemini for Weber Aircraft.  We were tasked to design, test and qualify it for McDonnell Aircraft (MAC) and NASA.  We, Weber Aircraft spent three years in providing an escape system that was the most sophisticated and complex system ever envisioned.  It had to provide the astronaut occupants with safe egress and recovery from (1) a pad abort condition should the booster suffer a catastrophic failure.  The system had to eject the occupants more than 500 feet away and bring them safely to earth via a personal parachute, (2) a high speed max Q condition during the boost phase, (3) a high speed Mach 4 ejection at 45,000 and (4) a high altitude ejection up to 70,000 feet.  A whole lot more than those currently in service with the F-35, F-22, F-16, F-15, B-2, etc.  Weber also provided the lightweight systems used in NASA lifting bodies M2-F2, HL-10 and X-24 in addition to those for the LLRV and LLTV ( have the filmed footage of Neil Armstrong, Joe Algranti and Stuart Present ejecting from it).

Astronaut safety was the primary concern throughout the program and every conceivable failure mode and environment was considered. 
"

 Pressure suits, or the lack thereof prevented them from retaining consciousness and prevented them from being able to attempt to escape from the crew cabin. Post STS-51-L flight manuals had manual bailout procedures specifically for Post liftoff, pre SRB-separation vehicle breakup scenarios located on the last page.

And why did the Orbiter move from the top mount to the side mount?  To allow for a larger cargo bay, which required a larger orbiter. And why did the Orbiter Vehicle need a larger payload bay?  There is no single answer.  STS was cancelled due to "safety".  Pure BS, it was a political move in the guise of "safety".  The American public was/is living in a culture that is 100% averse to adversity.  We can't seem to stomach death even though not a single one of us will escape it.  I'd rather "punch out" riding a rocket at 50 years of age, than die at 90 riding a bedpan. 
.
1 failed launch out of 135 attempts
1 failed entry out of 134 attempts.  If that's "inherently unsafe", I question exactly what people think "safe" is?
Question all you want. It was NASA who decided that Shuttle's 1-in-90 proven chance of LOC was unacceptable. Had shuttle not been cancelled it would have been a matter of time before a third shuttle - and it's crew - would have been lost.

Also, I suggest you do not assume that - just because there are boost-phase bailout instructions - that such a bailout would actually save the lives of the astronauts.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lars-J on 06/12/2020 05:49 pm
Half the people who died on shuttle missions would not have died had the Shuttle had a proper launch escape system. Which would have required the shuttle to be on top of the stack...

No, sidemount didn't have anything to do with launch abort. Any launch abort system could work on a similar trajectory to the ejection seats early on. The problem was the two deck seating arrangement. Regardless, the control surfaces produced the separation force for shuttle escape from the ET/SRBs, something that wouldn't be possible on a top mount configuration.

Emphasis mine.

No. It was understood early on that such a set up (partially horizontal pad abort trajectory) would result in driving the crew escape cabin into the ground before any chance of opening parachutes. Same problem as the highly insufficient crew escape ejection seats that were on Gemini: no chance of survival in case of an ejected pad abort.
The only viable launch escape system that provided sufficient pad-abort survivability was one that shot the crew escape cabin straight up. The only shuttle concepts providing the launch vehicle clearance for a straight up pad abort trajectory were the top-mounted designs. When the top mounted designs lost out to the side mounted designs the fates of 14 astronauts were sealed.
Emphasis mine
That's pure poppycock.
The Gemini ejection seats provided sufficient envelop for a safe "pad abort" scenario. You are describing an often repeated falsehood about the Gemini ejection system.  The beliefs/attitudes of astronauts are one thing, but the data and first hand experiences of engineers involved in the testing/development of the system is quite another.

A brief excerpt from a Gemini project engineer
"I was the project test engineer on Gemini for Weber Aircraft.  We were tasked to design, test and qualify it for McDonnell Aircraft (MAC) and NASA.  We, Weber Aircraft spent three years in providing an escape system that was the most sophisticated and complex system ever envisioned.  It had to provide the astronaut occupants with safe egress and recovery from (1) a pad abort condition should the booster suffer a catastrophic failure.  The system had to eject the occupants more than 500 feet away and bring them safely to earth via a personal parachute, (2) a high speed max Q condition during the boost phase, (3) a high speed Mach 4 ejection at 45,000 and (4) a high altitude ejection up to 70,000 feet.  A whole lot more than those currently in service with the F-35, F-22, F-16, F-15, B-2, etc.  Weber also provided the lightweight systems used in NASA lifting bodies M2-F2, HL-10 and X-24 in addition to those for the LLRV and LLTV ( have the filmed footage of Neil Armstrong, Joe Algranti and Stuart Present ejecting from it).

Astronaut safety was the primary concern throughout the program and every conceivable failure mode and environment was considered. 
"

You keep posting this same snippet, but where is the documentation that backs this up, other than the subjective view of an engineer that was involved? Surely there is footage and documentation from actual tests somewhere?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jedsmd on 06/12/2020 05:59 pm
https://youtu.be/IAkDbnS0zuY (https://youtu.be/IAkDbnS0zuY)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: leovinus on 06/12/2020 06:08 pm
Half the people who died on shuttle missions would not have died had the Shuttle had a proper launch escape system. Which would have required the shuttle to be on top of the stack...

No, sidemount didn't have anything to do with launch abort. Any launch abort system could work on a similar trajectory to the ejection seats early on. The problem was the two deck seating arrangement. Regardless, the control surfaces produced the separation force for shuttle escape from the ET/SRBs, something that wouldn't be possible on a top mount configuration.

Emphasis mine.

No. It was understood early on that such a set up (partially horizontal pad abort trajectory) would result in driving the crew escape cabin into the ground before any chance of opening parachutes. Same problem as the highly insufficient crew escape ejection seats that were on Gemini: no chance of survival in case of an ejected pad abort.
The only viable launch escape system that provided sufficient pad-abort survivability was one that shot the crew escape cabin straight up. The only shuttle concepts providing the launch vehicle clearance for a straight up pad abort trajectory were the top-mounted designs. When the top mounted designs lost out to the side mounted designs the fates of 14 astronauts were sealed.
Emphasis mine
That's pure poppycock.
The Gemini ejection seats provided sufficient envelop for a safe "pad abort" scenario. You are describing an often repeated falsehood about the Gemini ejection system.  The beliefs/attitudes of astronauts are one thing, but the data and first hand experiences of engineers involved in the testing/development of the system is quite another.

A brief excerpt from a Gemini project engineer
"I was the project test engineer on Gemini for Weber Aircraft.  We were tasked to design, test and qualify it for McDonnell Aircraft (MAC) and NASA.  We, Weber Aircraft spent three years in providing an escape system that was the most sophisticated and complex system ever envisioned.  It had to provide the astronaut occupants with safe egress and recovery from (1) a pad abort condition should the booster suffer a catastrophic failure.  The system had to eject the occupants more than 500 feet away and bring them safely to earth via a personal parachute, (2) a high speed max Q condition during the boost phase, (3) a high speed Mach 4 ejection at 45,000 and (4) a high altitude ejection up to 70,000 feet.  A whole lot more than those currently in service with the F-35, F-22, F-16, F-15, B-2, etc.  Weber also provided the lightweight systems used in NASA lifting bodies M2-F2, HL-10 and X-24 in addition to those for the LLRV and LLTV ( have the filmed footage of Neil Armstrong, Joe Algranti and Stuart Present ejecting from it).

Astronaut safety was the primary concern throughout the program and every conceivable failure mode and environment was considered. 
"

You keep posting this same snippet, but where is the documentation that backs this up, other than the subjective view of an engineer that was involved? Surely there is footage and documentation from actual tests somewhere?

To back up Hog's account
Quote
The Gemini ejection seats provided sufficient envelop for a safe "pad abort" scenario.
, five minutes of searching on NTRS with Gemini+Weber leads to On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19780012208&hterms=weber+gemini&qs=N%3D0%26Ntk%3DAll%26Ntt%3Dweber%2520gemini%26Ntx%3Dmode%2520matchallpartial). Search the document for e.g. Weber and simulated off-the-pad ejections (SOPE) and you'll find on p152-154 that the development was not easy but successful in the end. Includes pictures btw. Bonus points if you follow the word "safety" through the PDF which makes it clear it was very important for Gemini.

Someone else can dig up actual testing footage ;)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lars-J on 06/12/2020 06:22 pm
https://youtu.be/IAkDbnS0zuY (https://youtu.be/IAkDbnS0zuY)

You keep posting this same snippet, but where is the documentation that backs this up, other than the subjective view of an engineer that was involved? Surely there is footage and documentation from actual tests somewhere?

To back up Hog's account
Quote
The Gemini ejection seats provided sufficient envelop for a safe "pad abort" scenario.
, five minutes of searching on NTRS with Gemini+Weber leads to On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19780012208&hterms=weber+gemini&qs=N%3D0%26Ntk%3DAll%26Ntt%3Dweber%2520gemini%26Ntx%3Dmode%2520matchallpartial). Search the document for e.g. Weber and simulated off-the-pad ejections (SOPE) and you'll find on p152-154 that the development was not easy but successful in the end. Includes pictures btw. Bonus points if you follow the word "safety" through the PDF which makes it clear it was very important for Gemini.

Someone else can dig up actual testing footage ;)

Well that footage above certainly proved that the ejection seat can work, but not that it would be safe. (and no one doubted that am ejection seat can eject) That video in particular shows that depending on the wind, the astronauts would end up right back in the flaming fireball.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: leovinus on 06/12/2020 07:24 pm
https://youtu.be/IAkDbnS0zuY (https://youtu.be/IAkDbnS0zuY)

You keep posting this same snippet, but where is the documentation that backs this up, other than the subjective view of an engineer that was involved? Surely there is footage and documentation from actual tests somewhere?

To back up Hog's account
Quote
The Gemini ejection seats provided sufficient envelop for a safe "pad abort" scenario.
, five minutes of searching on NTRS with Gemini+Weber leads to On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19780012208&hterms=weber+gemini&qs=N%3D0%26Ntk%3DAll%26Ntt%3Dweber%2520gemini%26Ntx%3Dmode%2520matchallpartial). Search the document for e.g. Weber and simulated off-the-pad ejections (SOPE) and you'll find on p152-154 that the development was not easy but successful in the end. Includes pictures btw. Bonus points if you follow the word "safety" through the PDF which makes it clear it was very important for Gemini.

Someone else can dig up actual testing footage ;)

Well that footage above certainly proved that the ejection seat can work, but not that it would be safe. That video in particular shows that depending on the wind, the astronauts would end up right back in the flaming fireball.

IMHO, the use of any escape system beats the alternative in case of a pad explosion.

Nice video, which probably should be discussed further in the Gemini Crew Rescue/Abort System (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=34019.0) thread.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Hog on 06/13/2020 01:29 pm
Half the people who died on shuttle missions would not have died had the Shuttle had a proper launch escape system. Which would have required the shuttle to be on top of the stack...

No, sidemount didn't have anything to do with launch abort. Any launch abort system could work on a similar trajectory to the ejection seats early on. The problem was the two deck seating arrangement. Regardless, the control surfaces produced the separation force for shuttle escape from the ET/SRBs, something that wouldn't be possible on a top mount configuration.

Emphasis mine.

No. It was understood early on that such a set up (partially horizontal pad abort trajectory) would result in driving the crew escape cabin into the ground before any chance of opening parachutes. Same problem as the highly insufficient crew escape ejection seats that were on Gemini: no chance of survival in case of an ejected pad abort.
The only viable launch escape system that provided sufficient pad-abort survivability was one that shot the crew escape cabin straight up. The only shuttle concepts providing the launch vehicle clearance for a straight up pad abort trajectory were the top-mounted designs. When the top mounted designs lost out to the side mounted designs the fates of 14 astronauts were sealed.
Emphasis mine
That's pure poppycock.
The Gemini ejection seats provided sufficient envelop for a safe "pad abort" scenario. You are describing an often repeated falsehood about the Gemini ejection system.  The beliefs/attitudes of astronauts are one thing, but the data and first hand experiences of engineers involved in the testing/development of the system is quite another.

A brief excerpt from a Gemini project engineer
"I was the project test engineer on Gemini for Weber Aircraft.  We were tasked to design, test and qualify it for McDonnell Aircraft (MAC) and NASA.  We, Weber Aircraft spent three years in providing an escape system that was the most sophisticated and complex system ever envisioned.  It had to provide the astronaut occupants with safe egress and recovery from (1) a pad abort condition should the booster suffer a catastrophic failure.  The system had to eject the occupants more than 500 feet away and bring them safely to earth via a personal parachute, (2) a high speed max Q condition during the boost phase, (3) a high speed Mach 4 ejection at 45,000 and (4) a high altitude ejection up to 70,000 feet.  A whole lot more than those currently in service with the F-35, F-22, F-16, F-15, B-2, etc.  Weber also provided the lightweight systems used in NASA lifting bodies M2-F2, HL-10 and X-24 in addition to those for the LLRV and LLTV ( have the filmed footage of Neil Armstrong, Joe Algranti and Stuart Present ejecting from it).

Astronaut safety was the primary concern throughout the program and every conceivable failure mode and environment was considered. 
"

 Pressure suits, or the lack thereof prevented them from retaining consciousness and prevented them from being able to attempt to escape from the crew cabin. Post STS-51-L flight manuals had manual bailout procedures specifically for Post liftoff, pre SRB-separation vehicle breakup scenarios located on the last page.

And why did the Orbiter move from the top mount to the side mount?  To allow for a larger cargo bay, which required a larger orbiter. And why did the Orbiter Vehicle need a larger payload bay?  There is no single answer.  STS was cancelled due to "safety".  Pure BS, it was a political move in the guise of "safety".  The American public was/is living in a culture that is 100% averse to adversity.  We can't seem to stomach death even though not a single one of us will escape it.  I'd rather "punch out" riding a rocket at 50 years of age, than die at 90 riding a bedpan. 
.
1 failed launch out of 135 attempts
1 failed entry out of 134 attempts.  If that's "inherently unsafe", I question exactly what people think "safe" is?
Question all you want. It was NASA who decided that Shuttle's 1-in-90 proven chance of LOC was unacceptable. Had shuttle not been cancelled it would have been a matter of time before a third shuttle - and it's crew - would have been lost.

Also, I suggest you do not assume that - just because there are boost-phase bailout instructions - that such a bailout would actually save the lives of the astronauts.
1) It was President Bush in his Vision for Space Exploration that deemed Shuttle to be retired.  It was NASA that made the requirement for 1/240 probability of LOC/V for Commercial Crew.  SLS is what, 1 in 87 chances albeit for a circumlunar mission.

2) I suggest that you actually read what I wrote.  I wrote "Pressure suits, or the lack thereof prevented them from retaining consciousness and prevented them from being able to attempt to escape from the crew cabin."  The "shirt sleeves" environment almost assuredly made escape at altitude impossible. The astronauts took a momentary G load equivalent to some ejection seats, ascended upwards for thousands of feet post breakup and descended for 10's of thousands of feet over 2-1/2 minutes.  A conscious crewmember would have had to blow the hatch and get through the hole.  Would it have been as "organized" as a gliding bailout, no, but there was no escape pole, nor harness to clip to it, just get through the hatch hole and freefall to 15,000 feet where the chute would open automatically. Still many hazards after canopy opening but I'd take a "fighting chance" over simply closing my eyes and hoping, anyday.

Just because todays Commercial Crew vehicles have escape/abort systems, crew survivability is not "assured".  Life is fragile.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Hog on 06/13/2020 02:17 pm
https://youtu.be/IAkDbnS0zuY (https://youtu.be/IAkDbnS0zuY)

You keep posting this same snippet, but where is the documentation that backs this up, other than the subjective view of an engineer that was involved? Surely there is footage and documentation from actual tests somewhere?

To back up Hog's account
Quote
The Gemini ejection seats provided sufficient envelop for a safe "pad abort" scenario.
, five minutes of searching on NTRS with Gemini+Weber leads to On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19780012208&hterms=weber+gemini&qs=N%3D0%26Ntk%3DAll%26Ntt%3Dweber%2520gemini%26Ntx%3Dmode%2520matchallpartial). Search the document for e.g. Weber and simulated off-the-pad ejections (SOPE) and you'll find on p152-154 that the development was not easy but successful in the end. Includes pictures btw. Bonus points if you follow the word "safety" through the PDF which makes it clear it was very important for Gemini.

Someone else can dig up actual testing footage ;)

Well that footage above certainly proved that the ejection seat can work, but not that it would be safe. (and no one doubted that am ejection seat can eject) That video in particular shows that depending on the wind, the astronauts would end up right back in the flaming fireball.
The subjective view of a test engineer (Gordon Cress- project test engineer on Gemini for Weber Aircraft) that was actually there, is good enough for me.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Really?   We are talking about space launches here.  The safest Commercial Crew vehicle is the one that stays on the drawing board/CAD screen, ie never flies. Papercuts/eyestrain notwithstanding.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Nomadd on 06/13/2020 03:06 pm
 Getting out of bed isn't "safe". Staying in bed isn't "safe". Citing a failure to "prove something safe" is meaningless because there is no such thing. There are only odds and standards. If you have a system with a 1 in 90 chance of failure, and an escape scheme that works 80% of the time, you've met your 1 in 270 odds.
 
 If there are 100,000 people living in space or on other planets in 40 years, any actions you take safety wise will save lives that would have been lost, and will likely cost lives that wouldn't have been lost. If you can't find it within yourself to accept the responsibility, you shouldn't be in the game. That's why we use data and not cliches to make the decisions.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lars-J on 06/13/2020 08:48 pm
Getting out of bed isn't "safe". Staying in bed isn't "safe". Citing a failure to "prove something safe" is meaningless because there is no such thing. There are only odds and standards. If you have a system with a 1 in 90 chance of failure, and an escape scheme that works 80% of the time, you've met your 1 in 270 odds.
 
 If there are 100,000 people living in space or on other planets in 40 years, any actions you take safety wise will save lives that would have been lost, and will likely cost lives that wouldn't have been lost. If you can't find it within yourself to accept the responsibility, you shouldn't be in the game. That's why we use data and not cliches to make the decisions.
Certainly. I was just suggesting that just because you have a system that technically can eject during all phases of flight does not make that escape system survivable in all stages of flight, and does not on its own make a launch system “safe”.

But better than nothing? Almost certainly. (Unless compromises made for the escape system reduces safety in other ways)

Agreed that there is always risk. Walking across the road is a risk. Even staying in bed is a risk.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: mgeagon on 06/17/2020 04:58 am
This is a great discussion. Really. It probably needs its own thread.

With the ISS preparing for commercial visitors, what is the maximum capacity? From the present docking nodes, there are two IDAs and two Soyuz ports, correct? So, can 8 + 6 comfortably exist on board? Could 14 + 6 in a strict private effort? Can the Dragon 2 and/or Starliner be used as dwellings while docked or does hibernation somehow proclude extensive use? I do not presume anyone would squeeze into Soyuz just to chill out.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 06/17/2020 10:00 am
With the ISS preparing for commercial visitors, what is the maximum capacity?

I don't know, but I would imagine a limiting factor would be CO2 scrubbing capability.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lars-J on 06/17/2020 06:47 pm
With the ISS preparing for commercial visitors, what is the maximum capacity?

I don't know, but I would imagine a limiting factor would be CO2 scrubbing capability.

Yes. And the visiting vehicles do not help out with that, they are hibernation mode when docked. (Shuttle did, but the current vehicles do not have the capability)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: octavo on 06/18/2020 07:10 am
With the ISS preparing for commercial visitors, what is the maximum capacity?

I don't know, but I would imagine a limiting factor would be CO2 scrubbing capability.

Reading Endurance, I was a bit shocked at how bad the CO2 situation can get sometimes.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ChrML on 07/08/2020 11:40 pm
If you have a system with a 1 in 90 chance of failure, and an escape scheme that works 80% of the time, you've met your 1 in 270 odds.
Actually at some occasion, can't remember where, Elon Musk mentioned that the requirement is 1/270 without the launch escape system, so the real safety should be somewhere around 1/900 or so.

Also the crew certification document from NASA specifies that a launch escape system is last resort (it's unsafe by itself). So you need full safety as if you didn't have it.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: kdhilliard on 07/09/2020 01:46 am
Actually at some occasion, can't remember where, Elon Musk mentioned that the requirement is 1/270 without the launch escape system, so the real safety should be somewhere around 1/900 or so.
Perhaps you are thinking of Hans Königsmann's 2 June 2020 interview (in German) by Der Speigel, discussed here (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=46136.msg2091244#msg2091244).  Silmfeanor translated one excerpt as:
Quote
SpaceX has a 1 in 276 chance of loss of crew by NASA's calculations. This is without taking into account the LAS system. Therefore the real number is way lower. SpaceX has never calculated that real number precisely; Hans estimates the number to be certainly at least 1:several thousand.
Our subsequent discussion pointed out that the math didn't make much sense, as the LAS only helps during ascent anomalies, and that a lot of the risk comes from on-orbit MMD impacts and from reentry and landing concerns.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ChrML on 07/13/2020 05:29 pm
Actually at some occasion, can't remember where, Elon Musk mentioned that the requirement is 1/270 without the launch escape system, so the real safety should be somewhere around 1/900 or so.
Perhaps you are thinking of Hans Königsmann's 2 June 2020 interview (in German) by Der Speigel, discussed here (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=46136.msg2091244#msg2091244).  Silmfeanor translated one excerpt as:
Quote
SpaceX has a 1 in 276 chance of loss of crew by NASA's calculations. This is without taking into account the LAS system. Therefore the real number is way lower. SpaceX has never calculated that real number precisely; Hans estimates the number to be certainly at least 1:several thousand.
Our subsequent discussion pointed out that the math didn't make much sense, as the LAS only helps during ascent anomalies, and that a lot of the risk comes from on-orbit MMD impacts and from reentry and landing concerns.
Yes, that's the one! Good find.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 07/29/2020 06:29 pm
https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1288516823244320769

Quote
How @SpaceX & @elonmusk beat Boeing in the race to launch NASA astronauts:

A short CNBC history on the Commercial Crew program, featuring NASA administrator @JimBridenstine and former NASA deputy administrator @Lori_Garver:

https://youtu.be/nnewZrf7v5U
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Proponent on 10/05/2020 05:12 pm
Jeff Foust at SpaceNews: NASA safety panel raises doubts about Starliner test flight schedule (https://spacenews.com/nasa-safety-panel-raises-doubts-about-starliner-test-flight-schedule/).

Recall that some months ago, Boeing killed DARPA's XS-1 (https://www.space.com/boeing-withdraws-darpa-military-space-plane.html) by dropping out after having become the program's sole prime contractor.  Could Boeing give up on Starliner too?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 10/06/2020 07:34 am
Boeing killed DARPA's XS-1[/url] by dropping out after having become the program's sole prime contractor.  Could Boeing give up on Starliner too?

