Elon Musk says Crew Dragon may fly humans to space as soon as December

#1
C C Offline
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/...-year.html

EXCERPT: Elon Musk says the Crew Dragon craft may soon be ready for human passengers. The capsule, along with its Falcon 9 rocket, could be ready by December. Before it launches its first humans into space it has to pass a critical safety test. Crew Dragon notoriously burst into flames during tests earlier this year.

[...] The last hurtle before being approved for the major step will be a critical launch trial in which the Crew Dragon's In-Flight Abort functions are tested. During this test, the craft is launched into high-altitude and is tasked with aborting the capsule during high-velocity, the most stressful point of the launch. The upcoming test will be particularly noteworthy considering the fact that others like have gone horribly awry this year.

In April SpaceX was testing Dragon's abort when an error resulted in the destruction of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, engulfing it in flames. These thrusters will play a critical role in future launches with astronauts on board; they're designed to safely steer the capsule away from the rocket in the case of an emergency.

SpaceX is among the companies looking to pave the way for commercial space flight ... The Crew Dragon features an advanced emergency escape system (which was tested earlier this year) to swiftly carry astronauts to safety if something were to go wrong, experiencing about the same G-forces as a ride at Disneyland. The capsule measures about 20 feet tall by 12 feet in diameter, and will carry up to 7 astronauts at a time. The capsule is designed to eventually shuttle both astronauts and commercial passengers into space and is poised to kickstart a space tourism industry. (MORE)
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#2
C C Offline
NASA confirms Boeing’s latest timetable for Starliner space taxi’s final tests
https://www.geekwire.com/2019/nasa-confi...pace-taxi/

EXCERPT: . . . The target data for Starliner’s pad abort test is set for Nov. 4 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, NASA said. That’s in line with the plan that Boeing executive John Mulholland laid out earlier this week at a New Mexico space symposium.

If next month’s test is successful, Boeing would target Dec. 17 for the launch of an uncrewed Starliner to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.

And if that test flight is successful in turn, Boeing is expected to send a crew of spacefliers on a demonstration flight to the space station in early 2020. That’s roughly the same timetable that SpaceX is working toward for the first crewed flight of its Crew Dragon space taxi.

SpaceX and Boeing are developing the spaceships under the terms of multibillion-dollar contracts with NASA. Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon are designed to accommodate as many as seven astronauts for trips to and from the space station, restoring a U.S. crewed launch capability that was lost in 2011 when NASA retired the space shuttle fleet. (MORE)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZg5CCAyiTA
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#3
Yazata Offline
(Oct 12, 2019 05:34 AM)C C Wrote: NASA confirms Boeing’s latest timetable for Starliner space taxi’s final tests
https://www.geekwire.com/2019/nasa-confi...pace-taxi/

EXCERPT: . . . The target data for Starliner’s pad abort test is set for Nov. 4 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, NASA said. That’s in line with the plan that Boeing executive John Mulholland laid out earlier this week at a New Mexico space symposium.

If next month’s test is successful, Boeing would target Dec. 17 for the launch of an uncrewed Starliner to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.

I wonder what they will pack aboard it. Ripley and (especially) Little Earth will be hard to beat.

Quote:And if that test flight is successful in turn,

I anticipate it will be.

Quote:Boeing is expected to send a crew of spacefliers on a demonstration flight to the space station in early 2020. That’s roughly the same timetable that SpaceX is working toward...

I still think that SpaceX will fly astronauts before Boeing. If Boeing flies their version of DM-1 on Dec 17, there will still be lots of mission analysis stuff to complete. And the manned capsule will still have to be completed and delivered. Meanwhile SpaceX will be delivering their finished DM-2 manned capsule to Cape Canaveral before December 31. (Assuming no setbacks with the in-flight abort test... Doesn't Boeing need to fly an in-flight abort test too?)

Quote:SpaceX and Boeing are developing the spaceships under the terms of multibillion-dollar contracts with NASA. Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon are designed to accommodate as many as seven astronauts for trips to and from the space station, restoring a U.S. crewed launch capability that was lost in 2011 when NASA retired the space shuttle fleet.

Interestingly, Boeing is receiving something like 1.5-2X as much NASA money as SpaceX. Part of that is SpaceX's own fault. Gwynne Shotwell was blaming herself, since SpaceX's proposal had the smaller number because SpaceX wanted to win the contract. At the time, they didn't know what the competitors were going to ask for.
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#4
Yazata Offline
(Oct 12, 2019 05:34 AM)C C Wrote: The target data for Starliner’s pad abort test is set for Nov. 4 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, NASA said.

The Boeing Starliner pad-abort test went as scheduled this morning.

Good news and bad. The capsule landed in one piece. (Good.)

But only two of the three parachutes deployed. (Bad.) It can still land with two, but that's not within NASA's desired safety margins.

So just like SpaceX, it looks like Boeing is going to be held up with a parachute problem. (SpaceX seems to be resolving theirs with their new upgraded chute.)

Another possible problem: As it descended, after the abort rockets were shut down, the Starliner was leaking nitrogen tetroxide bigtime. Some sources are trying to put a happy face on it, suggesting that the residual N2O4 is intentionally dumped after engine shutdown and the brown plume was expected, but I'm skeptical about that.


[Image: NASA-Live_-Official-Stream-of-NASA-TV-13...enshot.png]

[Image: NASA-Live_-Official-Stream-of-NASA-TV-13...enshot.png]

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#5
C C Offline
Yeah, given the negative in terms of aesthetics and bad publicity it may have already generated, it's difficult to conceive that brown plume being deliberate and a routine expectation.
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