Author Topic: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis  (Read 220610 times)

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #80 on: 05/17/2016 01:50 AM »
Yeah, it's only been 6 years. You can't expect to build and fly a crew vehicle in that little time. Let alone a whole program.
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Offline arachnitect

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #81 on: 05/17/2016 03:35 AM »

Aero loads they could get from CAD software, and subscale wind tunnel tests. Integrating subsystems earlier means you get a working avionics testbed on a table long ahead of vehicle integration,

But this is pretty much what Boeing and ULA have been doing, and I don't recall people clamoring for more "subscale tests and CAD models;" people were clamoring for things that looked like full size spaceships and disparaged Boeing's wind tunnel models and simulators.

Generating a huge pile of documents that say you can do it, then waiting to the last minute to write the software and find that the structure doesn't handle the loads, or (you didn't add ) is overweight is spectacularly poor management and execution by any sized company, no matter how arrogant.

Find me an aerospace project that isn't overweight. The most celebrated and legendary American spacecraft were fighting mass bloat every step of the way.

I'm not trying to exonerate Boeing. I'm surprised aero loads are still an open issue at this point; how did that happen? But I fully reject the idea that rushing into production would have made this situation any better.

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #82 on: 05/17/2016 05:06 AM »
Yeah, it's only been 6 years. You can't expect to build and fly a crew vehicle in that little time. Let alone a whole program.

Are you really comparing Gemini to the flustercluck political handling of Com Crew?

I mean, hell, I know that being critical of Commercial Crew's timescales is sorta' your rag, but Gemini and Com Crew have developed in totally different conditions with completely different mandates half a century apart from each other.

Functionally the only comparison is that they're American capsule development programs. Gemini developed one capsule with multiple iterations functionally derivative from Mercury. Gemini's missions were groundbreaking, yes, but they're nowhere near as complex as present hardware. Gemini was built in a time when Space was a method for superpowers to measure economic systems without spreading energetic elements throughout all of Earth's air, soil and drinking water, rolling tanks up and down the Fulda gap or (ahem) building gigantic, isolationist walls.

Gemini also benefitted from considerably more money when you adjust for inflation and had much less regulatory restrictions as to what and what wasn't permissible. Gemini in the modern world is unrepeatable.

Comparisons to the fifties, sixties and seventies trivialise the current state of play, which is more optimistic than it has been for a good few decades now. In addition, Gemini had an enormous time restraint placed against it - Kennedy's proclamation. It was both indespensible that Gemini occurred and indefensible if it took oh-so-many years to execute.  Commercial crew is neither strictly mandatory nor politically vital. It's just something that'd be fantastic to have.
« Last Edit: 05/17/2016 05:20 AM by The Amazing Catstronaut »
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #83 on: 05/17/2016 06:37 AM »
Note that much of this was known as a threat for some time so "sounding the alarm" is incorrect and hyperbole.

Is it? Not because Boeing has such a cozy relationship that they can pass a pile of paper off as the first year of a program, without putting in the "catchup" to meet SNC/SX current level as a comparable vendor?

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We will have this debate multiple times over the coming years as the schedule keep changing - for both partners.

Sure the schedule changes, as they both hit issues. But to the degree that a current "pathfinder" exists for 2 of the 3 vendors, and one that was chosen didn't, counts for a lot more than is hand waved over.

My respectful counter claim to your one of "hyperbole".

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Both companies are having their challenges, and triumphs, you just don't know them all.

Never claimed. How is it relevant to this?


Aero loads they could get from CAD software, and subscale wind tunnel tests. Integrating subsystems earlier means you get a working avionics testbed on a table long ahead of vehicle integration,

But this is pretty much what Boeing and ULA have been doing, and I don't recall people clamoring for more "subscale tests and CAD models;" people were clamoring for things that looked like full size spaceships and disparaged Boeing's wind tunnel models and simulators.

The issue is about having two chosen with enough currency, that tests are meaningful enough to stand. If you commit to a full scale vehicle, those aero loads from the wind tunnel/CAD are more likely to match then if you at the last minute fabricate a vehicle and "my bad, guess I screwed up" occurs.

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Generating a huge pile of documents that say you can do it, then waiting to the last minute to write the software and find that the structure doesn't handle the loads, or (you didn't add ) is overweight is spectacularly poor management and execution by any sized company, no matter how arrogant.

