aumaverick
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Fri Dec 20, 2019 7:26 pm

flyingcat wrote:
aumaverick wrote:
I hope the next flight is crewed so we can get back to some old school astronaut flying. I really liked Bridenstine's response noting every Shuttle mission was crewed, even the first docking mission with the ISS. Automate all you want, but its time to get back to putting suits in ships.


Is the mission clock the crew would have used the same as the computer? Then would the crew have been able to see the error??


I do not know if the clock in the cabin is the same as the internal clock used by automation, but per the mission profile, they would have been aware of the mistiming of the burn, or at least aware the burn was not nominal on autopilot and moved to have overridden the automation to manually take over. This is standard training in the sim since the days of Gemini.
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Nomadd
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sat Dec 21, 2019 3:03 am

It doesn't matter if they still had enough fuel left to reach the ISS. There's no way they'd allow it to get near with such a basic software failure.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:23 pm

Nomadd wrote:
It doesn't matter if they still had enough fuel left to reach the ISS. There's no way they'd allow it to get near with such a basic software failure.

So very true. ISS has a robust proximity permits system, with multiple "layers", where a bunch of parameters have to be in check, before further approach and maneuvering would be authorized. ISS program is highly formalist on this, and rightly so. After having seen Mir station rammed in a seemingly routine maneuver, one sees reasons for Space Station program being heartless bureaucrats, as far as Visiting Vehicles activity is concerned.
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Tugger
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:04 pm

Phosphorus wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
It doesn't matter if they still had enough fuel left to reach the ISS. There's no way they'd allow it to get near with such a basic software failure.

So very true. ISS has a robust proximity permits system, with multiple "layers", where a bunch of parameters have to be in check, before further approach and maneuvering would be authorized. ISS program is highly formalist on this, and rightly so. After having seen Mir station rammed in a seemingly routine maneuver, one sees reasons for Space Station program being heartless bureaucrats, as far as Visiting Vehicles activity is concerned.

I wonder if this is the actual reason why the Starliner is not attempting to meet up with the ISS. They still have 75% of their fuel load, and I had read some article that said it could have attempted it with that much left but they decided not too (I can't find it now but will keep looking).

But "not enough fuel" sounds much better publicly than "ISS won't allow it near it due to the risk of it crashing into it".

Tugg
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meecrob
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:29 am

Tugger wrote:
Phosphorus wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
It doesn't matter if they still had enough fuel left to reach the ISS. There's no way they'd allow it to get near with such a basic software failure.

So very true. ISS has a robust proximity permits system, with multiple "layers", where a bunch of parameters have to be in check, before further approach and maneuvering would be authorized. ISS program is highly formalist on this, and rightly so. After having seen Mir station rammed in a seemingly routine maneuver, one sees reasons for Space Station program being heartless bureaucrats, as far as Visiting Vehicles activity is concerned.

I wonder if this is the actual reason why the Starliner is not attempting to meet up with the ISS. They still have 75% of their fuel load, and I had read some article that said it could have attempted it with that much left but they decided not too (I can't find it now but will keep looking).

But "not enough fuel" sounds much better publicly than "ISS won't allow it near it due to the risk of it crashing into it".

Tugg


I heard the reason is that Starliner is now out of phase with the ISS and it would take approx 2 weeks to re-align. By then on-board resources would be too low to make it worthwhile testing-wise to dock with ISS.

But as Tugger said, this sounds much better publicly than "we're afraid of Starliner crashing into ISS if its clock hiccups again"
 
boacvc10
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:05 am

meecrob wrote:
if its clock hiccups again"

if I may add in ".... and fix the big problem we have of not understanding the fact that there may be gaps in TDRS coverage for launch and early orbit ops, at altitudes less than 750 miles.".

Seriously, did the mission planning team not hire anyone (hire me!) to plan out comms coverage for commands/telemetry at low orbital altitudes (<750 miles) during Launch and Early Orbit phase?

Who decided to just trust automation on an untested spacecraft and booster on its maiden voyage?

Also, I am thinking that TDRS should have been expanded with more satellite coverage - but that is not an excuse for not knowing how to model safe modes (and contingency plans during safe modes) during loss of signal as TDRS coverage is already known in many forms.

From: https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/tdrs-1.htm

TDRS can provide continuous global coverage of Earth-orbiting spacecraft above 750 miles to an altitude of about 3,100 miles. At lower altitudes there are brief periods when satellites over the Indian Ocean near the equator are out of view. This area is called the geometric zone of exclusion.