Yes it could. If the bean counters say that Boeing is going to lose money by continuing the program, that may very well happen. However, this could have severe consequences for Boeing in trying to get future contracts from NASA since the category for "past performance" would get a low value.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 10/06/2020 09:09 am
Boeing killed DARPA's XS-1[/url] by dropping out after having become the program's sole prime contractor.  Could Boeing give up on Starliner too?

Yes it could. If the bean counters say that Boeing is going to lose money by continuing the program, that may very well happen. However, this could have severe consequences for Boeing in trying to get future contracts from NASA since the category for "past performance" would get a low value.

This scenario has also been discussed in the Boeing Starliner thread:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=51346.msg2129411#msg2129411

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=51346.msg2129490#msg2129490
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/13/2020 05:41 pm
It flew under the radar a little with all the media attention surrounding the impending Crew 1 launch.

But during the Flight Readiness Review on November 10th, 2020, a major milestone was reached in the Commercial Crew Program: the first provider received full Human Rating Certification when Kathy Lueders signed the Human Rating Certification Plan (with a rather ordinary pen).

See attached image.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: snotis on 11/13/2020 05:53 pm
It flew under the radar a little with all the media attention surrounding the impending Crew 1 launch.

But during the Flight Readiness Review on October 10th, 2020, a major milestone was reached in the Commercial Crew Program: the first provider received full Human Rating Certification when Kathy Lueders signed the Human Rating Certification Plan (with a rather ordinary pen).

See attached image.

Typo: FRR was on November 10th, 2020.  :)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: MarkW on 11/13/2020 06:46 pm
But during the Flight Readiness Review on October 10th, 2020, a major milestone was reached in the Commercial Crew Program: the first provider received full Human Rating Certification when Kathy Lueders signed the Human Rating Certification Plan (with a rather ordinary pen).

It’s probably a really stupid/pointless question, but who is the final signatory on that page, the one listed under certification? All the others can be read but I couldn’t make that one out?

It’s hardly important, but I often find the boring stuff interesting  ;D
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 11/13/2020 06:51 pm
But during the Flight Readiness Review on October 10th, 2020, a major milestone was reached in the Commercial Crew Program: the first provider received full Human Rating Certification when Kathy Lueders signed the Human Rating Certification Plan (with a rather ordinary pen).

It’s probably a really stupid/pointless question, but who is the final signatory on that page, the one listed under certification? All the others can be read but I couldn’t make that one out?

It’s hardly important, but I often find the boring stuff interesting  ;D

It is blurred but I think  it is Steve Jurczyk.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: MarkW on 11/13/2020 06:55 pm
It is blurred but I think  it is Steve Jurczyk.

Yep that looks about right (and explains why it looked like random letters though the blur), he’d also probably be the right person to be signing off on something that big, thanks!
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 11/14/2020 07:40 am
It flew under the radar a little with all the media attention surrounding the impending Crew 1 launch.

But during the Flight Readiness Review on October 10th, 2020, a major milestone was reached in the Commercial Crew Program: the first provider received full Human Rating Certification when Kathy Lueders signed the Human Rating Certification Plan (with a rather ordinary pen).

See attached image.

Typo: FRR was on November 10th, 2020.  :)

Yes, thank you for noticing. Fixed!
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: su27k on 11/24/2020 04:11 am
NASA officials hope to fly Russian cosmonaut on Crew Dragon next year (https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/11/15/nasa-officials-hope-to-fly-russian-cosmonaut-on-crew-dragon-next-year/)

Quote
NASA has submitted a draft agreement for government approval that would allow Russian cosmonauts to begin flying to the International Space Station on U.S. crew capsules next year in a no-funds exchanged arrangement with Russia’s space agency.

In return, Russia will continue launching U.S. and international astronauts on Soyuz missions.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: John_Marshall on 11/24/2020 03:43 pm
Does anyone who follows these things more than I do know how this would work out with the Russian movie in space and MS-19? The article specifically mentions putting an astronaut on that flight if the deal goes through.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Stealthsub on 12/29/2020 12:55 pm
https://twitter.com/spcplcyonline/status/1270445134614794240

Quote
Bowersox: biggest cost of ISS is transportation.  Cmrcl crew and cargo lowered it compared to shuttle, but not as much as ppl hoped.  Wanted factor of 10 reduction, but only 20-40% based on what I've seen.

Rather surprised by those numbers. Is he including commercial crew development costs too? Or basing it on total payload / something else? Individual crew flights are clearly significantly less than a shuttle flight, although not by an order of magnitude.

Money paid, or that will be paid, to SpaceX by NASA for Commercial Crew.

   CCDev 2     (2011)   $   75 million
   CCiCap      (2012)   $  440 million
   CPC phase 1 (2012)   $   10 million
   CCtCap      (2013)   $ 2600 million
   --------------------------------------
   Total       (2025)   $ 3125 million

But it's important to realize that SpaceX has not received $3.125 billion from NASA. 
CCtCap's $2.6 billion includes a commitment by NASA to buy six commercial crew missions
at a fixed price of $220 million per mission.  But this money is only paid out as
the missions occur (see Wikipedia, Commercial Crew Development, 2020-6-9).

Thus as of today SpaceX has received $1.255 billion from NASA for the development
of its Commercial Crew capability.  The remaining $1.320 billion will be paid out
mission by mission with the last mission and payment in 2025.

In addition to the money that NASA has paid or will be paying to SpaceX there is the
money NASA spent internally to support the effort.  There would be, I would guess,
quite a few people on NASA's payroll that have aided, inspected, supervised, and certified
SpaceX's Commercial Crew program.  To do a true comparison of the cost of Commercial
Crew (SpaceX) to the Space Shuttle program we need to know that number.

Since NASA already paid SpaceX for Crew dragon development, how big profit they can make on those fixed price $220 million per mission contracts. And how big part from their CD mission internal cost could by cost to launch CD, cost to build brand new service module and cost to inspect and refurbish flown crew capsule, when SpaceX start to reusing them. Will it be like 1/3, 1/2 & 1/5 for every of them or even less for CC inspection and refurbishment.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 01/14/2021 02:17 pm
Phil McAlister discussed CCtCap-2 at yesterday's NAC HEO meeting.

https://twitter.com/genejm29/status/1349419794370617346

See slide 16:
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/nac_-_csd_update_-_jan_2021_v3.pdf
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Arb on 02/06/2021 05:27 pm
Phil McAlister discussed CCtCap-2 at yesterday's NAC HEO meeting.

https://twitter.com/genejm29/status/1349419794370617346

See slide 16:
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/nac_-_csd_update_-_jan_2021_v3.pdf

From the second tweet:
Quote
Also coming up to re post the commercial crew and cargo contracts ... want some abilities that we don't have with current providers.
Be interesting to know what these are.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 02/06/2021 06:01 pm
From the second tweet:
Quote
Also coming up to re post the commercial crew and cargo contracts ... want some abilities that we don't have with current providers.
Be interesting to know what these are.

After that comment, McAlister went on to stress that he thought lowering the cost was the most important thing, more important than adding new requirements, and there should be a high bar for adding any new requirements.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: docmordrid on 02/07/2021 12:02 am
>
Be interesting to know what these are.

I would think the potential of a  runway landing most anywhere and low-G entry of Dream Chaser would be attractive.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 02/07/2021 12:58 am
>
Be interesting to know what these are.

I would think the potential of a  runway landing most anywhere and low-G entry of Dream Chaser would be attractive.

For the purposes of that discussion, Dream Chaser should already be a "current provider".
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: sdsds on 02/07/2021 01:08 am
Does anyone else feel there might be flawed thinking behind this bullet point.
There's no need for new systems to fill a gap so long as the old systems continue to offer service.
This isn't equivalent to the STS shutdown and even a veiled reference to that seems boorish and insensitive at best.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 02/07/2021 01:15 am
This isn't equivalent to the STS shutdown and even a veiled reference to that seems boorish and insensitive at best.

It could become equivalent to the STS shutdown if work on replacements isn't prioritized well before ISS is retired.  That's the point he was making.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: SMS on 02/09/2021 11:27 pm
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1359295209012678659
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 02/09/2021 11:34 pm
Related synopsis:

Quote from: Joey Roulette
NASA opened a new synopsis for an "International Space Station Seat Exchange," meaning a deal between NASA and Roscosmos is officially in the works to fly a Russian on Crew Dragon or Starliner, in exchange for a backup seat on a Soyuz spacecraft.

https://beta.sam.gov/opp/4da33276ec1543428e3e5e6da9440533/

https://twitter.com/joroulette/status/1359297712143937536
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 02/10/2021 12:52 pm
Good article by Marcia Smith:

Quote from: Marcia Smith
NASA Wants A Soyuz Seat This Spring As Backup Plan

https://spacepolicyonline.com/news/nasa-wants-a-soyuz-seat-this-spring-as-backup-plan/

https://twitter.com/SpcPlcyOnline/status/1359367736565055489
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 02/10/2021 04:07 pm
NASA seeks seat on April Soyuz mission to ISS:
https://spacenews.com/nasa-seeks-seat-on-april-soyuz-mission-to-iss/
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 02/11/2021 09:52 pm
https://twitter.com/Free_Space/status/1359982983994867726
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 02/11/2021 10:41 pm
https://twitter.com/joroulette/status/1359992886004244488
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Tomness on 02/11/2021 10:48 pm
https://twitter.com/joroulette/status/1359992886004244488
This is nuts, we have a commercial provider and they have overlapping schedule this spring. There is no need to buy any more seats. Sounds like Russia doesn't want to give up the fat paycheck. They should just seat swap already, if not don't do it. I guess NASA is afraid Russia will sell a seat to China or help China with their new space station.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: russianhalo117 on 02/12/2021 02:38 am
https://twitter.com/joroulette/status/1359992886004244488
This is nuts, we have a commercial provider and they have overlapping schedule this spring. There is no need to buy any more seats. Sounds like Russia doesn't want to give up the fat paycheck. They should just seat swap already, if not don't do it. I guess NASA is afraid Russia will sell a seat to China or help China with their new space station.
We do not have two US providers that have received crew certification so this will continue a while and also flying Russians on USCV's and vice versa is part of the founding agreement for the station so that one crew member from respective segments countries is guaranteed. Also China already rejected further help on their space station because Russian did not want to oblige to further Chinese mandates regarding technology transfers for past intercepted or later discovered industrial espionage as space technology is dual pupose and would trigger UN conventions/accords/international and domestic treaties of which Russia is part of and China declines to join because it goes against party doctrine and such. This has been discussed to death before and if that doesnt satisfy your asking itch Anatoly Zak has more China Russia info on his site in his insider content section.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 02/19/2021 04:23 pm
https://www.dvidshub.net/news/389362/wide-range-rescue-capabilities-expand-during-exercise-h2o
Quote
Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard's 204th Airlift Squadron wrapped up a month-long search and rescue exercise throughout and around Oahu on Feb. 6, alongside partners from the Alaska ANG.
...
During each manned voyage, such as SpaceX's launches to the ISS in May and November last year, airlift Airmen staged rescue packages in Hawaii and South Carolina. In the event of a hard-to-reach water landing, the closer C-17 will locate the capsule, airdrop watercraft, along with a team of pararescue members, who are prepared to egress and treat the astronauts for up to 72 hours.

"If astronauts splash down within 200 miles of the launch site, a rescue triad is on alert to respond," said Maj. Joseph Leman, 144th AS instructor pilot and exercise director. "If the landing is beyond that radius, a C-17 becomes the aircraft of choice for the mission because we can go further and get there faster."
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 02/22/2021 04:59 pm
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon performing ‘beautifully’ on ISS as NASA eyes a backup ride:
https://www.theverge.com/2021/2/22/22295119/spacex-crew-dragon-iss-nasa-eyes-backup-soyuz-ride

https://twitter.com/joroulette/status/1363909298305323012
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 02/22/2021 05:19 pm
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon performing ‘beautifully’ on ISS as NASA eyes a backup ride:
https://www.theverge.com/2021/2/22/22295119/spacex-crew-dragon-iss-nasa-eyes-backup-soyuz-ride

https://twitter.com/joroulette/status/1363909298305323012

Note that the sentence about having refurbished a Crew vehicle as a Cargo vehicle is completely false.  The article was updated to correct that error.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: IntoTheVoid on 03/04/2021 03:18 am
I put this question here because I didn't see it anywhere, and it involves three Commercial Crew missions.

Crew-1 vehicle, Resilience was to relocate from IDA-2 to IDA-3, to free up IDA-2 for Boeing OFT-2. But with OFT-2 now delayed until after the Crew-1, Crew-2 handover, has that relocation now been cancelled, or discussions of it being cancelled? Cancellation would permit Crew-2 to dock directly with IDA-3, and IDA-2 would then be available for OFT-2 once Crew-1 leaves. If they go through with the relocation as originally planned, then Crew-2, Endeavor, would dock to IDA-2, and would also require require relocation to vacate that port before OFT-2 could fly.

It seems obvious to cancel, but I haven't seen it mentioned.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 03/04/2021 03:23 pm
I put this question here because I didn't see it anywhere, and it involves three Commercial Crew missions.

Crew-1 vehicle, Resilience was to relocate from IDA-2 to IDA-3, to free up IDA-2 for Boeing OFT-2. But with OFT-2 now delayed until after the Crew-1, Crew-2 handover, has that relocation now been cancelled, or discussions of it being cancelled? Cancellation would permit Crew-2 to dock directly with IDA-3, and IDA-2 would then be available for OFT-2 once Crew-1 leaves. If they go through with the relocation as originally planned, then Crew-2, Endeavor, would dock to IDA-2, and would also require require relocation to vacate that port before OFT-2 could fly.

It seems obvious to cancel, but I haven't seen it mentioned.

I've been wondering similar things.  It all depends on when OFT-2 would actually fly.  If they're pretty sure it would fly before SpX-22 then one configuration would make sense, and if it might slip as far as SpX-22 then a different configuration would make sense.  (Assuming OFT-2 still needs to be on that specific port and is definitely flying after Crew-2.)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ThomasGadd on 03/04/2021 04:43 pm
I put this question here because I didn't see it anywhere, and it involves three Commercial Crew missions.

Crew-1 vehicle, Resilience was to relocate from IDA-2 to IDA-3, to free up IDA-2 for Boeing OFT-2. But with OFT-2 now delayed until after the Crew-1, Crew-2 handover, has that relocation now been cancelled, or discussions of it being cancelled? Cancellation would permit Crew-2 to dock directly with IDA-3, and IDA-2 would then be available for OFT-2 once Crew-1 leaves. If they go through with the relocation as originally planned, then Crew-2, Endeavor, would dock to IDA-2, and would also require require relocation to vacate that port before OFT-2 could fly.

It seems obvious to cancel, but I haven't seen it mentioned.

I've been wondering similar things.  It all depends on when OFT-2 would actually fly.  If they're pretty sure it would fly before SpX-22 then one configuration would make sense, and if it might slip as far as SpX-22 then a different configuration would make sense.  (Assuming OFT-2 still needs to be on that specific port and is definitely flying after Crew-2.)

In the NASA press conference last week they said they were planning on having Crew-1 change ports before Crew-2 arrives. 

I think, no Dragons have done it before so they can check the done box. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 03/04/2021 05:09 pm
In the NASA press conference last week they said they were planning on having Crew-1 change ports before Crew-2 arrives. 

I think, no Dragons have done it before so they can check the done box.

Yes, but if Crew 2 docks at the forward port, and OFT-2 needs the forward port and launched in May, that would force Crew-2 to relocate twice in a month.  The assignments for Crew 2, OFT-2, and SpX-22 need to play nicely together.  If OFT-2 could be in May then Crew 1 shouldn't move.  If OFT-2 is flying in April or after May (basically after SpX-22) then Crew 1 should move.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: edzieba on 03/05/2021 10:09 am
If a Crew-1 Dragon move is feasible, then so would be a Crew-2 Dragon move if needed. Does the relocation have any pain points beyond needing those 3/4 crewmembers to suit up and get into Dragon for the relocation (to avoid them being 'stranded' on station without a lifeboat vehicle)?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: IntoTheVoid on 03/09/2021 02:08 am
If a Crew-1 Dragon move is feasible, then so would be a Crew-2 Dragon move if needed. Does the relocation have any pain points beyond needing those 3/4 crewmembers to suit up and get into Dragon for the relocation (to avoid them being 'stranded' on station without a lifeboat vehicle)?


The dragon doesn't need any of the crew to to the relocation. That the crew will be in the spacecraft is an acknowledgement of NASA's view of the risk of the maneuver.

Even at that, the risk of an abort to landing is much different at the end of a Crew-1 mission versus the start of the Crew-2 mission.

No doubt they'll work it out.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 03/09/2021 10:39 pm
NASA Signs Contract to Fly a NASA Astronaut on April Soyuz Rotation to the International Space Station:
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-signs-contract-to-fly-a-nasa-astronaut-on-april-soyuz-rotation-to-the-international

https://twitter.com/joroulette/status/1369419496662917122
https://twitter.com/joroulette/status/1369430021719420931
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: gongora on 03/10/2021 01:50 am
I'm wondering about that 2023 seat that Axiom gets in return.  Is Axiom going to put up someone on a 5-6 month mission, or will there be a one-year mission by one of the USOS astronauts to free up a seat for a short term mission during handover? (or will Axiom end up selling that seat back to NASA?)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lars-J on 03/10/2021 02:48 am
I'm wondering about that 2023 seat that Axiom gets in return.  Is Axiom going to put up someone on a 5-6 month mission, or will there be a one-year mission by one of the USOS astronauts to free up a seat for a short term mission during handover? (or will Axiom end up selling that seat back to NASA?)

That would make some odd sense. NASA could this way claim not to pay for a Soyuz seat, instead they are buying a seat from a commercial partner. Looks much better.  :)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: IntoTheVoid on 03/10/2021 12:04 pm
I'm wondering about that 2023 seat that Axiom gets in return.  Is Axiom going to put up someone on a 5-6 month mission, or will there be a one-year mission by one of the USOS astronauts to free up a seat for a short term mission during handover? (or will Axiom end up selling that seat back to NASA?)

That would make some odd sense. NASA could this way claim not to pay for a Soyuz seat, instead they are buying a seat from a commercial partner. Looks much better.  :)


Why frame this so pejoratively? It's not "claim not to pay"; it's not even "buying a seat" at all.
NASA, according to their blog statements, is performing a "no exchange of funds", seat exchange. NASA is receiving a seat on Soyuz (with associated training & support), and providing in return, a Commercial Crew, seat (with associated training & support).

This seems to be a single seat in the same vein as NASA has been seeking to reestablish directly with the Russians. Why should it matter at all that the exchange is with Axiom rather than Roscosmos? Speculatively, perhaps Axiom will sell the seat back to the Russians, once they accept flying on CC. Or maybe Axiom will utilize the seat in support of their segment, in some way.

However the CC seat ends up getting utilized, NASA got what they've been seeking without paying; they acquired a seat on Soyuz, through seat exchange.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Nomadd on 03/10/2021 01:21 pm
 Seems like NASA is trading a Lufthansa first class seat for a Eurowings coach.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: kdhilliard on 03/10/2021 02:51 pm
Seems like NASA is trading a Lufthansa first class seat for a Eurowings coach.

That Eurowings flight was fully booked and leaves now, while the Lufthansa flight is a couple of years away.
Flying first class to my daughter's two-year wedding anniversary celebration is small comfort for missing the wedding itself.

It sounds like a great deal for NASA *if* the Axiom crew is only making a short visit to the station during crew handover while one of the astronauts remains onboard for a long endurance mission.

Roscomos needs the money, but with Nauka scheduled for a July launch, I'd have thought they would have wanted three cosmonauts on Expedition 65 to deal with its installation.  They must figure Novitsky and Dubrov can handle it.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: freddo411 on 03/10/2021 04:12 pm
Can someone explain the NASA statement:

Quote
"To ensure continuous U.S. presence aboard the ISS ..." buying a soyuz seat.

Crew Dragon is flying, and the missions overlap.   Or am I missing something?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Tomness on 03/10/2021 04:29 pm
Seems like NASA is trading a Lufthansa first class seat for a Eurowings coach.

It sounds like a great deal for NASA *if* the Axiom crew is only making a short visit to the station during crew handover while one of the astronauts remains onboard for a long endurance mission.


With them putting the new bunk in on USOS I think you are going to see 6 month commercial astronauts doing their own science because of the price increases. These will be formal astronauts working for private companies.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ThomasGadd on 03/10/2021 04:41 pm
Can someone explain the NASA statement:

Quote
"To ensure continuous U.S. presence aboard the ISS ..." buying a soyuz seat.

Crew Dragon is flying, and the missions overlap.   Or am I missing something?

NASA is covering their butt until Starliner is certified... what happens Dragon has problem and is delayed. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DigitalMan on 03/10/2021 04:46 pm
Can someone explain the NASA statement:

Quote
"To ensure continuous U.S. presence aboard the ISS ..." buying a soyuz seat.

Crew Dragon is flying, and the missions overlap.   Or am I missing something?

NASA is covering their butt until Starliner is certified... what happens Dragon has problem and is delayed. 

I don't think it has anything to do with that. I remember Jim saying that at least 1 US astronaut is required to run the US side of ISS and 1 Russian Cosmonaut is required to run the Russian side of ISS.

Therefore, the desire to make sure there are flights that have one of each.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ThomasGadd on 03/10/2021 04:55 pm
Can someone explain the NASA statement:

Quote
"To ensure continuous U.S. presence aboard the ISS ..." buying a soyuz seat.

Crew Dragon is flying, and the missions overlap.   Or am I missing something?

NASA is covering their butt until Starliner is certified... what happens Dragon has problem and is delayed. 

I don't think it has anything to do with that. I remember Jim saying that at least 1 US astronaut is required to run the US side of ISS and 1 Russian Cosmonaut is required to run the Russian side of ISS.

Therefore, the desire to make sure there are flights that have one of each.

I agree and with Dragon back to back missions that's covered my point is what if Dragon can't fly before Starliner is ready...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Lars-J on 03/10/2021 06:16 pm
I'm wondering about that 2023 seat that Axiom gets in return.  Is Axiom going to put up someone on a 5-6 month mission, or will there be a one-year mission by one of the USOS astronauts to free up a seat for a short term mission during handover? (or will Axiom end up selling that seat back to NASA?)

That would make some odd sense. NASA could this way claim not to pay for a Soyuz seat, instead they are buying a seat from a commercial partner. Looks much better.  :)


Why frame this so pejoratively? It's not "claim not to pay"; it's not even "buying a seat" at all.
NASA, according to their blog statements, is performing a "no exchange of funds", seat exchange. NASA is receiving a seat on Soyuz (with associated training & support), and providing in return, a Commercial Crew, seat (with associated training & support).