Find me an aerospace project that isn't overweight. The most celebrated and legendary American spacecraft were fighting mass bloat every step of the way.

If you have something like a pathfinder (or better yet, a vehicle that's already flying), your issues in these areas are greatly constrained. Because you already have examples that you can measure and draw conclusions from.

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I'm not trying to exonerate Boeing. I'm surprised aero loads are still an open issue at this point; how did that happen? But I fully reject the idea that rushing into production would have made this situation any better.

Wasn't suggesting a rush into production either. And I'm more critical of the selection process that gave Boeing a substantial "mulligan" it may not have deserved.

Lets say Boeing's program had been one that had a boilerplate with some kind of flight data earlier, and they had revised it into a functional prototype with a test bench avionics, getting say 2/3's of a vehicle together, in advance of production. And that that had happened in the first two years. I'd have more comfort that they'd  not slip on the rest of the schedules, because they'd have exposed enough in the early phase, both in terms of some flight data and some coverage of all systems/processes. This likely would have increased costs and made certification a bit later.

And then the Boeing program would have more resembled SNC and SX. Who already had much of that, and would also do some of that.

My point is that having currency of a design/prototype/SC counts for more than just heritage. Modernizing a prior capsule proposal that had gone stale isn't in the same category.

Online guckyfan

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #84 on: 05/17/2016 09:32 AM »
I remember a statement by Boeing that SpaceX work "build a little, test a little". Boeing does not need that because everybody knows, when Boeing builds something it will work. And they gave, of all possible examples, the Dreamliner which did fly the first time it was built.  ;)

Years and years of delays and technical problems with the Dreamliner notwithstanding.

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #85 on: 05/17/2016 04:48 PM »
I remember a statement by Boeing that SpaceX work "build a little, test a little". Boeing does not need that because everybody knows, when Boeing builds something it will work. And they gave, of all possible examples, the Dreamliner which did fly the first time it was built.  ;)

Years and years of delays and technical problems with the Dreamliner notwithstanding.

And don't forget the 747, which was nearly completed with its (accelerated) acceptance testing program and still had this minor issue where the engines experienced extreme backfires at certain throttle/stress levels -- levels that would normally be encountered in standard operations.  The backfires were being caused by a critical blow-by path for the incoming air stream that would force air past the turbines and build up back-pressure at the combustion chamber.  This caused the engines to stall out and quit; some of the back-pressure actually deformed the engine casing and the tail end of the turbine assemblies.  Sometimes the engines could be re-started, sometimes not.  They were always accompanied by shuddering reports that sounded a lot like an engine had simply exploded.

In fact, some of the backfires were scarily close to causing engine explosions.  Had the planes gone into production with the original engines, it's almost certain that there would have been fatal crashes early on in their service periods.

Per a brilliant documentary on the 747 I saw on the Smithsonian Channel, they had tremendous problems convincing Pratt & Whitney that there were any problems with the engines.  The test pilots finally managed to get a couple of P&W representatives on board for a test flight and the primary pilot proceeded to induce engine stalls in two of the engines.  When he offered to induce a failure in a third engine, leaving the plane to fly on a single engine, the manufacturer's reps were reported to have said, through clenched teeth, "Okay, we get the point, we'll fix it!"

The new engines arrived barely in time to complete the test program, and replace the engines on the planes already manufactured, in order to (barely) meet their first shipping dates.  (In fact, ISTR that a lot of the planes in the first set of orders weren't fitted out with engines at all at first, awaiting the new engines before they could be completed.  I believe the documentary showed a bunch of 747s on the tarmac outside of the assembly plant, all missing their engines...)

So, yeah -- Boeing got a reputation for meeting their contract dates, but that started well after the 707 (which missed its original shipping dates by a couple of years, IIRC) and is primarily hung on the 747 peg... which, again, was very, very lucky not to be delayed significantly by its engine problems.  And was still several months delayed in their first deliveries.  The 747 was supposed to go into service in 1969 Q4, and didn't receive FAA certification to enter service until December of 1969, so it was late, if only by a few months.

Any reputation is only as good as the last project you completed.  If Starliner comes in significantly late and over-budget, that will erode Boeing's great on-time, on-budget reputation... as it should.

