Boeing’s Starliner woes are a big concern for NASA

Boeing, a longtime NASA contractor, was expected to finish its Starliner spacecraft well in advance of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. That was what some …
  • Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft has had a rocky development road and failed an uncrewed flight test.
  • NASA’s independent review board is concerned with Boeing’s recent history of missteps.
  • The company will be forced to retry its uncrewed mission before trying a crewed test flight sometime next year.

When NASA first selected both Boeing and SpaceX to lead development on new crewed spacecraft as part of its Commercial Crew program, some saw SpaceX as the wild card. Boeing, a longtime NASA contractor, was expected to finish its Starliner spacecraft well in advance of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. That was what some assumed, at least. The reality has been much different.

SpaceX jumped ahead early and never looked back, completing its uncrewed test flights and then sending a pair of NASA astronauts to the International Space Station successfully. Meanwhile, Boeing has fumbled the ball at many points during the development of Starliner, with its most drastic snafu coming during the uncrewed test flight that was forced to abort a trip to the ISS after a glitch threw a wrench in things.

An independent NASA analysis of the Starliner program returned a whole bunch of problems that needed to be solved. The report included dozens of “recommendations” that NASA wanted to see addressed before Boeing attempted another launch. As SpaceflightNow reports, NASA remains skeptical and perhaps a bit concerned that Boeing can actually get things right in a timely manner.

“However, despite this progress, which is definite and in fact measurable, the panel continues to be concerned about quality control problems that seemingly have plagued the Boeing commercial crew program,” Donald McErlean, a member of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel recently said. “We realize that the CCP (Commercial Crew Program) has been working with the safety and engineering communities to address these issues, but this is still an issue that the panel will continue to watch closely as OFT (Orbital Flight Test) and later CFT (Crewed Flight Test) are conducted.”

Because of the issues with the first uncrewed flight test of Starliner, Boeing will now be forced to retry that mission again before NASA will allow its astronauts to set foot inside the spacecraft. If the uncrewed flight test goes well, the first crewed mission will include a trio of astronauts on a trip to the International Space Station. After that, the spacecraft will have to safely return to Earth before NASA will be able to certify it for regular use.

Speaking of which, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is about to embark on the very last part of its final test mission by carrying astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley back to Earth. Once it makes that trip, NASA will be able to use the Crew Dragon whenever it wants, sending humans to space from US soil once again.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech. Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

NASA Security Board has Waiting Questions about Boeing Starliner Quality Control

SpaceX reusability. While the security panel was important of Boeing’s work on the industrial crew, it praised SpaceX for the success to this point of its …

Crew Flight test, or CFT, would be a crewed test flight of the artificial satellite-carrying 2 NASA astronauts and one Boeing astronaut.

However, he aforesaid the panel still had considerations concerning the Starliner program.

The panel created no specific recommendations on the far side asking NASA’s industrial crew program to confirm there’s a balance between schedule and work on the vehicle. NASA has not set a schedule for the second frequent mission, however, has advised the flight might happen late this year, with CFT following within the spring of 2021.

Concerns concerning the code problems with Starliner have extended to alternative NASA programs. Susan Helms, a former astronaut who could be a member of the panel, aforesaid NASA’s exploration systems development (ESD) programs are “very engaged” within the review, significantly concerning code development recommendations that might apply to its programs.

NASA “is applying the notable lessons learned from that investigation to the code program management of the ESD program,” she said, though the small print concerning effort were postponed to a future panel meeting.

SpaceX reusability

While the security panel was important of Boeing’s work on the industrial crew, it praised SpaceX for the success to this point of its Demo-2 Crew Dragon mission to the International space platform. “NASA and SpaceX are most actually to be congratulated for the Demo-2 launch,” McErlean aforesaid.

That mission, he acknowledged, isn’t nonetheless over, with NASA coming up with a landing off the American state coast Gregorian calendar month. 2, betting on atmospheric conditions. McErlean noted that this spacecraft features a “very restricted wind margin” which will complicate the landing. As a result, NASA currently has known seven locations off the American state coast, up from 3 originally known. they’re set offshore from the promontory, Daytona Beach, point of entry, Panama town, Pensacola, Tallahassee, and port of entry.

A productive landing for Demo-2 can enable NASA and SpaceX to show their attention to the primary operational Crew Dragon mission, Crew-1. NASA aforesaid in a very July twenty-two media consultative it anticipated a launch no sooner than late Sept.

The Crew-1 mission can use each a brand new Falcon nine booster and Crew Dragon artificial satellite, however, later missions can use antecedently flown hardware. NASA approved a contract modification in could that permits SpaceX to utilize boosters and capsule beginning on the Crew-2 mission, which might launch in 2021.

Allowing boosters and spacecraft to be reflown on crewed missions would require changes to NASA spacecraft certification procedures, he cautioned, additionally as handling SpaceX’s approach to “constantly evolving” vehicle styles to include enhancements and alternative changes.

Boeing : SpaceX’s first crewed mission to end in early August

Boeing : SpaceX’s first crewed mission to end in early August. Link copied. 07/22/2020 | 04:56am. Copier lien. NASA is reportedly targeting an August …

NASA is reportedly targeting an August 2 splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean for the Demo-2 test flight, which sent NASA astronauts
Bob Behnken and
Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a
Crew Dragon capsule.

“If all goes according to plan, Behnken and Hurley will depart the ISS on Aug. 1 and come back to Earth a day later,” Bridenstine said via Twitter. However, the dates are not cast in stone just yet as he emphasized: “Weather will drive the actual date. Stay tuned.”

Demo-2 launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on May 30, reaching the ISS a day later. The duration of the mission remained uncertain until most recently, with NASA officials previously saying that Demo-2 would last between one and four months, depending on how
Crew Dragon performed.