This seems to be a single seat in the same vein as NASA has been seeking to reestablish directly with the Russians. Why should it matter at all that the exchange is with Axiom rather than Roscosmos? Speculatively, perhaps Axiom will sell the seat back to the Russians, once they accept flying on CC. Or maybe Axiom will utilize the seat in support of their segment, in some way.

However the CC seat ends up getting utilized, NASA got what they've been seeking without paying; they acquired a seat on Soyuz, through seat exchange.

You are correct - now. But IF it turns out that NASA buys back the Axiom seat later (as my bolded quote segment indicates), then this has all been a bit of a weaselly workaround to avoid paying the Russians directly.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: kdhilliard on 03/10/2021 06:40 pm
Can someone explain the NASA statement:

Quote
"To ensure continuous U.S. presence aboard the ISS ..." buying a soyuz seat.

Crew Dragon is flying, and the missions overlap.   Or am I missing something?

NASA is covering their butt until Starliner is certified... what happens Dragon has problem and is delayed.

It's not just that.  Were a single member of Crew-2 to require medical evacuation from the station, all four would have to return with the vehicle, leaving the USOS deserted ... unless NASA also had a seat on MS-18.  NASA's preferred solution is to swap seats with the Russians, and that is still the eventual plan, but the Russians have been reluctant to fly on our new and untested vehicles.  There is still hope they might start with Crew-3 and MS-19.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: freddo411 on 03/10/2021 06:56 pm
Can someone explain the NASA statement:

Quote
"To ensure continuous U.S. presence aboard the ISS ..." buying a soyuz seat.

Crew Dragon is flying, and the missions overlap.   Or am I missing something?

NASA is covering their butt until Starliner is certified... what happens Dragon has problem and is delayed.

It's not just that.  Were a single member of Crew-2 to require medical evacuation from the station, all four would have to return with the vehicle, leaving the USOS deserted ... unless NASA also had a seat on MS-18.  NASA's preferred solution is to swap seats with the Russian, and that is still the eventual plan, but the Russians have been reluctant to fly on our new and untested vehicles.  There is still hope they might start with Crew-3 and MS-19.

there are good reasons to do seat swaps with the Russians, we all understand that.

But there’s no specific reason to worry about continuous US crew on the Station.  We have an operational spacecraft.  I think it’s wrong to characterize this as “ ensuring continuous US presence”.  That makes it sound like there’s a known problem with the current crew rotation

It might be more accurately described as adding redundant capability in case of unanticipated emergencies
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ncb1397 on 03/10/2021 07:03 pm
Can someone explain the NASA statement:

Quote
"To ensure continuous U.S. presence aboard the ISS ..." buying a soyuz seat.

Crew Dragon is flying, and the missions overlap.   Or am I missing something?

NASA is covering their butt until Starliner is certified... what happens Dragon has problem and is delayed.

It's not just that.  Were a single member of Crew-2 to require medical evacuation from the station, all four would have to return with the vehicle, leaving the USOS deserted ... unless NASA also had a seat on MS-18.  NASA's preferred solution is to swap seats with the Russians, and that is still the eventual plan, but the Russians have been reluctant to fly on our new and untested vehicles.  There is still hope they might start with Crew-3 and MS-19.

This deal doesn't really help in this case. The Russians aren't likely to evacuate the Russian segment just so the U.S. doesn't have to evacuate theirs (to save a USOS astronaut). Or leave a Russian cosmonaut up without a Soyuz just so the U.S. doesn't have to do the same.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: kdhilliard on 03/10/2021 07:20 pm
...
This deal doesn't really help in this case. The Russians aren't likely to evacuate the Russian segment just so the U.S. doesn't have to evacuate theirs (to save a USOS astronaut). Or leave a Russian cosmonaut up without a Soyuz just so the U.S. doesn't have to do the same.

What?  This isn't about the Russians taking a hit for NASA.  If some member of Crew-2 needed to be medically evacuated, all four would go, leaving Vande Hei to tend to the USOS.  The ill or injured member would not return by Soyuz.  Crew members are tied to their capsules by their vehicle-specific suit and in the case of the Soyuz by their custom-molded seat liner.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 03/11/2021 05:15 am
So the way I see this deal is, with some guesstimates on the prices:

A commercial customer pays Axiom say $55M for a flight to Space. Axiom uses $50M of this money to pay Roscosmos to send up a NASA astronaut on Soyuz (keeping $5M profit). NASA spends $80M to send up the Axiom commercial customer on either Dragon 2 or CST100.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: su27k on 03/12/2021 03:08 am
I wonder what will NASA do if Russians never flies on Commercial Crew. The US-Russian relationship is not getting any better, and Russians are not exactly lying when they say the Commercial Crew vehicles don't have a lot of flight heritage behind them. So what if Russians just refuse to fly on CC for the foreseeable future? Will NASA be able to run the seat swapping scheme for the next 9 years?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 03/13/2021 02:17 pm
https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/1370113689806848012
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 03/13/2021 02:20 pm
Ivan Moiseev says that, for the April Soyuz seat, Axiom would pay back Roscosmos with the 2023 commercial crew seat. So it's essentially a barter seat exchange, with Axiom acting as an intermediary. He says that going through Axiom avoids having to get specific approval from the President for the exchange of seats.

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https://govoritmoskva.ru/news/266449/
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: kdhilliard on 03/13/2021 03:05 pm
Moiseev's claim that it is a barter for a seat in 2023 contradicts Rogozin's statement that, "the American side will pay for this flight, and Roscosmos will direct the money to the development of the company."

Roscosmos needs money, so Rogozin statement is plausible, but if Moiseev has the real story, then why would Roscosmos want to barter a seat next month for one two years out, particularly with Nauka launching in July?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 03/13/2021 03:29 pm
Hard to say but it's difficult to take Rogozin's word at face value, given the amount of spin in them:

Quote from: the article
Their "Trampoline", apparently, works so-so. Flights to the ISS are not stable, and therefore there was an urgent need to hedge and send [their guy] on our ship. " According to Rogozin, the American side will pay for this flight, and Roscosmos will direct the money to the development of the company.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: John-H on 03/13/2021 06:02 pm
Does this mean that Axiom will sell a seat in 2023 and give the money to Roscosmos?  Do we know how much they will get?

John
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: leovinus on 03/13/2021 06:06 pm
Hard to say but it's difficult to take Rogozin' words at face value, given the amount of spin in them:

Quote from: the article
Their "Trampoline", apparently, works so-so. Flights to the ISS are not stable, and therefore there was an urgent need to hedge and send [their guy] on our ship. " According to Rogozin, the American side will pay for this flight, and Roscosmos will direct the money to the development of the company.

You know the feeling when you go to the local car salesman and come away with "mhhh, sounds a bit funny"? That is the feeling I have on this deal.

Firstly, it is well documented and not more than a fact that the Russian government has a very loose relationship with facts. Secondly, upthread someone mentioned "now the President does not need to involved". Right, alarm bells. We do have sanctions against Russia for very good reasons and NASA OIG will have a fun time with urgent double checking that all i's where dotted and all t's are crossed. Finally, giving NASA's history of working constructively with Roscosmos and astronauts flying on Soyuz, suddenly involving an unproven middleman when Commercial Crew is online sounds, questionable maybe, and as a tax payer I'd like OIG to double check that we are getting a good deal.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Comga on 03/13/2021 10:23 pm
Hard to say but it's difficult to take Rogozin' words at face value, given the amount of spin in them:

Quote from: the article
Their "Trampoline", apparently, works so-so. Flights to the ISS are not stable, and therefore there was an urgent need to hedge and send [their guy] on our ship. " According to Rogozin, the American side will pay for this flight, and Roscosmos will direct the money to the development of the company.

You know the feeling when you go to the local car salesman and come away with "mhhh, sounds a bit funny"? That is the feeling I have on this deal.

Firstly, it is well documented and not more than a fact that the Russian government has a very loose relationship with facts. Secondly, upthread someone mentioned "now the President does not need to involved". Right, alarm bells. We do have sanctions against Russia for very good reasons and NASA OIG will have a fun time with urgent double checking that all i's where dotted and all t's are crossed. Finally, giving NASA's history of working constructively with Roscosmos and astronauts flying on Soyuz, suddenly involving an unproven middleman when Commercial Crew is online sounds, questionable maybe, and as a tax payer I'd like OIG to double check that we are getting a good deal.

Is it not true that Boeing was the middleman on the direct purchase of the last Soyuz seat?
So it's not new for NASA to purchase a ride on Soyuz for one of their astronauts from a commercial enterprise.
It just a new entrant company.
And the money doesn't flow to Roscosmos this way.
(And the Russians wouldn't have to include "lifeboat" services for the seat being bartered, which is to their benefit, if it's of short duration with a direct handover.)

BTW transport AND "lifeboat" services came to ~$90M for the upcoming flight, not $55M like a tourist flight.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 03/16/2021 09:35 pm
Hard to say but it's difficult to take Rogozin' words at face value, given the amount of spin in them:

Quote from: the article
Their "Trampoline", apparently, works so-so. Flights to the ISS are not stable, and therefore there was an urgent need to hedge and send [their guy] on our ship. " According to Rogozin, the American side will pay for this flight, and Roscosmos will direct the money to the development of the company.

You know the feeling when you go to the local car salesman and come away with "mhhh, sounds a bit funny"? That is the feeling I have on this deal.

Firstly, it is well documented and not more than a fact that the Russian government has a very loose relationship with facts. Secondly, upthread someone mentioned "now the President does not need to involved". Right, alarm bells. We do have sanctions against Russia for very good reasons and NASA OIG will have a fun time with urgent double checking that all i's where dotted and all t's are crossed. Finally, giving NASA's history of working constructively with Roscosmos and astronauts flying on Soyuz, suddenly involving an unproven middleman when Commercial Crew is online sounds, questionable maybe, and as a tax payer I'd like OIG to double check that we are getting a good deal.

You can take what NASA says at face value. NASA said that it did not pay any money for the Soyuz seat, it bartered the April Soyuz seat for a 2023 commercial crew seat. That 2023 seat will go to Axiom but what Axiom will do with it is less clear. It is also not clear if Axiom paid Roscosmos any money for the Soyuz seat. We only know for sure what NASA did.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: su27k on 04/01/2021 10:54 am
Another benefit of fixed cost contract, very little additional cost to NASA due to covid: Pandemic to cost NASA up to $3 billion (https://spacenews.com/pandemic-to-cost-nasa-up-to-3-billion/)

Quote
Many other major projects and programs, though, saw far lower cost increases. The commercial crew program experienced $2.2 million in cost increases in 2020 and $2.3 million projected for future years. The 2020 increase came from the use of NASA aircraft for mission-essential travel during the pandemic and “socially distanced lodging” for astronauts and other personnel ahead of the Demo-2 and Crew-1 launches in May and November of 2020, respectively.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Nomadd on 04/01/2021 03:13 pm
Another benefit of fixed cost contract, very little additional cost to NASA due to covid: Pandemic to cost NASA up to $3 billion (https://spacenews.com/pandemic-to-cost-nasa-up-to-3-billion/)

Quote
Many other major projects and programs, though, saw far lower cost increases. The commercial crew program experienced $2.2 million in cost increases in 2020 and $2.3 million projected for future years. The 2020 increase came from the use of NASA aircraft for mission-essential travel during the pandemic and “socially distanced lodging” for astronauts and other personnel ahead of the Demo-2 and Crew-1 launches in May and November of 2020, respectively.
That whole analysis kind of smells. It gives tiny specific examples to come up with huge conclusions.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: su27k on 04/21/2021 02:26 am
NASA chief: Russian cosmonauts unlikely fly on U.S. crew capsules until next year (https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/04/20/nasa-chief-russian-cosmonauts-unlikely-fly-on-u-s-crew-capsules-until-next-year/)

Quote
Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s acting administrator, said Tuesday that the draft version of an “implementing agreement” between NASA and Roscosmos is still being reviewed by the U.S. State Department.

“We’re waiting for the final signatures from the State Department on the implementing agreement, and then we’ll provide that draft to Roscosmos and begin negotiations,” Jurczyk told Spaceflight Now in an interview.

He said he believes NASA is close to getting final State Department approval of the agreement’s text, but the clock has likely run out for getting the State Department signatures and finalizing the agreement with the Russian government in time to assign a Russian cosmonaut to a SpaceX crew mission later this year.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/21/2021 01:15 pm
https://twitter.com/spcplcyonline/status/1384856516990312450

Quote
Jurczyk: plan is to alternate Crew Dragon and Starliner missions but may revisit that with delay in Starliner. Haven't had discussions w/the companies yet for forward work.

Edit to add:

https://twitter.com/tgmetsfan98/status/1384862577507897350

Quote
I asked acting NASA administrator Steve Jurczyk about the forward plans for Starliner and Crew Dragon flights, now that SpaceX Crew-3 could launch before Starliner CFT:
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 04/23/2021 06:47 pm
Lots of interesting stuff here, but this jumped out particularly to me: https://spacenews.com/spacex-launches-nasa-crew-2-mission/

Quote
Leading up to the launch, NASA officials said that, after a decade of development, the commercial crew program — or, at least, SpaceX’s vehicle in that program — had clearly moved into operations. “It’s very, very exciting to be in this operational cadence,” said Kathy Lueders, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, during an April 15 press conference after the flight readiness review for the Crew-2 mission, which also reviewed plans to return Crew-1 to Earth.

Kimbrough, the commander of Crew-2, said this mission was the first to follow the streamlined training flow that future missions will use. “We’re the first ones to have gone through what we hope to be the templated flows for future crews,” he said at an April 17 press conference.

That revised training program, he said, combines training on the Crew Dragon spacecraft with that for the ISS. “It’s a little less than a year of training, where the crews in front of us had several years of training. Instead of being more developmental, it’s more operational now.”
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: baldusi on 04/25/2021 11:20 pm
NASA chief: Russian cosmonauts unlikely fly on U.S. crew capsules until next year (https://spaceflightnow.com/2021/04/20/nasa-chief-russian-cosmonauts-unlikely-fly-on-u-s-crew-capsules-until-next-year/)

Quote
Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s acting administrator, said Tuesday that the draft version of an “implementing agreement” between NASA and Roscosmos is still being reviewed by the U.S. State Department.

“We’re waiting for the final signatures from the State Department on the implementing agreement, and then we’ll provide that draft to Roscosmos and begin negotiations,” Jurczyk told Spaceflight Now in an interview.

He said he believes NASA is close to getting final State Department approval of the agreement’s text, but the clock has likely run out for getting the State Department signatures and finalizing the agreement with the Russian government in time to assign a Russian cosmonaut to a SpaceX crew mission later this year.

An interesting issue that might arise is that if Russians don't want to travel on a capsule with less than 3 operational missions, it might restrict them to Dragons for a couple of years. But NASA might want to backload Starliner flights to cover their share of the load. Which would further conflict with Russians flying on American capsules.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: sdsds on 05/03/2021 07:30 am
Tidbit from Steve Stich in stark contrast to Space X's success.  The CST Boeing re-flight of OFT-2 won't fly till Aug/Sep...

Indeed, could the contrast be any more stark? What's going on here?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: spacebleachers on 05/03/2021 11:22 am
Already brought up in multiple areas, no availability to launch in May due to military launch on 41, and visiting vehicle and other scheduling issues on ISS. First slot available is in Aug./ Sept. timeframe.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ulm_atms on 08/11/2021 10:29 pm
From the CST-100 thread

SPX-23 is now on the range schedule for 28 Aug.

Because the of the OFT-2 mission profile at the ISS. OFT-2 would have to launch on or before 15 Aug or <4 days from now. Basically not gonna happen!!!!

Which because SPX-23 is at the ISS until 30 Sep. And the rest of the ISS VV schedule for Oct is chock full of VV activities from the Russian side with Crew 3 capping the ending of the month off. October is out as well. So OFT-2 looks to be now a slip of at least 3 months to November.

If OFT-2 launches in Nov and everything works correctly. The best for CFT would be at least 3 months later (time it takes for all the extensive data reviews to certify ready for crew). That is February 2022 which at this point the VV schedules that far out are fairly fluid.

Meaning Starliner will not likely be doing Crew 4 but Crew 5 in the Fall. Crew 4 would be by Dragon.
I have a question that this comment made me think of.

What happens contract wise if SpaceX uses all of it's crew flights up before Starliner is ready for crew?  I know they would keep using Dragon until then...but that is got to have some weird issues with the contracts I would think.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Zed_Noir on 08/12/2021 02:50 am
From the CST-100 thread

SPX-23 is now on the range schedule for 28 Aug.

Because the of the OFT-2 mission profile at the ISS. OFT-2 would have to launch on or before 15 Aug or <4 days from now. Basically not gonna happen!!!!

Which because SPX-23 is at the ISS until 30 Sep. And the rest of the ISS VV schedule for Oct is chock full of VV activities from the Russian side with Crew 3 capping the ending of the month off. October is out as well. So OFT-2 looks to be now a slip of at least 3 months to November.

If OFT-2 launches in Nov and everything works correctly. The best for CFT would be at least 3 months later (time it takes for all the extensive data reviews to certify ready for crew). That is February 2022 which at this point the VV schedules that far out are fairly fluid.

Meaning Starliner will not likely be doing Crew 4 but Crew 5 in the Fall. Crew 4 would be by Dragon.
I have a question that this comment made me think of.

What happens contract wise if SpaceX uses all of it's crew flights up before Starliner is ready for crew?  I know they would keep using Dragon until then...but that is got to have some weird issues with the contracts I would think.



@yg1968 have an answer to the above query with a reply to my post about something similar with the Human Landing System for Artemis.


<snip>
What happens if one of the provider have done 4 flights to the Lunar surface and the other provider is unable to field the next flight on time? Does NASA extended the contract of the provider with the 4 flight to filled in for the other provider?
There could be a follow-on contract if and when NASA gets to that point. The same issue exists for commercial crew under CCtCap.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 08/13/2021 10:47 pm
With months of further delay to OFT-2, I guess it’s very likely that NASA’s Q4 2022 crew flight will be Dragon Crew-5.

How many months before a crewed flight does NASA have to decide which vehicle it is? (to give the provider enough notice to have a vehicle ready and/or for crew training)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: jketch on 08/13/2021 11:22 pm
I don't think the Q2 2022 flight has been formally assigned to Dragon yet, though that now appears inevitable, so it would seem that the interval is less than eight months.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: guckyfan on 08/26/2021 03:25 pm
I have a question that this comment made me think of.

What happens contract wise if SpaceX uses all of it's crew flights up before Starliner is ready for crew?  I know they would keep using Dragon until then...but that is got to have some weird issues with the contracts I would think.

This brings me to another question. What happens contract wise if Starliner is ready after the crew flights of SpaceX are all used? Would then Starliner get to fly every six months until they are equal? Can Boeing? How would or could SpaceX handle a break in flights of several years before they get their next flight?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: lrk on 08/26/2021 03:58 pm
SpaceX will still have the private Axiom missions to the ISS, and potentially more Inspiration4-style free-flying missions.  Also
given that the ISS has been extended by a few years since the Commercial Crew contracts were awarded, there will either be extensions to the current contract, or a "Commercial Crew 2" like there was CRS2 - which need not start simultaneously for both providers.  So in the long term SpaceX could very well end up flying more total crew rotations than Boeing. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: 1 on 08/26/2021 08:13 pm
I don't imagine SpaceX will exhaust all six missions before Boeing flies, but if it ends up looking like they will, then I assume they'll simply be offered a six-flight contract extension. More likely, I think NASA would wait until Boeing has successfully flown one or two Starliner missions, and offer both companies contract extensions to preserve the original plan of alternating vehicles and maintaining the redundancy of two vehicles. I imagine SpaceX would simply be offered a larger number of missions for how ever many flights they are 'ahead'.

E.g., if Crew-4 flies before Starliner-1, then I could see Boeing being offered an extension of, say 4 flights while SpaceX is offered 8. This keeps two active, redundant, alternating vehicles; but also functionally awards/rewards SpaceX with more total flights. After that, assuming a need still remains, who knows.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: joek on 08/26/2021 10:22 pm
I don't imagine SpaceX will exhaust all six missions before Boeing flies, but if it ends up looking like they will, then I assume they'll simply be offered a six-flight contract extension. More likely, I think NASA would wait until Boeing has successfully flown one or two Starliner missions, and offer both companies contract extensions to preserve the original plan of alternating vehicles and maintaining the redundancy of two vehicles. I imagine SpaceX would simply be offered a larger number of missions for how ever many flights they are 'ahead'.

E.g., if Crew-4 flies before Starliner-1, then I could see Boeing being offered an extension of, say 4 flights while SpaceX is offered 8. This keeps two active, redundant, alternating vehicles; but also functionally awards/rewards SpaceX with more total flights. After that, assuming a need still remains, who knows.

Generally agree, although not sure I am interpreting the math properly.
What we know:
1. NASA exercised contract for 6 missions from each (SpaceX and Boeing), the max allowed under original contract.
2. NASA needs a mission every six months for ISS crew rotation (simplify to two/year).
3. NASA desire is for a steady state with alternating missions of one/year for each provider.
What we don't know:
4. When Boeing will start PCM (post-certification missions), which will occur only after they complete OFT-2 and CFT.
5. Status of ATP (authority to proceed) for each mission. Of questionable relevance but may be important as to how firm each of those missions are in the pipeline (have not seen information on ATP status).
What we might reasonably posit:
6. Boeing conducts first PCM mission mid- to late-2022 (see #4).

That would imply, starting from mid- to late-2022 under current contract, and assuming an alternating one mission/year for each provider, we are into 2028. For SpaceX, that would imply an additional ~3-4 missions (basically however many SpaceX has completed prior to Boeing's commencement of PCM's) to stretch to 2028, which would need to be under a contract extension.

In short, unclear why would need Boeing +4 and SpaceX +8 unless you think need to cover through ~2032?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: 1 on 08/26/2021 10:57 pm
In short, unclear why would need Boeing +4 and SpaceX +8 unless you think need to cover through ~2032?

Naw, you're not missing anything. 4 and 8 were just example numbers; stemming from a hypothetical need assumed for the sake of discussion. In terms of actual need post-2020s, your guess is as good as mine.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: John_Marshall on 08/27/2021 08:18 pm
I had presumed that Starliner would get some catch-up flights, looking something like this: Crew-3, Crew-4, CST-1, CST-2, Crew-5, CST-3, CST-4, Crew-6, CST-5, CST-6 (and then back to trading off 1:1 if the ISS is extended past 2028).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Zed_Noir on 08/27/2021 08:35 pm
I had presumed that Starliner would get some catch-up flights, looking something like this: Crew-3, Crew-4, CST-1, CST-2, Crew-5, CST-3, CST-4, Crew-6, CST-5, CST-6 (and then back to trading off 1:1 if the ISS is extended past 2028).


