Author Topic: Boeing's Ferguson on Starliner - no touch screens, but far simpler than Shuttle  (Read 11267 times)

Offline ulm_atms

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I am just happy that we are talking about private business produced space capsules in the here and now and that NASA is actually letting the two companies do/try new things.

Being able to say the above as truth and not sci-fi is awesome by itself!  :D

The bold part makes is even more exciting! ;D

As far as which one is better/safer?  I will let the ACTUAL astronauts that have been working side by side with them answer that.  They are all saying "let's go!"....so I think the answer is....BOTH! ;)

EDIT: Spelling
« Last Edit: 08/21/2018 11:41 pm by ulm_atms »

Offline su27k

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Boeing have lot experience to draw one from all aircraft they've designed.

Exactly I think they probably considered touch screens but felt they would not be good to use while in a spacesuit as well as issues such as something accidentally getting triggered by something floating in the cabin coming into contact with the screen.

It's not that one approach is better than the other, it's all about what your experience base is. In the case of Boeing, they have tons of experience doing things with hardware that provides an active pilot with the control he needs. On the other hand the experience base of the entire generation that is building their spacecraft is software based automation, controlled by touchscreens (think ipad and laptops), providing a passive pilot with the information he needs. People build what they know how to build.

Musk's other company also has "tons of experience doing things with hardware that provides an active pilot with the control he needs", and their UI design is exactly like what is in Dragon 2. So I don't think this is an active vs passive/pilot vs automation thing, it's just a totally different UI design philosophy, just like Blackberry vs iPhone.

Offline raketa

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https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/08/boeing-starliner-crew-spacecraft/

By Chris Gebhardt
Boeing produces Souyz version of spacecraft, 20 years behind today's technology.No flexibility to redesign, that flat screen gives you.

Offline raketa

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for all I know Musk has come onto the new thing with his touch screens...he is unique no airplane, nuclear control systems, oil field control (ie rigs off shore) or nuclear submarine...is using them...

Doesn't the F-35 use touch screens?
not build by Boeing

Offline woods170

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https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/08/boeing-starliner-crew-spacecraft/

By Chris Gebhardt
Boeing produces Souyz version of spacecraft, 20 years behind today's technology.No flexibility to redesign, that flat screen gives you.
You are naturally entitled to your own opinion but IMO your opinion is a bit harsh on Boeing.

You have to understand that CCP is not about building a spacecraft with the latest technology but building a safe & reliable spacecraft.

Boeing chose one way of doing things, SpaceX chose another. We will see how both fare over time.

Generally speaking, folks here declaring that one CCP solution is better than the other are IMO in no position to declare so.
Because they are not the folks actually working with those CCP solutions (looking at you TripleSeven).
« Last Edit: 08/22/2018 06:31 am by woods170 »

Offline speedevil

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Boeing chose one way of doing things, SpaceX chose another. We will see how both fare over time.

Generally speaking, folks here declaring that one CCP solution is better than the other are IMO in no position to declare so.
Because they are not the folks actually working with those CCP solutions (looking at you TripleSeven).
We almost certainly will not (in CCP) , because any of the emergencies that arise will be at a low enough frequency that any benefit from one strategy or the other will likely be impossible to draw out.

Both strategies are 'good enough', given the barely more than a handful of flights for each vendor, and the small windows in which time-sensitive emergencies can arise multiplied by the small fraction in which the crew can do anything productive.

Offline cbarnes199

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So far SpaceX and Orbital (Northup Gruman) have launched to the ISS more that two dozen times with automated systems handling the 'piloting' on the trips.  If there had been people on board those flights rather than cargo it would not have required any of them to take any active part.

My opinion is having a human in the loop will be of little value for these well known flight plans even during unexpected events because ground based people can control things in near real time if needed and the automated systems can likely handled many of these fault cases.

Having a human in the loop and what types of controls they have will matter more in the Starliner and BFS trips where you are doing unique missions that the people programming the automated systems do not have history to use as a guide to program for unanticipated events.