BTW, there are a series of hour-long Boeing commercials (masquerading as documentaries) being run on the Science channel these days, under the title of "Age of Aerospace," which tends to whitewash their problems and failures (as any good hour-long commercial will do), but which give some surprisingly honest discussions of actually-failed Boeing projects, like the SST.  It's a little difficult to wade through the treacle to find the nuggets of good and interesting stories, but they do deal with some of their failures.  I'd recommend the series, if only to get a feel for what Boeing's PR Department wants the public to be thinking about their company.
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Offline Ike17055

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #86 on: 05/17/2016 08:32 PM »
Yeah, it's only been 6 years. You can't expect to build and fly a crew vehicle in that little time. Let alone a whole program.

And The amount of money made available doesn't influence that calendar at all, now, does it? (Sarcasm)

Offline Ike17055

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #87 on: 05/17/2016 08:40 PM »
Yeah, it's only been 6 years. You can't expect to build and fly a crew vehicle in that little time. Let alone a whole program.

And how long ago was it this same writer was telling SpaceX to "just stick a few seats into (cargo) Dragon and go"... Although I haven't seen anymore if that nonsense since the Falcon 9 blew up a flight or two later.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #88 on: 05/17/2016 09:58 PM »
Yeah, it's only been 6 years. You can't expect to build and fly a crew vehicle in that little time. Let alone a whole program.

And The amount of money made available doesn't influence that calendar at all, now, does it? (Sarcasm)

Gemini was underfunded, and once SpaceX and Boeing actually fly a similar number of flights we'll have a chance to compare the costs.

And how long ago was it this same writer was telling SpaceX to "just stick a few seats into (cargo) Dragon and go"... Although I haven't seen anymore if that nonsense since the Falcon 9 blew up a flight or two later.

You haven't seen me say that since Commercial Crew started being much the same as every other modern aerospace program - bloated and delayed. It had nothing to do with the inevitable loss of vehicle - that will always be a risk which must be accepted.
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Offline mkent

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #89 on: 05/17/2016 11:29 PM »
Message from crew Dream Chaser..."Do you miss me now?"

Which DreamChaser?  You mean the one that's 3-1/2 years late finishing its CC*i*Cap milestones?  That DreamChaser?

I think the lesson involving motes, beams, and eyes might be appropriate here.

Offline mkent

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #90 on: 05/18/2016 12:08 AM »
From the article:

Quote
A spokesman for SpaceX told Ars Wednesday night that the company remains on track for crewed missions in 2017.

Yes, SpaceX is still on track for a manned mission in 2017 -- they haven't yet crossed the 2017 / 2018 year boundary.  But they've slipped schedule just as much as Boeing has.  Funny, though, how we didn't have multi-page threads browbeating SpaceX on their schedule slips when those slips came to light.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #91 on: 05/18/2016 12:24 AM »
Message from crew Dream Chaser..."Do you miss me now?"

Which DreamChaser?  You mean the one that's 3-1/2 years late finishing its CC*i*Cap milestones?  That DreamChaser?

I think the lesson involving motes, beams, and eyes might be appropriate here.
Naw, the one that actually had a flight test and another one in a few more months time, multiple fuselages fabricated, reborn then selected for Cargo flights... That one...
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Offline erioladastra

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #92 on: 05/18/2016 12:30 AM »
I remember a statement by Boeing that SpaceX work "build a little, test a little". Boeing does not need that because everybody knows, when Boeing builds something it will work. And they gave, of all possible examples, the Dreamliner which did fly the first time it was built.  ;)

Years and years of delays and technical problems with the Dreamliner notwithstanding.

Years and years?  Huh?  based on what data?

Offline erioladastra

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #93 on: 05/18/2016 12:35 AM »
Note that much of this was known as a threat for some time so "sounding the alarm" is incorrect and hyperbole.

Is it? Not because Boeing has such a cozy relationship that they can pass a pile of paper off as the first year of a program, without putting in the "catchup" to meet SNC/SX current level as a comparable vendor?

Quote
We will have this debate multiple times over the coming years as the schedule keep changing - for both partners.

Sure the schedule changes, as they both hit issues. But to the degree that a current "pathfinder" exists for 2 of the 3 vendors, and one that was chosen didn't, counts for a lot more than is hand waved over.

My respectful counter claim to your one of "hyperbole".

Quote
Both companies are having their challenges, and triumphs, you just don't know them all.

Never claimed. How is it relevant to this?