Demo-2 is the first orbital human spaceflight to lift off from the United States since NASA’s space shuttle fleet retired in July 2011. Ever since then, NASA had relied on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to get American astronauts to and from orbit, which costs about $90 million per seat. However, the U.S. space agency wanted to put an end to the dependency. Consequently, the agency has been funding the development of private astronaut taxis for the last decade to fill the shuttle’s shoes.

In 2014, SpaceX and Boeing each received multibillion-dollar contracts from NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The funding was targeted at finishing work on their human spaceflight systems and the subsequent launch of at least six operational missions to the ISS.

After Demo-2’s successful splashdown, SpaceX will be clear to launch the first of those contracted flights. That mission, known as Crew-1, is scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 30.

Boeing’s capsule, called CST-100 Starliner, is not yet ready for carrying astronauts to orbit. The shuttle is required to first refly an uncrewed test flight to the ISS later in 2020. The first attempt at the mission was in December 2019, with the Starliner suffering a glitch with its onboard timing system.

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SpaceX Crew Dragon Spacecraft Will Revert To Earth.

SpaceX has had a hectic year, but its main accomplishment in 2020 is its first crewed mission to the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Bob …
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  • NASA has announced the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will return to Earth on August 2nd.
  • The capsule, together with astronauts Behnken and Hurley aboard, will splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Once the return is completed, NASA will have the ability to certify Crew Dragon for continued usage.

Russian Cargo Ship Leaves, Crew Tests Dragon’s Comfort Factors – Space Station

SpaceX has had a hectic year, but its main accomplishment in 2020 is its first crewed mission to the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley rode to the space station in a first for both SpaceX. And its own Crew Dragon spacecraft. Thus far, the mission was a success. But now we understand when Crew Dragon is going to return to Earth. Completing its historic round trip. CNBC reports that NASA is now planning on a splashdown of this Crew Dragon on August 2nd.

The astronauts will depart the space station late in the afternoon on August 1st. And finally land at the Atlantic Ocean at around 3 p.m. on the following day. It’s easy to overlook that Behnken and Hurley’s mission remains only a demonstration trip to prove. That SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is all up to the job of ferrying scientists back. And forth to the orbiting laboratory.

The excursion to the ISS functioned nicely, but its first test will be to return them to Earth. After SpaceX checks that massive thing off of its record, NASA can move forward to certify Crew Dragon. And start using it to send its astronauts into space regularly. It’ll be a massive day for NASA and SpaceX. And all eyes will be on Crew Dragon because it endures the pressures of reentry using a set of astronauts riding along.

If all goes well — and at this point, we have no reason to believe that any issues will emerge. And NASA certifies the Crew Dragon for ongoing use. It will be on deck for its very first real operational mission. Rather than the two astronauts that flew on this previous Demo-2 mission.

Venus May Be Visited By NASA Before Mars.

Incredibly, we have reached this point from the Commercial Crew app. Or perhaps the incredible thing is that longtime NASA contractor Boeing isn’t part of the history-making. Before SpaceX was able to complete the Crew Dragon.

Unfortunately for Boeing, a host of delays and problems together with the spacecraft pushed back things. When Starliner had its opportunity to prove it would fly to the ISS. And back within an uncrewed mission, it failed to do so. The business now must retry that uncrewed assignment before NASA is prepared. So as to let astronauts ride for its second demo mission.

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NASA Will Bring SpaceX Dragon Crew Back to Earth August 2

The May SpaceX launch was the culmination of years of planning to bring crewed spaceflight back to US soil. Ever since the end of the Space Shuttle …

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley made history in May when they rode the SpaceX Falcon 9 into space and docked the Dragon capsule at the International Space Station (ISS). The pair have been on the station all summer, but their tour of duty is coming to an end soon. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the Dragon will leave the ISS on August 1st and will land the following day.

The May SpaceX launch was the culmination of years of planning to bring crewed spaceflight back to US soil. Ever since the end of the Space Shuttle program, American astronauts have only been able to get to and from the station in Russian Soyuz capsules. That arrangement helped bridge the gap between the Shuttle and private vehicles, but the cost was extremely high.

SpaceX is one of two companies that got approval from NASA to build human-rated spacecraft, the other being long-time government contractor Boeing. Despite an early lead and more funding, Boeing suffered several software issues with its capsule during a late 2019 test. Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner has yet to perform a make-up mission, leaving SpaceX to cross the finish line first with the DM-2 mission.

Robert Behnken (left) and Douglas Hurley (right)

The Crew Dragon capsule has been docked at the ISS these last six weeks, and getting it back to Earth with the crew will be the final major test. After this, SpaceX and NASA can begin regular operations to move crew to and from the ISS. Whenever Boeing catches up, that will further expand NASA’s access to the station.

In future missions, astronauts may return to Earth aboard a different vehicle than they arrived in. This is technically a demonstration mission, so Behnken and Hurley will be using the same capsule to come home. On August 1st, Behnken and Hurley will board the Dragon and undock from the ISS. Reentry into the atmosphere is the most dangerous part of spaceflight aside from launch, so NASA will be looking at how the Dragon’s head shield and parachute systems perform. After splashing down in the ocean, the crew will be picked up by a SpaceX recovery vessel. The crew should be safely back on Earth on August 2nd.

NEWS: We’re targeting an Aug. 1 departure of @SpaceX‘s Dragon Endeavour spacecraft from the @Space_Station to bring @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug home after their historic #LaunchAmerica mission. Splashdown is targeted for Aug. 2. Weather will drive the actual date. Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/VOCV51gzLi

— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) July 17, 2020

NASA has another crew Dragon flight scheduled for September, but it could delay or even cancel that flight if there are any problems during the last phase of DM-2.

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