Might not be a good idea to have consecutive Starliner launches. NASA should review the early Starliner missions extensively before the next Starliner flight. This is Boeing of today not the Boeing from the previous decades. :(

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: cwr on 08/27/2021 08:42 pm
I had presumed that Starliner would get some catch-up flights, looking something like this: Crew-3, Crew-4, CST-1, CST-2, Crew-5, CST-3, CST-4, Crew-6, CST-5, CST-6 (and then back to trading off 1:1 if the ISS is extended past 2028).

If you look at how NASA's commercial cargo flights went [and as far as relevant terms of
commercial crew seem the same] - NASA flew missions according to their needs without
trying to balance flights from different vendors.

So my expectation during this decade are:

2020    04 --            11 C1
2021    04 C2           10 C3
2022    04 C4           10 S1
2023    04 C5           10 S2
2024    04 C6           10 S3
2025    04 C7           10 S4
2026    04 C8           10 S5
2027    04 C9           10 S6
2028    04 C10          10 S7
2029    04 C11          10 S8

Of course there are the Axiom crew dragon flights that are contracted for as well.
Plus its not guaranteed that Boeing Starliner will be certified in time to fly the October
2022 mission. If not the October 2022 mission would be Crew 5 from SpaceX and
Starliner 1 would be April 2023. Then that pattern repeats.

Carl

Edit: corrected typo.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Joris on 09/01/2021 11:47 pm
Quote
H.16 NEW ENTRANT
(a) The purpose of this clause is to notify the Contractor that NASA may conduct a subsequent
competition due to the loss of an existing CTS provider or if there are additional future NASA
requirements for certified crew transportation. NASA will determine if these conditions are met
prior to synopsizing and conducting a New Entrant competition. New entrants may compete for all
task orders under this contract.
(b) The Government reserves the right to issue a solicitation in the future to seek an additional
source(s) for the same or similar efforts/services.

This is in both CCtCap contracts: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/CCtCap_Boeing_508.pdf

Under what circumstances will such a competition be held? I assume delays does not mean a loss of a CTS provider. But it is entirely possible that starliner doesn't fly operationally untill 2023 and spacex' CCtCap contract will need to be extended within 1.5 years.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 09/20/2021 11:47 pm
Quote
H.16 NEW ENTRANT
(a) The purpose of this clause is to notify the Contractor that NASA may conduct a subsequent
competition due to the loss of an existing CTS provider or if there are additional future NASA
requirements for certified crew transportation. NASA will determine if these conditions are met
prior to synopsizing and conducting a New Entrant competition. New entrants may compete for all
task orders under this contract.
(b) The Government reserves the right to issue a solicitation in the future to seek an additional
source(s) for the same or similar efforts/services.

This is in both CCtCap contracts: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/CCtCap_Boeing_508.pdf

Under what circumstances will such a competition be held? I assume delays does not mean a loss of a CTS provider. But it is entirely possible that starliner doesn't fly operationally untill 2023 and spacex' CCtCap contract will need to be extended within 1.5 years.

It is unlikely to be exercised at this point. These clauses are there but are seldom exercised. In order to exercise it, a new sollicitation would have to be issued. The more likely scenario is that NASA will start a new round, the Crew Transportation Services contract. A new entrant could be possible in the next round.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DanClemmensen on 10/01/2021 01:40 am
Quote
H.16 NEW ENTRANT
(a) The purpose of this clause is to notify the Contractor that NASA may conduct a subsequent
competition due to the loss of an existing CTS provider or if there are additional future NASA
requirements for certified crew transportation. NASA will determine if these conditions are met
prior to synopsizing and conducting a New Entrant competition. New entrants may compete for all
task orders under this contract.
(b) The Government reserves the right to issue a solicitation in the future to seek an additional
source(s) for the same or similar efforts/services.

This is in both CCtCap contracts: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/CCtCap_Boeing_508.pdf

Under what circumstances will such a competition be held? I assume delays does not mean a loss of a CTS provider. But it is entirely possible that starliner doesn't fly operationally untill 2023 and spacex' CCtCap contract will need to be extended within 1.5 years.

It is unlikely to be exercised at this point. These clauses are there but are seldom exercised. In order to exercise it, a new sollicitation would have to be issued. The more likely scenario is that NASA will start a new round, the Crew Transportation Services contract. A new entrant could be possible in the next round.
My guess: SpaceX has no real interest in more Crew Dragon missions, but will keep flying them if NASA has no alternative. They will bid a higher price for such follow-on missions while still underbidding Starliner. What SpaceX will really want to do is bid Starship, assuming they can get it human-qualified before they run out of Crew Dragon availability. Starship flights will be cheaper per-launch than Crew Dragon. Capital cost of leaving a Starship docked at ISS is a consideration, but it's not clear that Starship (in high-volume production) is more expensive than  Crew Dragon, which is more or less semi-custom. With 3 Crew Dragons, they would have nine missions (4.5 years) if Starliner never flies and NASA continues to limit Crew Dragon capsules to  3 missions, so Starship would need to be human-rated by 2025.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: CameronD on 10/01/2021 02:14 am
My guess: SpaceX has no real interest in more Crew Dragon missions, but will keep flying them if NASA has no alternative. They will bid a higher price for such follow-on missions while still underbidding Starliner. What SpaceX will really want to do is bid Starship, assuming they can get it human-qualified before they run out of Crew Dragon availability. Starship flights will be cheaper per-launch than Crew Dragon. Capital cost of leaving a Starship docked at ISS is a consideration, but it's not clear that Starship (in high-volume production) is more expensive than  Crew Dragon, which is more or less semi-custom. With 3 Crew Dragons, they would have nine missions (4.5 years) if Starliner never flies and NASA continues to limit Crew Dragon capsules to  3 missions, so Starship would need to be human-rated by 2025.

Is it even possible to dock Starship to the ISS?!?  Others here would be better placed to know, but ISTM that addition of such a large mass to a teeny little IDA might be just a bit too much for it.

It seems fairly clear to an outsider like me that Cargo/Crew Dragon is designed specifically for on-orbit operations whilst Starship is out of this world.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Zed_Noir on 10/01/2021 02:27 am
....
Is it even possible to dock Starship to the ISS?!?  Others here would be better placed to know, but ISTM that addition of such a large mass to a teeny little IDA might be just a bit too much for it.
<snip>


The Starship and the Space Shuttle aren't too dissimilar in size and mass once they get to the ISS.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: CameronD on 10/01/2021 02:42 am
....
Is it even possible to dock Starship to the ISS?!?  Others here would be better placed to know, but ISTM that addition of such a large mass to a teeny little IDA might be just a bit too much for it.
<snip>

The Starship and the Space Shuttle aren't too dissimilar in size and mass once they get to the ISS.

But wouldn't the dynamics depend on the hatch location?  ISTM that with the cockpit/hatch up front and most of the rest of it being tankage, there'd be a lot more Starship/engines/mass hanging out way back than the compact little Space Shuttle ever had.  Too much for the ISS's RMGs to handle?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: docmordrid on 10/01/2021 03:43 am
>
But wouldn't the dynamics depend on the hatch location?  ISTM that with the cockpit/hatch up front and most of the rest of it being tankage, there'd be a lot more Starship/engines/mass hanging out way back than the compact little Space Shuttle ever had.  Too much for the ISS's RMGs to handle?

SpaceX shows Starship at ISS with a side hatch mounted port...
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Redclaws on 10/01/2021 03:50 am
I would still call that “up front”.  It’s quite near the front end of the vehicle, leaving a huge lever arm.  Not necessarily fatal but starship does seem really big for ISS docking.  Even the shuttle stressed the trusses, right?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: kevinof on 10/01/2021 07:54 am
I would still call that “up front”.  It’s quite near the front end of the vehicle, leaving a huge lever arm.  Not necessarily fatal but starship does seem really big for ISS docking.  Even the shuttle stressed the trusses, right?
Given the age of the ISS, the existing issues with cracks (in the Russian module), I really doubt we will ever see Starship docked with ISS. Suspect NASA will be conservative and keep using commercial crew vehicles.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DanClemmensen on 10/01/2021 06:55 pm
I would still call that “up front”.  It’s quite near the front end of the vehicle, leaving a huge lever arm.  Not necessarily fatal but starship does seem really big for ISS docking.  Even the shuttle stressed the trusses, right?
Given the age of the ISS, the existing issues with cracks (in the Russian module), I really doubt we will ever see Starship docked with ISS. Suspect NASA will be conservative and keep using commercial crew vehicles.
In a reasonable world, you would simply replace ISS with a customized Starship variant. A nominal non-custom Starship is planned to have almost as much pressurized volume as the ISS, so a non-returning Starship would be quite a bit bigger because it needs smaller tanks. If one is too small, use two. If you need to add stuff, send it up in 100-ton payloads in Starships and plug it in.  But we live in a world wherein the International Space Station involves a lot of International agreements.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DistantTemple on 10/01/2021 07:43 pm
I would still call that “up front”.  It’s quite near the front end of the vehicle, leaving a huge lever arm.  Not necessarily fatal but starship does seem really big for ISS docking.  Even the shuttle stressed the trusses, right?
Given the age of the ISS, the existing issues with cracks (in the Russian module), I really doubt we will ever see Starship docked with ISS. Suspect NASA will be conservative and keep using commercial crew vehicles.
In a reasonable world, you would simply replace ISS with a customized Starship variant. A nominal non-custom Starship is planned to have almost as much pressurized volume as the ISS, so a non-returning Starship would be quite a bit bigger because it needs smaller tanks. If one is too small, use two. If you need to add stuff, send it up in 100-ton payloads in Starships and plug it in.  But we live in a world wherein the International Space Station involves a lot of International agreements.
Make them redundant... $$$
Lease the facilities to SpaceX for $1/yr
Invest in a welding training programme for those interested
Hey presto! thousands of jobs. Perhaps paid less and longer hours, but employees get to see their efforts fly in a few months!
Oh and incidentally it will produce Hundreds of Starships ready to fly to Mars :-)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 10/05/2021 01:00 pm
https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/10/nasa-likely-to-move-some-astronauts-off-starliner-due-to-extended-delays/

Quote
NASA likely to move some astronauts off Starliner due to extended delays
Astronauts assigned to Boeing flights may end up on SpaceX's Crew-5 mission.

ERIC BERGER - 10/5/2021, 1:45 PM

NASA will not make an official announcement for weeks or months, but two sources say the space agency is moving several astronauts from Boeing's Starliner spacecraft onto SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle for upcoming missions to the International Space Station.

Later in the article:

Quote
The most likely scenario is that Nicole Mann, Josh Cassada, and Jeannette Epps will now fly on the SpaceX Crew-5 mission, targeted for launch no earlier than August 2022 on a Falcon 9 rocket. They are likely to be joined by an international partner astronaut, probably Japan's Koichi Wakata, for the mission.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: frim on 10/05/2021 02:06 pm
We should start hearing about a followup Crew Dragon contract soonish I guess - SpaceX might be done with the current one in 2023.

It’ll be interesting to see how that works out. NASA might be interested in extending only the Dragon contract to 2030, to avoid paying for manrating Vulcan. And SpaceX from their side might not want to keep Flacon 9 flying for another decade if Starship works out.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rebel44 on 10/05/2021 02:17 pm
We should start hearing about a followup Crew Dragon contract soonish I guess - SpaceX might be done with the current one in 2023.

It’ll be interesting to see how that works out. NASA might be interested in extending only the Dragon contract to 2030, to avoid paying for manrating Vulcan. And SpaceX from their side might not want to keep Flacon 9 flying for another decade if Starship works out.

SpaceX had said that they will fly F9 as long as customers will want to - I expect that if you are one of the last customers the price might go up to pay for fixed costs, but NASA and DoD should have no problem with that.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: FishInferno on 10/05/2021 02:38 pm
We should start hearing about a followup Crew Dragon contract soonish I guess - SpaceX might be done with the current one in 2023.

It’ll be interesting to see how that works out. NASA might be interested in extending only the Dragon contract to 2030, to avoid paying for manrating Vulcan. And SpaceX from their side might not want to keep Flacon 9 flying for another decade if Starship works out.

SpaceX had said that they will fly F9 as long as customers will want to - I expect that if you are one of the last customers the price might go up to pay for fixed costs, but NASA and DoD should have no problem with that.

How possible would it be for SpaceX to negotiate a possible swap of Crew Dragon for Starship into the contract?

Something like "If Starship becomes human-rated and approved by NASA on its own (i.e. this effort wouldn't be part of the CC contract) then we can use that instead." I feel like they'll try something similar with Dragon XL and Starship.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: kevinof on 10/05/2021 02:50 pm
Will take years to get this done and approved and that's from when Starship is actually flying.

I also believe that  SS will never dock with the ISS so in IMO Dragon will be around for a long time.

To much time and money invested.in it to cast away that quickly.
We should start hearing about a followup Crew Dragon contract soonish I guess - SpaceX might be done with the current one in 2023.

It’ll be interesting to see how that works out. NASA might be interested in extending only the Dragon contract to 2030, to avoid paying for manrating Vulcan. And SpaceX from their side might not want to keep Flacon 9 flying for another decade if Starship works out.

SpaceX had said that they will fly F9 as long as customers will want to - I expect that if you are one of the last customers the price might go up to pay for fixed costs, but NASA and DoD should have no problem with that.

How possible would it be for SpaceX to negotiate a possible swap of Crew Dragon for Starship into the contract?

Something like "If Starship becomes human-rated and approved by NASA on its own (i.e. this effort wouldn't be part of the CC contract) then we can use that instead." I feel like they'll try something similar with Dragon XL and Starship.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rebel44 on 10/05/2021 02:53 pm
We should start hearing about a followup Crew Dragon contract soonish I guess - SpaceX might be done with the current one in 2023.

It’ll be interesting to see how that works out. NASA might be interested in extending only the Dragon contract to 2030, to avoid paying for manrating Vulcan. And SpaceX from their side might not want to keep Flacon 9 flying for another decade if Starship works out.

SpaceX had said that they will fly F9 as long as customers will want to - I expect that if you are one of the last customers the price might go up to pay for fixed costs, but NASA and DoD should have no problem with that.

How possible would it be for SpaceX to negotiate a possible swap of Crew Dragon for Starship into the contract?

Something like "If Starship becomes human-rated and approved by NASA on its own (i.e. this effort wouldn't be part of the CC contract) then we can use that instead." I feel like they'll try something similar with Dragon XL and Starship.

I doubt that will happen in this decade unless Starship gets an LES (launch escape systems).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 10/05/2021 03:32 pm
SNC are still serious about building crew Dreamchaser. I'm expecting DC to become 3rd option for NASA missions.



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Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 10/05/2021 03:41 pm
We should start hearing about a followup Crew Dragon contract soonish I guess - SpaceX might be done with the current one in 2023.

It’ll be interesting to see how that works out. NASA might be interested in extending only the Dragon contract to 2030, to avoid paying for manrating Vulcan. And SpaceX from their side might not want to keep Flacon 9 flying for another decade if Starship works out.

SpaceX had said that they will fly F9 as long as customers will want to - I expect that if you are one of the last customers the price might go up to pay for fixed costs, but NASA and DoD should have no problem with that.

How possible would it be for SpaceX to negotiate a possible swap of Crew Dragon for Starship into the contract?

Something like "If Starship becomes human-rated and approved by NASA on its own (i.e. this effort wouldn't be part of the CC contract) then we can use that instead." I feel like they'll try something similar with Dragon XL and Starship.

I doubt that will happen in this decade unless Starship gets an LES (launch escape systems).
Starship will get an LES when 747 gets a LES.  Like airplanes, Starship will be considered safe for transporting humans based on flight history rather than building in escape features.  Falcon/Dragon are going to be around for a while.

On topic (Starship is not Commercial Crew) does this in effect push first CST operational mission to Crew-6?  That would be NET 2023 and means SpaceX would complete all but one flight of their contract before Boeing would fly operational crew, which is pretty crazy to think about.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 10/05/2021 03:42 pm
SNC are still serious about building crew Dreamchaser. I'm expecting DC to become 3rd option for NASA missions.
Let's not get crazy with the cheese whiz, SNC are struggling to get the cargo version going, let alone a hypothetical crew version.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: TrevorMonty on 10/05/2021 04:17 pm
SNC are still serious about building crew Dreamchaser. I'm expecting DC to become 3rd option for NASA missions.
Let's not get crazy with the cheese whiz, SNC are struggling to get the cargo version going, let alone a hypothetical crew version.
Still the only 3rd option in pipeline, unless Blue surprises us.


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Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 10/05/2021 05:47 pm
SpaceX had said that they will fly F9 as long as customers will want to... <snip>

I will point out that SpaceX said the exact same thing about F1. And then axed it after flight 5, moving multiple customers to the next thing: F9.

IMO, once F9 and FH become financially obsolete (courtesy of having operational Starship) SpaceX will axe F9 and FH the minute Starship is certified for NASA and DoD launches. Payloads still listed for F9 and FH will be moved to Starship.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rebel44 on 10/05/2021 06:11 pm
SpaceX had said that they will fly F9 as long as customers will want to... <snip>

I will point out that SpaceX said the exact same thing about F1. And then axed it after flight 5, moving multiple customers to the next thing: F9.

IMO, once F9 and FH become financially obsolete (courtesy of having operational Starship) SpaceX will axe F9 and FH the minute Starship is certified for NASA and DoD launches. Payloads still listed for F9 and FH will be moved to Starship.

True, but with the existing fleet of F9 first stages and Crew Dragon capsules, keeping F9 operational for NASA/DoD for a few more years would be a lot easier decision - and these customers would likely be willing to pay extra. And certifying Starship for really important payloads and crew launches will take some time.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 10/05/2021 06:26 pm
SpaceX had said that they will fly F9 as long as customers will want to... <snip>

I will point out that SpaceX said the exact same thing about F1. And then axed it after flight 5, moving multiple customers to the next thing: F9.

IMO, once F9 and FH become financially obsolete (courtesy of having operational Starship) SpaceX will axe F9 and FH the minute Starship is certified for NASA and DoD launches. Payloads still listed for F9 and FH will be moved to Starship.

Don't forget SpaceX's sunk costs in F9 support infrastructure at three different launch sites as well as that of whatever F9 fleet exists at the time of Starship's certification for such flights.  Also, certification to fly human crew for NASA to and from Earth orbit will not necessarily be concurrent with non-crewed flight.  That 'financial obsolescence' is probably a little further out than your statement would tend to indicate.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Joris on 10/05/2021 06:44 pm
Will the follow-up commercial crew contracts also require 2 different vehicles, like with the cargo variant? Or will they just extend the Spacex one alone, because that would go against the whole idea of having redundant systems.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 10/05/2021 06:55 pm
Will the follow-up commercial crew contracts also require 2 different vehicles, like with the cargo variant? Or will they just extend the Spacex one alone, because that would go against the whole idea of having redundant systems.

CCtCap didn't require two providers and neither did CRS2. The follow-on contract is unlikely to make that a requirement. Having said that, you would expect the Crew Transportation Services round to be open to everyone and it is not impossible that NASA would select two or perhaps even three providers.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 10/05/2021 06:58 pm
We should start hearing about a followup Crew Dragon contract soonish I guess - SpaceX might be done with the current one in 2023.

It’ll be interesting to see how that works out. NASA might be interested in extending only the Dragon contract to 2030, to avoid paying for manrating Vulcan. And SpaceX from their side might not want to keep Flacon 9 flying for another decade if Starship works out.

My guess is that the decision on extending the ISS to 2030 will determine when the Crew Transportation Services contract will occur. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 10/05/2021 07:03 pm
SNC are still serious about building crew Dreamchaser. I'm expecting DC to become 3rd option for NASA missions.
Let's not get crazy with the cheese whiz, SNC are struggling to get the cargo version going, let alone a hypothetical crew version.
Still the only 3rd option in pipeline, unless Blue surprises us.

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Blue had started working on a biconic capsule under CCDev-2. They are probably still working on it but at a very slow pace.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 10/05/2021 07:11 pm
SNC are still serious about building crew Dreamchaser. I'm expecting DC to become 3rd option for NASA missions.
Let's not get crazy with the cheese whiz, SNC are struggling to get the cargo version going, let alone a hypothetical crew version.
Still the only 3rd option in pipeline, unless Blue surprises us.

Sent from my SM-G570Y using Tapatalk

I hope that NASA chooses a third commercial crew provider in the next round. Perhaps the third provider would do a better job of commercializing LEO than Boeing has so far.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 10/05/2021 07:18 pm
I hope that NASA chooses a third commercial crew provider in the next round. Perhaps the third provider would do a better job of commercializing LEO than Boeing has so far.
A third provider would require a massive subsidy to bring up to parity with Crew Dragon and Starliner, so I think this is very unlikely, barring a billionaire funding the difference out of their own pocket.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 10/05/2021 08:01 pm
I hope that NASA chooses a third commercial crew provider in the next round. Perhaps the third provider would do a better job of commercializing LEO than Boeing has so far.
A third provider would require a massive subsidy to bring up to parity with Crew Dragon and Starliner, so I think this is very unlikely, barring a billionaire funding the difference out of their own pocket.

No funding for development is expected for the Crew Transportation Services Round but if NASA does another 4 to 6 missions block buy for each provider, the new provider might be able to spread out some of the extra development cost on to these 4 to 6 missions. Furthermore, such a provider might be expected to have at least 6 private missions on which to amortize the extra cost for developing crew. Cargo DC and crewed DC are 85% common. As far as Blue is concerned, Bezos' money would obviously help but given that Blue's launch tower is human rated, it's clear that Blue is still looking at developing commercial crew.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: joek on 10/05/2021 08:32 pm
No funding for development is expected but if NASA does another 4 to 6 missions block buy for each provider, the provider might be able to spread out some of the extra development cost on the 4 to 6 missions. Furthermore, such a provider might be expected to have at least 6 private missions on which to amortize the extra cost for developing crew. Cargo DC and crewed DC are 85% common. As far as Blue is concerned, Bezos money would help but given that Blue's launch tower is human rated, it's clear that Blue is still looking at developing commercial crew.

Don't see that happening unless the third party has a per-seat/per-mission price comparable to what NASA is paying for CCP--including DDT&E. Given that NASA has already funding significant $B for SpaceX and Boeing DDT&E,  that is going to be a significant challenge for a new entrant to privately fund. Unlikely Congress would be sympathetic for additional DDT&E funding for another provider ("You wanted two, you got two; stop asking us for more $.").

Any additional provider--if under the CCP umbrella--would also need to recover costs before ISS likely splashes.

In short, either there is a market beyond NASA CCP/ISS or there is not. If there is, maybe we will see other providers. If not, expect we will not see other providers enter the market for some time.

That said, if we fast forward to the future (post-ISS), we might move beyond NASA contracting separately for crew transportation, with providers of such a commercial destination including transportation. That is, NASA contracts with provider for NASA personnel for X days-weeks-months on destination (including transportation). Then it becomes a matter between commercial parties, with NASA out of the crew transport arrangements.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: frim on 10/05/2021 08:34 pm
No funding for development is expected for the Crew Transportation Services Round but if NASA does another 4 to 6 missions block buy for each provider, the new provider might be able to spread out some of the extra development cost on to these 4 to 6 missions.

