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Tugger
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Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Sat Oct 09, 2021 10:24 pm

So it's official the next possible test flight has been delayed into 2022:
https://www.theverge.com/2021/10/9/2271 ... -nasa-2022
NASA has officially pushed back the launch of its Orbital Flight-Test 2 until next year, as it continues to work on an oxidizer isolation valve issue on Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, the agency announced.

The agency said in a blog post that it’s continuing to assess potential launch windows for the mission: “The team currently is working toward opportunities in the first half of 2022 pending hardware readiness, the rocket manifest and space station availability,” according to the post.

Steve Stitch, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, added that it was “a complex issue,” affecting parts of the spacecraft that aren’t easy to access, which has required “a methodical approach and sound engineering to effectively examine.”


Tugg
Last edited by SQ22 on Tue May 03, 2022 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Title updated
 
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Francoflier
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Thu Oct 14, 2021 12:09 pm

Thanks for opening the thread.

The new launch date now puts Starliner in competition with Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser's first flight which, ironically, lost to it and Space X's Dragon for the Commercial Crew Program...

The project that was selected because NASA "considered Boeing's proposal to be the strongest of all three proposals in terms of technical approach, management approach and past performance, and to offer the crew transportation system with most utility and highest value to the government." may now only do its second (test) launch years late, potentially after the spaceplane (turned cargo shuttle) that lost on grounds of inexperience and riskiness. :innocent:

Of course, there's no way of predicting what would have happened, and a lot of what will happen depends on the availability of the Vulcan Centaur, itself at risk of being further delayed thanks to another Space laggard.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Thu Oct 14, 2021 12:57 pm

I welcome this thread, too!

Francoflier wrote:
The project that was selected because NASA "considered Boeing's proposal to be the strongest of all three proposals in terms of technical approach, management approach and past performance...


That's an old, and very fatal human flaw. People think that past performance predicts future performance.

But there is absolutely no way one can predict the future based on the past. The only thing that can do so is a) the actual state of Boeing right now, coupled with b) the actual forces prevalent in the Boeing company right now. Then you know which direction Boeing is going. Even SpaceX will be a dinosaur and lose out to a newcomer if they don't take constant care of their business culture.
 
FGITD
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:47 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
That's an old, and very fatal human flaw. People think that past performance predicts future performance.


The interesting is that even with the blistering pace of innovation during the late 1950s/60s, they still didn’t always use the same contractor for the same parts of a spacecraft. Mercury and Gemini were built by McDonnell, but then the Apollo CSM was Rockwell and the LM was Grumman

Starliner is the living proof that you can’t simply assume a company will be good because they’ve always been good. And also the proof that like Musk himself frequently points out…space is hard. Boeing has a solid track record (…relatively speaking) and they still struggle with a manned spacecraft because it’s so vastly different from anything else they’ve built.
 
GDB
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:08 pm

Given how controversial the whole COTS program was, especially in Congress, one of the ‘big beasts’ with all their lobbyists had to be included for the whole program to stand a chance.
Nevermind the booster is non resueable so more expensive to launch, though using a well proven one was seen to reduce risk and costs that way.
I seriously doubt that NASA thought the upstart Space X would beat them back then, so the likes of Dream Chaser in it’s manned form did not really stand a chance regardless of merit.

Now? At least two and a half years after the Dragon’s first manned flight until Starliner (another dopey name like the 787 Dreamliner), before any prospect of a manned ‘Starliner’ flight.
 
texl1649
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:27 pm

The thing is…a capsule mainly has two chief challenges; surviving in a vacuum, and more significantly surviving re-entry safely. The Starliner doesn’t really struggle at that, it’s more like an MCAS-related challenge where the software/easy stuff is all kinds of poorly engineered/integrated/tested.

FGITD you are right Apollo was a real mix of different contractors, and frankly that is part of why it was shut down, the numbers/data crunchers figured out that it was a bit of a miracle no one had died (other than on the launch pad) thru 12. The Starliner has no similar parallel. It’s basically all Boeing all the way. (Which, of course, isn’t really proving to be a good thing…)
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Fri Oct 15, 2021 7:58 pm

The focus on Starliner's valve issues is focused on environmental moisture interacting with the propellent, which corroded the metal:

https://spacenews.com/starliner-valve-i ... ropellant/

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner was within hours of launch on its second uncrewed test flight in early August when stuck valves in the spacecraft’s propulsion system forced a launch scrub that has turned into a delay that will extend well into next year.