Related details - I don't have obviously any say in such matters, but why would the mission planners not have considered a comms contingency plan? Randomly, even an ORBCOMM like satellite data terminal integrated into the capsule/booster would have allowed them to stay in touch in absence of TDRS - this part is not rocket science, it's satellite communications and network engineering. But I am sure it would be a bit more difficult than that and have to be designed to compensate for relative velocity to the orbiting satcom network at MEO/LEO.

From: https://spaceflight.nasa.gov/feedback/expert/answer/mcc/sts-111/06_12_06_06_18.html

The two primary TDRS satellites are not located directly opposite each other with respect to the Earth. Instead, each is positioned such that it has a direct line of sight to the ground station located at White Sands, N.M. This positioning causes a gap where neither satellite has contact with the orbiter/ISS. The gap is located on the opposite side of the Earth from White Sands and is referred to as the Zone of Exclusion (ZOE). This is most likely the "missing chunk" you refer to. It's actually where the two "circles" (the flattened ovals) showing where there is no coverage overlap.

Data can still be obtained in the ZOE either by ground station at Diego Garcia if the orbiter or ISS is passing over it or via a third TDRS that must relay its data through an extra path to reach controllers on the ground.


BTW, while Boeing deserves to be criticized, I feel it is fair to point out that it's not uncommon to make mistakes in space program development, but one could argue, it's not common to make such silly mistakes, as - oh I don't know - perhaps have a discussion on how to deal with comms blackout zones? Here is a Russian example of recent, the Phobos-Grunt mission that thought it reached Mars, but actually never left Earth orbit.:

From: https://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/lou-friedman/3361.html

Other errors on the mission included the system being designed so that the spacecraft was out of communications range after launch, so mission personnel had no idea how it was behaving. In this, the Russians repeated the error that doomed their Mars-96 mission.



What say you all?
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flyingturtle
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:16 am

Must Correct Ambiguous Software... the Starliner was programmed to behave like an Apollo capsule...

According to https://www.space.com/boeing-starliner- ... pdate.html touchdown is planned for 12:57 GMT. Live coverage on teh intewebz will begin at 11:45 GMT.
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ThePointblank
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:08 am

My understanding is that there was an issue with the hand-off between Starliner and the Atlas rocket; Starliner sets Mission Elapsed Time (MET) based on data retrieved from its Atlas V launch vehicle. During Friday’s launch, Starliner retrieved the wrong data, resulting in an incorrectly set MET. This had multiple knock on effects:

1. Starliner thought that the spacecraft was at a point in the mission profile different than its actual location based upon the MET. This disagreement resulted in the orbit insertion burn not occurring on time, preventing the craft from reaching the planned orbit on time
2. Furthermore, due to the MET error, Starliner and its communications antenna were not oriented correctly, which caused problems for ground controllers trying to manually command the orbit insertion burn due to delays in getting the data link established
3. Once communications was established, the ground controllers were able to command Starliner to execute a pair of burns to reach a circular 250km orbit. However, due to the amount of fuel expended to manoeuvring to a stable orbit and maintaining the incorrect orientation, there was insufficient amount of fuel remained on board Starliner to conduct an approach
 
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ITMercure
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:20 am

Does that mean that we are left again with a SPOF?
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:48 am

ITMercure wrote:
Does that mean that we are left again with a SPOF?


I don't necessarily think so. These clocks are robust enough. Even if you had two of them, when the correct handoff from the Atlas rocket fails, then both clocks run on the wrong time. I think a sanity check would be better. For example, these things navigate with GPS. So, before liftoff, the Starliner receives GPS signals. At liftoff, the Starliner is told via radio to note the GPS time - so it knows since which UTC time MET is running.

I don't remember any other incident where a wacky clock caused a wacky orbit.
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ThePointblank
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:53 am

ITMercure wrote:
Does that mean that we are left again with a SPOF?

Sounds more like a vendor interface issue between two different vendors; remember that the Atlas V family of rockets were originally developed by Lockheed Martin. There is probably some unexpected glitch between the interfaces between the Atlas launch vehicle and Starliner as a result, and it's very likely that Boeing has an idea of what the glitch is, judging from the most recent NASA-Boeing teleconference. Once Starliner is back on the ground, they can probably examine the issue in greater detail.

But as NASA has said, had this been an actual crewed mission, the crew onboard probably would have noticed something was wrong and they may have been able to provide more options, which may have allowed the mission to continue to the ISS.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:03 pm

The thing has landed. All parachutes have deployed. As it seems, the landing was flawless.

