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.

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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...


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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
 
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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.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:11 pm

Some bad news a second, potentially more catastrophic software error found and fixed with Starliner, per NASA ASAP:

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1 ... 92032?s=19

Still evaluating root cause, and no word on what exactly the error was. NASA is recommending a review of Boeing's verification process.

On the other hand, SpaceX's Dragon 2 is ready to fly; just a matter of when.

Edit: Article up on Space News explains in detail about the failure; a ground test while the Starliner spacecraft was in orbit found a software error that would have caused excessive thruster firings during and uncontrolled motion during service module separation, which would have lead to the loss of the spacecraft:

https://spacenews.com/nasa-safety-panel ... e-problem/
 
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Tugger
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:10 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
Some bad news a second, potentially more catastrophic software error found and fixed with Starliner, per NASA ASAP:

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1 ... 92032?s=19

Still evaluating root cause, and no word on what exactly the error was. NASA is recommending a review of Boeing's verification process.

On the other hand, SpaceX's Dragon 2 is ready to fly; just a matter of when.

Edit: Article up on Space News explains in detail about the failure; a ground test while the Starliner spacecraft was in orbit found a software error that would have caused excessive thruster firings during and uncontrolled motion during service module separation, which would have lead to the loss of the spacecraft:

https://spacenews.com/nasa-safety-panel ... e-problem/

Well no wonder Boeing needed more money for the Starliner ($4.2 billion plus an additional $287 million versus $2.6 billion for SpaceX), they have more problems to fix!

Really disappointing news to hear. Boeing has fantastic resources and strong engineering teams, and its software development should be just a good and should be robust. But there are obviously problems and they need to solve them completely since so much is software dependent. Really software is such a common and understood thing nowadays they have no excuse to not have excellent software development rigor. (We KNOW there will be bugs, there are always bugs and therfore you manage to that expectation with prevention/detection/correction processes.)

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

Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:35 am

Tugger wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
Some bad news a second, potentially more catastrophic software error found and fixed with Starliner, per NASA ASAP:

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1 ... 92032?s=19

Still evaluating root cause, and no word on what exactly the error was. NASA is recommending a review of Boeing's verification process.

On the other hand, SpaceX's Dragon 2 is ready to fly; just a matter of when.

Edit: Article up on Space News explains in detail about the failure; a ground test while the Starliner spacecraft was in orbit found a software error that would have caused excessive thruster firings during and uncontrolled motion during service module separation, which would have lead to the loss of the spacecraft:

https://spacenews.com/nasa-safety-panel ... e-problem/

Well no wonder Boeing needed more money for the Starliner ($4.2 billion plus an additional $287 million versus $2.6 billion for SpaceX), they have more problems to fix!

Really disappointing news to hear. Boeing has fantastic resources and strong engineering teams, and its software development should be just a good and should be robust. But there are obviously problems and they need to solve them completely since so much is software dependent. Really software is such a common and understood thing nowadays they have no excuse to not have excellent software development rigor. (We KNOW there will be bugs, there are always bugs and therfore you manage to that expectation with prevention/detection/correction processes.)

Tugg

Apparently, they didn't catch and patch the issue until 2 hours before Starliner was supposed reenter the atmosphere; imagine if it was not caught; this would just have been another failure in a mission where the spacecraft already failed the primary mission of reaching the ISS.

The public remarks during the quarterly NASA ASAP meeting by the various panel members all seem extremely critical of Boeing, and it seems they believe there are systemic issues with Boeing's software verification process, which requires not only a root cause analysis of the original problem, but an assessment of Boeing's ability to verify software, and a deeper assessment of Boeing's Systems Engineering and Integration processes.


With all of this in mind, there's no way NASA is going to let Boeing off the hook; I suspect that NASA is going to demand that Boeing refly the OFT, and demand that the mission be flawless before they let an astronaut board Starliner. Not liking Boeing's attitude to this, as they seem so flippant about this, trying to downplay the issue.
 
FGITD
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:23 pm

I agree with that sentiment. NASA is no longer talking about paper spacecraft, where glitches might happen but can be fixed with time and a little more research. These are no longer the traditional make work programs launched by Congress, that'll just end up lining pockets and getting cancelled in a few years.

They're now looking at launching astronauts in the coming months, and anything less than perfection won't fly.