“It was a tough pill to swallow,” John Vollmer, vice president and program manager of the commercial crew program at Boeing, said of the delay in a recent interview. The company had worked for a year and a half to correct software problems that cut short the first uncrewed test flight, called Orbital Flight Test (OFT), in December 2019.

“We had done a lot of testing on the software. We had gotten really comfortable with that. This kind of hurt because it wasn’t something we had expected,” he said.

Boeing is continuing to investigate what caused 13 valves to stick in the closed position. The leading cause is that nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) propellant, leaking through the valve, reacted with moisture and created nitric oxide, corroding the valve.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Wed Oct 20, 2021 8:01 am

Two of Starliner's valves have been removed and sent to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama for further analysis, per what was reported in a media briefing between Boeing and NASA:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/10 ... f-of-2022/

NASA and Boeing officials said Tuesday that they have successfully removed two valves from the Starliner spacecraft and have shipped them to Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama for further analysis.

The forensic examination—the two valves will be inspected with a variety of techniques, including a CT scan—is part of Boeing's ongoing effort to diagnose the "stuck" valve issue that caused an abort of Starliner's uncrewed test flight on August 3. With less than five hours remaining in the countdown to launch, during a routine procedure, 13 of the 24 valves that control the flow of dinitrogen tetroxide oxidizer through the service module of the spacecraft would not cycle between closed and open.


Boeing's chief engineer has already indicating what is the leading hypothesis on why the valves won't work; at some point during the 46-day period when the vehicle was fueled—and when the valves were found to be stuck—humidity must have gotten into the spacecraft. The moisture combined with the oxidizer and created nitric acid, which is highly corrosive, and likely caused a failure in the valves, causing them to get stuck.

Boeing and NASA are targeting an early 2022 launch for Starliner's second flight test, with the earliest possible crewed test sometime in either late 2022, or early 2023. In the meantime, NASA has already moved to negotiate with SpaceX for additional crewed Dragon missions to the ISS in case SpaceX completes their contracted 6 missions before Starliner even gets off the ground.
 
FGITD
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Tue Dec 14, 2021 6:11 am

https://starlinerupdates.com/boeing-to- ... ght-tests/


Early 2022 is slowly becoming mid-2022, with the targeted launch now being May.

There ought to be a congressional hearing on just how poorly managed this thing has been. But of course there won’t be
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Sun Apr 17, 2022 11:27 pm

Starliner launch coming up in about a month.
 
aumaverick
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Mon Apr 18, 2022 2:16 pm

Avatar2go wrote:
Starliner launch coming up in about a month.


I know the two programs are different, but if the Artemis wet dress rehearsal is anything to go by, I'd say this second attempt at Starliner is doomed too!

Image

(Hey NASA),Here's an idea: why don't you give me half the money your were gonna bet, then we'll go out back, I'll kick you in the nuts, and we'll call it a day!”
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Mon Apr 18, 2022 5:36 pm

aumaverick wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
Starliner launch coming up in about a month.


I know the two programs are different, but if the Artemis wet dress rehearsal is anything to go by, I'd say this second attempt at Starliner is doomed too!

Image

(Hey NASA),Here's an idea: why don't you give me half the money your were gonna bet, then we'll go out back, I'll kick you in the nuts, and we'll call it a day!”


I think this is the 3rd attempt at Starliner. First one failed in flight due to software and com. issues. Second one got scrubbed due to 13 valves that did not open like they should have.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Mon Apr 18, 2022 6:04 pm

aumaverick wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
Starliner launch coming up in about a month.


I know the two programs are different, but if the Artemis wet dress rehearsal is anything to go by, I'd say this second attempt at Starliner is doomed too!

Image

(Hey NASA),Here's an idea: why don't you give me half the money your were gonna bet, then we'll go out back, I'll kick you in the nuts, and we'll call it a day!”