There’s only 8 missions not accounted for, assuming ISS lifetime extension to 2030 and last mission in 2030 in spring. If a new entrant needs 6 of those to be cost-effective, that leaves just 2 for SpaceX (with Starliner flying their 6 missions somewhere in 2023-2030). That seems pretty risky.

IMO most likely outcome is Dragon gets an extra 2-6 missions for now, with the rest TBD at a later point. There’s no need to do another competitive round or to divide the remaining missions equally.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 10/05/2021 08:50 pm
No funding for development is expected but if NASA does another 4 to 6 missions block buy for each provider, the provider might be able to spread out some of the extra development cost on the 4 to 6 missions. Furthermore, such a provider might be expected to have at least 6 private missions on which to amortize the extra cost for developing crew. Cargo DC and crewed DC are 85% common. As far as Blue is concerned, Bezos money would help but given that Blue's launch tower is human rated, it's clear that Blue is still looking at developing commercial crew.

Don't see that happening unless the third party has a per-seat/per-mission price comparable to what NASA is paying for CCP--including DDT&E. Given that NASA has already funding significant $B for SpaceX and Boeing DDT&E,  that is going to be a significant challenge for a new entrant to privately fund. Unlikely Congress would be sympathetic for additional DDT&E funding for another provider ("You wanted two, you got two; stop asking us for more $.").

Any additional provider--if under the CCP umbrella--would also need to recover costs before ISS likely splashes.

In short, either there is a market beyond NASA CCP/ISS or there is not. If there is, maybe we will see other providers. If not, expect we will not see other providers enter the market for some time.

That said, if we fast forward to the future (post-ISS), we might move beyond NASA contracting separately for crew transportation, with providers of such a commercial destination including transportation. That is, NASA contracts with provider for NASA personnel for X days-weeks-months on destination (including transportation). Then it becomes a matter between commercial parties, with NASA out of the crew transport arrangements.

For the commercial LEO destinations habitats, NASA said that NASA Astronauts will only fly on NASA certified spacecrafts. It wasn't clear if NASA would arrange for its own transportation to the commercial habitats or that the LEO commercial destination provider would provide for the transportation but that it would be forced to use a NASA certified provider. I suspect that it is the latter.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 10/05/2021 08:53 pm
No funding for development is expected for the Crew Transportation Services Round but if NASA does another 4 to 6 missions block buy for each provider, the new provider might be able to spread out some of the extra development cost on to these 4 to 6 missions.

There’s only 8 missions not accounted for, assuming ISS lifetime extension to 2030 and last mission in 2030 in spring. If a new entrant needs 6 of those to be cost-effective, that leaves just 2 for SpaceX (with Starliner flying their 6 missions somewhere in 2023-2030). That seems pretty risky.

IMO most likely outcome is Dragon gets an extra 2-6 missions for now, with the rest TBD at a later point. There’s no need to do another competitive round or to divide the remaining missions equally.

CCtCap has a maximum of 6 post certification missions in the RFP, so a new round is likely. If there is a new round, it will be open for everyone.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 10/05/2021 08:57 pm
CCtCap has a maximum of 6 post certification missions in the RFP, so a new round is likely. If there is a new round, it will be open for everyone.
Nobody will be able to compete with SpaceX OR Boeing due to the fact those two providers have already been subsidized billions of dollars to build and certify their vehicles, so it doesn't really matter.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: joek on 10/05/2021 09:14 pm
For the commercial LEO destinations habitats, NASA said that NASA Astronauts will only fly on NASA certified spacecrafts. It wasn't clear if NASA would arrange for its own transportation to the commercial habitats or that the LEO commercial destination provider would provide for the transportation but that it would be forced to use a NASA certified provider. I suspect that it is the later.

Agree; latter is more likely. Destination provider negotiates with NASA certified provider instead of NASA negotiating with each independently.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 10/05/2021 09:15 pm
CCtCap has a maximum of 6 post certification missions in the RFP, so a new round is likely. If there is a new round, it will be open for everyone.
Nobody will be able to compete with SpaceX OR Boeing due to the fact those two providers have already been subsidized billions of dollars to build and certify their vehicles, so it doesn't really matter.

Neither SNC or Blue have given up on their commercial crewed spacecrafts, so I expect them to bid on this next round. SNC has also received billions for cargo and crewed DC.

Incidentally, I am not sure that subsidized is the right word, NASA paid for a capability that it wanted.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 10/05/2021 09:20 pm
No funding for development is expected for the Crew Transportation Services Round but if NASA does another 4 to 6 missions block buy for each provider, the new provider might be able to spread out some of the extra development cost on to these 4 to 6 missions.

There’s only 8 missions not accounted for, assuming ISS lifetime extension to 2030 and last mission in 2030 in spring. If a new entrant needs 6 of those to be cost-effective, that leaves just 2 for SpaceX (with Starliner flying their 6 missions somewhere in 2023-2030). That seems pretty risky.

IMO most likely outcome is Dragon gets an extra 2-6 missions for now, with the rest TBD at a later point. There’s no need to do another competitive round or to divide the remaining missions equally.

CCtCap has a maximum of 6 post certification missions in the RFP, so a new round is likely. If there is a new round, it will be open for everyone.

I should qualify what I said, if the Boeing delays continue, NASA might be forced to sole-source one mission to SpaceX through a new solicitation and contract. I hope that doesn't happen but it is another possibility.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: joek on 10/05/2021 09:24 pm
...
If there is a new round, it will be open for everyone.

Not necessarily. Per Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) - NASA (https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/CCtCAP-Attachment-J-03.pdf)...
Quote
H.16 NEW ENTRANT
(a) The purpose of this clause is to notify the Contractor that NASA may conduct a subsequent competition due to the loss of an existing CTS provider or if there are additional future NASA requirements for certified crew transportation. NASA will determine if these conditions are met prior to synopsizing and conducting a New Entrant competition. New entrants may compete for all task orders under this contract.
(b) The Government reserves the right to issue a solicitation in the future to seek an additional source(s) for the same or similar efforts/services.

edit NB: May and Government reserves the right.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 10/05/2021 09:32 pm
...
If there is a new round, it will be open for everyone.

Not necessarily. Per Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) - NASA (https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/CCtCAP-Attachment-J-03.pdf)...
Quote
H.16 NEW ENTRANT
(a) The purpose of this clause is to notify the Contractor that NASA may conduct a subsequent competition due to the loss of an existing CTS provider or if there are additional future NASA requirements for certified crew transportation. NASA will determine if these conditions are met prior to synopsizing and conducting a New Entrant competition. New entrants may compete for all task orders under this contract.
(b) The Government reserves the right to issue a solicitation in the future to seek an additional source(s) for the same or similar efforts/services.

Right but that on-ramp clause in CCtCap is unlikely to be exercised at this point. It is standard procedure to include these clauses in case that one entrant falters but that seems unlikely at this point.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: joek on 10/05/2021 09:46 pm
Right but that clause in CCtCap is unlikely to be exercised at this point. It is standard procedure to include these clauses in case that one entrant falters but that seems unlikely at this point.

So "open to everyone" is simply pro-forma and means anyone can play? Disagree; NASA's stipulations clearly state otherwise (at NASA's discretion). The operative question is whether there is any chance another provider has a chance under CCP? IMO doubtful.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Redclaws on 10/05/2021 09:55 pm
Right but that clause in CCtCap is unlikely to be exercised at this point. It is standard procedure to include these clauses in case that one entrant falters but that seems unlikely at this point.

So "open to everyone" is simply pro-forma and means anyone can play? Disagree; NASA's stipulations clearly state otherwise (at NASA's discretion). The operative question is whether there is any chance another provider has a chance under CCP? IMO doubtful.

Why do you think the on-ramp clause would be exercised and for whom?  NASA seems happy with two providers and unless Starliner were cancelled or something, anyone else would take longer - probably much longer.  It’s not that it’s meaningless, but it is unneeded.  And I think that’s what you’re saying.

I feel like you guys are maybe agreeing over everything but the details of language?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 10/05/2021 10:02 pm
Right but that clause in CCtCap is unlikely to be exercised at this point. It is standard procedure to include these clauses in case that one entrant falters but that seems unlikely at this point.

So "open to everyone" is simply pro-forma and means anyone can play? Disagree; NASA's stipulations clearly state otherwise (at NASA's discretion). The operative question is whether there is any chance another provider has a chance under CCP? IMO doubtful.

No you misunderstood what I meant. What you quoted is the on-ramp clause. The chances of NASA exercising the on-ramp clause in CCtCap at this point is almost zero. If NASA did exercise the on-ramp clause, it could add a third provider within CCtCap such as SNC or Blue. SpaceX and Boeing are not new entrants, they are existing entrants. A new entrant would also be limited to 6 post-certifications missions and a couple of demo missions. But you are right that NASA has the discretion as to whether it wants to add a new entrant for CCtCap but I am almost sure that NASA will decide against it.

The most likely scenario is that a new round would be created. When CCtCap was awarded, NASA had talked about a new round called the Crew Transportation Services Round after CCtCap. It is possible that the new round will be restricted to certified providers but for CRS2 NASA did not require prior certification in order to compete (i.e., certification could be done as part of CRS2). I am assuming that the same will be true for the crew transportation services round but I don't know that for sure.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DistantTemple on 10/05/2021 10:12 pm
CCtCap has a maximum of 6 post certification missions in the RFP, so a new round is likely. If there is a new round, it will be open for everyone.
Nobody will be able to compete with SpaceX OR Boeing due to the fact those two providers have already been subsidized billions of dollars to build and certify their vehicles, so it doesn't really matter.

Neither SNC or Blue have given up on their commercial crewed spacecrafts, so I expect them to bid on this next round. SNC has also received billions for cargo and crewed DC.

Incidentally, I am not sure that subsidized is the right word, NASA paid for a capability that it wanted.
SNC were always committed to a crewed DC. As space opens up, the ability to return crew to a runway looks like great option. Not every launch will be suitable for Starship, even if it is fairly low priced (SX will keep the profit and not sell it at cost). And SS requires extensive legal and physical infrastructure to land, especially if it is to be reused!!! ISTM that DC has a good potential commercial market once there are a couple of new destinations in orbit. It appears DC would be a good "lifeboat" as well.
Also SNC is a military supplier. A military DC for all sorts of tests and missions could help pay off the development, as will a commercial future. SNC may accept continuing to self fund development, in the expectation of such later sales.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 10/06/2021 10:58 am
SpaceX had said that they will fly F9 as long as customers will want to... <snip>

I will point out that SpaceX said the exact same thing about F1. And then axed it after flight 5, moving multiple customers to the next thing: F9.

IMO, once F9 and FH become financially obsolete (courtesy of having operational Starship) SpaceX will axe F9 and FH the minute Starship is certified for NASA and DoD launches. Payloads still listed for F9 and FH will be moved to Starship.

Don't forget SpaceX's sunk costs in F9 support infrastructure at three different launch sites as well as that of whatever F9 fleet exists at the time of Starship's certification for such flights.  Also, certification to fly human crew for NASA to and from Earth orbit will not necessarily be concurrent with non-crewed flight.  That 'financial obsolescence' is probably a little further out than your statement would tend to indicate.

Careful observers of SpaceX know that the "sunk cost" argument does not fly with SpaceX.
Elon's company has no problem with eliminating stuff, regardless of how much they've invested in it. Almost every time it was because that stuff had outlived its usefulness within the dynamic world that is SpaceX.

Examples:
- Falcon 1 production line
- Falcon 1 launch pad at VABF
- Falcon 1 launch pad in the Pacific Ocean
- Merlin 1C production line
- Major parts of the Falcon 9 v1.0 production line.
- Dragon 1 production line.
- BFR carbon fibre production tooling
- The original JRTI (Marmac 300)
- Half a dozen recovered F9 boosters, that could have flown a second time, were scrapped in favour of Block 5.
- Fairing catching infrastructure (masts, nets, etc.)
- SN12, SN13, SN14, SN17, SN18, SN19, BN1
- etc, etc.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Cherokee43v6 on 10/06/2021 01:58 pm
SpaceX had said that they will fly F9 as long as customers will want to... <snip>

I will point out that SpaceX said the exact same thing about F1. And then axed it after flight 5, moving multiple customers to the next thing: F9.

IMO, once F9 and FH become financially obsolete (courtesy of having operational Starship) SpaceX will axe F9 and FH the minute Starship is certified for NASA and DoD launches. Payloads still listed for F9 and FH will be moved to Starship.

Don't forget SpaceX's sunk costs in F9 support infrastructure at three different launch sites as well as that of whatever F9 fleet exists at the time of Starship's certification for such flights.  Also, certification to fly human crew for NASA to and from Earth orbit will not necessarily be concurrent with non-crewed flight.  That 'financial obsolescence' is probably a little further out than your statement would tend to indicate.

Careful observers of SpaceX know that the "sunk cost" argument does not fly with SpaceX.
Elon's company has no problem with eliminating stuff, regardless of how much they've invested in it. Almost every time it was because that stuff had outlived its usefulness within the dynamic world that is SpaceX.

Examples:
- Falcon 1 production line
- Falcon 1 launch pad at VABF
- Falcon 1 launch pad in the Pacific Ocean
- Merlin 1C production line
- Major parts of the Falcon 9 v1.0 production line.
- Dragon 1 production line.
- BFR carbon fibre production tooling
- The original JRTI (Marmac 300)
- Half a dozen recovered F9 boosters, that could have flown a second time, were scrapped in favour of Block 5.
- Fairing catching infrastructure (masts, nets, etc.)
- SN12, SN13, SN14, SN17, SN18, SN19, BN1
- etc, etc.

I would not consider anything related to Starship as relevant in the 'sunk costs' category, since it is an R&D program running on a development model where such expenditures are already expected.

Similarly, the production line situations mentioned are more evolutionary than revolutionary.

The VAFB Falcon 1 site, as I recall, was nixed due to the Air Force having issues with flight profiles for an untested rocket and proximity of such to one of their other launch sites.  Something I remember SpaceX was not happy about after spending the money to build the site.

The Omelek Falcon 1 site had serious disadvantages due to distance from anywhere and high expense of delivering required consumables, as well as the rockets and payloads.

I will agree that they were more than willing to abandon the Falcon 1 after it proved they could build and fly a commercial payload successfully.  Something I remember a lot of people questioning the wisdom of at the time.

What I would say is the difference here is that SpaceX has established a relatively efficient operation at at least two of the three locations (VSFB doesn't seem to get used very often, so I wonder about the economies of scale for operations there).  As such, I would see them flying out the life-cycle on their F-9s.

I'm not saying they would keep producing them once it became clear that Starship was ready to start carrying loads, merely that they would use out the ones they have while converting launch sites.  (for example, since VSFB gets used the least, it might be converted to launch or support offshore launch of Starship first, while the Canaveral sites continue F-9 launches... then possibly 39A, while the other keeps up with F-9 flights) 

It is my belief that it will not be a 'hard cut' but an overlapping transition.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 10/06/2021 02:09 pm
We're veering a bit off of the Commercial Crew topic here.  We can expect launching crew on Starship as well as DoD accepting it for NSL are going to be the longest of the long poles in a transition from Starship to Falcon 9, so the Starship replacing Falcon 9 timeline is probably best left to other threads.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: joek on 10/06/2021 03:28 pm
...
The most likely scenario is that a new round would be created. When CCtCap was awarded, NASA had talked about a new round called the Crew Transportation Services Round after CCtCap. It is possible that the new round will be restricted to certified providers but for CRS2 NASA did not require prior certification in order to compete (i.e., certification could be done as part of CRS2). I am assuming that the same will be true for the crew transportation services round but I don't know that for sure.

Generally agree that there are a couple paths. However it is done, providers will ultimately need to be certified. That is going to cost non-trivial $$$ whether separated into DDT&E vs. operational, or rolled up into the price of operational missions. IMO going to be tough for NASA to justify engaging additional provider if NASA has to pay a significant portion of the bill for certification.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: niwax on 10/06/2021 03:52 pm
...
The most likely scenario is that a new round would be created. When CCtCap was awarded, NASA had talked about a new round called the Crew Transportation Services Round after CCtCap. It is possible that the new round will be restricted to certified providers but for CRS2 NASA did not require prior certification in order to compete (i.e., certification could be done as part of CRS2). I am assuming that the same will be true for the crew transportation services round but I don't know that for sure.

Generally agree that there are a couple paths. However it is done, providers will ultimately need to be certified. That is going to cost non-trivial $$$ whether separated into DDT&E vs. operational, or rolled up into the price of operational missions. IMO going to be tough for NASA to justify engaging additional provider if NASA has to pay a significant portion of the bill for certification.

One wildcard here is what direction the commercial destination/ISS follow-on programs take. I could see NASA planning a number of non-ISS flights to spread the cost for the another 12 mission block buy.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: joek on 10/06/2021 05:03 pm
One wildcard here is what direction the commercial destination/ISS follow-on programs take. I could see NASA planning a number of non-ISS flights to spread the cost for the another 12 mission block buy.

Still going to require NASA certification for transport and destination. That means $$$ for additional (currently non-certified) transport and destination providers.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: niwax on 10/06/2021 05:53 pm
One wildcard here is what direction the commercial destination/ISS follow-on programs take. I could see NASA planning a number of non-ISS flights to spread the cost for the another 12 mission block buy.

Still going to require NASA certification for transport and destination. That means $$$ for additional (currently non-certified) transport and destination providers.

Sure. But it would be a good reason to spend that $$$, if it looks likely that Boeing can't deliver the needed flight rate. Much like Dream Chaser was already added to CRS-2 instead of increasing Dragon orders.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 10/06/2021 08:56 pm
One wildcard here is what direction the commercial destination/ISS follow-on programs take. I could see NASA planning a number of non-ISS flights to spread the cost for the another 12 mission block buy.

Still going to require NASA certification for transport and destination. That means $$$ for additional (currently non-certified) transport and destination providers.

For CRS2, no additional funding was provided to SNC for certifying Dream Chaser.  I am guessing that it would be the same for the Crew Transportation Services round.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 10/07/2021 11:20 pm
At 26m of this video, the issue of what happens after SpaceX post-certification mission 6 was asked by Joey Roulette. Steve Stich said that they are in the early phases of looking at what they can do with SpaceX for missions after their 6th mission and he said that they will look at what they can do with Boeing at some point in the future. He said that he can't talk about it too much but that they were working on it now.

https://youtu.be/KH1-MNixAC4
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Comga on 10/25/2021 12:16 am
 Per Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) - NASA (https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/CCtCAP-Attachment-J-03.pdf)...
Quote
H.16 NEW ENTRANT
(a) The purpose of this clause is to notify the Contractor that NASA may conduct a subsequent competition due to the loss of an existing CTS provider or if there are additional future NASA requirements for certified crew transportation. NASA will determine if these conditions are met prior to synopsizing and conducting a New Entrant competition. New entrants may compete for all task orders under this contract.
(b) The Government reserves the right to issue a solicitation in the future to seek an additional source(s) for the same or similar efforts/services.

My emphasis
NASA is putting in writing the possibility of Boeing failing to provide crew transport services.

Note: Because NASA did not name Boeing, it could refer to SpaceX. That would be technically correct but grasping at straws, but that won’t happen. Right?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rebel44 on 10/25/2021 01:54 pm
Quote
Irene Klotz

@Free_Space Roscosmos says @spacex has acquired enough flight experience for agency to fly cosmonauts on Crew Dragon and expects to discuss with @nasa tomorrow about timeline for crew assignments @DRogozin says at #IAC2021 press conference.

https://twitter.com/Free_Space/status/1452601530536718339

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: NL-SpaceNews on 10/27/2021 12:41 pm
Hi

Quick question, because i could not find an answer. Crew Dragon has capacity for a crew of 7. Why is NASA not sending more crew per launch. for example with the possible addition of the cosmonaut, would that be a crew of 5 then..??

regards
Serge vD
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: JayWee on 10/27/2021 12:47 pm
Hi

Quick question, because i could not find an answer. Crew Dragon has capacity for a crew of 7. Why is NASA not sending more crew per launch. for example with the possible addition of the cosmonaut, would that be a crew of 5 then..??

regards
Serge vD
Originally Dragon had capacity for 7 people, but during Commercial Crew NASA requested changes to seat orientation which reduced the number of seats to current 4. I don't believe they could add them again.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Bananas_on_Mars on 10/27/2021 12:47 pm
Hi

Quick question, because i could not find an answer. Crew Dragon has capacity for a crew of 7. Why is NASA not sending more crew per launch. for example with the possible addition of the cosmonaut, would that be a crew of 5 then..??

regards
Serge vD
Crew Dragon was designed with capacity of 7 in mind, but this has later been reduced to 4 because of a change of the seat angles (IIRC NASA request to reduce stresses on the astronauts at splash-down. AFAIK in the past SpaceX said they don‘t want to change back to 7 again for other customer.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Tomness on 10/27/2021 12:50 pm
Hi

Quick question, because i could not find an answer. Crew Dragon has capacity for a crew of 7. Why is NASA not sending more crew per launch. for example with the possible addition of the cosmonaut, would that be a crew of 5 then..??

regards
Serge vD

Because of the G Forces at splash down during an Emergency and Nominally. The Seats rotate up. NASA wanted it redesigned and they only wanted 4 seats. Also the 7 seats would have came with them being able to land on land. So it's all off the Table. Gwen Shotwell said they could still do it but we will see.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 12/04/2021 01:23 pm
CCtCap contracts do call out a max of six flights though, so it's not just adding a new task order for more flights.

Exactly the RFP specifically provided for a maximum of 6 post-certification missions - PCMs- (see the link below). It wouldn't be fair to new bidders to be excluded from competing for new missions after the PCMs when CCtCap was purposely capped at six PCMs because NASA wanted other missions to fall under the Crew Transportation Services contract (i.e., the next phase). CRS1 wasn't capped by the number of missions, it was capped by the value of the contract (at a maximum of $3.1B per provider), so it was much easier to extend it.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32412.msg1257877#msg1257877 (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32412.msg1257877#msg1257877)


CCtCap contracts do call out a max of six flights though, so it's not just adding a new task order for more flights.

Wrong. CRS contracts were also IDIQ and listed a max number of missions (12 for SpaceX and 8 for Orbital) for the agreed contract value at that time.
That did not mean that 12 and 8 were hard, not-to-exceed, maximum numbers. IDIQ contracts don't work that way. Neither do the IDIQ services contracts of CCtCAP.
12 became 20 and 8 became 11. Something similar will happen to CCtCAP, because listed maximum numbers can be altered by adding additional dollars to the contract value. It was done that way under CRS. It will be done again under CRS2 and CCtCAP will go down the same route.