The "gold" team is checking for residual or leaking hydrazine. The "silver" one is making other safety checks, mainly electrical systems. And the "green" one is allowed to touch everything...
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Tugger
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Dec 22, 2019 6:25 pm

Everything appeared to go smoothly for the deorbit and landing of Starliner. Here's the official video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPzNHeX7OYM

A lot in the video. Of course it wasn't as happy and excited due to the relative failure with the ISS docking. They noted they had a lot of "sentimental items" on board which I am sure many were intended to be for the ISS crew to see but that never happened.
I do wonder about their process with the "environmental enclosure" if there are the high winds for which they have the parachutes detach just in case to prevent the capsule getting dragged.

But otherwise a good result in that the capsule made it back safely. Congrats to the deorbit and landing team.

Tugg
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flyingturtle
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Dec 22, 2019 7:47 pm

CNN says the Starliner's clock was off by a whopping 11 hours, because of a "misread."

Could this mean the poor CST-100 MAX thought it was already flying when the systems were powered up on the launchpad?
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zanl188
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:18 am

Tugger wrote:
I do wonder about their process with the "environmental enclosure" if there are the high winds for which they have the parachutes detach just in case to prevent the capsule getting dragged.

Tugg


Boeing ground staff did seem a bit inept, especially compared to Soyuz ground staff. I could see some Boeing people getting blown away with the Starliner “bounce house”.
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zanl188
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:20 am

flyingturtle wrote:
CNN says the Starliner's clock was off by a whopping 11 hours, because of a "misread."

Could this mean the poor CST-100 MAX thought it was already flying when the systems were powered up on the launchpad?


I hope not. This would have resulted in thruster firings on the pad. Very ugly.
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Nomadd
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:37 am

I'm not too happy with the blatant NASA bias in favor of Boeing over SpaceX, but the fact is, this mission did demonstrate the basic ability of Starliner to orbit and return, so I can see them allowing the crewed mission based on what they achieved. If docking doesn't work out, they can always just come back to Earth. Not what anybody would prefer, but requiring another uncrewed mission wouldn't really accomplish much.

flyingturtle wrote:
CNN says the Starliner's clock was off by a whopping 11 hours, because of a "misread."

Could this mean the poor CST-100 MAX thought it was already flying when the systems were powered up on the launchpad?

Coincidentally, the Atlas was powered up 11 hours before launch. I'm not sure what that might mean.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Dec 23, 2019 8:24 am

Nomadd wrote:
I'm not too happy with the blatant NASA bias in favor of Boeing over SpaceX, but the fact is, this mission did demonstrate the basic ability of Starliner to orbit and return, so I can see them allowing the crewed mission based on what they achieved. If docking doesn't work out, they can always just come back to Earth. Not what anybody would prefer, but requiring another uncrewed mission wouldn't really accomplish much.

flyingturtle wrote:
CNN says the Starliner's clock was off by a whopping 11 hours, because of a "misread."

Could this mean the poor CST-100 MAX thought it was already flying when the systems were powered up on the launchpad?

Coincidentally, the Atlas was powered up 11 hours before launch. I'm not sure what that might mean.


Interesting, thank you.
AFAIR, for both Progress and Soyuz, there is a backup, manual ISS docking protocol -- in case of Progress (and uncrewed Soyuz), one of Station crewmembers takes over.
But Soyuz and Progress are known quantities, in business for quite some time. As discussed before, no way that much leeway would be granted to a less understood Visiting Vehicle.

Starliner -- due to the nature of anomaly on the maiden flight, it probably does make sense to have the next flight crewed. Just in case, but the Starliner crew could go manual in proximity with ISS, and then Station commander, capsule commander and mission control could either agree to proceed to dock, or abandon docking.
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flyingturtle
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Dec 23, 2019 8:55 am

About the Starliner's clock...

zanl188 wrote:
I hope not. This would have resulted in thruster firings on the pad. Very ugly.


No, not necessarily. I guess the clock would tell the poor little spaceship that it would be in a stable orbit even before launch, and I guess that the continued attachment to Atlas would tell Starliner not to use its engines. But when detached, the control logic would forego a proper orbit insertion burn.

Nomadd wrote:
Coincidentally, the Atlas was powered up 11 hours before launch. I'm not sure what that might mean.


Uh-oh. But in due time, we can put away our guesses...


Regards,

Flying "Fuel exhausted, exiting with Kerbal to push with jet pack against heat shield for re-entry burn" Turtle
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SamYeager2016
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:29 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
DigitalSea wrote:
Geesh, if they couldn't even get this right, I can't even imagine if they had submitted & won anything for GBSD.


