Author Topic: ULA to use their experience to build a culture of Atlas V crew safety  (Read 11022 times)


Offline Lee Jay

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Really great article, Chris.  And that thread was (is) a top NSF thread too!  Thanks to Dr. Sowers for being so friendly and helpful.

Offline Seattle Dave

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That's a really cool article! Really enjoyed reading that, and the part where ULA will have to teach the Atlas V not to be so gun ho if the crew is at risk, or not to panic because it has a "biological payload" ;D

Offline Eer

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I particularly appreciated the discussion about changing the focus, or perhaps you could say "bias", of the on board personality of the launcher from "achieve orbit" to "save the crew" without introducing a tendency to cause false aborts.  I hadn't thought through how that reflects subtle changes (and probably some not-so-subtle changes) to limits and logic, both.

Offline yg1968

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Good article.


Offline baldusi

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Very nice article Chris.
I'm still interested, that in the QA he actually said that they had coordinated clocking with SNC and Boeing, in fact, he said that "Yes, and as a launch provider, we try to maintain compatibility with all potential spacecraft." Could this mean that SpaceX and ULA are sort of coordinating through backchannels and/or SNC and Boeing things like clocking and such? Could this be the birth of some "de facto" standard for US space vehicles? I've noticed that in the SNC concept video, the ULA crew access is on the port side. It would be interesting when the SpaceX crew access is released to the public to see if they have gone with a similar clocking. If I were SpaceX, I would try to get the same way for SNC and Boeing to be able to bid on their LV needs. And ULA has already coordinated SNC and CST, so might as well coordinate with the Dragon so they can, at least state, that they can offer a backup capability.

Offline Jim

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Very nice article Chris.
I'm still interested, that in the QA he actually said that they had coordinated clocking with SNC and Boeing, in fact, he said that "Yes, and as a launch provider, we try to maintain compatibility with all potential spacecraft." Could this mean that SpaceX and ULA are sort of coordinating through backchannels and/or SNC and Boeing things like clocking and such? Could this be the birth of some "de facto" standard for US space vehicles? I've noticed that in the SNC concept video, the ULA crew access is on the port side. It would be interesting when the SpaceX crew access is released to the public to see if they have gone with a similar clocking. If I were SpaceX, I would try to get the same way for SNC and Boeing to be able to bid on their LV needs. And ULA has already coordinated SNC and CST, so might as well coordinate with the Dragon so they can, at least state, that they can offer a backup capability.

No, not really.  It is ULA just working with its customers.  There is no "standard" to be made.  Atlas has its own umbilical locations, as well as Delta and Falcon.  This constrains the possible available clocking positions as it relates to spacecraft access.   Then there is the flight orientation considerations (the preferred launch vehicle orientation may not be the same as the spacecraft)

Any "standard" would only work on new launch vehicles. 

Offline Downix

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Very nice article Chris.
I'm still interested, that in the QA he actually said that they had coordinated clocking with SNC and Boeing, in fact, he said that "Yes, and as a launch provider, we try to maintain compatibility with all potential spacecraft." Could this mean that SpaceX and ULA are sort of coordinating through backchannels and/or SNC and Boeing things like clocking and such? Could this be the birth of some "de facto" standard for US space vehicles? I've noticed that in the SNC concept video, the ULA crew access is on the port side. It would be interesting when the SpaceX crew access is released to the public to see if they have gone with a similar clocking. If I were SpaceX, I would try to get the same way for SNC and Boeing to be able to bid on their LV needs. And ULA has already coordinated SNC and CST, so might as well coordinate with the Dragon so they can, at least state, that they can offer a backup capability.

No, not really.  It is ULA just working with its customers.  There is no "standard" to be made.  Atlas has its own umbilical locations, as well as Delta and Falcon.  This constrains the possible available clocking positions as it relates to spacecraft access.   Then there is the flight orientation considerations (the preferred launch vehicle orientation may not be the same as the spacecraft)

Any "standard" would only work on new launch vehicles. 
Unless of course the "standard" was for a mobile launch platform interface to the pad, in which case the individual launchers would not require a change.
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Offline Jim

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This can be deleted later.  Where is the link of the USA concept of new mlp that can handle all the vehicles (Delta, Atlas and Falcon)?

Offline Downix

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This can be deleted later.  Where is the link of the USA concept of new mlp that can handle all the vehicles (Delta, Atlas and Falcon)?
I don't know, you tell us, because that's the opposite of what I just mentioned.

Different MLP, standardized pad.
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Offline arachnitect

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This can be deleted later.  Where is the link of the USA concept of new mlp that can handle all the vehicles (Delta, Atlas and Falcon)?

