Author Topic: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2  (Read 522473 times)

Offline NovaSilisko

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #660 on: 10/17/2014 07:51 pm »
From the image on this page... http://www.nasa.gov/content/boeing-finishes-commercial-crew-space-act-agreement-for-cst-100atlas-v/#.VEFrEPnF8n0

Looks like the artist might've been a little rushed, the model normals for the RCS covers are inverted   ;)

edit: Actually there are a -lot- of little mistakes like that, visible gaps between objects, no holddowns on the Atlas...
« Last Edit: 10/17/2014 07:53 pm by NovaSilisko »

Online SWGlassPit

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #661 on: 10/17/2014 08:24 pm »
From the image on this page... http://www.nasa.gov/content/boeing-finishes-commercial-crew-space-act-agreement-for-cst-100atlas-v/#.VEFrEPnF8n0

Looks like the artist might've been a little rushed, the model normals for the RCS covers are inverted   ;)

edit: Actually there are a -lot- of little mistakes like that, visible gaps between objects, no holddowns on the Atlas...

Looks like the tower truss elements are just floating too -- no hardware connecting the I-beams to each other.

Offline jacqmans

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #662 on: 10/18/2014 01:40 pm »

October 17, 2014


Boeing Concludes Commercial Crew Space Act Agreement for CST-100/Atlas V

Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket.

NASA in July approved the Critical Design Review Board milestone for Boeing’s crew transportation system, confirming the detailed designs and plans for test and evaluation form a satisfactory basis to proceed with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and testing. It is the culmination of four years of development work by Boeing beginning when the company partnered with NASA during the first round of agreements to develop commercial crew transportation systems. To get to this point, extensive spacecraft subsystem, systems, and integrated vehicle design work has been performed, along with extensive component and wind tunnel testing.

Boeing is one of eight companies NASA partnered with during the last four years to develop a human-rated transportation system capable of flying people to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station. NASA’s unique approach encouraged companies to invest their own financial resources in the effort and open up a new industry of private space travel. Other current NASA partners Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX all are deep in development of their own commercial crew transportation systems under separate Space Act Agreements.

NASA's spaceflight specialists from a variety of technical expertise areas not only assisted the companies but also worked closely with them in judging progress and deciding whether milestones in the Space Act Agreements were met.

The partnership with Boeing began in 2010 when NASA selected the company as one of five awardees for the first phase of commercial crew development. NASA’s second round of development awards in April 2011 also included Boeing and called for the CST-100 crew transportation system design to be advanced to the preliminary design review point.

The CCiCap initiative, the third phase of development, began in August 2012 when NASA announced an agreement with Boeing totaling $460 million to advance the design of the integrated transportation system. NASA added an optional milestone in 2013, bringing the total level of NASA investment in Boeing for CCiCap to $480 million.

Development work aligned with milestone goals of the initiative, and work took place at numerous locations across the country to take advantage of unique facilities.

Engineering teams tested and modified mission flight software, including launch, docking, on-orbit, and re-entry and landing maneuvers. Teams conducted mission simulations to advance communications and mission operations planning.

Models of the CST-100 and the Atlas V launch vehicle were tested in wind tunnels. Launch abort engines and thrusters the spacecraft will use for maneuvering in space were test-fired. Work was done to refine the spacecraft and service module designs and make modifications required for human rating the existing commercially available United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

Ground systems design and operation included launch site modification plans for crews and pad workers. Landing and recovery details also were conceived, reviewed, tested and approved.

All this work ensured Boeing’s crew transportation system matured to the verge of flight test article construction.

NASA's goal for the Commercial Crew Program is to facilitate the development of a U.S. commercial crew space transportation capability with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station. The next and final phase of commercial crew development was announced recently with the award of Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts to Boeing and SpaceX. With the new contracts, NASA’s goal is to certify crew transportation systems in 2017 that will return the ability to launch astronauts from American soil to the International Space Station using privately built spacecraft.