Not sure I understand your first comment on catchup.  First of all, don't see how SNC comes into this discussion at all - no way to really compare to SpaceX or Boeing but if you did they are so far behind (much due to their own and some due to funding/choices by NASA).  My point is that from CCDev2 and iCAP Boeing was aware of threats on the aero.  All the programs identify threats, develop mitigation plans and some times those work out and sometimes they don't.  Boeing will fix their weight problem.  Others will come.  For both partners.

it is relevant because folks make judgements based on very incomplete facts.  Not that I blame anyone - can only go off the data at hand.  If you guys saw both programs totally open I think you would have some very different perspectives.

Offline mkent

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #94 on: 05/18/2016 12:48 AM »
Primary drivers of the latest delay are aero loads and software. What "metal" should Boeing have produced to uncover these issues earlier?

Making/flying components/systems/vehicles discovers program schedule risks and voids, duh.

Aero loads they could get from CAD software, and subscale wind tunnel tests. Integrating subsystems earlier means you get a working avionics testbed on a table long ahead of vehicle integration, so you can accurately schedule software design and test.

Generating a huge pile of documents that say you can do it, then waiting to the last minute to write the software and find that the structure doesn't handle the loads, or (you didn't add ) is overweight is spectacularly poor management and execution by any sized company, no matter how arrogant.

That's how.

So now a two-month slip is proof that Boeing doesn't have CAD software, wind tunnel tests, integrated subsystems, an avionics testbed, or software?  Just a "pile of paper"?  I sense arrogance here, and it's not Boeing.

Boeing completed its CDR all the way back in 2014.  Their CAD models were >90% done at the time.  Their integrated stack wind tunnel testing was completed three years ago.  They've been performing integrated software releases since at least January of 2013.  Their Avionics Software Integration Lab has been up and running since at least late 2013  (SpaceX didn't meet a similar milestone until 2015).  Boeing's been conducting pilot-in-the-loop hardware and software testing for at least that long.

All of this is known just from their publicly released milestones.

If you're not familiar with them, you might want to acquaint yourself with them before accusing the company of arrogance.

Offline mkent

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #95 on: 05/18/2016 01:08 AM »
And don't forget the 747...

An interesting post, but why bring up schedule and technical performance of the 707, 747, or even the 787 in regards to Commercial Crew?  Who do you think is going to be building the Starliner, the Commercial Airplane boys up in Seattle?

The program most relevant to Commercial Crew past-performancewise is going to be the International Space Station.  Then would come the other space programs such as Space Shuttle, WGS, TDRS, comsats, and Delta Clipper.  The next circle in the onion of relevance would be the defense programs such as Super Hornet, Growler, C-17, JDAM, and Apache.  Dead last would be commercial airplanes.  They have a whole separate reporting structure, complete with their own CEO.

Offline Lar

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #96 on: 05/18/2016 02:36 AM »
There seems to be an excellence shortage in this thread. Way too much snark, way too little being excellent to each other.
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Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #97 on: 05/18/2016 02:47 AM »
Note that much of this was known as a threat for some time so "sounding the alarm" is incorrect and hyperbole.

Is it? Not because Boeing has such a cozy relationship that they can pass a pile of paper off as the first year of a program, without putting in the "catchup" to meet SNC/SX current level as a comparable vendor?

Quote
We will have this debate multiple times over the coming years as the schedule keep changing - for both partners.

Sure the schedule changes, as they both hit issues. But to the degree that a current "pathfinder" exists for 2 of the 3 vendors, and one that was chosen didn't, counts for a lot more than is hand waved over.

My respectful counter claim to your one of "hyperbole".

Quote
Both companies are having their challenges, and triumphs, you just don't know them all.

Never claimed. How is it relevant to this?

Not sure I understand your first comment on catchup.

Let me then explain more. What Boeing/SNC/SX had before selection were unequal programs. "Catch up" was meant to describe bringing current Boeing's offering up to at least comparable current level of the other two, one which had active flight hardware to derive from that was doing missions, and the other a longstanding, incrementally invested in development with hardware. As opposed to a reoffered prior project.

Did I make that any clearer?

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First of all, don't see how SNC comes into this discussion at all - no way to really compare to SpaceX or Boeing but if you did they are so far behind (much due to their own and some due to funding/choices by NASA).

Brought SNC into it in the sense of winding back time to the "pre decision" period. That in this regard, SNC was comparable to SX, and in certain ways, a better choice than Boeing for this reason.

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My point is that from CCDev2 and iCAP Boeing was aware of threats on the aero.