Artemis WDR has been mostly successful. They found 2 minor issues in an incredibly complex system. A check valve that doesn't seal properly, and a hydrogen fitting that leaked under a pressure surge. Both are easily fixed.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Mon Apr 18, 2022 6:16 pm

Jetbuddy wrote:

I think this is the 3rd attempt at Starliner. First one failed in flight due to software and com. issues. Second one got scrubbed due to 13 valves that did not open like they should have.


First flight completed orbital testing but could not rendezvous with ISS due to fuel expenditure from a software flaw. Boeing did a software rewrite to correct the issue.

Second attempt was aborted due to moisture contamination of oxidizer valves in the ESA service module. This is a well-known problem at the Cape that occurred in the shuttle program as well. Boeing added an enhanced purge system to keep humidity out during storage and at the pad.
 
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Nomadd
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Mon Apr 18, 2022 6:54 pm

Avatar2go wrote:
Artemis WDR has been mostly successful. They found 2 minor issues in an incredibly complex system. A check valve that doesn't seal properly, and a hydrogen fitting that leaked under a pressure surge. Both are easily fixed.

They wouldn't be rolling it back if it was "easily" fixed. And you have no idea if it's a faulty component or a design problem.
 
GDB
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Mon Apr 18, 2022 7:25 pm

Avatar2go wrote:
Jetbuddy wrote:

I think this is the 3rd attempt at Starliner. First one failed in flight due to software and com. issues. Second one got scrubbed due to 13 valves that did not open like they should have.


First flight completed orbital testing but could not rendezvous with ISS due to fuel expenditure from a software flaw. Boeing did a software rewrite to correct the issue.

Second attempt was aborted due to moisture contamination of oxidizer valves in the ESA service module. This is a well-known problem at the Cape that occurred in the shuttle program as well. Boeing added an enhanced purge system to keep humidity out during storage and at the pad.


ESA do not make the Starliner service module, they do the Orion SM.
 
aumaverick
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Mon Apr 18, 2022 7:37 pm

Nomadd wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
Artemis WDR has been mostly successful. They found 2 minor issues in an incredibly complex system. A check valve that doesn't seal properly, and a hydrogen fitting that leaked under a pressure surge. Both are easily fixed.

They wouldn't be rolling it back if it was "easily" fixed. And you have no idea if it's a faulty component or a design problem.


Bingo! That near-miss lightning strike was a bad omen. They initially said the valve on the Starliner was going to be easily fixed until it was rolled off the pad too.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Mon Apr 18, 2022 7:44 pm

Nomadd wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
Artemis WDR has been mostly successful. They found 2 minor issues in an incredibly complex system. A check valve that doesn't seal properly, and a hydrogen fitting that leaked under a pressure surge. Both are easily fixed.

They wouldn't be rolling it back if it was "easily" fixed. And you have no idea if it's a faulty component or a design problem.


Actually they are rolling back because the GN2 supplier needs to upgrade their equipment, to resolve delays that occurred on the earlier WDR attempts. And we do know that the issues are not a design problem, they are a bad check valve and a fitting leak.
Last edited by Avatar2go on Mon Apr 18, 2022 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Mon Apr 18, 2022 7:47 pm

GDB wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
Jetbuddy wrote:

I think this is the 3rd attempt at Starliner. First one failed in flight due to software and com. issues. Second one got scrubbed due to 13 valves that did not open like they should have.


First flight completed orbital testing but could not rendezvous with ISS due to fuel expenditure from a software flaw. Boeing did a software rewrite to correct the issue.

Second attempt was aborted due to moisture contamination of oxidizer valves in the ESA service module. This is a well-known problem at the Cape that occurred in the shuttle program as well. Boeing added an enhanced purge system to keep humidity out during storage and at the pad.


ESA do not make the Starliner service module, they do the Orion SM.


Yes, you are right. Thanks for the correction. The propulsion units in the service module, including the valve assemblies are supplied by Aerojet Rocketdyne. But there was no latent defect, it was just that moisture got into the valve cover spaces, which have weepage of the oxidizer and thus form nitric acid.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Mon Apr 18, 2022 7:51 pm

aumaverick wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
Artemis WDR has been mostly successful. They found 2 minor issues in an incredibly complex system. A check valve that doesn't seal properly, and a hydrogen fitting that leaked under a pressure surge. Both are easily fixed.