For more information about NASA's Commercial Crew Program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

Offline rusty

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #663 on: 10/21/2014 10:19 pm »
As to milestones during CCiCap, again despite Boeing's seeming advantages both financially and technically, they were not doing any full up hardware testing like SNC and SpaceX, and with what appeared to be the most basic design they still cost $1.6B more than SpaceX for CCtCap.
Yes, Boeing's CCiCap goals were more conservative.  Yes, they got more money.  However, Boeing's CCiCap execution was near faultless...
We already agree that Boeing had the most conservative design, and I would argue that they also had the most conservative milestone schedule too.  No tests with vehicles like Sierra Nevada and SpaceX.  They pushed off that type of work into CCtCap, which depending on your point of view actually increases the risk potential that they could fail, since they weren't able to validate their designs earlier in the Commercial Crew program.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Folks here are definitely losing objectivity and missing some key facts.  The points of CCDev 1, 2 and iCAP were to mature their designs and reduce risk.  By reduce risk, the companies were to identify their riskier areas and then conduct milestones to mitigate those risks.  For DC it mean developing and flight test model and performing a drop test, among others since that was one of the bigger, newer things for it.
For Boeing, for example, developing their abort engines, Atlas abort system and air bag systems were significant risks.  So that was their major milestones.  Their approach has been to leverage heavily off of Apollo and more significantly Orion (modern analysis etc to rely on).  So folks criticize Boeing for picking a boring capsule - but that is why they did it.  Then people criticize them for not doing more hardware tests - but there was no need to.  Also, the paid milestones are not all the work the companies have been doing.
"For Boeing, for example," you've outlined how they didn't actually DO anything to get such a massive contract and what minimal effort and absence of engineering they put forth. The "significant risks" were addressed by using other's work, previous designs and putting off testing them. The capsule is based on others work, previous designs and no where near actually tested.
The only thing that can be chalked up to Boeing is "modern analysis" aka algorithmic work on their CAD compilations. In that regard, I'd point out algorithms are no substitute for the hardware tests Boeing explicitly didn't do unlike its competitors. ie; on Boeing's 787, hardware tests revealed algorithmic conclusions to be insufficient - the wingbox (delaminated), power systems (failed and fires) and fuel lines (expansion); on Lockheed's LCS, waves predictably caused the hull and structure to fracture.
The only task Being actually completed (the "significant risks" were only addressed, not completed) was crunching numbers on their Powerpoint proposal and accounts for exactly bumpkiss towards developing a system. But somehow this justified a four-plus billion dollar contract at the expense of a more developed, capable and cheaper proposal. Something stinks, and it ain't me.

Offline Nindalf

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #664 on: 10/21/2014 11:11 pm »
Something stinks, and it ain't me.

^^Yet another person who doesn't understand the engineering design process.
There isn't just one engineering design process.  The mere fact of having completed the design review doesn't mean anything definite, except that it's a box ticked off on a NASA check list.

But the other hand, Boeing has clearly done considerably more than analysis and powerpoints.  They've built and tested hardware, even if they haven't built a complete capsule yet.

Offline Patchouli

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #665 on: 10/21/2014 11:44 pm »

"For Boeing, for example," you've outlined how they didn't actually DO anything to get such a massive contract and what minimal effort and absence of engineering they put forth. The "significant risks" were addressed by using other's work, previous designs and putting off testing them. The capsule is based on others work, previous designs and no where near actually tested.
The only thing that can be chalked up to Boeing is "modern analysis" aka algorithmic work on their CAD compilations. In that regard, I'd point out algorithms are no substitute for the hardware tests Boeing explicitly didn't do unlike its competitors. ie; on Boeing's 787, hardware tests revealed algorithmic conclusions to be insufficient - the wingbox (delaminated), power systems (failed and fires) and fuel lines (expansion); on Lockheed's LCS, waves predictably caused the hull and structure to fracture.
The only task Being actually completed (the "significant risks" were only addressed, not completed) was crunching numbers on their Powerpoint proposal and accounts for exactly bumpkiss towards developing a system. But somehow this justified a four-plus billion dollar contract at the expense of a more developed, capable and cheaper proposal. Something stinks, and it ain't me.

I expect the CST-100 to work as there is nothing about the design that pushes the boundaries so or tries anything new.
As for their design philosophy they are a huge traditional aerospace company and this is how they tend to operate vs the build ,test and refine philosophy like Spacex or even SNC.

But as a tax payer I feel that four plus billion could have been better spent as like Musk said it costs much more but does less then Dragon V2.

Musk probably would not have been so cheeky if SNC was his competitor.
« Last Edit: 10/21/2014 11:48 pm by Patchouli »

Offline mkent

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #666 on: 10/21/2014 11:47 pm »
Something stinks, and it ain't me.

