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Thread: SpaceX COTS-2/3 Flight

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    I'm not sure whether NASA at this point works as a SpaceX client like say Air France does as an Airbus client.
    Yeah; that's why I think we are getting into a gray area at this point. Since SpaceX is a new company, they really don't have a track record of testing that NASA can rely on. And on the other side of the coin, there are no goalposts for what the minimum specs should be.

    You also mentioned about NTSB doublechecking tests. At this point, NASA is both the client and the "NTSB" of spaceflight. So; that's also going to confuse any comparisons between the two situations.

  2. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Since SpaceX is a new company, they really don't have a track record of testing that NASA can rely on.
    Uh, what does a "track record of testing" mean?

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by ugordan View Post
    Uh, what does a "track record of testing" mean?
    I really don't understand why this is not a self-evident statement, but here:
    Boeing, Airbus, etc has been building planes for a long time. They have tested these planes, and the planes come out with performances that are consistent with what they have tested. Therefore, customers and regulators have a built up confidence that the testing procedures are appropriate within the companies.
    SpaceX has never before built a rocket before Falcon-1. There are almost no real in-service statistics to show that what they have tested matches the performance record of the flying craft. SpaceX is not only building a new craft, but building business model based on this new craft. There's going to be trust issues.

    In some ways, it's like when Hyundai started selling thier cars around here. Nobody (that I know of) trusted the reliability or quality of the car, even though Hyundai is a huge industrial company. But; now that it has been around for a bit, I hear people speak well of their cars. It has a track record now that people can look at.

  4. #64
    So what you're saying is that because they don't have a flight-proven system yet, it is to be assumed their methods of testing that hardware and software are inadequate/unproven/whatever?

    I find that a rather peculiar way to look at the issue. We can all agree that they have a long way to go in terms of flight-proving hardware, but there are no reasons to think their testing methods are lacking. In fact, if you look at the amount of testing in the propulsion department SpaceX does, I believe they currently do more testing than any other U.S. launch services provider. Individual engine acceptance tests followed by stage acceptance firings followed by static tests on the pad. ULA for example doesn't do the latter two. SpaceX may opt to skip those as well once repeatable results are demonstrated, but it goes to show your argument isn't valid. In this particular case they seem to preferr erring on the side of caution.

    If you instead worded that as their track record of previous perfomance was lacking, I would wholeheartedly agree. I can assure you NASA is informed of the amount and type of testing they do, as well as anomaly analysis and resolution.

    Besides, testing procedures are only as good as the people who are following them. But that is an issue of quality control and assurance.

    Repeatable results is what counts to the end customer, not the type and amount of testing. For all the customer cares, a company could use magic pixie dust instead of testing if it meant a quality product.

    It has a track record now that people can look at.
    You're describing the car equivalent of the demonstrated flight reliability record, not testing record. Which is what I'm arguing should be the real metric, not some testing track record. Testing is probably a prerequisite for success, but it isn't a guarantee for it when it comes to complex systems which can never be fully tested in the first place.

    That's why your sentence seemed odd, but maybe it's just me.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by ugordan View Post
    So what you're saying is that because they don't have a flight-proven system yet, it is to be assumed their methods of testing that hardware and software are inadequate/unproven/whatever?
    Nothing as negative as that. Just "worth reviewing" as if the airline company was a new company instead of the example of Boeing and Airbus. Pretty much the same as what you are saying with:
    We can all agree that they have a long way to go in terms of flight-proving hardware, but there are no reasons to think their testing methods are lacking.
    Quote Originally Posted by ugordan View Post
    SpaceX may opt to skip those as well once repeatable results are demonstrated, but it goes to show your argument isn't valid. In this particular case they seem to preferr erring on the side of caution.
    I didn't know it was an argument. I was just pointing out some differences.


    Quote Originally Posted by ugordan View Post
    You're describing the car equivalent of the demonstrated flight reliability record, not testing record. Which is what I'm arguing should be the real metric, not some testing track record. Testing is probably a prerequisite for success, but it isn't a guarantee for it when it comes to complex systems which can never be fully tested in the first place.
    Yes; I kind of shifted gears into an analogy of time dependent reputation of a product rather than testing.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damburger View Post
    (there is already plenty of cargo carrying capacity, and now fewer astronauts and declining political interest in the ISS.)

    Wrong on both points. The US has to replace its portion of ISS logistics that the shuttle provided. The ISS crew is no different than before.

  7. #67
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    I'd given up banging my head against "commercial" space fanboys (and their ceaseless ability to misrepresent what I have said) but I couldn't let this slide...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jim View Post
    Wrong on both points. The US has to replace its portion of ISS logistics that the shuttle provided. The ISS crew is no different than before.
    You think with the shuttle finished, and Soyuz having a schedule slip, that the ISS crew is going to remain the same size? REALLY?