And in the end I was still right with the other two being wrong. As I expected (not surprisingly since 3 NASA sources told me so months ago) NASA just added three more Crew Dragon missions to the existing CCtCAP contract:
https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2021/12/03/nasa-to-secure-additional-commercial-crew-transportation/ (https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2021/12/03/nasa-to-secure-additional-commercial-crew-transportation/)

Key quotes:
Quote from: NASA/Linda Herridge
NASA intends to issue a sole source modification to SpaceX to acquire up to three additional crew flights to the International Space Station as part of its Commercial Crew Transportation Capabilities (CCtCap) contract.
Quote from: NASA/Linda Herridge
The current sole source modification does not preclude NASA from seeking additional contract modifications in the future for additional transportation services as needed.


Lesson to be learned by Gongora and YG1968: contract caps mean exactly nothing. They CAN be changed, as I had already pointed out for CRS.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: kdhilliard on 12/04/2021 01:46 pm
When will we know how much these additional missions will cost NASA?
Have we heard anything indicating that they will be at the same per-mission cost of the initial six PCMs?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 12/04/2021 08:42 pm
When will we know how much these additional missions will cost NASA?
Have we heard anything indicating that they will be at the same per-mission cost of the initial six PCMs?
The additional missions will be more expensive to NASA.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 12/04/2021 10:22 pm
CCtCap contracts do call out a max of six flights though, so it's not just adding a new task order for more flights.

Exactly the RFP specifically provided for a maximum of 6 post-certification missions - PCMs- (see the link below). It wouldn't be fair to new bidders to be excluded from competing for new missions after the PCMs when CCtCap was purposely capped at six PCMs because NASA wanted other missions to fall under the Crew Transportation Services contract (i.e., the next phase). CRS1 wasn't capped by the number of missions, it was capped by the value of the contract (at a maximum of $3.1B per provider), so it was much easier to extend it.

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32412.msg1257877#msg1257877 (https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32412.msg1257877#msg1257877)


CCtCap contracts do call out a max of six flights though, so it's not just adding a new task order for more flights.

Wrong. CRS contracts were also IDIQ and listed a max number of missions (12 for SpaceX and 8 for Orbital) for the agreed contract value at that time.
That did not mean that 12 and 8 were hard, not-to-exceed, maximum numbers. IDIQ contracts don't work that way. Neither do the IDIQ services contracts of CCtCAP.
12 became 20 and 8 became 11. Something similar will happen to CCtCAP, because listed maximum numbers can be altered by adding additional dollars to the contract value. It was done that way under CRS. It will be done again under CRS2 and CCtCAP will go down the same route.

And in the end I was still right with the other two being wrong. As I expected (not surprisingly since 3 NASA sources told me so months ago) NASA just added three more Crew Dragon missions to the existing CCtCAP contract:
https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2021/12/03/nasa-to-secure-additional-commercial-crew-transportation/ (https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2021/12/03/nasa-to-secure-additional-commercial-crew-transportation/)

Key quotes:
Quote from: NASA/Linda Herridge
NASA intends to issue a sole source modification to SpaceX to acquire up to three additional crew flights to the International Space Station as part of its Commercial Crew Transportation Capabilities (CCtCap) contract.
Quote from: NASA/Linda Herridge
The current sole source modification does not preclude NASA from seeking additional contract modifications in the future for additional transportation services as needed.


Lesson to be learned by Gongora and YG1968: contract caps mean exactly nothing. They CAN be changed, as I had already pointed out for CRS.

No, they had to sole-source it in order to get around the maximum amount of missions. It wasn't just picking up an option. I had mentioned that sole-sourcing was a possibility (see below). Incidentally, other companies are allowed to object to the sole-sourcing.

CRS wasn't capped by the number of missions, it was capped by the amount of cargo. So it was easy to extend it.

I should qualify what I said, if the Boeing delays continue, NASA might be forced to sole-source one mission to SpaceX through a new solicitation and contract. I hope that doesn't happen but it is another possibility.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 12/04/2021 11:01 pm
One important detail that some are missing is that the notice says up to 3 missions, so it might end up being less than 3 post certification missions.

Here is the description of the sole-source notice:

Quote from: NASA
Description

NASA Kennedy Space Center intends to issue a sole source modification to SpaceX under the authority of FAR 6.302-1 to acquire up to three Post Certification Missions (PCMs) under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capabilities (CCtCap) contract NNK14MA74C in order to enable NASA to meet its mission requirements to maintain crew onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and to meet obligations under agreements with its International Partners.

According to the NASA Authorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 810 (Feb. 9, 2015)), “It is the policy of the United States to maintain an uninterrupted capability for human space flight and operations in low-Earth orbit, and beyond, as an essential instrument of national security and the capability to ensure continued United States participation and leadership in the exploration and utilization of space.” To fulfill this objective and ensure Crew Transportation System (CTS) services continue to be available for two PCMs each year, it is critical not only to have two CCtCap contractors, but also to ensure that each year both contractors are able and ready to provide PCM services, to ensure redundant and back-up capabilities. Award of up to three additional PCMs to SpaceX with the first launch beginning as early as 2023 is necessary to meet this objective.

Today, NASA has CCtCap contracts with Boeing and SpaceX. Currently, only SpaceX has a CTS that has been certified by NASA to provide crew transportation services to the ISS. SpaceX has currently launched three PCMs to the ISS. Due to technical issues and the resulting delays experienced by Boeing, it is expected that SpaceX will launch its last PCM in March 2023. Awarding up to three additional PCMs to SpaceX will enable NASA to have redundant and back-up capabilities for each PCM, which is essential for the following reasons: (i) the obligation to provide continuous flight availability for the safe operation of the ISS; (ii) the potential for anomalies or accidents; (iii) the potential for unforeseen external factors; and, (iv) risks associated with the design of a safe and reliable CTS. The anomaly with the Boeing Orbital Flight Test (OFT) and subsequent technical issues that led to delays of the OFT-2 flight demonstrate the importance of having redundant and back-up capabilities in order for NASA to meet its mission requirements to maintain crew onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and to meet its obligations under agreements with its International partners to assure continued crewed access to the ISS.

Oral communications are not acceptable in response to this notice.

Interested organizations may submit their capabilities and qualifications to perform the effort electronically via email to Brian Hinerth at [email protected] and Joseph Bell at [email protected] not later than 5:00PM EDT on December 18, 2021. Such capabilities/qualifications will be evaluated solely for the purpose of determining whether or not to conduct this acquisition on a competitive basis. A determination by the Government not to compete this acquisition on a full and open competition basis, based upon responses to this notice, is solely within the discretion of the Government.

NASA Clause 1852.215-84, Ombudsman, is applicable. The Center Ombudsman for this acquisition can be found at https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/procurement/regs/Procurement-Ombuds-Comp-Advocate-Listing.pdf

FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY: An RFI was posted on October 20, 2021, requesting information from industry to help NASA formulate an acquisition approach for the procurement of additional PCMs. Responses to the October 20, 2021, RFI will be used to inform NASA’s planning for an acquisition approach.

https://sam.gov/opp/c4e1243132fa417bb40829eaf10fe509/view
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: baldusi on 12/05/2021 02:58 am
And in the end I was still right with the other two being wrong. As I expected (not surprisingly since 3 NASA sources told me so months ago) NASA just added three more Crew Dragon missions to the existing CCtCAP contract:
https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2021/12/03/nasa-to-secure-additional-commercial-crew-transportation/ (https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2021/12/03/nasa-to-secure-additional-commercial-crew-transportation/)

Key quotes:
Quote from: NASA/Linda Herridge
NASA intends to issue a sole source modification to SpaceX to acquire up to three additional crew flights to the International Space Station as part of its Commercial Crew Transportation Capabilities (CCtCap) contract.
Quote from: NASA/Linda Herridge
The current sole source modification does not preclude NASA from seeking additional contract modifications in the future for additional transportation services as needed.


Lesson to be learned by Gongora and YG1968: contract caps mean exactly nothing. They CAN be changed, as I had already pointed out for CRS.
I think the lesson is that when you have a single possible contractor to supply a national interest critical service, contract limits mean very little. Whom are you gonna contract outside of SpaceX? There's simply no one else to offer such a service within the required timeframe. Thus, a sole-source justified contract extension is the only option. I dare any other company to fill a protest with GAO. It would be thrown out so fast and cause so much bad blood with NASA as to not be an option.
Believe it or not, NASA bureaucracy are capable and resourceful people when not burdened by thumbs in the scale (as in political pressures and such) and federal acquisition regulations do allow for certain common sense.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DanClemmensen on 12/05/2021 03:16 am
And in the end I was still right with the other two being wrong. As I expected (not surprisingly since 3 NASA sources told me so months ago) NASA just added three more Crew Dragon missions to the existing CCtCAP contract:
https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2021/12/03/nasa-to-secure-additional-commercial-crew-transportation/ (https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2021/12/03/nasa-to-secure-additional-commercial-crew-transportation/)

Key quotes:
Quote from: NASA/Linda Herridge
NASA intends to issue a sole source modification to SpaceX to acquire up to three additional crew flights to the International Space Station as part of its Commercial Crew Transportation Capabilities (CCtCap) contract.
Quote from: NASA/Linda Herridge
The current sole source modification does not preclude NASA from seeking additional contract modifications in the future for additional transportation services as needed.


Lesson to be learned by Gongora and YG1968: contract caps mean exactly nothing. They CAN be changed, as I had already pointed out for CRS.
I think the lesson is that when you have a single possible contractor to supply a national interest critical service, contract limits mean very little. Whom are you gonna contract outside of SpaceX? There's simply no one else to offer such a service within the required timeframe. Thus, a sole-source justified contract extension is the only option. I dare any other company to fill a protest with GAO. It would be thrown out so fast and cause so much bad blood with NASA as to not be an option.
Believe it or not, NASA bureaucracy are capable and resourceful people when not burdened by thumbs in the scale (as in political pressures and such) and federal acquisition regulations do allow for certain common sense.
How would it even be possible to protest? The requirement is for flights to ISS in a crew-rated vehicle starting in 2023. There is only one such vehicle now, and only one other vehicle (Starliner) with even a chance of being crew-rated and qualified for ISS docking by then. The only other way to meet the requirement would be to use Soyuz, and somehow I don't think anyone plans to bid Soyuz. I don't think SpaceX can get Starship crew-rated and qualified for ISS docking by 2023, and they  aren't going to protest anyway. Boeing has no need to protest, because Their existing Starliner contract effectively gives them alternating flights starting as soon as they are certified.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: king1999 on 12/05/2021 06:36 am
I do hope SpaceX to increase their price per flight to at least match that of Boeing to give more funding for the Starship.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: soltasto on 12/05/2021 08:47 am
When will we know how much these additional missions will cost NASA?
Have we heard anything indicating that they will be at the same per-mission cost of the initial six PCMs?
The additional missions will be more expensive to NASA.

Are we really expecting these 3 mission to be sold for more than $220M per missions?

Anyways, we shall see the contract value increase here whenever the contract is actually modified:
https://www.usaspending.gov/award/CONT_IDV_NNK14MA74C_8000 (https://www.usaspending.gov/award/CONT_IDV_NNK14MA74C_8000)
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 12/05/2021 01:49 pm
When will we know how much these additional missions will cost NASA?
Have we heard anything indicating that they will be at the same per-mission cost of the initial six PCMs?
The additional missions will be more expensive to NASA.

Are we really expecting these 3 mission to be sold for more than $220M per missions?

Yes, I am expecting them to be significantly more expensive than $220M per misson. SpaceX low-balled the price-tag of the original 6 PCM missions to get the contract.

Similar to what happened with CRS-2, NASA will have to pay considerably more for those 3 addtional missions. My guesstimate is ~$300M to $325M per mission.

Remember, just adjusting for nearly 8 years of inflation (since the signing of the original CCtCAP contract) will bring the price tag well north of $260M per mission.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 12/05/2021 01:57 pm
Lesson to be learned by Gongora and YG1968: contract caps mean exactly nothing. They CAN be changed, as I had already pointed out for CRS.

No, they had to sole-source it in order to get around the maximum amount of missions. It wasn't just picking up an option. I had mentioned that sole-sourcing was a possibility (see below). Incidentally, other companies are allowed to object to the sole-sourcing.

CRS wasn't capped by the number of missions, it was capped by the amount of cargo. So it was easy to extend it.

I should qualify what I said, if the Boeing delays continue, NASA might be forced to sole-source one mission to SpaceX through a new solicitation and contract. I hope that doesn't happen but it is another possibility.

No, you managed to completely miss the point or deliberately read over NASA's own statement: the (up to) three missions will be ADDED to the existing CCtCAP contract.
There will be no new contract for those three additional missions. Basiscally, what NASA will be doing is this: a modification of the existing CCtCAP contract to remove the "maximum of 6 PCM mission" limit. The only other interested party (Boeing) won't object to this, because they are the very cause for this contract modification being necessary. Boeing is in no position to complain or protest. They know it, and they won't file a protest.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 12/05/2021 02:18 pm
Lesson to be learned by Gongora and YG1968: contract caps mean exactly nothing. They CAN be changed, as I had already pointed out for CRS.

No, they had to sole-source it in order to get around the maximum amount of missions. It wasn't just picking up an option. I had mentioned that sole-sourcing was a possibility (see below). Incidentally, other companies are allowed to object to the sole-sourcing.

CRS wasn't capped by the number of missions, it was capped by the amount of cargo. So it was easy to extend it.

I should qualify what I said, if the Boeing delays continue, NASA might be forced to sole-source one mission to SpaceX through a new solicitation and contract. I hope that doesn't happen but it is another possibility.

No, you managed to completely miss the point or deliberately read over NASA's own statement: the (up to) three missions will be ADDED to the existing CCtCAP contract.
There will be no new contract for those three additional missions. Basiscally, what NASA will be doing is this: a modification of the existing CCtCAP contract to remove the "maximum of 6 PCM mission" limit. The only other interested party (Boeing) won't object to this, because they are the very cause for this contract modification being necessary. Boeing is in no position to complain or protest. They know it, and they won't file a protest.

You are the one that is deliberately missing the point, NASA had to issue a sole source notice which is essentially a new solicitation. Like you said, the price won't be the same as before (thanks for that information by the way). They decided to use the existing terms of CCtCap but it is nevertheless a new solicitation. It wasn't just a matter of issuing a new task order under the existing contract or modifying the contract with SpaceX's approval, a new (sole-source) solicitation had to be issued. Incidentally, I don't think that NASA will be able to add more missions to CCtCap after these 3 new ones unless they issue a new sole-source notice (which would also be a new solicitation). 

Although, I don't know if the language saying that NASA reserves the right to make new modifications to CCtCap means that NASA reserves the right to add more Boeing missions (presumably through another sole-source notice). NASA could argue that it has a need for a redundant commercial crew system. I hope that doesn't happen.

In any event, I hope that I am not wrong in saying that CCSTS is still alive and ongoing. I think that the up to 3 missions language in the notice gives NASA the flexibility of pursuing CCSTS as quickly as possible. 
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: [email protected] on 12/05/2021 02:33 pm
When will we know how much these additional missions will cost NASA?
Have we heard anything indicating that they will be at the same per-mission cost of the initial six PCMs?
The additional missions will be more expensive to NASA.

Are we really expecting these 3 mission to be sold for more than $220M per missions?

Yes, I am expecting them to be significantly more expensive than $220M per misson. SpaceX low-balled the price-tag of the original 6 PCM missions to get the contract.

Similar to what happened with CRS-2, NASA will have to pay considerably more for those 3 addtional missions. My guesstimate is ~$300M to $325M per mission.

Remember, just adjusting for nearly 8 years of inflation (since the signing of the original CCtCAP contract) will bring the price tag well north of $260M per mission.
Will this be the point for detractor to make for "price gouging"?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 12/05/2021 02:48 pm
And in the end I was still right with the other two being wrong. As I expected (not surprisingly since 3 NASA sources told me so months ago) NASA just added three more Crew Dragon missions to the existing CCtCAP contract:
https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2021/12/03/nasa-to-secure-additional-commercial-crew-transportation/ (https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2021/12/03/nasa-to-secure-additional-commercial-crew-transportation/)

Key quotes:
Quote from: NASA/Linda Herridge
NASA intends to issue a sole source modification to SpaceX to acquire up to three additional crew flights to the International Space Station as part of its Commercial Crew Transportation Capabilities (CCtCap) contract.
Quote from: NASA/Linda Herridge
The current sole source modification does not preclude NASA from seeking additional contract modifications in the future for additional transportation services as needed.


Lesson to be learned by Gongora and YG1968: contract caps mean exactly nothing. They CAN be changed, as I had already pointed out for CRS.
I think the lesson is that when you have a single possible contractor to supply a national interest critical service, contract limits mean very little. Whom are you gonna contract outside of SpaceX? There's simply no one else to offer such a service within the required timeframe. Thus, a sole-source justified contract extension is the only option. I dare any other company to fill a protest with GAO. It would be thrown out so fast and cause so much bad blood with NASA as to not be an option.
Believe it or not, NASA bureaucracy are capable and resourceful people when not burdened by thumbs in the scale (as in political pressures and such) and federal acquisition regulations do allow for certain common sense.

If I were Sierra Space, I wouldn't object to the sole-source notice provided that NASA assures them that they will proceed with CCSTS. That may have been the point of the paragraph on CCSTS in the sole-source notice.

I wouldn't expect Boeing to protest given that this situation is their fault. The paragraph in the blog, saying that NASA reserves the right to make more changes to CCtCap may have been added to reassure Boeing that NASA hasn't forgotten them either.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/05/2021 03:27 pm
When will we know how much these additional missions will cost NASA?
Have we heard anything indicating that they will be at the same per-mission cost of the initial six PCMs?
The additional missions will be more expensive to NASA.

Are we really expecting these 3 mission to be sold for more than $220M per missions?

Yes, I am expecting them to be significantly more expensive than $220M per misson. SpaceX low-balled the price-tag of the original 6 PCM missions to get the contract.

I would characterize this situation differently.

For the original CCtCAP contract in January of 2014, SpaceX would have been bidding costs based on what it knew back in 2013. As of the end of 2013 SpaceX had flown CRS-2, which was the second cargo mission for Commercial Cargo, so they didn't have a lot of experience yet on what was working and what was not working for their Dragon Cargo vehicle - which they planned to be the basis for their Commercial Crew vehicle.

So I would say that AT THAT TIME SpaceX bid the CCtCAP contract based on what they knew, and what they assumed would happen with their development of the Commercial Crew vehicle.

I think they bid what they thought they needed for CCtCAP, and didn't add in any "fluff" to cover for exceptions.

However, what happens with EVERY development program is that reality is different than what was proposed, for many reasons. So if given the opportunity to update their contract costs to reflect the current reality - and not the reality of 2014 - of course SpaceX would ensure they are not losing money on new contracts.

And the U.S. Government doesn't want service providers to lose money! NASA isn't a for-profit entity, so their goal is just to get the best value for the taxpayer, not to screw over service providers and keep them from making a "reasonable" profit.

Remember the GAO audits contracts, and they would have a LOT of insight into the cost structure of the original CCtCAP contract, which would form the basis for auditing pricing changes to following orders.

So long story short, the service that SpaceX bid in 2014 is not the service they are providing today, and I have no doubt that NASA is happier with the service SpaceX is providing today, and is willing to pay for that.

My $0.02
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/05/2021 04:30 pm
If I were Sierra Space, I wouldn't object to the sole-source notice provided that NASA assures them that they will proceed with CCSTS.

It would be unethical (and potential illegal) to "provide assurances" outside of contract agreements.

Besides, extending existing contracts is a normal thing for the U.S. Government, they do it all the time. All they need to do is justify why they need to extend the contract, which in this case is very clear - NASA's other Commercial Crew provider (Boeing) may not be able to provide the services NASA needs, so they need to buy more services from their existing (and fully approved) supplier, which is SpaceX.

Quote
That may have been the point of the paragraph on CCSTS in the sole-source notice.

I haven't had much time to keep up with every project NASA has been working on, but I see nothing when I Google "NASA CCSTS", so what are you referring too?

In any case, everyone can read the "NOTICE OF INTENT (NOI) TO ISSUE A SOLE SOURCE MODIFICATION – NASA COMMERCIAL CREW SPACE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES" (CCSTS) here:

https://sam.gov/opp/c4e1243132fa417bb40829eaf10fe509/view

And I see no reference to anything related to "CCSTS", or even "STS". However there is this boilerplate text:
Quote
Oral communications are not acceptable in response to this notice.

Interested organizations may submit their capabilities and qualifications to perform the effort electronically via email to Brian Hinerth at [email protected] and Joseph Bell at [email protected] not later than 5:00PM EDT on December 18, 2021. Such capabilities/qualifications will be evaluated solely for the purpose of determining whether or not to conduct this acquisition on a competitive basis. A determination by the Government not to compete this acquisition on a full and open competition basis, based upon responses to this notice, is solely within the discretion of the Government.


This is standard CYA text that ensures that anyone who THINKS they should have been able to bid can officially submit a protest - but that the U.S. Government is the sole determinant about what constitutes a potential substitute.

Quote
I wouldn't expect Boeing to protest given that this situation is their fault. The paragraph in the sole-source notice, saying that NASA reserves the right to make more changes to CCtCap may have been added to reassure Boeing that NASA hasn't forgotten them either.

I'm sorry, but you are reading WAY too much into standard text.

NASA can't promise Boeing that they will hold back on awarding additional services to SpaceX while Boeing is unable to perform the services NASA needs. That would be highly illegal, and it would potentially harm the ISS program if Boeing can't perform needed services.

Let's step back here and remember that NASA's sole goal with the Commercial Crew program is to keep crew safely at the ISS. NASA doesn't care who provides the transportation services, it only cares that transportation services are available WHEN NEEDED.

Boeing may not be able to provide the services that NASA needs WHEN NEEDED, so NASA is going to ensure it has contractual options in place to ensure that if Boeing is unable to provide the needed services, that someone else (i.e. SpaceX) will be able to provide the services.

There is no mystery here folks. No secret messages. NASA is just focused on what THEIR needs are, not their contractors.

NOTE: Updated above thanks to kdhilliard - and a good example where defining an acronym is good to do, since not everyone can keep up with official and unofficial acronyms.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: woods170 on 12/05/2021 05:22 pm
When will we know how much these additional missions will cost NASA?
Have we heard anything indicating that they will be at the same per-mission cost of the initial six PCMs?
The additional missions will be more expensive to NASA.

Are we really expecting these 3 mission to be sold for more than $220M per missions?

Yes, I am expecting them to be significantly more expensive than $220M per misson. SpaceX low-balled the price-tag of the original 6 PCM missions to get the contract.

Similar to what happened with CRS-2, NASA will have to pay considerably more for those 3 addtional missions. My guesstimate is ~$300M to $325M per mission.