Progress on systems getting better is what we all should want. I am always skeptical when people tell me something is best because we have always done it that way and it worked.  That statement alone is a red flag that fear of change is standing in the way of progress.  That does not mean they are always wrong about the current system being the best at the moment, but it does mean you are not making progress and that system is for sure not better.

Hopefully we are learning what we can from these lower risk flights to get the best lessons for the future higher risk missions.

Offline Rocket Science

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Boeing have lot experience to draw one from all aircraft they've designed.

Exactly I think they probably considered touch screens but felt they would not be good to use while in a spacesuit as well as issues such as something accidentally getting triggered by something floating in the cabin coming into contact with the screen.

It's not that one approach is better than the other, it's all about what your experience base is. In the case of Boeing, they have tons of experience doing things with hardware that provides an active pilot with the control he needs. On the other hand the experience base of the entire generation that is building their spacecraft is software based automation, controlled by touchscreens (think ipad and laptops), providing a passive pilot with the information he needs. People build what they know how to build.

As to the comment about something floating in the cabin coming into contact with the screen, that's impossible. Touchscreens require a tactile touch, like a finger or other body part. For example think trying to type a text message on your ipad and touching the electronic keypad with a pencil point. Nothing happens - until you toss the pencil and use your finger. Not just anything will do. It must be a tactile touch, whether a finger or a tactile surface on a gloved fingertip.

So both are equally proficient at doing what they are designed to do. The only important thing here is that NASA has certified both approaches so both spacecraft are good to go. I have my preference, but in the end it is irrelevant, so I won't mention it.

That's not exactly how a touchscreen works. If those are cap touch (like an iPad) any object that simulates a the change in capacitance like a finger touch can cause the screen to sense a "touch". This is why you can use a stylus on an iPad, or a special glove.

However, there are some software workarounds to limit false touch readings, and there just aren't that many objects that can simulate a finger touch, especially if the contents of the capsule are screened to minimize them.

Also, objects floating around can also depress a mechanical button (and with that there is much less sensitivity to the size or material properties of the object), so I don't see much of an advantage to either system in this regard.
That's the reason that the panel utilizes "guarded switches" to protect them. The only time that a switch failed from impact (comes to mind) was during the Apollo 11 post surface EVA when the ascent engine arm breaker was more than likely snapped off by one of them while suited up with their PLSS backpacks in the strict confines of the LEM. A panel "work-around" was initiated and making use of their "space pen" tip (or felt-tip depending on who you ask) allowed them to trigger the breaker and light off the engine and the rest is history... First Lunar surface hack... ;D 8)
« Last Edit: 08/22/2018 03:27 pm by Rocket Science »
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Online ncb1397

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So far SpaceX and Orbital (Northup Gruman) have launched to the ISS more that two dozen times with automated systems handling the 'piloting' on the trips.  If there had been people on board those flights rather than cargo it would not have required any of them to take any active part.

Someone would have had to hit the deploy parachutes button to attempt to survive on CRS-7 because the programmers didn't think of it? And all of them have had humans in the loop. Just on the ISS and on the ground remotely. Remotely piloting/operating on a manned spacecraft is silly IMO. Even self driving cars wouldn't control themselves. They would be told where to go and when presumably.
« Last Edit: 08/22/2018 03:51 pm by ncb1397 »

Offline Almurray1958

In re. dedicated switches VS nested menus, no one argues there is a good argument to be made for having "important" functions (whatever they are defined to be) immediately available.   Nested menus have to be read, scrolled through and clicked while a dedicated button can simply be pressed.   

In my car or example, I can activate the emergency flashers with 1 action while to report construction in an app such as WAZE, I need to press report a thing, find the report hazard icon and press it, find the on road icon and press it, then find the construction icon and press it and finally find and press the submit report button.  5 button presses with time to search, identify and press. 
An example of important (let people know there is an imediate hazard) VS not as important (let folk behind me know there is police activity).