^^Yet another person who doesn't understand the engineering design process.
There isn't just one engineering design process.  The mere fact of having completed the design review doesn't mean anything definite, except that it's a box ticked off on a NASA check list.

This is what it means:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35717.msg1272734#msg1272734

Quote
But the other hand, Boeing has clearly done considerably more than analysis and powerpoints.  They've built and tested hardware, even if they haven't built a complete capsule yet.

Offline Nindalf

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #667 on: 10/21/2014 11:58 pm »
Something stinks, and it ain't me.

^^Yet another person who doesn't understand the engineering design process.
There isn't just one engineering design process.  The mere fact of having completed the design review doesn't mean anything definite, except that it's a box ticked off on a NASA check list.

This is what it means:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=35717.msg1272734#msg1272734
Yeah, sure.  And this is what else it means:

I have a friend who worked designing cruise missiles (for a group that is now part of Boeing).  He described CDRs in rather unflattering terms.
...
He said that neither of the main CDR goals (Is the design sound?  Is it ready for fabrication?) was advanced by the CDR.  The first had been settled long ago, by informal meetings between the relevant technical experts.   It was unthinkable that anyone would advance to a CDR with any serious technical questions unanswered.
...
When he switched to the military side of the house (not by choice, his commercial product got cancelled),  he started to have to run formal CDRs.  He felt the process sucked up an enormous amount of engineering time, to very little practical benefit.

In a perfect world, the CDR is where you certify that the design is complete and correct and you are ready to start cutting metal - but in reality, with concurrent engineering practices the wall between "design" and "fabrication" is largely broken down.
...
The other thing is that there is no such monolithic thing as "CDR". Every individual system usually has their own CDR, and in some organizations they have both "internal CDRs" and "external CDRs". There are "Mission System CDRs" and "Flight System CDRs" and "Program CDRs".
...
the worst CDRs I've ever been involved with were the ones where the organization wasn't ready, but the program schedule said this was when the CDR took place, and they held it anyway. That wastes everyone's time for a week and gives rise to the worst possible outcome, a "Delta CDR" where you spend another week doing it all over again.

Exactly what a CDR means varies from case to case, and when the CDR is a contract milestone you get paid for meeting, it clearly means a lot less because you're given such a strong incentive to declare it completed.

Offline OpsAnalyst

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #668 on: 10/22/2014 12:18 am »

Exactly what a CDR means varies from case to case, and when the CDR is a contract milestone you get paid for meeting, it clearly means a lot less because you're given such a strong incentive to declare it completed.

Clearly. Right.  Because, clearly, it couldn't be that a company has internal checks and balances, hires top-notch consultants to get additional insights and external checks on its checks and balances, and the teams involved have not only professional capability but pride invested in doing a good job.

Sheesh.
« Last Edit: 10/22/2014 12:22 am by OpsAnalyst »

Online Herb Schaltegger

By CDR, you damn well better NOT have any "serious technical question unanswered." You have PLENTY of them at PDR, but between closure of all outstanding RIDs and sign-off on the PDR and the time you put your CDR deliverables together, the very definition of the "final design process" includes addressing all the questions and concerns raised at PDR, you are ready to bend metal.
Ad astra per aspirin ...

Offline Nindalf

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #670 on: 10/22/2014 01:25 am »

Exactly what a CDR means varies from case to case, and when the CDR is a contract milestone you get paid for meeting, it clearly means a lot less because you're given such a strong incentive to declare it completed.

Clearly. Right.  Because, clearly, it couldn't be that a company has internal checks and balances, hires top-notch consultants to get additional insights and external checks on its checks and balances, and the teams involved have not only professional capability but pride invested in doing a good job.

Sheesh.
I'm talking about what having the CDR done means, not what the situation may be when the CDR is done.

obi-wan mentioned cases where people just did a CDR prematurely for the sake of keeping on schedule, and then quietly did the real one when they were ready for it.

Because these kinds of shenanigans do happen, saying the contractually mandated CDR is done tells you approximately nothing, by itself.

Offline FuseUpHereAlone

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #671 on: 10/22/2014 01:51 am »
Because these kinds of shenanigans do happen, saying the contractually mandated CDR is done tells you approximately nothing, by itself.

Having a CDR and completing a CDR are not the same thing.  Typically the first part of a CDR is laying out what are your requirements, the second part is showing how you meet those requirements (design and analysis).  If the second part doesn't adequately support the first part, then you'll have to schedule a Delta CDR.