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damburger View Post
    I'd given up banging my head against "commercial" space fanboys (and their ceaseless ability to misrepresent what I have said) but I couldn't let this slide...

    You think with the shuttle finished, and Soyuz having a schedule slip, that the ISS crew is going to remain the same size? REALLY?
    The end of the shuttle was known well in advance, the Soyuz issue is apparently resolved, and the station should be back to its full complement in December as discussed here. Assuming this is the case then there will be a need for the cargo scheduled to launched under CRS.

  9. #69
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    Some updated information via spaceflightnow.com. Launch no earlier than January 2012, but likely slip to February.

    But the spacecraft itself is not driving the schedule.

    NASA must review SpaceX's flight plan, test the Dragon's software algorithms and issue a series of safety reports demonstrating the mission poses no unacceptable threat to the $100 billion orbiting laboratory or its six-person crew.
    and

    Josh Byerly, a NASA spokesperson, said the SpaceX software is due to NASA by Nov. 27 and integrated testing is scheduled to begin the next day.
    CJSF
    "Soon the man who sweeps the room brings the secret telegram, 'COMMENCE OFFICIAL INTERPLANETARY EXPLORATION.' "
    -They Might Be Giants, "Destination Moon"

  10. #70
    Just seen this release from NASA saying that the next COTS flight by SpaceX will be on Feb. 7, 2012 and will rendezvous with the ISS.

    http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011...SS_Flight.html

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damburger View Post
    I'd given up banging my head against "commercial" space fanboys (and their ceaseless ability to misrepresent what I have said) but I couldn't let this slide...


    You think with the shuttle finished, and Soyuz having a schedule slip, that the ISS crew is going to remain the same size? REALLY?
    Yes. I am a commercial space advocate and many companies and NASA contracts fall under that, such as ULA, OSC, Boeing, Astrotech, LM, etc.

    I just point those who are wrong and don't know what they are talking about.
    So just keep banging your head and maybe some sense will be knocked into it.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozprof View Post
    Just seen this release from NASA saying that the next COTS flight by SpaceX will be on Feb. 7, 2012 and will rendezvous with the ISS.

    http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011...SS_Flight.html
    Which is very good news, especially that they will be allowed to rendezvous.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Jim View Post
    Yes. I am a commercial space advocate and many companies and NASA contracts fall under that, such as ULA, OSC, Boeing, Astrotech, LM, etc.

    I just point those who are wrong and don't know what they are talking about.
    So just keep banging your head and maybe some sense will be knocked into it.
    The Jim apparently learned nothing from his recent suspension, but chose to dig out a post from October to respond rudely to. He gets infracted and suspended again.
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  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    In space X news, Paul Allen will be making an announcement on Dec 13
    This must be it.
    Billionaire and space veterans start up air-launch venture
    billionaire Paul Allen and aerospace guru Burt Rutan are teaming up with SpaceX and other top-flight rocketeers to create an air-launched orbital delivery system. They say the venture will require the construction of the largest aircraft ever flown.
    Time for a new thread since this isn't COTs flight related.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Time for a new thread since this isn't COTs flight related.
    NEOWatcher wisely started such a thread. I will move the related posts from this thread to that one
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  16. #76
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    Just about 1 month to scheduled launch! This Universe Today article has some more info:

    Solar Powered Dragon gets Wings for Station Soar

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Kremer
    The Feb. 7 flight will be the first Dragon mission actually tasked to dock to the ISS and is also the first time that the Dragon will fly with deployable solar arrays.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Kremer
    SpaceX designed, developed and manufactured the solar arrays in house with their own team of engineers. As with all space hardware, the arrays have been rigorously tested for hundreds of hours under the utterly harsh conditions that simulate the unforgiving environment of outer space...
    CJSF
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  17. #77
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    Delayed... no target as of yet.
    First private rocket launch to space station delayed

    The unmanned Dragon space capsule, built by the California-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), was scheduled to launch toward the space station on Feb. 7, but the company has decided to postpone the flight to accommodate more engineering tests.

  18. #78
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    It's the 787 all over again.

  19. #79
    For added irony:

    We once invited the Boeing commercial director for a talk about the 787, years ago. In reality he only gave a talk against the A380. And then they started laughing about the A380's delays. Boy did that one come back like a boomerang.

    I hove SpaceX doesn't see too much delays! Of course, better safe than sorry with a craft that's supposed to transport humans.

  20. #80
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    I still hope for Feburary launch...

  21. #81
    Quote Originally Posted by MaDeR View Post
    I still hope for Feburary launch...
    No tentative launch date was given. I say we'll be happy if it launches in March...

