Author Topic: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3  (Read 242136 times)

Online gongora

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Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« 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.

Online gongora

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #1 on: 09/30/2019 11:32 pm »
[CNN] Elon Musk: Crew Dragon spacecraft for NASA could fly astronauts in 3 to 4 months
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."

Online gongora

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #2 on: 09/30/2019 11:33 pm »
Please try to keep discussion civil.

Online butters

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #3 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.

Offline Draggendrop

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #4 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

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..

Offline b0objunior

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #5 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.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #6 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.

Online DigitalMan

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #7 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.

Online Bananas_on_Mars

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #8 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"

Released on september 27th, but the interview took place on August 20th.
« Last Edit: 10/01/2019 05:07 pm by Bananas_on_Mars »

Offline PM3

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #9 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 Ö during a test. If that wouldnít 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 thatís 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 thatís 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?
"Never, never be afraid of the truth." -- Jim Bridenstine

Offline HeartofGold2030

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #10 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 Ö during a test. If that wouldnít 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 thatís 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 thatís 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 isnít new, Bridenstine is just generally pessimistic about commercial crew in interviews from my experience. For example, this isnít actually the first time heís poured cold water on one of SpaceXís aspirational schedules for CC in an interview.

Offline jadebenn

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #11 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.

Offline watermod

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #12 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.

Online gongora

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #13 on: 10/02/2019 03:54 am »
The Crew Dragon anomaly didn't have anything to do with salt water.

Offline su27k

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #14 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.

Offline ulm_atms

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #15 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 Ö during a test. If that wouldnít 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 thatís 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 thatís 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!  :(

Online Comga

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #16 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.
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Online theinternetftw

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #17 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...

Quote
Evidence shows that a leaking component allowed liquid oxidizer Ė nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) Ė 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.

Offline su27k

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #18 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, 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:

Quote
NASAís 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 NASAís 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.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Commercial Crew - Discussion Thread 3
« Reply #19 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)

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