They wouldn't be rolling it back if it was "easily" fixed. And you have no idea if it's a faulty component or a design problem.


Bingo! That near-miss lightning strike was a bad omen. They initially said the valve on the Starliner was going to be easily fixed until it was rolled off the pad too.


The issue with Starliner roll back was they cannot launch unless they identify the root cause. They were not able to positively ascertain when, where, or how the moisture got into the valve covers. So they changed the entire service module and also installed an enhanced purge system on the new module.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner ... gets its own thread

Tue May 03, 2022 6:16 am

Starliner OFT-2 mission status media conference today at noon EDT. Launch scheduled for May 19th.

https://t.co/gMlo6s65MR
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Tue May 03, 2022 6:08 pm

From the media conference today, the root cause of the Starliner moisture infiltration into the thruster valves, was found to be the electrical connections. So they sealed the connectors, constructed a purge housing around the valves, and introduced a GN2 purge supply to keep them dry.

Starliner is checked out and will be stacked beginning tomorrow, with transport to the pad next week, for launch on the 19th.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Tue May 03, 2022 6:56 pm

Thanks for the update.
It will be nice to see something different get launched from the Cape...
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Tue May 03, 2022 10:45 pm

Forgot to mention, they will also exercise and cycle the valves every 5 days after fueling, to avoid sticking and verify correct operation.
 
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Thu May 05, 2022 7:39 am

Starliner is now stacked on the launch vehicle and will undergo final checkout prior to rollout to the pad.
 
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PepeTheFrog
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Thu May 05, 2022 9:03 pm

Avatar2go wrote:
Starliner is checked out and will be stacked beginning tomorrow, with transport to the pad next week, for launch on the 19th.


Oops:

Image
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Thu May 05, 2022 9:07 pm

PepeTheFrog wrote:

Oops:



Yeah, a plastic window protective cover came off during the move. Perhaps from wind or vibration.
 
texl1649
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Thu May 05, 2022 9:33 pm

That’s still the most Boeing ‘action scene’ I have seen this year.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Fri May 06, 2022 12:47 am

texl1649 wrote:
That’s still the most Boeing ‘action scene’ I have seen this year.


And yet that action had to be signed off by several engineers... :old:
 
NLINK
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Tue May 10, 2022 9:26 pm

PepeTheFrog wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
Starliner is checked out and will be stacked beginning tomorrow, with transport to the pad next week, for launch on the 19th.


Oops:

Image


Boeing should keep away the 737-MAX and 787 engineers from this spacecraft.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Tue May 10, 2022 11:17 pm

NASA media conference tomorrow 6 pm ET to discuss Starliner launch, and the results of the flight readiness review.

https://spacepolicyonline.com/events/of ... y-11-2022/
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Wed May 11, 2022 10:13 pm

NASA has approved the Starliner launch for May 19th, with backup opportunity on May 20. Mission will demonstrate the Boeing VESTA system that uses visual imagery of the ISS to perform approach for docking. Mission will last 5 to 8 days depending on docking test results and landing conditions. Mission will carry 500 pounds cargo up and 600 pounds down.

Thruster valves may get redesigned for future missions, to reduce susceptibility to corrosion, no decision taken on that yet, still under study. Thruster valves have been exercised 4 times since service module fueling without issue. Some changes from OFT-1 approaching CFT-1: Launch abort system will be fully active. Lightweight service module. Docking cover installed, improved seals.

The testing of the first service module thruster valves showed moisture intrusion after about 5 days of fueling, with first signs of corrosion after 7 days. No signs of either intrusion or corrosion with the new mitigations.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Thu May 12, 2022 1:00 am

Reuters is reporting a major feud brewing up between Boeing and a major subcontractor, Aerojet Rocketdyne over the Starliner valve issue:

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 022-05-11/

Chicago-based Boeing and El Segundo, California-based Aerojet are at odds over the cause of a problem involving fuel valves in the Starliner propulsion system that forced a postponement of a test flight last July, with the two companies faulting one another, the sources said.