I possess confidential documents saying they'll market the 737 MAX as a strategic bomber. MCAS will be part of the deterrent. The clock that tracks Mission Elapsed Time is thought to inhibit MCAS over the continental United States.

It's cruel to mock the afflicted....
 
FGITD
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:58 pm

Nomadd wrote:
I'm not too happy with the blatant NASA bias in favor of Boeing over SpaceX, but the fact is, this mission did demonstrate the basic ability of Starliner to orbit and return, so I can see them allowing the crewed mission based on what they achieved. If docking doesn't work out, they can always just come back to Earth.


It seems a lot of people really do get the "good old boys club" vibe from NASA and Boeing. And I can see why. It certainly seems like spacex is being forced to jump through more hoops with a lower budget, and has been reasonably successful. Leads me to believe Boeing was only selected as the token "Safe" option.

I think NASA is falling into the same issues they always have regarding publicity, and Boeing isn't helping. NASA's reputation now is one that continues to announce ambitious projects...then quietly cancels them. Boeing is of course it's own separate world of problems.

I'd love to see them both succeed. They have to. But I can understand the fanboyism and competition that follows spacex. They innovate, and when they say they're going to do something, they do it. (Though be it possibly years later than they declared) it's that type of spirit that got NASA to the moon.


Regarding this test....VERY interesting coincidence that the atlas power up syncs up with the onboard clock. Speculation of course, but I can't help but wonder if it's a simple programming mistake that went unnoticed
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Tue Dec 24, 2019 3:24 am

Nomadd wrote:
I'm not too happy with the blatant NASA bias in favor of Boeing over SpaceX, but the fact is, this mission did demonstrate the basic ability of Starliner to orbit and return, so I can see them allowing the crewed mission based on what they achieved. If docking doesn't work out, they can always just come back to Earth. Not what anybody would prefer, but requiring another uncrewed mission wouldn't really accomplish much.

flyingturtle wrote:
CNN says the Starliner's clock was off by a whopping 11 hours, because of a "misread."

Could this mean the poor CST-100 MAX thought it was already flying when the systems were powered up on the launchpad?

Coincidentally, the Atlas was powered up 11 hours before launch. I'm not sure what that might mean.

This type of mishap would cause NASA to delay SpaceX’s next flight by six months or more. Take the parachutes as the prime example. NASA has tortured SpaceX over parachutes. Then Boeing fails to deploy a chute on the pad abort, then blows the rendezvous test with ISS, and within the hour the Administrator is spinning everything positive and saying it might have been better with people on board to save the robot from itself, and still thinks the next flight can probably go with people on board. The bias is obvious. All this despite Boeing threatening to cancel its contract unless NASA ponies up even more dough. If I was one of those people NASA was paying to sit on top of thousands of tons of explosives, I would prefer to see a nominal uncrewed flight before strapping in.

Now, Boeing also has the Administator by the short hairs because of their influence in Congress, but I don’t think he should so easily bow in deference and talk about how happy he is with an obvious mission failure.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:01 am

Nomadd wrote:
I'm not too happy with the blatant NASA bias in favor of Boeing over SpaceX, but the fact is, this mission did demonstrate the basic ability of Starliner to orbit and return, so I can see them allowing the crewed mission based on what they achieved. If docking doesn't work out, they can always just come back to Earth. Not what anybody would prefer, but requiring another uncrewed mission wouldn't really accomplish much.

flyingturtle wrote:
CNN says the Starliner's clock was off by a whopping 11 hours, because of a "misread."

Could this mean the poor CST-100 MAX thought it was already flying when the systems were powered up on the launchpad?

Coincidentally, the Atlas was powered up 11 hours before launch. I'm not sure what that might mean.


Requiring another uncrewed launch is probably going to be expected, unless NASA agrees to waive that requirement; it's actually part of the contract Boeing has with NASA; they need to demonstrate a unmanned docking with the ISS:

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/file ... ng_508.pdf

Attachment J-03, page 36:

The Contractor’s flight test program shall include an uncrewed orbital flight test to the ISS.
The OFT shall include a CCTS that validates end-to-end connectivity, LV and CST-100 integration, launch and flight operations, automated rendezvous and proximity operations, and docking with the ISS, assuming ISS approval. [Second half of paragraph redacted]


I'm not sure if NASA is willing to waive that requirement; I'm not getting any readings from NASA from their public statements on the level of willingness to waive that requirement. In any case, I fully expect the crewed test flight to be delayed as NASA would want to go over Starliner once again with a very fine tooth comb.

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