This is what's up on USA's site:

http://www.unitedspacealliance.com/universal-launch-complex.cfm

Not much detail there.

Offline baldusi

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Very nice article Chris.
I'm still interested, that in the QA he actually said that they had coordinated clocking with SNC and Boeing, in fact, he said that "Yes, and as a launch provider, we try to maintain compatibility with all potential spacecraft." Could this mean that SpaceX and ULA are sort of coordinating through backchannels and/or SNC and Boeing things like clocking and such? Could this be the birth of some "de facto" standard for US space vehicles? I've noticed that in the SNC concept video, the ULA crew access is on the port side. It would be interesting when the SpaceX crew access is released to the public to see if they have gone with a similar clocking. If I were SpaceX, I would try to get the same way for SNC and Boeing to be able to bid on their LV needs. And ULA has already coordinated SNC and CST, so might as well coordinate with the Dragon so they can, at least state, that they can offer a backup capability.

No, not really.  It is ULA just working with its customers.  There is no "standard" to be made.  Atlas has its own umbilical locations, as well as Delta and Falcon.  This constrains the possible available clocking positions as it relates to spacecraft access.   Then there is the flight orientation considerations (the preferred launch vehicle orientation may not be the same as the spacecraft)

Any "standard" would only work on new launch vehicles. 
Please help me here because there's some issue that I don't quite get. LV, usually due to feed pipes and scuh probably have some side that will be zenith and some nadir. Crewed capsules would probably want the crew to fly with their heads to zenith. So, this clocking constraint should be sort of the binding constraint. CST has stated that they are LV agnostic, so I'm assuming that an interface to the capsule can be made in (roughly) any clocking as long as the capsule has some "sane" design. Am I right upto here?
I've seen that the Delta IV has the 0deg at the tower access, the Falcon 9 has the 180deg at the erector. But in both cases the side on the tower/erector is then pointed to the zenith. I haven't quite got the Atlas V coordinate system. But from the SNC video it would seem that it's also the case for Atlas V. In fact, I would expect that to be the EELV standard so that payloads are easier to move from one vehicle to the other.
If that's the case, then, given that you don't want your pilots to fly upside down, they'll have their seats pointing to the tower. In such case, the most important election would be port or starboard for the crew access. Height would be kind of more difficult, but if it's just for crew access it shouldn't be that difficult to make an access that can be a couple of meters higher or lower. Obviously gases, liquids, power and data would be sort of more custom.
But my point is that roughly, things should get relatively easy to adapt from one vehicle to the other if they put all the access on the "zenith" side of the spacecraft and the crew access slightly to port (like 30 to 45 deg).
At least, that's the reasoning that I did. Since you're much more knowledgeable, I would like to understand what I'm missing.

Offline Jim

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Unless of course the "standard" was for a mobile launch platform interface to the pad, in which case the individual launchers would not require a change.

No, because the crew access is not on the MLP.

Offline Jim

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But my point is that roughly, things should get relatively easy to adapt from one vehicle to the other if they put all the access on the "zenith" side of the spacecraft and the crew access slightly to port (like 30 to 45 deg).
At least, that's the reasoning that I did. Since you're much more knowledgeable, I would like to understand what I'm missing.

Take Orion.  The crew enters from the side and not the "zenith" like Apollo.

Offline beancounter

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Can't honestly see SpaceX sharing rides with other companies.  They're more like Apple in that respect.
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Offline Downix

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Unless of course the "standard" was for a mobile launch platform interface to the pad, in which case the individual launchers would not require a change.

No, because the crew access is not on the MLP.
They've already built them, without anyone noticing?

Where?!?!


Saturn had crew access on its MLP, so your argument falls apart.
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Offline Jim

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Saturn had crew access on its MLP, so your argument falls apart.

We aren't talking Saturns and no one is going to use LC-39 with vehicle specific MLP's, so your argument falls apart.

« Last Edit: 08/30/2012 01:19 AM by Jim »

Offline Downix

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Saturn had crew access on its MLP, so your argument falls apart.

We aren't talking Saturns and no one is going to use LC-39 with vehicle specific MLP's, so your argument falls apart.

My argument is that a common pad, did not specify which, could be used for the different launchers if they used a common framework. I used the Saturn as an example that such platforms can and have carried crew access, so to make any claims to the contrary is silly. So, you're still wrong.
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Offline john smith 19

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http://www.unitedspacealliance.com/universal-launch-complex.cfm

Not much detail there.
True.

But very neat. I wonder how much of this is encouraged by ULA's desire to lower their costs by going for commonality between elements of Delta and Atlas. I guess once your pad (or pads) can accommodate both of them it's not that big a leap to the idea of making it totally flexible to handle major known (or *plausible*) architectures.

Any idea how far this idea has got?
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