NASA Moving Forward With SpaceX and Boeing Crewed Capsules This Year

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Montu, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Montu

    Montu [H]ard DCOTM x4

    Apr 25, 2001
    NASA has released their target dates for Boeing and SpaceX manned flights and they will occur in November and December respectively. However, all is not rosy because a recent report by the Aerospace Safety and Advisory Panel states the capsules may not be able to be certified because Boeing and SpaceX may not be able to meet the requirement for 1 possible fatal accident in 270 flights. I know that seems pretty strict, but I'm sure the astronauts expect nothing less. We can't go back to the risk we accepted in the Shuttle Program. Anyway, good luck to both companies and their passengers.

    Once the test flights are done successfully and safely, NASA can certify either or both companies to ferry astronauts on low-Earth-orbit missions. Right now, crew members headed to the ISS must fly on Russian Soyuz spacecraft launched from Baikanor, Kazakhstan.
  2. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardForum Junkie

    Jul 15, 2005
    Both designs have a launch escape system that operates similar to the Apollo launch abort system. That alone greatly improves safety, the Shuttle had no realistic abort options for many scenarios.

    Roberty, travisty and tungt88 like this.
  3. tungt88

    tungt88 [H]ard|Gawd

    Jan 14, 2008
    Wow, I wasn't aware that the Space Shuttle didn't have any realistic abort options for most scenarios. What were they thinking? Was potential loss of human life (highly trained professionals, at that) kind of on the back side?
  4. RogueTadhg

    RogueTadhg [H]ard|Gawd

    Dec 14, 2011
    Didn't the space shuttle program have ~85:1 / 57:1 (If you count X-15)? Challenger and Columbia.

    Space Shuttle had two major accidents - One on reentry and one on lift off. The only way I can think of to drastically reduce the cost of space exploration is through a new source of energy that doesn't include strapping a large bomb to your back and lighting the fuse or with a Space Elevator.
  5. travisty

    travisty Gawd

    Feb 3, 2016
    The thing about the shuttle is how would the escape work?

    On liftoff there's fuel coming in from the main tank (large red one) into the engines on the shuttle while the solid state boosters (two white boosters on either side of the main tank) contained their own fuel.

    In the case of a catastrophic incident there's maybe two or three seconds to detect, detach, and escape. The shuttle's crew compartment could have been detachable but then it makes accessing different part of the shuttle much more difficult. Trying to detach the shuttle quickly is (in my mind) impracticable as the fuel flow would have to be cut then, assuming there's no leak which could cause an ignition leading to the quick destruction of the main tank, fly away safely from the main tank. I'm not sure the air-flow around the shuttle/main tank but it's possible making the tank free from the shuttle in atmosphere would cause the main tank to fall into the shuttle.

    The space shuttle was a terrible idea perpetuated by ignorance by those who pay for it (non-engineers ie congress)
  6. PaulP

    PaulP Gawd

    Oct 31, 2016
    I doubt the Soyuz could be certified using those standards, but that is the only alternative if the Boeing and SpaceX systems are not certified. So at the end of the day, they will be certified.
  7. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot [H]ard|Gawd

    Mar 4, 2013
    IIRC, the first four Columbia flights had ejection seats for the 2 pilots.

    Don't see how anyone can certify for 1 death in 270 flights since I don't think any orbital launch system has made 270 flights without some kind of major failure. Soyuz is good but has killed 4, all early in the program.
  8. RogueTadhg

    RogueTadhg [H]ard|Gawd

    Dec 14, 2011
    We only had 2 major accidents (known), One on liftoff and one on reentry.

    The liftoff disaster was due to a O-ring that wasn't designed to handle cold temperature use and failed. It was a preventable disaster especially since the engineers agreed they shouldn't launch until it was a higher temperature - which NASA didn't like to hear. The managers wanted to launch, they gave NASA the green light to launch.

    All things considering I think that the space shuttle did a lot of good. We just don't launch it enough.
    primetime likes this.
  9. idiomatic

    idiomatic n00bie

    Jan 12, 2018
    This is NASA horseshit.

    Back in 2005 or thereabouts the future mission designs were being laid out to replace the shuttle. The trade studies had a target of 1 in 1000, considered achievable by modern systems.

    Half-way through the trade the factor of safety was mysteriously cut to 1 in 270. Why? No design featuring the ATK SRB's was going to make the cut, these have a track record of exploding every so often. The trade study was heavily gamed to make the shuttle legacy hardware win.

    The Space program is cursed by the Shuttle Legacy which is not allowed to be improved upon. The SRBs could hit 1 in 1000 if they were poured monolithically in Florida instead of in Utah. The SRB's only had to have thrust vectoring on the shuttle because thei thrust is too unreliable. If they had been liquids as originally designed the engines would not have needed to be gimbaled.

    There were about 20 different changes scheduled to be made to the shuttle back in '86. They would have made the shuttle safer, cheaper, and vastly improve the turn-around time. But they would have reduced the labour required, so they were nixed. Anything Nasa builds has to have shuttle engines, Michoud tankage and ATK SRB's, so it can never advance. SLS is technology that is 40 years old. Its why Space X is able to embarrass NASA pretty handily with a tenth of the expenditure. NASA knows how to move on but they are not allowed to do so.

    1 in 270 is trivial to surpass in this day and age. Saftey standards for astronauts are being lowered for political reasons.
  10. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

    Sep 13, 2008

    the soyuz is pretty safe but it's also a super simplistic design which is the route spaceX and Boeing are going with their designs as well.. soyuz's biggest issue is the capsule return being on land instead of water which has it's own history of problems. either way all 3 designs are a hell of a lot safer than the shuttle in the case of a launch emergency.
  11. jedijeb13

    jedijeb13 Limp Gawd

    Feb 15, 2017
    This is the difference between a government run program and a private run program. Government must bow to any party that has even the smallest interest in the project, including unions and congress and lobbyists, ect while private companies are beholden to making a profit for their shareholders. If it is profitable then SpaceX and Boeing can do it, NASA must do what satisfies the interested parties even if it costs 10x what can ever be returned.

    Once private industry finds a profit making use for space, then it will become much more efficient to get there and stay there than what it is now. Just like the process of exploring the Americas, Columbus was a government funded research expedition, along with a few others. Once it was discovered there were resources here to exploit, the private companies began traveling here and opened it up to trade and eventually colonization. The same will most likely be true for space.
    Chihlidog likes this.
  12. Gideon

    Gideon [H]ard|Gawd

    Apr 13, 2006
    There is no 100% safe way in and out of space, our technology is to crude yet for that. Also anyone that agrees to go into space knows the risks and accepts them. All we can do is learn from our mistakes and press on as it's the only way to learn sometimes.
  13. Smashing Young Man

    Smashing Young Man [H]ard|Gawd

    Sep 11, 2009
    In short, NASA is primarily a jobs program, much as any federal agency is.