Online obi-wan

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #672 on: 10/22/2014 05:03 am »

Exactly what a CDR means varies from case to case, and when the CDR is a contract milestone you get paid for meeting, it clearly means a lot less because you're given such a strong incentive to declare it completed.

Clearly. Right.  Because, clearly, it couldn't be that a company has internal checks and balances, hires top-notch consultants to get additional insights and external checks on its checks and balances, and the teams involved have not only professional capability but pride invested in doing a good job.

Sheesh.
I'm talking about what having the CDR done means, not what the situation may be when the CDR is done.

obi-wan mentioned cases where people just did a CDR prematurely for the sake of keeping on schedule, and then quietly did the real one when they were ready for it.

Because these kinds of shenanigans do happen, saying the contractually mandated CDR is done tells you approximately nothing, by itself.

Sorry, no, that's not what I said. Delta CDRs are a bad thing - it announces to the world you screwed up your CDR and you're having to do part or all of it over. It's the kind of event where, whether it's a real threat or not, the project management starts worrying about the sponsor pulling the plug if the Delta CDR doesn't go well. After you get raked over the coals in a CDR (which, honestly, happens even if you're in great shape, because that's what it's all about), you can always say, "Well, at least they're not going to make us do a Delta CDR!"

And, by the way, there's no such thing as a meaningless CDR. You always come out of it stronger because smart, experienced people who are not on your team sit on a review board and critique your work. It is an incredible pain in the ass and worth its weight in gold to your program...
« Last Edit: 10/22/2014 05:14 am by obi-wan »

Offline archipeppe68

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #673 on: 10/22/2014 07:47 am »
Here it my contribution about the topic.

Offline Nindalf

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #674 on: 10/22/2014 03:14 pm »
Sorry, no, that's not what I said. Delta CDRs are a bad thing - it announces to the world you screwed up your CDR
Sorry, I did misunderstand what you were saying.  However, you were saying that there are CDRs, and there are CDRs.  There isn't just one that always means the project is really good to go, which is what people are treating it as.

Quote
And, by the way, there's no such thing as a meaningless CDR. You always come out of it stronger because smart, experienced people who are not on your team sit on a review board and critique your work. It is an incredible pain in the ass and worth its weight in gold to your program...
That seems like it must depend on the relative ability, level of effort, and match-up of design philosophy of the review board to the design team.

LouScheffer's friend sounds like he sure doesn't think they're worth their weight in gold.

It seems to me that trying to satisfy all of a board's concerns can turn into something closely resembling a design-by-committee, and letting that happen is the easiest way to pass review.

Offline FuseUpHereAlone

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #675 on: 10/22/2014 03:49 pm »
Here it my contribution about the topic.

Thanks for the upload.  Just cause it was going to bug me the rest of the day, I rearranged the projections so that the capsule is never pointed sideways.  The drafter in me is lashing out.  ;D

Offline OpsAnalyst

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #676 on: 10/22/2014 04:41 pm »
Sorry, no, that's not what I said. Delta CDRs are a bad thing - it announces to the world you screwed up your CDR
Sorry, I did misunderstand what you were saying.  However, you were saying that there are CDRs, and there are CDRs.  There isn't just one that always means the project is really good to go, which is what people are treating it as.

Quote
And, by the way, there's no such thing as a meaningless CDR. You always come out of it stronger because smart, experienced people who are not on your team sit on a review board and critique your work. It is an incredible pain in the ass and worth its weight in gold to your program...
That seems like it must depend on the relative ability, level of effort, and match-up of design philosophy of the review board to the design team.

LouScheffer's friend sounds like he sure doesn't think they're worth their weight in gold.

It seems to me that trying to satisfy all of a board's concerns can turn into something closely resembling a design-by-committee, and letting that happen is the easiest way to pass review.

All due respect but it sounds to me as though you're reaching over and over again to find ways to question the validity of Boeing's CDR, adjusting your argument as you get new facts.

By your logic, any contract is also not worth the paper it's written on (or digital equivalent) because there may be some bad actors or because some folks don't take it seriously.

Also by your logic, NASA doesn't know how to evaluate a CDR (remember they have to concur that milestones are met) - which is laughable.  Unless you also want to say that "the fix is in".