  22. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by ugordan View Post
    No tentative launch date was given. I say we'll be happy if it launches in March...
    March may not be possible for reasons unrelated to SpaceX. Apparently NASA's launch schedule that month is pretty crowded already. If SpaceX has any on-pad delays, it could really throw a monkeywrench in the works. Most likely April.

  23. #83
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    http://www.space.com/14306-spacex-dr...nch-march.html

    Looks like they found a slot for it.

  24. #84
    Will it ever fly at all? The Commercial crew option was supposed to speed up the development of an access to LEO after the Shuttle retires, not to prolong it...

    SpaceX promised to close the gap. It turned out to be a false promise.

    We could have had another Ares-IX test already, I really wonder if Commercial cargo and crew was a better option.

  25. #85
    Quote Originally Posted by Zvezdichko View Post
    Will it ever fly at all? The Commercial crew option was supposed to speed up the development of an access to LEO after the Shuttle retires, not to prolong it...

    SpaceX promised to close the gap. It turned out to be a false promise.

    We could have had another Ares-IX test already, I really wonder if Commercial cargo and crew was a better option.
    Perhaps we could have had another Ares-IX test. Perhaps they could even have included some hardware that resembled what would actually eventually fly in ~2018, assuming it stayed on track and after $40 billion dollars or so were spent to develop it. In comparison, there's been 2 flights of the actual Falcon 9 vehicle and 1 launch and successful recovery of a cargo-variant Dragon, and it doesn't cost a billion dollars to fly.

  26. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zvezdichko View Post
    Will it ever fly at all? The Commercial crew option was supposed to speed up the development of an access to LEO after the Shuttle retires, not to prolong it...

    SpaceX promised to close the gap. It turned out to be a false promise.

    We could have had another Ares-IX test already, I really wonder if Commercial cargo and crew was a better option.
    This flight will actually rendezvous with the ISS. I understand Constellation wasn't going to deliver a test flight of a proper Ares 1-Y prototype before 2013, and that would have been purely a test of the rocket, the launching an Orion would have been still later. So the Falcon 9/Dragon is probably 3-4 years ahead of even the most optimistic projection for Ares/Orion, and at a fraction of the cost.

  27. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
    This flight will actually rendezvous with the ISS. I understand Constellation wasn't going to deliver a test flight of a proper Ares 1-Y prototype before 2013, and that would have been purely a test of the rocket, the launching an Orion would have been still later. So the Falcon 9/Dragon is probably 3-4 years ahead of even the most optimistic projection for Ares/Orion, and at a fraction of the cost.
    I'm not so sure....The Falcon 9/Dragon is around 2-3 years behind schedule as it is. It was supposed to be flying crewed missions this year or next year. Then again, the Ares I was originally supposed to fly in the next couple of years too.

    Either way it would be better than what we have now. The SLS won't lift off until the mid-2020s (probably never IMO).

  28. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parallax M86 View Post
    I'm not so sure....The Falcon 9/Dragon is around 2-3 years behind schedule as it is. It was supposed to be flying crewed missions this year or next year. Then again, the Ares I was originally supposed to fly in the next couple of years too.
    Ares I was far behind schedule at considerably greater cost than the Falcon 9, NASA's own numbers said it would cost them 5-10 times as much to build an equivalent capability in house.

  29. #89
    Quote Originally Posted by Parallax M86 View Post
    I'm not so sure....The Falcon 9/Dragon is around 2-3 years behind schedule as it is. It was supposed to be flying crewed missions this year or next year. Then again, the Ares I was originally supposed to fly in the next couple of years too.
    Again, we're talking about a delay until March 2012 of a launch of a vehicle that's already flown, on a mission that combines two test flights into one. The Ares I-Y test, the first with actual Ares I hardware, was first planned to happen in September 2013 and then March of 2014 before they gave up on giving it a solid date, and manned flights wouldn't have started until 2017-2019, assuming further delays didn't occur. Even with these delays, Falcon 9 is still way ahead of where Ares I would be.

  30. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    Again, we're talking about a delay until March 2012 of a launch of a vehicle that's already flown, on a mission that combines two test flights into one. The Ares I-Y test, the first with actual Ares I hardware, was first planned to happen in September 2013 and then March of 2014 before they gave up on giving it a solid date, and manned flights wouldn't have started until 2017-2019, assuming further delays didn't occur. Even with these delays, Falcon 9 is still way ahead of where Ares I would be.
    Not saying it wouldn't be ahead. I was just saying Falcon is being delayed by all these NASA delays.

    Falcon may be all we have to look forward to because I somehow doubt Orion will be going anywhere any time soon.

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