The disagreement, which has not been reported before, comes at time when Boeing already is scrambling to emerge from successive crises that have hobbled its jetliner business and drained cash. read more

The Aerojet dispute is the latest illustration of Boeing's struggles with Starliner, a program costing the company $595 million in charges since 2019. Facing fixed-price NASA contracts that leave Boeing with little wiggle room financially, the company has pressed forward with the Starliner test.

Boeing in a statement provided by a spokesperson to Reuters acknowledged for the first time that it ultimately intends to redesign Starliner's valve system to prevent a repeat of the issue that forced last year's test-flight postponement. The Boeing statement said that "we are working on short- and long-term design changes to the valves."


A team of Boeing and NASA engineers is in general agreement that the cause of the stuck valves involves a chemical reaction between propellant, aluminum materials and the intrusion of moisture from Starliner's humid Florida launch site.

Aerojet engineers and lawyers see it differently, blaming a cleaning chemical that Boeing has used in ground tests, two of the sources said.

An Aerojet representative declined to comment.


Boeing officials privately regard Aerojet's explanation for the faulty valves as a bid to deflect responsibility for the costly delay for Starliner and to avoid paying for a redesigned valve system, two of the sources said.

"It's laughable," one person involved in the joint Boeing-NASA investigation of the value issue said of Aerojet's claim, speaking anonymously to discuss confidential supplier relations. "Getting a valve maker or propulsion system provider to write down, 'Yeah, I screwed that up' ... that's never gonna happen."


There's also a sentence towards the end of the reporting saying that there was a major safety accident during ground test that forced the president of a different subcontractor to have his leg medically amputated.

Michael Greshko, a reporter for National Geographic apparently found the 2017 incident in which a Boeing Space contractor shattered his leg during preparations for a Starliner drop test. It's detailed in this legal complaint:
https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/ ... 312359.pdf

Per the reporting Boeing settled with this subcontractor over this accident.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Thu May 12, 2022 1:15 am

ThePointblank wrote:
Reuters is reporting a major feud brewing up between Boeing and a major subcontractor, Aerojet Rocketdyne over the Starliner valve issue:

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 022-05-11/

Chicago-based Boeing and El Segundo, California-based Aerojet are at odds over the cause of a problem involving fuel valves in the Starliner propulsion system that forced a postponement of a test flight last July, with the two companies faulting one another, the sources said.

The disagreement, which has not been reported before, comes at time when Boeing already is scrambling to emerge from successive crises that have hobbled its jetliner business and drained cash. read more

The Aerojet dispute is the latest illustration of Boeing's struggles with Starliner, a program costing the company $595 million in charges since 2019. Facing fixed-price NASA contracts that leave Boeing with little wiggle room financially, the company has pressed forward with the Starliner test.

Boeing in a statement provided by a spokesperson to Reuters acknowledged for the first time that it ultimately intends to redesign Starliner's valve system to prevent a repeat of the issue that forced last year's test-flight postponement. The Boeing statement said that "we are working on short- and long-term design changes to the valves."


A team of Boeing and NASA engineers is in general agreement that the cause of the stuck valves involves a chemical reaction between propellant, aluminum materials and the intrusion of moisture from Starliner's humid Florida launch site.

Aerojet engineers and lawyers see it differently, blaming a cleaning chemical that Boeing has used in ground tests, two of the sources said.

An Aerojet representative declined to comment.


Boeing officials privately regard Aerojet's explanation for the faulty valves as a bid to deflect responsibility for the costly delay for Starliner and to avoid paying for a redesigned valve system, two of the sources said.

"It's laughable," one person involved in the joint Boeing-NASA investigation of the value issue said of Aerojet's claim, speaking anonymously to discuss confidential supplier relations. "Getting a valve maker or propulsion system provider to write down, 'Yeah, I screwed that up' ... that's never gonna happen."


There's also a sentence towards the end of the reporting saying that there was a major safety accident during ground test that forced the president of a different subcontractor to have his leg medically amputated.