SpaceX Dragon has what is deemed to be fewer "important" manual controls than does Boeing Starliner.
While Boeing Starliner assumes the need for more cases of manual intervention.

A good UI layout with fewer clicks may obviate the need for more switches but it had better be a really well thought out, designed and implemented UI/UX. 

-Al
- Al Murray

Offline erioladastra

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So far SpaceX and Orbital (Northup Gruman) have launched to the ISS more that two dozen times with automated systems handling the 'piloting' on the trips.  If there had been people on board those flights rather than cargo it would not have required any of them to take any active part.

Someone would have had to hit the deploy parachutes button to attempt to survive on CRS-7 because the programmers didn't think of it? And all of them have had humans in the loop. Just on the ISS and on the ground remotely. Remotely piloting/operating on a manned spacecraft is silly IMO. Even self driving cars wouldn't control themselves. They would be told where to go and when presumably.

This over simplifies a number of key issues.  First, it is MUCH easier to pilot a vehicle to get close and hover to ISS so it be grabbed by a robotic arm than it is to precisionally flying it to a docking.  Second, in an unmanned cargo vehicle your contingency response can often be "just get away as fast as you can".  When you have humans, and coming right to contact, you need more control.  Yes autonomous vehicles have done pretty well going to/from ISS but there have been issues where automated or ground/crew involvement has been critical.  Since spacecraft systems and operations are still evolving for both vehicles you will likely have a higher reliance on manual work arounds early on in the projects (just the reality of dealing with smart, complex software that has to work right on tight budget/schedule).

Online brickmack

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Berthing requires exactly the same position and velocity accuracy as docking, the only difference is that its centered about 15 meters under the station instead of in contact with the docking port. And abort safety is still a concern because you have humans on the ISS itself

Offline John Santos

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Berthing requires exactly the same position and velocity accuracy as docking, the only difference is that its centered about 15 meters under the station instead of in contact with the docking port. And abort safety is still a concern because you have humans on the ISS itself

I doubt this very much.  Docking requires approaching  the target in the same way as berthing, but once it reaches berthing position, a berthing spacecraft just has to stop (kill the relative velocity and rotation.)  Then it TURNS OFF the active attitude and position keeping systems (thrusters, and, if applicable, CMGs) and waits for the arm to grapple it and move it into the final berthing position and continue to wait passively while the bolts attach it.  During this final approach and berthing phase, the berthing spacecraft is totally passive.  In addition, its location only has to be within a few 10s of centimeters for the arm to grapple it and maneuver  it to the berthing port.

From approximately the same distance, a docking space craft has to slowly approach the docking port while precisely maintaining its attitude, rotation, velocity and relative position until it actually contacts the docking port under its own active control.  During this process, it has to maintain position to an order of magnitude greater precision (centimeters vs 10s of centimeters.)  This has to be a much much harder problem to solve.

Offline bad_astra

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It's easier to inaccurately press or doubletap a touch screen option, or have floating debris do so. In this case where the crews will have proper training, discreet switches seems to have many advantages, except for price.
"Contact Light" -Buzz Aldrin

Offline kevinof

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Oh come on. You don't think Nasa and SpaceX haven't thought of this already? Nasa is satisfied that both vehicles will be able to do the job asked of them and part of this is docking with the ISS and keeping the astros safe.

Whether it's a physical button or a touch screen, this has already been evaluated in Nasa to the n'th degree and both, it appears, are acceptable to Nasa.

It's easier to inaccurately press or doubletap a touch screen option, or have floating debris do so. In this case where the crews will have proper training, discreet switches seems to have many advantages, except for price.

Offline Ike17055

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https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/08/boeing-starliner-crew-spacecraft/

By Chris Gebhardt
Boeing produces Souyz version of spacecraft, 20 years behind today's technology.No flexibility to redesign, that flat screen gives you.