Remember, just adjusting for nearly 8 years of inflation (since the signing of the original CCtCAP contract) will bring the price tag well north of $260M per mission.
Will this be the point for detractor to make for "price gouging"?
No, because the per-mission price tag, for the PCMs of the other contractor, is a similar figure ($320M per Starliner PCM mission).
A detractor yelling "they're charging the same as Boeing" would be laughed at.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 12/05/2021 05:29 pm
If I were Sierra Space, I wouldn't object to the sole-source notice provided that NASA assures them that they will proceed with CCSTS.

It would be unethical (and potential illegal) to "provide assurances" outside of contract agreements.

Besides, extending existing contracts is a normal thing for the U.S. Government, they do it all the time. All they need to do is justify why they need to extend the contract, which in this case is very clear - NASA's other Commercial Crew provider (Boeing) may not be able to provide the services NASA needs, so they need to buy more services from their existing (and fully approved) supplier, which is SpaceX.

Quote
That may have been the point of the paragraph on CCSTS in the sole-source notice.

I haven't had much time to keep up with every project NASA has been working on, but I see nothing when I Google "NASA CCSTS", so what are you referring too?

In any case, everyone can read the "NOTICE OF INTENT (NOI) TO ISSUE A SOLE SOURCE MODIFICATION – NASA COMMERCIAL CREW SPACE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES" here:

https://sam.gov/opp/c4e1243132fa417bb40829eaf10fe509/view

And I see no reference to anything related to "CCSTS", or even "STS". However there is this boilerplate text:
Quote
Oral communications are not acceptable in response to this notice.

Interested organizations may submit their capabilities and qualifications to perform the effort electronically via email to Brian Hinerth at [email protected] and Joseph Bell at [email protected] not later than 5:00PM EDT on December 18, 2021. Such capabilities/qualifications will be evaluated solely for the purpose of determining whether or not to conduct this acquisition on a competitive basis. A determination by the Government not to compete this acquisition on a full and open competition basis, based upon responses to this notice, is solely within the discretion of the Government.


This is standard CYA text that ensures that anyone who THINKS they should have been able to bid can officially submit a protest - but that the U.S. Government is the sole determinant about what constitutes a potential substitute.

Quote
I wouldn't expect Boeing to protest given that this situation is their fault. The paragraph in the sole-source notice, saying that NASA reserves the right to make more changes to CCtCap may have been added to reassure Boeing that NASA hasn't forgotten them either.

I'm sorry, but you are reading WAY too much into standard text.

NASA can't promise Boeing that they will hold back on awarding additional services to SpaceX while Boeing is unable to perform the services NASA needs. That would be highly illegal, and it would potentially harm the ISS program if Boeing can't perform needed services.

Let's step back here and remember that NASA's sole goal with the Commercial Crew program is to keep crew safely at the ISS. NASA doesn't care who provides the transportation services, it only cares that transportation services are available WHEN NEEDED.

Boeing may not be able to provide the services that NASA needs WHEN NEEDED, so NASA is going to ensure it has contractual options in place to ensure that if Boeing is unable to provide the needed services, that someone else (i.e. SpaceX) will be able to provide the services.

There is no mystery here folks. No secret messages. NASA is just focused on what THEIR needs are, not their contractors.

It is not illegal for NASA to indicate to Sierra Space and others what their plans are for the future for other post-certification missions. It's ridiculous to even suggest that it is. NASA has already told the providers through their October 20th RFI what their plans are.

CCSTS = Commercial Crew Space Transportation Services. The paragraph that I am referring to on CCSTS is this one and it relates to the October 20th RFI on CCSTS:

Quote from: NASA's sole source notice
"FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY: An RFI was posted on October 20, 2021, requesting information from industry to help NASA formulate an acquisition approach for the procurement of additional PCMs. Responses to the October 20, 2021, RFI will be used to inform NASA’s planning for an acquisition approach."

There is a separate thread on this October 20th CCSTS RFI (it's essentially a new commercial crew competition that would allow new entrants):
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=55039.0

In terms of additional Boeing post-certification missions, Steve Stich indicates in the video at the bottom of this post that they would be giving SpaceX's new post-certification missions and that Boeing would be given a similar opportunity later on. If NASA is doing something illegal, please be sure to let them know now!

Like I said, the paragraph below in the blog may have been added in order to indicate to Boeing that more post-certification missions may also come their way later on (it's hard to say why they felt the need to include that paragraph in their blog):

Quote from: NASA's blog
The current sole source modification does not preclude NASA from seeking additional contract modifications in the future for additional transportation services as needed.

As always, your posts are just a bunch of nitpicking and putting words into my mouth. Admittingly, the word "assures" in my prior post wasn't the best choice of word but if I were Sierra Space and Boeing, I would want to know what the plans are going forward for other post-certification missions before deciding to protest or not. That is all that I was trying to say, I wasn't suggesting anything illegal.

At 26m of this video, the issue of what happens after SpaceX post-certification mission 6 was asked by Joey Roulette. Steve Stich said that they are in the early phases of looking at what they can do with SpaceX for missions after their 6th mission and he said that they will look at what they can do with Boeing at some point in the future. He said that he can't talk about it too much but that they were working on it now.

https://youtu.be/KH1-MNixAC4
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/05/2021 08:38 pm
It is not illegal for NASA to indicate to Sierra Space and others what their plans are for the future for other post-certification missions. It's ridiculous to even suggest that it is. NASA has already told the providers through their October 20th RFI what their plans are.

My point was that it seemed like you were implying that NASA was promising something SPECIFICALLY to Sierra Space, which would be a quid pro quo if someone at NASA was doing that so that Sierra Space did not protest the sole source contract to SpaceX.

Because if NASA's plans for the future were already public, why would you suggest that NASA would reach out to Sierra Space specifically about this award? Why would they need to?

Quote
CCSTS = Commercial Crew Space Transportation Services. The paragraph that I am referring to on CCSTS is this one and it relates to the October 20th RFI on CCSTS:

Thank you for defining it now, and I corrected my original post based on a nice PM from kdhilliard.

Acronyms save time in typing, and in reading too no doubt, but sometimes they need to be expressly defined while they are new. We all struggle with this, so nothing about you specifically, I'm just mentioning this as a general comment.

As to the RFI, it is separate from the Sole Source contract award for 3 SpaceX missions, as NASA needs to rely upon already certified providers for those 3 missions since they are too near-term for onboarding new crew providers.

Quote
There is a separate thread on this October 20th CCSTS RFI (it's essentially a new commercial crew competition that would allow new entrants):
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=55039.0

And here is the RFI, which we've known NASA was going to pursue for years:

https://sam.gov/opp/3ae9296c494a4e3698c7fbc01865b764/view

Quote
In terms of additional Boeing post-certification missions, Steve Stich indicates in the video at the bottom of this post that they would be giving SpaceX's new post-certification missions and that Boeing would be given a similar opportunity later on.

Key word is "opportunity". If Boeing doesn't get certified then NASA will keep creating Sole Source justifications for giving SpaceX more crew service contracts, so NASA is promising NOTHING.

Which was my point - NASA can't promise Boeing anything, they can only abide by the contract already negotiated, which anticipates that the provider (Boeing) MAY NOT be able to provide the contracted services, and that NASA is free to seek replacement services. It is the same with the SpaceX contract, but SpaceX is actually certified to provide their crew service, and have been able to complete missions as contracted.

Quote
Like I said, the paragraph below in the blog may have been added in order to indicate to Boeing that more post-certification missions may also come their way later on (it's hard to say why they felt the need to include that paragraph in their blog):

Quote from: NASA's blog
The current sole source modification does not preclude NASA from seeking additional contract modifications in the future for additional transportation services as needed.

Nope, that is just standard contractual wording. It promising nothing to anyone.

Quote
As always, your posts are just a bunch of nitpicking and putting words into my mouth. Admittingly, the word "assures" in my prior post wasn't the best choice of word but if I were Sierra Space and Boeing, I would want to know what the plans are going forward for other post-certification missions before deciding to protest or not. That is all that I was trying to say, I wasn't suggesting anything illegal.

I'm not a rocket engineer, but I do have experience with government contracts from working at government contractors. So I view it is important to make sure that people are not implying that NASA can promise things that they clearly can't, or implying that NASA is sending messages through RFI and other government contracts. Government contracts are reviewed at multiple levels to ensure that they are not only accurate, but legally defensive-able, so no one at NASA can slip in some "wink wink" message to keep a contractor from protesting a Sole Source award - which was the topic I was responding to.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 12/05/2021 09:28 pm
My point was that unless NASA continues with the CCSTS RFI/RFP, Sierra Space would and should feel that it is being treated unfairly with a sole-source contract that keeps them out.

For Boeing, it might also feel that it is being treated unfairly if it isn't being given a chance to bid for other post certification missions after these SpaceX sole-sourced ones. In my opinion, additional Boeing missions are likely to be granted through the new CCSTS round. NASA could sole-source them instead but I hope that they don't.

In any event, I like that what NASA is doing. It's sole-sourcing up to three missions to SpaceX because it has no choice. But starting in 2027 (at the latest), NASA intends to procure its commercial crew services through this new CCSTS round. At least that is my understanding of the October 20th RFI and this recent sole-sourcing notice.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/07/2021 01:08 am
My point was that unless NASA continues with the CCSTS RFI/RFP, Sierra Space would and should feel that it is being treated unfairly with a sole-source contract that keeps them out.

Sierra Space would not feel like they are being treated unfairly, because there is no way Sierra Space could have competed for missions under CCtCap - which is the current Commercial Crew transportation contract.

Plus, I guess you missed that NASA isn't considering crew transportation systems that are not certified as of today, because otherwise they would have awarded the contract to Boeing - who is not yet certified.

So I'm not understand your logic.

Quote
For Boeing, it might also feel that it is being treated unfairly if it isn't being given a chance to bid for other post certification missions after these SpaceX sole-sourced ones.

Bid? Boeing can't "bid" on CCtCap missions because THEY ARE ALREADY under contract for CCtCap. This is a matter of NASA exercising their right to determine which of the certified CCtCap providers will be assigned to which ISS missions. However as we all know, Boeing is NOT yet certified, so NASA had no choice but to add more missions to SpaceX - who is the ONLY certified crew transportation provider. Hence the Sole Source justification.

Nothing political here, this is all covered in the contracts that Boeing and SpaceX signed for CCtCap.

Quote
In my opinion, additional Boeing missions are likely to be granted through the new CCSTS round. NASA could sole-source them instead but I hope that they don't.

Keep in mind that Boeing is at fault here for not getting Starliner certified, not NASA. So NASA owes Boeing NOTHING beyond what their contractual obligations call out.

As to how a Sole Source justification works, you are implying that NASA would justify not giving SpaceX (or someone else) a crew transportation contract because Boeing screwed up, and Boeing needs the money? That logic would not survive a court challenge.

Quote
In any event, I like that what NASA is doing. It's sole-sourcing up to three missions to SpaceX because it has no choice.

That is correct. It is up to NASA to look out for NASA's needs, not their contractors needs. And Boeing won't go out of business if they don't get as many missions as they hoped. Maybe that will be a corporate lesson that will actually get learned?

Quote
But starting in 2027 (at the latest), NASA intends to procure its commercial crew services through this new CCSTS round. At least that is my understanding of the October 20th RFI and this recent sole-sourcing notice.

Redundancy is good, and competition is good. And I say that as a SpaceX supporter, since monopolies are bad for industries.

That said, there is no guarantee that Boeing will win any missions on a future CCSTS contract.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Joseph Peterson on 12/07/2021 10:30 am
I understand the government pays more than the private sector for launch services but I will be disappointed if NASA's cost per Dragon seat goes up because:

Quote
Besides fulfilling his dream of flying in space, Jared Isaacman announced Monday that he aims to use the private trip to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, half coming from his own pockets.

....

Isaacman would not divulge how much he’s paying SpaceX, except to say that the anticipated donation to St. Jude “vastly exceeds the cost of the mission.”

https://apnews.com/article/jared-isaacman-buys-spacex-flight-fd4647bbf41551b1d7a8adff71705ecb
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rebel44 on 12/07/2021 12:01 pm
I understand the government pays more than the private sector for launch services but I will be disappointed if NASA's cost per Dragon seat goes up because:

Quote
Besides fulfilling his dream of flying in space, Jared Isaacman announced Monday that he aims to use the private trip to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, half coming from his own pockets.

....

Isaacman would not divulge how much he’s paying SpaceX, except to say that the anticipated donation to St. Jude “vastly exceeds the cost of the mission.”

https://apnews.com/article/jared-isaacman-buys-spacex-flight-fd4647bbf41551b1d7a8adff71705ecb

You need to remember that besides the usual pile of paperwork necessary for critical government missions, NASA crew flights to the ISS also include 6 months of 24/7 monitoring/support and other services that were not needed for Inspiration4 3-day free flight mission.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Joseph Peterson on 12/07/2021 12:55 pm
You need to remember that besides the usual pile of paperwork necessary for critical government missions, NASA crew flights to the ISS also include 6 months of 24/7 monitoring/support and other services that were not needed for Inspiration4 3-day free flight mission.

Why did you assume I forgot?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: abaddon on 12/07/2021 01:16 pm
It was kinder than assuming you were being disingenuous.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 12/07/2021 01:22 pm
My point was that unless NASA continues with the CCSTS RFI/RFP, Sierra Space would and should feel that it is being treated unfairly with a sole-source contract that keeps them out.

Sierra Space would not feel like they are being treated unfairly, because there is no way Sierra Space could have competed for missions under CCtCap - which is the current Commercial Crew transportation contract.

Plus, I guess you missed that NASA isn't considering crew transportation systems that are not certified as of today, because otherwise they would have awarded the contract to Boeing - who is not yet certified.

So I'm not understand your logic.

Quote
For Boeing, it might also feel that it is being treated unfairly if it isn't being given a chance to bid for other post certification missions after these SpaceX sole-sourced ones.

Bid? Boeing can't "bid" on CCtCap missions because THEY ARE ALREADY under contract for CCtCap. This is a matter of NASA exercising their right to determine which of the certified CCtCap providers will be assigned to which ISS missions. However as we all know, Boeing is NOT yet certified, so NASA had no choice but to add more missions to SpaceX - who is the ONLY certified crew transportation provider. Hence the Sole Source justification.

Nothing political here, this is all covered in the contracts that Boeing and SpaceX signed for CCtCap.

Quote
In my opinion, additional Boeing missions are likely to be granted through the new CCSTS round. NASA could sole-source them instead but I hope that they don't.

Keep in mind that Boeing is at fault here for not getting Starliner certified, not NASA. So NASA owes Boeing NOTHING beyond what their contractual obligations call out.

As to how a Sole Source justification works, you are implying that NASA would justify not giving SpaceX (or someone else) a crew transportation contract because Boeing screwed up, and Boeing needs the money? That logic would not survive a court challenge.

A sole source contract is a new solicitation. By definition a sole-source contract means that other providers were excluded. NASA could have decided to use the CCSTS round for these post-certification missions but it didn't. This isn't terribly hard to understand. I don't think that NASA made the wrong decision but I am sure that Sierra Space would have liked to have been able to bid on these new missions (had they been announced earlier).

Boeing can bid on a new solicitation provided that it is not sole-sourced. How hard is that to understand. You can argue that Boeing won't be ready on time for some of these missions but probably not all of them. I think that is why NASA said up to 3 missions will be sole-sourced to SpaceX, it may end up being less than 3. 

Stop nitpicking my posts, it's annoying and it adds nothing to the conversation.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DanClemmensen on 12/07/2021 01:30 pm
I understand the government pays more than the private sector for launch services but I will be disappointed if NASA's cost per Dragon seat goes up because:

Quote
Besides fulfilling his dream of flying in space, Jared Isaacman announced Monday that he aims to use the private trip to raise $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, half coming from his own pockets.

....

Isaacman would not divulge how much he’s paying SpaceX, except to say that the anticipated donation to St. Jude “vastly exceeds the cost of the mission.”

https://apnews.com/article/jared-isaacman-buys-spacex-flight-fd4647bbf41551b1d7a8adff71705ecb

You need to remember that besides the usual pile of paperwork necessary for critical government missions, NASA crew flights to the ISS also include 6 months of 24/7 monitoring/support and other services that were not needed for Inspiration4 3-day free flight mission.
There is also the opportunity cost or "rent" on the capsule. If the capsule is attached to ISS, then it cannot be use during the six month for tourist flights. If it were available, SpaceX might be able to use it at least once more and possibly twice more.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/07/2021 03:04 pm
A sole source contract is a new solicitation.

Read the Sole Source Modification document (link here (https://sam.gov/opp/c4e1243132fa417bb40829eaf10fe509/view)), and you will see it says:
Quote
NASA Kennedy Space Center intends to issue a sole source modification to SpaceX under the authority of FAR 6.302-1 to acquire up to three Post Certification Missions (PCMs) under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capabilities (CCtCap) contract NNK14MA74C in order to enable NASA to meet its mission requirements to maintain crew onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and to meet obligations under agreements with its International Partners.

So this is NOT a new solicitation, this is just a modification of the existing CCtCap contract.

Quote
By definition it means that other providers were excluded.

As a reminder for everyone, the CCtCap contract only has SpaceX and Boeing as providers, and this Sole Source Modification is being done because Boeing is unable to provide the transportation services that NASA requires. Which means that NASA needs to rely on the only certified crew transportation provider, SpaceX, more than they anticipated. And as the customer, NASA has the right to make such decisions.

Quote
NASA could have decided to use the CCSTS round for these post-certification missions but it didn't.

No, they could not have done that, because the CCSTS is only an RFI, not a funded program. RFI's are only mechanisms for soliciting information, they are NOT a mechanism for competing and awarding contracts for services.

Quote
Boeing can bid on a new solicitation provided that it is not sole-sourced.

Um, of course. Who said otherwise?

Quote
You can argue that Boeing won't be ready on time for some of these missions but probably not all of them.

I never argued that. I only stated that Boeing was not guaranteed to win anything under a new contract beyond CCtCap. They have always been the most expensive option for crew transportation services, and if Sierra Space gets Dream Chaser into a more mature position than they were with the CCtCap competition, they could push Boeing out of the #2 spot.

Quote
I think that is why NASA said up to 3 missions will be sole-sourced to SpaceX, it may end up being less than 3.

The Sole Source Modification states "acquire up to three Post Certification Missions (PCMs)", so of course NASA is allowing for the possibility that Boeing will finally (Finally!) get Starliner operational and certified. But NASA is also making sure they have the flexibility in case Boeing is not ready.

From NASA's standpoint they are just being prudent in looking out for their own needs, not Boeing's needs.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DanClemmensen on 12/07/2021 03:42 pm
Keep in mind that Boeing is at fault here for not getting Starliner certified, not NASA. So NASA owes Boeing NOTHING beyond what their contractual obligations call out.

As to how a Sole Source justification works, you are implying that NASA would justify not giving SpaceX (or someone else) a crew transportation contract because Boeing screwed up, and Boeing needs the money? That logic would not survive a court challenge.

A sole source contract is a new solicitation. By definition a sole-source contract means that other providers were excluded. NASA could have decided to use the CCSTS round for these post-certification missions but it didn't. This isn't terribly hard to understand. I don't think that NASA made the wrong decision but I am sure that Sierra Space would have liked to have been able to bid on these new missions (had they been announced earlier).

Boeing can bid on a new solicitation provided that it is not sole-sourced. How hard is that to understand. You can argue that Boeing won't be ready on time for some of these missions but probably not all of them. I think that is why NASA said up to 3 missions will be sole-sourced to SpaceX, it may end up being less than 3. 
[/quote]
Boeing has no need to bid on CCP flights in 2023 and beyond. They already won that bid and NASA will pay them for six flights, with the plan of alternating Starliner flights with Crew Dragon flights. This sole-source contract obligates SpaceX to provide extra flights in the even that Boeing cannot fulfill their contractual obligation to provide Starliner flights. If Starliner by some miracle becomes operational before the seventh Crew Dragon flight is needed, then Starliner will fly that flight instead. If Boeing can sustain a twice-yearly pace, then NASA can choose to use Starliner for six consecutive flights: they are under no obligation to actually use the three new Crew Dragon flights.  I think NASA would prefer to use flights under the new CCSTS contract, but that contract cannot magically cause crew-certified spacecraft to come into existence in 2023. That means NASA must fly on either Starliner, Crew Dragon, or Soyuz. They needed a contract mechanism that lets them fly on Crew Dragon if Starliner is not available, and a sole-source extension to CCtCap for additional contingent flights is the simplest contract mechanism for this.

If by some miracle Starliner becomes operational before Crew-7 flys and CCSTS contracts are awarded to some group of bidders and crew-qualified vehicles are operational before Starliner flies all six of its CCtCap flights, then the three new Crew Dragon flights will not fly.

Whenever Boeing finally gets Starliner operational, NASA is obligated to pay Boeing at full CCtCap prices for six flights, even if Crew Dragon CCtCap flights are cheaper and even flights under CCTSTS (from Crew Dragon, Starliner, or other) are available.

A strong case can be made that a failure to make this sole-source award is prejudicial to potential CTSTS bidders, because if NASA has no contingency, the CCSTS schedule would need to require a crew-certified vehicle in 2023, and that would basically exclude anything except Crew Dragon and Starliner.

What alternative would you propose?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: ThomasGadd on 12/07/2021 05:47 pm
Even if congress funds ISS through 2030 there is a real risk of it failing before then or lasting few years longer. 
NASA hates single sourcing with Crew Dragon but they don't have choice.  Once Starliner is certified it will alternate Crew Dragon. 
If Starliner becomes in 2024 that gives then six years, more or less, of flights. 

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 12/07/2021 05:47 pm
Boeing has no need to bid on CCP flights in 2023 and beyond. They already won that bid and NASA will pay them for six flights, with the plan of alternating Starliner flights with Crew Dragon flights. This sole-source contract obligates SpaceX to provide extra flights in the event that Boeing cannot fulfill their contractual obligation to provide Starliner flights. If Starliner by some miracle becomes operational before the seventh Crew Dragon flight is needed, then Starliner will fly that flight instead. If Boeing can sustain a twice-yearly pace, then NASA can choose to use Starliner for six consecutive flights: they are under no obligation to actually use the three new Crew Dragon flights.  I think NASA would prefer to use flights under the new CCSTS contract, but that contract cannot magically cause crew-certified spacecraft to come into existence in 2023. That means NASA must fly on either Starliner, Crew Dragon, or Soyuz. They needed a contract mechanism that lets them fly on Crew Dragon if Starliner is not available, and a sole-source extension to CCtCap for additional contingent flights is the simplest contract mechanism for this.

If by some miracle Starliner becomes operational before Crew-7 flys and CCSTS contracts are awarded to some group of bidders and crew-qualified vehicles are operational before Starliner flies all six of its CCtCap flights, then the three new Crew Dragon flights will not fly.