Michael Greshko, a reporter for National Geographic apparently found the 2017 incident in which a Boeing Space contractor shattered his leg during preparations for a Starliner drop test. It's detailed in this legal complaint:
https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/ ... 312359.pdf

Per the reporting Boeing settled with this subcontractor over this accident.


The contractor incident was apparently a balloon provider who was to perform a parachute drop test of a Starliner mockup, from 40,000 feet. While on top of the mockup, a pyro misfired and caused the mockup to lurch upwards, which knocked the contractor off his ladder, and he fell 20 feet, sustaining serious injuries. He filed a claim against Boeing and it was settled out of court.

NASA was asked about the valve redesign issue, they said it was one option on the table. Aerojet & Boeing are apparently arguing about the cost of a possible redesign. NASA said they were confident that the root cause was moisture reacting with oxidizer. No mention of cleaning fluid.
 
744SPX
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Fri May 13, 2022 12:05 am

NLINK wrote:
PepeTheFrog wrote:
Avatar2go wrote:
Starliner is checked out and will be stacked beginning tomorrow, with transport to the pad next week, for launch on the 19th.


Oops:

Image


Boeing should keep away the 737-MAX and 787 engineers from this spacecraft.


Priceless. :rotfl: I mean you can't even make this stuff up.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Wed May 18, 2022 7:58 am

Starliner passed its flight review, with no issues outstanding. Rollout is scheduled for 10 am EDT today, followed by launch at 6:54 pm on Thursday. Docking at ISS Harmony module at 7:10 pm Friday.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Wed May 18, 2022 11:14 pm

NASA has reported a debris avoidance maneuver may be needed for ISS tomorrow. But it's not expected to affect the Starliner launch or mission. Just a slightly different trajectory for rendezvous.
 
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ikolkyo
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Thu May 19, 2022 3:42 am

Video of the Starliner and Atlas V being rolled to the launch pad. https://twitter.com/BoeingSpace/status/ ... 3442096130
 
texl1649
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Thu May 19, 2022 9:39 am

Avatar2go wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
Reuters is reporting a major feud brewing up between Boeing and a major subcontractor, Aerojet Rocketdyne over the Starliner valve issue:

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 022-05-11/

Chicago-based Boeing and El Segundo, California-based Aerojet are at odds over the cause of a problem involving fuel valves in the Starliner propulsion system that forced a postponement of a test flight last July, with the two companies faulting one another, the sources said.

The disagreement, which has not been reported before, comes at time when Boeing already is scrambling to emerge from successive crises that have hobbled its jetliner business and drained cash. read more

The Aerojet dispute is the latest illustration of Boeing's struggles with Starliner, a program costing the company $595 million in charges since 2019. Facing fixed-price NASA contracts that leave Boeing with little wiggle room financially, the company has pressed forward with the Starliner test.

Boeing in a statement provided by a spokesperson to Reuters acknowledged for the first time that it ultimately intends to redesign Starliner's valve system to prevent a repeat of the issue that forced last year's test-flight postponement. The Boeing statement said that "we are working on short- and long-term design changes to the valves."


A team of Boeing and NASA engineers is in general agreement that the cause of the stuck valves involves a chemical reaction between propellant, aluminum materials and the intrusion of moisture from Starliner's humid Florida launch site.

Aerojet engineers and lawyers see it differently, blaming a cleaning chemical that Boeing has used in ground tests, two of the sources said.

An Aerojet representative declined to comment.


Boeing officials privately regard Aerojet's explanation for the faulty valves as a bid to deflect responsibility for the costly delay for Starliner and to avoid paying for a redesigned valve system, two of the sources said.

"It's laughable," one person involved in the joint Boeing-NASA investigation of the value issue said of Aerojet's claim, speaking anonymously to discuss confidential supplier relations. "Getting a valve maker or propulsion system provider to write down, 'Yeah, I screwed that up' ... that's never gonna happen."


There's also a sentence towards the end of the reporting saying that there was a major safety accident during ground test that forced the president of a different subcontractor to have his leg medically amputated.

Michael Greshko, a reporter for National Geographic apparently found the 2017 incident in which a Boeing Space contractor shattered his leg during preparations for a Starliner drop test. It's detailed in this legal complaint:
https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/ ... 312359.pdf

Per the reporting Boeing settled with this subcontractor over this accident.