Speaking only as an outsider with limited knowledge, it does seem that NASA is getting a little tired of Boeing. SpaceX has success after success, and when they do fail, they are pretty forthcoming about it once they have the info. Boeing took a failed test which nearly ended in a loss, and seemed to basically pat themselves on the back and say great job, but we'll do better next time! It's not 1962 anymore, simply getting into orbit doesn't cut it.

I'm sure Starliner will come good in the end, but Boeing is doing everything to kill their reputation
 
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Erebus
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:57 pm

FGITD wrote:
Speaking only as an outsider with limited knowledge, it does seem that NASA is getting a little tired of Boeing. SpaceX has success after success, and when they do fail, they are pretty forthcoming about it once they have the info. Boeing took a failed test which nearly ended in a loss, and seemed to basically pat themselves on the back and say great job, but we'll do better next time! It's not 1962 anymore, simply getting into orbit doesn't cut it.

I'm sure Starliner will come good in the end, but Boeing is doing everything to kill their reputation


The difference in leadership and programme management between Boeing and SpaceX is staggeringly obvious. In the civil aircraft business, Boeing is able to ride on some local sympathy and support despite their shortcomings, being the only home player and all that. But in the space business, with their rival based on the same turf, that kind of PR is simply not going to cut it.
 
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Tugger
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:14 pm

One interesting point that came up as I read up on this issue was that in effect SpaceX was helped by their failure last year and oddly particularly by Musk taking his notorious "puff" on Rogan's show last year. It caused NASA to order a head to toe review of both programs but because Boeing was known and hadn't created the situation, it was SpaceX that was reviewed first and Boeing's was put off. They apparently found and corrected a number of procedural and process oriented things at SpaceX that helped (without finding any significant things) and Boeing did not have this similar benefit (if you call it that). Now in hindsight it is surmised that the review might have been very good for Boeing.

Funny how the world moves.

Anyway, I am not ganging up on Boeing or favoring SpaceX over them. I only wish success to the program and want to see Starliner fly and transporting crews.

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. - W. Shatner
Productivity isn’t about getting more things done, rather it’s about getting the right things done, while doing less. - M. Oshin
 
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Francoflier
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:58 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
The public remarks during the quarterly NASA ASAP meeting by the various panel members all seem extremely critical of Boeing, and it seems they believe there are systemic issues with Boeing's software verification process, which requires not only a root cause analysis of the original problem, but an assessment of Boeing's ability to verify software, and a deeper assessment of Boeing's Systems Engineering and Integration processes.


Where have I heard that before?

With all of this in mind, there's no way NASA is going to let Boeing off the hook; I suspect that NASA is going to demand that Boeing refly the OFT, and demand that the mission be flawless before they let an astronaut board Starliner. Not liking Boeing's attitude to this, as they seem so flippant about this, trying to downplay the issue.


I sincerely hope they do lay into them. In recent history Boeing seems to have taken the taxpayer money for space programs without really worrying much about delivering on expectations. That same lack of results, accumulation of issues, budget overruns and general nonchalance seems to have been prevailing on the SLS program as well.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:39 pm

There was a teleconference presser earlier today with both NASA and Boeing reps on the line. But the presser doesn't sound very good from what various reporters are saying from listening in.

Bridestine was quoted as saying there was a lot of anomalies during OFT, with the two disclosed problems, and there were more fundamental problems with Starliner as well.

But the second problem found before reentry was an issue with the service module disposal. The firing sequence was coded for free fall, but it should have been coded for a different firing sequence. The risk was a chance that the service module would have impacted the capsule.

The problem that caused the initial failure to reach the ISS was an issue with pulling the information from the launcher, and then pulling the information during terminal count. The code didn't get the second part.

Apparently, Boeing is going to have re-examine and re-verify every line of code in Starliner; about 1 million lines.

Also, Boeing didn't initially disclose the reentry error; the statement that is being quoted (paraphrased) from Douglas Loverro was "We didn't disclose the second issue before because we didn't have an anomaly, it didn't happen." Boeing's point of view was that the software patch that was uploaded worked because the craft landed safely.

In addition, it was Boeing's position that another OFT may not be needed, because we don't fly to test these types of issues, and that they should have been found during testing.

Yikes.

To me, it is telling me that Boeing's entire testing regime is suspect. The issues with Starliner during this test was merely a symptom.