Which does not surprise me, since it may have come up in a prior program as well, kind of obvious. Does that mean a conscious decision to "kick it down the line", or "hanging waiting on another vendor's action"? Either way, there had to be an action to deal with it, such that integration with the launcher would occur. Did I get that right?

And in the end, Boeing needs to meet this to complete their offering? Just like the other does too.

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  All the programs identify threats, develop mitigation plans and some times those work out and sometimes they don't.  Boeing will fix their weight problem.  Others will come.  For both partners.

Any partner in any program at the same point I'll grant. They get stuck, and unstuck differently.

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it is relevant because folks make judgements based on very incomplete facts.  Not that I blame anyone - can only go off the data at hand.  If you guys saw both programs totally open I think you would have some very different perspectives.

I can appreciate that, and appreciate that you are in a position where you can see that. And I'm not addressing that at all. And frankly am glad someone contends with it, must be some interesting stories that can't be told.

My issue is not with the daily give and take. it's with tail loading of schedule of large government contractors, especially when one had two "front loaded" rivals to pick from. Perhaps this has happened before?

Would I have a very different perspective given that concern?

So now a two-month slip is proof that Boeing doesn't have CAD software, wind tunnel tests, integrated subsystems, an avionics testbed, or software?  Just a "pile of paper"?  I sense arrogance here, and it's not Boeing.

You've got enough to start with. As to Boeing, have no idea what went wrong, if they pay me I'll find out, write a report and bill them. My point you are twisting is that there are means at hand to control schedule, some of them I''d even learned from them decades ago.  By the way, SX/SNC use those techniques on rival vehicles too.

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Boeing completed its CDR all the way back in 2014.
Part of the stack of paper I've quaintly referred to. So glad NASA loved it.

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Their CAD models were >90% done at the time.  Their integrated stack wind tunnel testing was completed three years ago.

Where this aero issue must have come up. Could not have been missed, right? Not a lick of hardware IIRC.

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They've been performing integrated software releases since at least January of 2013.  Their Avionics Software Integration Lab has been up and running since at least late 2013  (SpaceX didn't meet a similar milestone until 2015).

Excuse me, but Dragon's avionics test bed goes back further than that. I think the first I saw of it was when Falcon 1 had last launched or so.

You must mean the Dragon 2 flight software bench test, the one with the entire vehicle including the crew panel?

For this to be helpful, we'd need to know coverage of functionality and test. If its "thin", perhaps due to "waterfall" that's still "falling", that might isolate where a delay/overrun might come from. Again, hypothetically.

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  Boeing's been conducting pilot-in-the-loop hardware and software testing for at least that long.

And SX for longer.

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All of this is known just from their publicly released milestones.

If you're not familiar with them, you might want to acquaint yourself with them before accusing the company of arrogance.

Struggling to find your point other than being PO'ed at me. If it is that Boeing has done "stuff", yes they have done "stuff". My issue is that the way that they do it is vulnerable to schedule slips that might not have happened if they'd run the program differently.

I will point out that both companies do av software very differently, and the means by which LV integration/test work likewise is very different. It does not surprise me that schedule slips are occurring.

BTW expect both of them to slip as it is a complex program.

And as to arrogance, specifically its to the difference between having a well developed program before bidding. What that means is you have to have a pathfinder (like, say, taking the prior OSP program and finishing it at the start of the program), in parallel with Starliner. The arrogance is in presuming that you can "close" the program, based off of a prior program that was never closed. Is that specific enough for you?

In other words, open issues for prior does not mean convergence for the follow on program. Which has caught Boeing before. On far bigger programs.

Please address my criticisms, not the window dressing around them. Don't want to unfairly criticize any.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #98 on: 05/18/2016 10:40 PM »
"Dragon's first manned test flight is expected to take place in 2-3 years." has been on the SpaceX website since 2013. I wonder if they'll ever update it.





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Online woods170

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Re: Commercial Crew Schedule Analysis
« Reply #99 on: 05/19/2016 06:41 AM »
"Dragon's first manned test flight is expected to take place in 2-3 years." has been on the SpaceX website since 2013. I wonder if they'll ever update it.
Given that Commercial Crew only started getting full funding this fiscal year it is not surprising that the first flights of both Dragon 2 and CST-100 have been delayed multiple times. NASA administrator Charlie Bolden testified multiple times that any failure to fund commercial crew at the requested levels will lead to delays. And that is exactly what has happened in prior years.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2016 08:19 AM by woods170 »