The contractor incident was apparently a balloon provider who was to perform a parachute drop test of a Starliner mockup, from 40,000 feet. While on top of the mockup, a pyro misfired and caused the mockup to lurch upwards, which knocked the contractor off his ladder, and he fell 20 feet, sustaining serious injuries. He filed a claim against Boeing and it was settled out of court.

NASA was asked about the valve redesign issue, they said it was one option on the table. Aerojet & Boeing are apparently arguing about the cost of a possible redesign. NASA said they were confident that the root cause was moisture reacting with oxidizer. No mention of cleaning fluid.


Aren’t the thrusters involved hydrazine-powered? How would moisture somehow get to the fuel? I dunno what they did to update the venerable MR-104 design for Starliner, but it’s been on practically everything since the Voyager in some form or fashion.

https://blog.executivebiz.com/2017/04/a ... pacecraft/

https://newatlas.com/aerojet-rocketdyyn ... ket/49162/
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Thu May 19, 2022 10:22 am

texl1649 wrote:

Aren’t the thrusters involved hydrazine-powered? How would moisture somehow get to the fuel? I dunno what they did to update the venerable MR-104 design for Starliner, but it’s been on practically everything since the Voyager in some form or fashion.

https://blog.executivebiz.com/2017/04/a ... pacecraft/

https://newatlas.com/aerojet-rocketdyyn ... ket/49162/


Hydrazine can be used either as a monopropellant, or in combination with an oxidizer, which is more efficient and produces more thrust, but obviously is also more complex. Starliner has 3 different types of thrusters, optimized for different purposes. The valve moisture issues occurred on the oxidizer side of the mid-range thrusters (nitrous tetra oxide), not the fuel side (hydrazine).

The root cause determination found that moisture entered the oxidizer valve housing through the electrical connectors, which have now been sealed. The housings are also now enclosed in a hood with dry nitrogen gas purge.

The analysis found that corrosion could begin in as little as 7 days after oxidizer loading. Due to various launch delays, Starliner had ended up being loaded 44 days before launch. So there was more than enough time for the problem to develop.

The requirements for corrosion were weeping of the oxidizer past the Teflon valve seals, ambient moisture in the air, and the aluminum valve materials. The solution addressed the moisture, but they may choose to address the other two with a valve redesign, as a more permanent fix.
 
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Nomadd
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Thu May 19, 2022 4:50 pm

Sealing valve electrical connectors and safing pyros just seems so basic it doesn't really inspire hope that things are improving over there.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Thu May 19, 2022 8:24 pm

Nomadd wrote:
Sealing valve electrical connectors and safing pyros just seems so basic it doesn't really inspire hope that things are improving over there.


Context is important. The balloon contractor was working on the contractor-provided separation pyros when they went off. The alledged Boeing fault was in providing the ladders and facilities used for the test.

With the valve issue, even NASA was surprised by the problem, as it had not occurred before in this context. It had happened on the shuttle program after firing the SSME's, because they saturated the valve area with water vapor. So there was an extreme level of exposure, for a fairly short amount of time. The Starliner case was essentially the opposite, a very low level of exposure, but for a very long time, much longer than normal. So the issue wasn't anticipated, but is now a lesson learned.
 
zanl188
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Thu May 19, 2022 10:47 pm

8 minutes and counting for OFT-2 launch
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Thu May 19, 2022 11:31 pm

Starliner successfully inserted into orbit, on its way to ISS. Launch was nominal except Atlas slightly over performed. Coverage picks up tomorrow 3:30 pm ET, Starliner will conduct a number of test maneuvers on approach to ISS, including handing control to the station briefly, before docking.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Fri May 20, 2022 2:12 am

Avatar2go wrote:
Starliner successfully inserted into orbit, on its way to ISS. Launch was nominal except Atlas slightly over performed. Coverage picks up tomorrow 3:30 pm ET, Starliner will conduct a number of test maneuvers on approach to ISS, including handing control to the station briefly, before docking.