There are standards in engineering.  Just like the rest of the world, sometimes people don't meet those standards.  But Boeing is not one of the world's top-of-class engineering companies by accident, or by dint of rent-seeking, or via any other mechanism.  Take a look at ISS - talk about _pain_ as regards CDRs and FRR's and all the rest (I was there) - and done with an international team speaking multiple languages just learning how to play together.  It has a superb on-orbit ops record. Without hyperbole, it is one of the greatest engineering achievements (and systems integration achievements) in human history.  They must've had some idea what they were doing.
« Last Edit: 10/22/2014 04:43 pm by OpsAnalyst »

Offline Nindalf

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #677 on: 10/22/2014 07:36 pm »
All due respect but it sounds to me as though you're reaching over and over again to find ways to question the validity of Boeing's CDR, adjusting your argument as you get new facts.
I'm not "questioning the validity of Boeing's CDR", I'm pointing out that it doesn't actually mean what people are trying to claim it means: that they're closer to having a working vehicle than SpaceX or SNC, because they finished their CDR first.

That's just not what it means.  There are better and worse ways of passing CDR, which leave you closer to or further from the goal of carrying passengers.  In this particular case, passing CDR still means being years from flying missions.

Quote
Also by your logic, NASA doesn't know how to evaluate a CDR (remember they have to concur that milestones are met) - which is laughable.  Unless you also want to say that "the fix is in".

There are standards in engineering.  Just like the rest of the world, sometimes people don't meet those standards.  But Boeing is not one of the world's top-of-class engineering companies by accident, or by dint of rent-seeking, or via any other mechanism.  Take a look at ISS - talk about _pain_ as regards CDRs and FRR's and all the rest (I was there) - and done with an international team speaking multiple languages just learning how to play together.  It has a superb on-orbit ops record. Without hyperbole, it is one of the greatest engineering achievements (and systems integration achievements) in human history.  They must've had some idea what they were doing.
NASA and Boeing are both huge organizations, that don't have a consistent character from team to team.  They've each put teams on things that fouled up badly, and they've each put teams on things that succeeded brilliantly.

What they certainly haven't demonstrated is infallibility.

More than anything to expect consistently from Boeing is that they know how to play the game, to tell government customers what they want to hear and win contracts, because that's where corporate's interest is at a peak.

Offline Nindalf

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #678 on: 10/23/2014 03:24 am »
It's quite entertaining to watch someone with very little actual knowledge of the CDR process actually try to stare down a professional expert. Thanks for the light-hearted moments  ;D
Laugh if you want, but when people are trying to use their expert status to push an agenda and swat down reasonable criticism and doubt, while biting their tongues and letting unreasonable stuff said stand as long as it helps their side, this is the sort of thing that's going to happen.

I don't like playing this sort of role in an argument where I'm basically picking at contradictions between what one expert is saying that any expert would agree with, and what another expert's saying that differs, about something I don't know much about, but that's clearly not adding up.  It's just better than the alternative of taking things on faith.

I've probably been posting more than I should, but I learn a lot this way.  People at a lot of different levels of knowledge communicate together here.  I do my best to acknowledge when I've overstated my case, and not add to the confusion.  But I don't consider awareness that the person I'm arguing with knows more than me about the issue at hand to be a reason to stop arguing, unless their position is clearly a matter of objective truth that I could study and confirm instead.

Sometimes when I know more, I look back and regret those arguments, and realize I was being stupid.  Sometimes, knowing more, I'm more convinced I had a point worth fighting for.

And with all that's been said so far, I still don't believe passing CDR means anything definite and comparable between one project and another.  One project might pass CDR sooner and with less real chance of success because they made passing it a goal in and of itself, saving up trouble for later, while another project might pass CDR later because they treated it as something that would arise naturally as a side effect of their uncompromised development process.  A project can pass CDR, and the design can still turn out to be a failure because the review board missed the same things the design team missed, or a great design can be held up by a review board that doesn't have the knowledge and talent to understand why it's going to work, even though it has all been worked out properly.

Saying that NASA was right to pick Boeing's pricey bid, because the bid is better, because CST-100 passed CDR, and that the CDR should be trusted because Boeing and NASA are great at this stuff, is circular reasoning.  You might as well skip mention of the CDR, and just say Boeing and NASA are great at this stuff.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Boeing's CST-100 capsule updates & discussion THREAD 2
« Reply #679 on: 10/23/2014 03:39 am »
SpaceX has completed half their CDR. Milestone 13A was completed a while ago and 13B was recently completed according to Reisman. We are not talking about a huge gap between the two companies.

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