There's no way that NASA should permit an astronaut to climb into Starliner without a second repeat OFT test.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:51 pm

Ugh. It's this mindset that killed 14 NASA astronauts since 1986, and caused billions in financial damage.

So, moving the goal posts (Boeing lauding itself despite not reaching the ISS) and sheer luck (discovering this error in time) made the CST-100 MAX test flight a... "success".
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
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Nomadd
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sat Feb 08, 2020 2:19 am

SpaceX is about an entire Dragon ahead of schedule, even with the destruction of the DM1 capsule. I have no idea if there was any communication with NASA, but I suspect they're working on the ability to take over ISS operations on their own in case Boeing can't or won't come through.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:08 am

Article is up on NASASpaceFlight.com:

After saying for weeks the spacecraft and systems performed “as designed” after recovering from a Mission Elapsed Timer issue just 31 minutes after launch and point-blank saying that no other anomalies occurred on the mission, Boeing and NASA have now admitted that two more serious issues — one of which could have led to the Loss Of Vehicle — occurred during Starliner’s first mission.

The public admission came only after the Aerospace Safety and Advisory Panel (ASAP) publicly outed the two companies on Thursday afternoon, sending NASA and Boeing scrambling to hold a press conference and release information for “transparency”.


https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2020/02 ... r-mission/

And NASA has a quick initial findings report as well:

https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew/2 ... stigation/

So make it three(!) serious issues with Starliner;

1. Error with the Mission Elapsed Timer, which incorrectly polled time from the Atlas V booster nearly 11 hours prior to launch;
2. The second aforementioned issue with the service module disposal sequence, caught just hours before the spacecraft was due to reenter Earth's atmosphere that nearly lead to a loss of the spacecraft;
3. An intermittent issue after launch where the ground controllers had problems contacting Starliner minutes after launch, possibly caused by cell phone towers.

I got a feeling that with everything that is known now, there's no chance that Starliner is going to fly anytime this year. The software verification alone, with NASA breathing down Boeing's neck, and looking over every detail will probably take months alone to complete, and even then, NASA is probably going to demand that Boeing re-fly the OFT.

It's a clear shot for SpaceX to take the crown here; they seem to be almost there, and NASA seems fairly upbeat about SpaceX's capabilities here.
 
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Tugger
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:41 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
2. The second aforementioned issue with the service module disposal sequence, caught just hours before the spacecraft was due to reenter Earth's atmosphere that nearly lead to a loss of the spacecraft;

I think it is important to not unfairly weight the failure found in the re-entry programming. Everything I have read on it indicated it could have lead to a LOV, not that it would have absolutely done so.

A minor difference perhaps since such a flaw is damning and cannot be allowed and, more critically, should have been found during the software development process, not while it was in orbit and about to perform that very maneuver.

Anyway, just me nitpicking but I just am seeing so many instances making a definitive statement where it doesn't actually apply.

Carry on :wave:

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. - W. Shatner
Productivity isn’t about getting more things done, rather it’s about getting the right things done, while doing less. - M. Oshin
 
FGITD
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:29 pm

I'd feel very reassured if I was riding starliner and they announced the issue "might" cause an unrecoverable tumble, but also maybe not.

Perhaps a bit callous, but a Max crash is much easier to come back from than killing astronauts.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:10 am

Tugger wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
2. The second aforementioned issue with the service module disposal sequence, caught just hours before the spacecraft was due to reenter Earth's atmosphere that nearly lead to a loss of the spacecraft;

I think it is important to not unfairly weight the failure found in the re-entry programming. Everything I have read on it indicated it could have lead to a LOV, not that it would have absolutely done so.

A minor difference perhaps since such a flaw is damning and cannot be allowed and, more critically, should have been found during the software development process, not while it was in orbit and about to perform that very maneuver.

Anyway, just me nitpicking but I just am seeing so many instances making a definitive statement where it doesn't actually apply.

Carry on :wave:

Tugg

There was a not so insignificant chance that the service module would have impacted the capsule, and bad things generally happen when two spacecraft collide in space. And it was only caught because of the initial problem that lead them to miss the ISS rendezvous. Imagine if the initial issue didn't happen, and the service module did collide with the capsule during reentry, causing a catastrophic mission failure. Or it was not caught until astronauts were flying onboard.