Perhaps not as smoothly as expected or wanted. 2 thrusters shut down unexpectedly during the insertion burn. The FCS was able to adapt but still not a good look at all.

https://www.theverge.com/2022/5/19/2313 ... nasa-oft-2

Today, the thruster firing seemed to go well initially, and Starliner is in its intended orbit. However, after the flight, Boeing revealed that two thrusters actually failed during the orbital insertion, shutting down earlier than intended. The first shut down after one second, and the flight control system rerouted to a second thruster nearby. However, that one also shut down early after just 25 seconds, and the system had to reroute to a third thruster, which worked as intended. All in all, it didn’t affect Starliner’s ability to reach its planned orbit. Boeing is studying the issue, though the company and NASA claim the failed thrusters should not impact Starliner’s ability to perform the rest of its mission.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Fri May 20, 2022 3:40 am

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
Perhaps not as smoothly as expected or wanted. 2 thrusters shut down unexpectedly during the insertion burn. The FCS was able to adapt but still not a good look at all.

https://www.theverge.com/2022/5/19/2313 ... nasa-oft-2

Today, the thruster firing seemed to go well initially, and Starliner is in its intended orbit. However, after the flight, Boeing revealed that two thrusters actually failed during the orbital insertion, shutting down earlier than intended. The first shut down after one second, and the flight control system rerouted to a second thruster nearby. However, that one also shut down early after just 25 seconds, and the system had to reroute to a third thruster, which worked as intended. All in all, it didn’t affect Starliner’s ability to reach its planned orbit. Boeing is studying the issue, though the company and NASA claim the failed thrusters should not impact Starliner’s ability to perform the rest of its mission.


To clarify from the post-launch media briefing, there are 12 OMAC thrusters distributed between 4 doghouses. In the port doghouse, 2 of the thrusters had early shutdowns, but the 3rd was ok. Starliner has levels of redundancy that include the loss of any one doghouse, with the others compensating. The RCS thrusters can also suffice in a pinch. It was not necessary to invoke those scenarios.

They are reviewing the data to understand the early shutdowns on the 2 thrusters, and may be able to recover them in flight. They mentioned that it could be an instrumentation or software setting issue.

Overall the flight is still nominal and there are no concerns about the mission at all. There are 4 more OMAC burns scheduled, 3 before the docking and 1 for de-orbit. All could also be done with RCS if that became necessary.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Fri May 20, 2022 4:07 am

Avatar2go wrote:
To clarify from the post-launch media briefing, there are 12 OMAC thrusters distributed between 4 doghouses. In the port doghouse, 2 of the thrusters had early shutdowns, but the 3rd was ok. Starliner has levels of redundancy that include the loss of any one doghouse, with the others compensating. The RCS thrusters can also suffice in a pinch. It was not necessary to invoke those scenarios.

They are reviewing the data to understand the early shutdowns on the 2 thrusters, and may be able to recover them in flight. They mentioned that it could be an instrumentation or software setting issue.

Overall the flight is still nominal and there are no concerns about the mission at all. There are 4 more OMAC burns scheduled, 3 before the docking and 1 for de-orbit. All could also be done with RCS if that became necessary.


Interesting details.
I wonder how many layers of redundancy they went through - even if they obviously had a few left - and what NASA will make of it.
Hopefully it is just a software issue which can be sorted during the flight.
 
Avatar2go
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Fri May 20, 2022 4:20 am

Francoflier wrote:

Interesting details.
I wonder how many layers of redundancy they went through - even if they obviously had a few left - and what NASA will make of it.
Hopefully it is just a software issue which can be sorted during the flight.


The details came from Steve Stich, since NASA is operating Starliner. They didn't seem to think it was a major issue or a concern for the mission. Something to be learned in their root cause determination. It will be interesting to see if they can recover the thrusters in flight. They did operate briefly, so some tolerance was exceeded that shut them down. Why they test.
 
BEG2IAH
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Fri May 20, 2022 4:59 am

I really like how the Starliner looks. Reminds me of R2D2 for some reason. :)

In the meantime, a nice summary here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technolo ... e-station/
 
Spetsnaz55
Posts: 361
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Re: Boeing Starliner News and Discussion Thread

Fri May 20, 2022 5:05 am

Dragon had a thruster shut down one of its first missions as well. Glitches happen

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