Whenever Boeing finally gets Starliner operational, NASA is obligated to pay Boeing at full CCtCap prices for six flights, even if Crew Dragon CCtCap flights are cheaper and even flights under CCTSTS (from Crew Dragon, Starliner, or other) are available.

A strong case can be made that a failure to make this sole-source award is prejudicial to potential CTSTS bidders, because if NASA has no contingency, the CCSTS schedule would need to require a crew-certified vehicle in 2023, and that would basically exclude anything except Crew Dragon and Starliner.

What alternative would you propose?

I am guessing that your question is addressed to me (but you may want to fix the quote in your post  above this one).

I wasn't proposing any alternative. I think that what NASA is doing is great. I was simply trying to state that it would be better for NASA to proceed with the CCSTS as quickly as possible and I believe that is what they are doing.

If I were Sierra Space, I would want NASA to proceed as quickly as possible with the CCSTS round in order for them to get a contract for new missions.

If I were Boeing, I would want NASA to proceed with the CCSTS round in order for them to get more post certification missions, starting in 2027 (they only have six as of now).
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DanClemmensen on 12/07/2021 06:12 pm
Boeing has no need to bid on CCP flights in 2023 and beyond. They already won that bid and NASA will pay them for six flights, with the plan of alternating Starliner flights with Crew Dragon flights. This sole-source contract obligates SpaceX to provide extra flights in the event that Boeing cannot fulfill their contractual obligation to provide Starliner flights. If Starliner by some miracle becomes operational before the seventh Crew Dragon flight is needed, then Starliner will fly that flight instead. If Boeing can sustain a twice-yearly pace, then NASA can choose to use Starliner for six consecutive flights: they are under no obligation to actually use the three new Crew Dragon flights.  I think NASA would prefer to use flights under the new CCSTS contract, but that contract cannot magically cause crew-certified spacecraft to come into existence in 2023. That means NASA must fly on either Starliner, Crew Dragon, or Soyuz. They needed a contract mechanism that lets them fly on Crew Dragon if Starliner is not available, and a sole-source extension to CCtCap for additional contingent flights is the simplest contract mechanism for this.

If by some miracle Starliner becomes operational before Crew-7 flys and CCSTS contracts are awarded to some group of bidders and crew-qualified vehicles are operational before Starliner flies all six of its CCtCap flights, then the three new Crew Dragon flights will not fly.

Whenever Boeing finally gets Starliner operational, NASA is obligated to pay Boeing at full CCtCap prices for six flights, even if Crew Dragon CCtCap flights are cheaper and even flights under CCTSTS (from Crew Dragon, Starliner, or other) are available.

A strong case can be made that a failure to make this sole-source award is prejudicial to potential CTSTS bidders, because if NASA has no contingency, the CCSTS schedule would need to require a crew-certified vehicle in 2023, and that would basically exclude anything except Crew Dragon and Starliner.

What alternative would you propose?

I am guessing that your question is addressed to me (but you may want to fix the quote in your post  above this one).

I wasn't proposing any alternative. I think that what NASA is doing is great. I was simply trying to state that it would be better for NASA to proceed with the CCSTS as quickly as possible and I believe that is what they are doing.

If I were Sierra Space, I would want NASA to proceed as quickly as possible with the CCSTS round in order for them to get a contract for new missions.

If I were Boeing, I would want NASA to proceed with the CCSTS round in order for them to get more post certification missions, starting in 2027 (they only have six as of now).
If I were SpaceX, I would also want to see CCSTS as quickly as possible. My only problem would be how to decide how much to charge per mission. If CCSTS is to be structured like CCP, then each vendor proposed a schedule of milestones and milestone payments, and a price for each operational launch. SpaceX is in a position to propose Crew Dragon at $0 for any milestone prior to the first operational mission and propose a per-mission price that they think is slightly below the next-lowest bidder. They can even gamble and bid a higher per-mission price, guessing that NASA will fund two contracts and that they are almost certain to be one of them because they are the lowest-risk option.

SpaceX may also choose to make two separate bids, one for Crew Dragon and one for Starship. If they do, it will be interesting to see how NASA responds.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Joseph Peterson on 12/07/2021 06:21 pm
It was kinder than assuming you were being disingenuous.

That would have also been a bad assumption.

Here are a couple points that I argue are not bad assumptions.

- CCtCap bids were due in August 2013.  SpaceX wouldn't land a booster until December 2015 and reflight didn't happen until June 2017.  I believe it is reasonable to argue that when SpaceX crafted their CCtCap bid they did so assuming launches would happen on expended Falcons.

- Back in August 2013 private sector demand was unproven and NASA demand could be limited as few as two total operational missions at a tempo of one mission per year.  I believe it is reasonable to argue SpaceX crafted their CCtCap bid assuming one mission per year.

Reusing boosters and higher tempo are both things that should reduce SpaceX's per mission costs.  Whether or not these savings have already recovered unexpected Dragon 2 costs is something we don't know based on public information.  I would be disappointed in SpaceX cost estimating ability back in 2013 if they haven't done so by the time the six originally contracted missions have been completed though.



Returning to my original point, we need to reduce the cost to access space if we want to move beyond Earth in earnest.  Through no fault of their own SpaceX currently has a monopoly on American crew access to space.  I understand SpaceX can choose to profit from this monopoly.  I will be disappointed if we move further from the greater goal.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 12/07/2021 06:53 pm
Boeing has no need to bid on CCP flights in 2023 and beyond. They already won that bid and NASA will pay them for six flights, with the plan of alternating Starliner flights with Crew Dragon flights. This sole-source contract obligates SpaceX to provide extra flights in the event that Boeing cannot fulfill their contractual obligation to provide Starliner flights. If Starliner by some miracle becomes operational before the seventh Crew Dragon flight is needed, then Starliner will fly that flight instead. If Boeing can sustain a twice-yearly pace, then NASA can choose to use Starliner for six consecutive flights: they are under no obligation to actually use the three new Crew Dragon flights.  I think NASA would prefer to use flights under the new CCSTS contract, but that contract cannot magically cause crew-certified spacecraft to come into existence in 2023. That means NASA must fly on either Starliner, Crew Dragon, or Soyuz. They needed a contract mechanism that lets them fly on Crew Dragon if Starliner is not available, and a sole-source extension to CCtCap for additional contingent flights is the simplest contract mechanism for this.

If by some miracle Starliner becomes operational before Crew-7 flys and CCSTS contracts are awarded to some group of bidders and crew-qualified vehicles are operational before Starliner flies all six of its CCtCap flights, then the three new Crew Dragon flights will not fly.

Whenever Boeing finally gets Starliner operational, NASA is obligated to pay Boeing at full CCtCap prices for six flights, even if Crew Dragon CCtCap flights are cheaper and even flights under CCTSTS (from Crew Dragon, Starliner, or other) are available.

A strong case can be made that a failure to make this sole-source award is prejudicial to potential CTSTS bidders, because if NASA has no contingency, the CCSTS schedule would need to require a crew-certified vehicle in 2023, and that would basically exclude anything except Crew Dragon and Starliner.

What alternative would you propose?

I am guessing that your question is addressed to me (but you may want to fix the quote in your post  above this one).

I wasn't proposing any alternative. I think that what NASA is doing is great. I was simply trying to state that it would be better for NASA to proceed with the CCSTS as quickly as possible and I believe that is what they are doing.

If I were Sierra Space, I would want NASA to proceed as quickly as possible with the CCSTS round in order for them to get a contract for new missions.

If I were Boeing, I would want NASA to proceed with the CCSTS round in order for them to get more post certification missions, starting in 2027 (they only have six as of now).
If I were SpaceX, I would also want to see CCSTS as quickly as possible. My only problem would be how to decide how much to charge per mission. If CCSTS is to be structured like CCP, then each vendor proposed a schedule of milestones and milestone payments, and a price for each operational launch. SpaceX is in a position to propose Crew Dragon at $0 for any milestone prior to the first operational mission and propose a per-mission price that they think is slightly below the next-lowest bidder. They can even gamble and bid a higher per-mission price, guessing that NASA will fund two contracts and that they are almost certain to be one of them because they are the lowest-risk option.

SpaceX may also choose to make two separate bids, one for Crew Dragon and one for Starship. If they do, it will be interesting to see how NASA responds.

In the CCSTS RFI, it seems that NASA is considering having two parts to this round. One of them is for certification activities and the other is for services. It seems that NASA is considering having the option to buy the entire flight or only certain seats on the flights.

In the past companies such as NG and SpaceX with CRS2 have offered NASA more than one option and then let NASA decide what option it prefers (e.g. SpaceX offered both Dragon 1 and 2 for CRS2). I suspect that is what SpaceX will do for crewed Dragon and Starship. The additional complication for Starship is that it would need to be certified. I would expect that NASA will require at least one crewed demo mission prior to certifying a new system. I would expect SpaceX to also propose an uncrewed Starship demo mission.   
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 12/07/2021 07:30 pm
A sole source contract is a new solicitation.

Read the Sole Source Modification document (link here (https://sam.gov/opp/c4e1243132fa417bb40829eaf10fe509/view)), and you will see it says:
Quote
NASA Kennedy Space Center intends to issue a sole source modification to SpaceX under the authority of FAR 6.302-1 to acquire up to three Post Certification Missions (PCMs) under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capabilities (CCtCap) contract NNK14MA74C in order to enable NASA to meet its mission requirements to maintain crew onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and to meet obligations under agreements with its International Partners.

1- So this is NOT a new solicitation, this is just a modification of the existing CCtCap contract.

Quote
By definition it means that other providers were excluded.

2- As a reminder for everyone, the CCtCap contract only has SpaceX and Boeing as providers, and this Sole Source Modification is being done because Boeing is unable to provide the transportation services that NASA requires. Which means that NASA needs to rely on the only certified crew transportation provider, SpaceX, more than they anticipated. And as the customer, NASA has the right to make such decisions.

Quote
NASA could have decided to use the CCSTS round for these post-certification missions but it didn't.

3- No, they could not have done that, because the CCSTS is only an RFI, not a funded program. RFI's are only mechanisms for soliciting information, they are NOT a mechanism for competing and awarding contracts for services.

Quote
Boeing can bid on a new solicitation provided that it is not sole-sourced.

4- Um, of course. Who said otherwise?

Quote
5- You can argue that Boeing won't be ready on time for some of these missions but probably not all of them.

I never argued that. I only stated that Boeing was not guaranteed to win anything under a new contract beyond CCtCap. They have always been the most expensive option for crew transportation services, and if Sierra Space gets Dream Chaser into a more mature position than they were with the CCtCap competition, they could push Boeing out of the #2 spot.

Quote
I think that is why NASA said up to 3 missions will be sole-sourced to SpaceX, it may end up being less than 3.

The Sole Source Modification states "acquire up to three Post Certification Missions (PCMs)", so of course NASA is allowing for the possibility that Boeing will finally (Finally!) get Starliner operational and certified. But NASA is also making sure they have the flexibility in case Boeing is not ready.

From NASA's standpoint they are just being prudent in looking out for their own needs, not Boeing's needs.

1- It is still a new solicitation, even though it modifies an existing contract.

Quote from: Law Dictionary
Noncompetitive Proposals (Sole Sourcing) Procurement by noncompetitive proposals is procurement through solicitation of a proposal from only one source
https://www.lawinsider.com/dictionary/sole-sourcing

2- I was referring to CCSTS. It was fairly obvious from the context (the second sentence explains the meaning of the first one).

3- An RFI is the start of the process. I meant that NASA could have used the RFP that will likely follow this RFI to purchase these additional missions. This was also fairly obvious from the context.

https://www.lawinsider.com/dictionary/sole-sourcing

4- I was just making a general point about the difference between CCSTS and the sole-sourcing contract modification.

5- I meant a general "you", not you specifically.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DanClemmensen on 12/07/2021 07:50 pm
[...]
SpaceX may also choose to make two separate bids, one for Crew Dragon and one for Starship. If they do, it will be interesting to see how NASA responds.
[...]
In the past companies such as NG and SpaceX with CRS2 have offered NASA more than one option and then let NASA decide what option it prefers (e.g. SpaceX offered both Dragon 1 and 2 for CRS2). I suspect that is what SpaceX will do for crewed Dragon and Starship. The additional complication for Starship is that it would need to be certified. I would expect that NASA will require at least one crewed demo mission prior to certifying a new system. I would expect SpaceX to also propose an uncrewed Starship demo mission.
Yes: in this case two radically different proposals. Crew Dragon: $0 development, $70 million per seat operational.  Starship: $1 billion development (mostly for certification and testing), $50 million/flight for the first 5 seats + 50 tons of cargo and and $1million/seat for up to 50 additional seats per flight. They are so different that NASA should choose both, if they can see a way to crew-certify Starship.

If NASA and SpaceX cannot agree on a way to certify without an LES, SpaceX could choose to implement one. Hideously expensive and kludgy but doable, requiring a higher development cost, lower max crew size, and a higher per-flight price. The crew launches in ejection pods, say 4 crew per pod, say 5 pods, which eject on the dorsal side of the Starship at a 45 degree angle toward the bow. This uses up a huge amount of the mass budget. I really want to see the video of the launch abort test.  ;D
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/07/2021 09:16 pm
A sole source contract is a new solicitation.

Read the Sole Source Modification document (link here (https://sam.gov/opp/c4e1243132fa417bb40829eaf10fe509/view)), and you will see it says:
Quote
NASA Kennedy Space Center intends to issue a sole source modification to SpaceX under the authority of FAR 6.302-1 to acquire up to three Post Certification Missions (PCMs) under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capabilities (CCtCap) contract NNK14MA74C in order to enable NASA to meet its mission requirements to maintain crew onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and to meet obligations under agreements with its International Partners.
1- So this is NOT a new solicitation, this is just a modification of the existing CCtCap contract.

1- It is still a new solicitation, even though it modifies an existing contract.

No. I've worked for companies that have received many sole source contract awards, and this is not an award of a contract, this is a MODIFICATION of an existing contract. In order to have a solicitation they would have needed a work description, which they didn't need because this is just a modification of an EXISTING contract, not the creation of a NEW contract.

The existing CCtCap contract put a cap on mission awards, so this contract modification increases the missions that SpaceX can perform under the existing contract. No new contract required. This is pretty standard stuff if you have worked in the government contracting world.

Quote
Quote
Quote
By definition it means that other providers were excluded.

2- As a reminder for everyone, the CCtCap contract only has SpaceX and Boeing as providers, and this Sole Source Modification is being done because Boeing is unable to provide the transportation services that NASA requires. Which means that NASA needs to rely on the only certified crew transportation provider, SpaceX, more than they anticipated. And as the customer, NASA has the right to make such decisions.

2- I was referring to CCSTS. It was fairly obvious from the context (the second sentence explains the meaning of the first one)

You couldn't have been referring to the CCSTS RFI since the RFI doesn't exclude anyone - it is asking for industry input. How could they have excluded anyone?

And you were talking about a "sole source contract", and that could only have been the CCtCap contract, since NASA states specifically that this was a modification to CCtCap.

Quote
Quote
Quote
NASA could have decided to use the CCSTS round for these post-certification missions but it didn't.
3- No, they could not have done that, because the CCSTS is only an RFI, not a funded program. RFI's are only mechanisms for soliciting information, they are NOT a mechanism for competing and awarding contracts for services.

3- An RFI is the start of the process. I meant that NASA could have used the RFP that will likely follow this RFI to purchase these additional missions. This was also fairly obvious from the context.

No, not obvious from the context, since RFI's don't always lead to RFQ's, and RFQ's don't always lead to contracts.

I assume you are being more specific when you state something, and not being nebulous. Is that a bad assumption?

Quote
Quote
Quote
5- You can argue that Boeing won't be ready on time for some of these missions but probably not all of them.

I never argued that. I only stated that Boeing was not guaranteed to win anything under a new contract beyond CCtCap. They have always been the most expensive option for crew transportation services, and if Sierra Space gets Dream Chaser into a more mature position than they were with the CCtCap competition, they could push Boeing out of the #2 spot.

5- I meant a general "you", not you specifically.

You said "you". If you meant the public in general you would have said something like "Many could argue...", but instead you wrote "you" in response to my post. I'm not a mind reader, so I assumed you actually meant what you wrote.

If you don't want me to assume you mean EXACTLY what you write, then you should put a disclaimer on your posts...  ;)

Also, while I appreciate the numbering system you employed, responding in-line would be easier to understand, because otherwise the audience has to jump up and down between my statements and your answers to try and figure out what is being said.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 12/09/2021 12:55 pm
A sole source contract is a new solicitation.

Read the Sole Source Modification document (link here (https://sam.gov/opp/c4e1243132fa417bb40829eaf10fe509/view)), and you will see it says:
Quote
NASA Kennedy Space Center intends to issue a sole source modification to SpaceX under the authority of FAR 6.302-1 to acquire up to three Post Certification Missions (PCMs) under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capabilities (CCtCap) contract NNK14MA74C in order to enable NASA to meet its mission requirements to maintain crew onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and to meet obligations under agreements with its International Partners.
1- So this is NOT a new solicitation, this is just a modification of the existing CCtCap contract.

1- It is still a new solicitation, even though it modifies an existing contract.

No. I've worked for companies that have received many sole source contract awards, and this is not an award of a contract, this is a MODIFICATION of an existing contract. In order to have a solicitation they would have needed a work description, which they didn't need because this is just a modification of an EXISTING contract, not the creation of a NEW contract.

The existing CCtCap contract put a cap on mission awards, so this contract modification increases the missions that SpaceX can perform under the existing contract. No new contract required. This is pretty standard stuff if you have worked in the government contracting world.

The Google (Oxford Languages) definition of solicitation is the following "the act of asking for or trying to obtain something from someone.". By that definition the sole source contract modification for SpaceX is a solicitation. I never said that it wasn't a modification of the contract. You are putting words in my mouth again...

Quote
You said "you". If you meant the public in general you would have said something like "Many could argue...", but instead you wrote "you" in response to my post.

It is possible to use you in a generic way (to mean a person in general):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_you

The rest of your post is more nitpicking at my posts and adds nothing to the conversation. So I prefer not to encourage your nitpicking.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: deadman719 on 12/18/2021 10:54 pm
With news that Russia will launch a cosmonaut to the ISS on a Dragon, what happens when Starliner begins flying operational missions? Roscomos was hesitant to allow crews to use Dragon due to safety concerns. How many Starliner flights does the form believe are required to allay any similar safety concerns?

How does the US maintain a constant presence if Roscosmos doesn't fly on Starliner for the first few operational missions? Could NASA secure a seat on a Soyuz via a purchase by Boeing?  From a contractual point of view, NASA could seek consideration from Boeing as a way to pay for the seat.

I don't recall seeing this issue discussed previously.

Respectfully,
Rob
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Rebel44 on 12/18/2021 11:26 pm
With news that Russia will launch a cosmonaut to the ISS on a Dragon, what happens when Starliner begins flying operational missions? Roscomos was hesitant to allow crews to use Dragon due to safety concerns. How many Starliner flights does the form believe are required to allay any similar safety concerns?

How does the US maintain a constant presence if Roscosmos doesn't fly on Starliner for the first few operational missions? Could NASA secure a seat on a Soyuz via a purchase by Boeing?  From a contractual point of view, NASA could seek consideration from Boeing as a way to pay for the seat.

I don't recall seeing this issue discussed previously.

Respectfully,
Rob

I would expect that Russia might not allow their cosmonauts to use Starliner before 3-4 consecutive successful crewed missions - just like they did with Crew Dragon. I have no idea how will NASA deal with that situation.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Zed_Noir on 12/19/2021 01:47 am
With news that Russia will launch a cosmonaut to the ISS on a Dragon, what happens when Starliner begins flying operational missions? Roscomos was hesitant to allow crews to use Dragon due to safety concerns. How many Starliner flights does the form believe are required to allay any similar safety concerns?

How does the US maintain a constant presence if Roscosmos doesn't fly on Starliner for the first few operational missions? Could NASA secure a seat on a Soyuz via a purchase by Boeing?  From a contractual point of view, NASA could seek consideration from Boeing as a way to pay for the seat.

I don't recall seeing this issue discussed previously.

Respectfully,
Rob

I would expect that Russia might not allow their cosmonauts to use Starliner before 3-4 consecutive successful crewed missions - just like they did with Crew Dragon. I have no idea how will NASA deal with that situation.


Presuming NASA don't have consecutive operational Starliner flights. NASA could deal with this particular situation by buying a few seats on Axiom missions with one cosmonaut going up and one astronaut coming down. The cosmonaut comes back in a later Crew Dragon.


And I don't think the Russians will let any of their crew fly on the Starliner until after the fourth operational flight if there is no more issues.

Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: su27k on 12/24/2021 03:58 am
Interesting interview of Phil McAlister, Director of Commercial Spaceflight at NASA, covers COTS, Commercial Crew and CLD: https://mainenginecutoff.com/podcast/205
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: yg1968 on 12/28/2021 11:43 pm
Interesting interview of Phil McAlister, Director of Commercial Spaceflight at NASA, covers COTS, Commercial Crew and CLD: https://mainenginecutoff.com/podcast/205

Yes, very interesting. McAlister is great. One of the things that McAlister said at the beginning of the interview is that he wished that NASA had continued with SAAs for commercial crew for a longer time that it did.

I agree with him, my own view (which I had expressed at the time) is that the optional milestones under CCiCap (which was governed by SAAs) should have been exercised and NASA should have continued under CCiCap until the demo crewed flights were completed. In other words, CCtCap (which is under FAR) should have started only after the demo flights.
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: Coastal Ron on 12/29/2021 12:07 am
Interesting interview of Phil McAlister, Director of Commercial Spaceflight at NASA, covers COTS, Commercial Crew and CLD: https://mainenginecutoff.com/podcast/205

Yes, very interesting. McAlister is great. One of the things that McAlister said at the beginning of the interview is that he wished that NASA had continued with SAAs for commercial crew for a longer time that it did.

I agree with him, my own view (which I had expressed at the time) is that the optional milestones under CCiCap (which was governed by SAAs) should have been exercised and NASA should have continued under CCiCap until the demo crewed flights were completed. In other words, CCtCap (which is under FAR) should have started only after the demo flights.

Lots of lessons learned with the Commercial Crew development program, with some more to go (*cough* Boeing *cough*).

Contracts are important for both the buyer and the provider, and while SAA's are convenient for unpaid and/or not-too-well structured activities, providers may actually want firm contracts when significant amounts of money are at stake.

So it would interesting to see what Phil McAlister thought would be accomplished by extending the use of SAA's in major programs. Was he hoping for risk reduction of some sort? Or better insight into what the actual cost would be for both NASA and the providers?
Title: Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
Post by: DigitalMan on 12/29/2021 01:06 am
Interesting interview of Phil McAlister, Director of Commercial Spaceflight at NASA, covers COTS, Commercial Crew and CLD: https://mainenginecutoff.com/podcast/205

Yes, very interesting. McAlister is great. One of the things that Mc