Except that it’s not 20 year old technology, rather it is flight proven technology, integrated with some newer technology.  This will also be the first crewed American vehicle that touches down on land without a massive runway, and with the flexibility and retrieval and reuse capability in a crew vehicle we have not had before, even with shuttle, so there’s a new capability, while the “other” vendor is dunking in the ocean, which is truly “old tech.” 


Offline woods170

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Boeing produces Souyz version of spacecraft, 20 years behind today's technology.No flexibility to redesign, that flat screen gives you.

Except that it’s not 20 year old technology, rather it is flight proven technology, integrated with some newer technology.  This will also be the first crewed American vehicle that touches down on land without a massive runway, and with the flexibility and retrieval and reuse capability in a crew vehicle we have not had before, even with shuttle, so there’s a new capability, while the “other” vendor is dunking in the ocean, which is truly “old tech.” 



I'm going to repeat myself:

Generally speaking, folks here declaring that one CCP solution is better than the other are IMO in no position to declare so.
Because they are not the folks actually working with those CCP solutions.

So please, stop the pointless discussion. It's just a waste of Chris' bandwidth.

Online Lars-J

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Berthing requires exactly the same position and velocity accuracy as docking, the only difference is that its centered about 15 meters under the station instead of in contact with the docking port. And abort safety is still a concern because you have humans on the ISS itself

I doubt this very much.

You can doubt it all you want, but that doesn't change it from being true. Several more knowledgeable people on this forum have stated this many times.

The difference in complexity is very small.
« Last Edit: 08/27/2018 05:53 pm by Lars-J »

Offline erioladastra

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Berthing requires exactly the same position and velocity accuracy as docking, the only difference is that its centered about 15 meters under the station instead of in contact with the docking port. And abort safety is still a concern because you have humans on the ISS itself

I doubt this very much.

You can doubt it all you want, but that doesn't change it from being true. Several more knowledgeable people on this forum have stated this many times.

The difference in complexity is very small.

As someone who deals with both the berthing and docking vehicles and their contingency modes on the ISS I can assure you that your statement is incorrect.  It is more than position and velocity accuracy - but even then they are not the same scale.   As noted above, berthing requires maintaining position within a box whereas docking requires impacting - the volume of which is smaller than for berthing and with a very specific velocity range (too little and you don't capture, too much and you damage, off axis and you are bouncing off).   You also have more time and options to correct orientation between vehicles than you do for docking.  Flying in formation is a challenge but for an uncrewed berthing most significant failures the response is generally going to be "go away".  For a crewed docking, I want to preserve crew health and try to get docked.  That alone greatly complicates software, procedures and training.  In a docking you have bounce off cases you don't (shouldn't unless a really, really bad day) have for berthing.  A docking mechanism is also significantly more complicated than the bolt/motor berthing system. 

Offline bad_astra

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Oh come on. You don't think Nasa and SpaceX haven't thought of this already? Nasa is satisfied that both vehicles will be able to do the job asked of them and part of this is docking with the ISS and keeping the astros safe.

Whether it's a physical button or a touch screen, this has already been evaluated in Nasa to the n'th degree and both, it appears, are acceptable to Nasa.

It's easier to inaccurately press or doubletap a touch screen option, or have floating debris do so. In this case where the crews will have proper training, discreet switches seems to have many advantages, except for price.
You are stating the obvious for reasons that do not make sense to me. Of course NASA feels both methods are adequate. And there are advantages to both. This does not curtail one from pointing out some of the specific advantages to discreet interfaces.

Acceptable doesn't mean best. I do think the CST100's controls are a better design, just from looking at them, but I really know next to nothing about them apart from the fact they appear like what I'd expect from the world's most successful airliner manufacturer. In fairness I work for one of the subcontracting companies involved with Starliner, so perhaps there is a bit of bias.

But I like both ships. who wouldn't? Whenever I am feeling down I remind myself there's MULTIPLE spacecraft designs about to launch each a little different from the next, and I think it's fantastic.

« Last Edit: 08/27/2018 06:48 pm by bad_astra »
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