The bigger picture here is that test flight ended in failure to accomplish the ISS rendezvous, almost resulted in catastrophic failure, and the most recent press call said there were multiple process escapes. And when the spacecraft was back safely on solid Earth, when questioned by the media, Boeing took the position of "no other issues, nothing to see here", when in reality, there were two more very serious issues that happened during the flight. It just shows that Boeing cannot be trusted when they made that statement because they very well damn knew there were issues, and chose not to immediately disclose them.

Looking back even further, one has to wonder about Boeing's capabilities to effectively manage a critical program like this; we've seen with Starliner two critical software issues, an issue with comms, and the issue with the parachute during testing that got blamed on a missing pin. Are these problems just one-off quality control issues, or do they speak to a more serious and potentially dangerous issue over at Boeing, indicative of a systemic problem, leaving many things to fix? Now, when you start to look at other high profile Boeing programs (the 737 MAX issues, and the KC-46's issues), you really have to wonder.
 
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Tugger
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:34 pm

FGITD wrote:
I'd feel very reassured if I was riding starliner and they announced the issue "might" cause an unrecoverable tumble, but also maybe not.

Perhaps a bit callous, but a Max crash is much easier to come back from than killing astronauts.


ThePointblank wrote:
Tugger wrote:
I think it is important to not unfairly weight the failure found in the re-entry programming. Everything I have read on it indicated it could have lead to a LOV, not that it would have absolutely done so.

A minor difference perhaps since such a flaw is damning and cannot be allowed and, more critically, should have been found during the software development process, not while it was in orbit and about to perform that very maneuver.

Anyway, just me nitpicking but I just am seeing so many instances making a definitive statement where it doesn't actually apply.

Carry on :wave:

There was a not so insignificant chance that the service module would have impacted the capsule, and bad things generally happen when two spacecraft collide in space. And it was only caught because of the initial problem that lead them to miss the ISS rendezvous. Imagine if the initial issue didn't happen, and the service module did collide with the capsule during reentry, causing a catastrophic mission failure. Or it was not caught until astronauts were flying onboard.

The bigger picture here is that test flight ended in failure to accomplish the ISS rendezvous, almost resulted in catastrophic failure, and the most recent press call said there were multiple process escapes. And when the spacecraft was back safely on solid Earth, when questioned by the media, Boeing took the position of "no other issues, nothing to see here", when in reality, there were two more very serious issues that happened during the flight. It just shows that Boeing cannot be trusted when they made that statement because they very well damn knew there were issues, and chose not to immediately disclose them.

Looking back even further, one has to wonder about Boeing's capabilities to effectively manage a critical program like this; we've seen with Starliner two critical software issues, an issue with comms, and the issue with the parachute during testing that got blamed on a missing pin. Are these problems just one-off quality control issues, or do they speak to a more serious and potentially dangerous issue over at Boeing, indicative of a systemic problem, leaving many things to fix? Now, when you start to look at other high profile Boeing programs (the 737 MAX issues, and the KC-46's issues), you really have to wonder.

Oh yes, I get that, as I noted it really was more of a nit-pick due to the severity of the consequences had the possibility of it become reality. That is, as you both point out, absolutely not acceptable . So I fully understand there is no comfort in, and no allowance granted for "could happen". It simple is unacceptable.

Interestingly SpaceX's initial development model was more accepting of "could happen" and they threw lots into space and developed their landing ability based a lot on this. They iterated and reiterated constantly between launches and even during missions. We just forget about that now as they appear to have a well matured process and team in place. Musk constantly touted that failure could very well happen with numerous launches and missions. Of course now they are taking human lives into space and not just cargo, so that cannot be done.

But we all know, or should know, that failure is always a very real option during any space mission as we are still in our infancy as a space-faring species (even though we may think our space capabilities are now really mature, they're not),

As to Boeing and the question: Are they really capable and as good as we have thought in the past?

Well they constantly pushed schedules to the right and constantly delayed and needed additional funding for development etc. (All space contrctors did, SpaceX included). I think we are now seeing that they are maybe not that great but in the past didn't have a rabid dog chasing them, snapping at their heels, forcing them to move forward without the easy ability to call "time out" while they rechecked, and re-ran, and retested everything to catch all their errors. Now doing that can mean the loss of the entire program to a competitor and a complete loss of that entire capability going forward.

Space is hard..... I think we may be seeing that competition is harder....

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. - W. Shatner
Productivity isn’t about getting more things done, rather it’s about getting the right things done, while doing less. - M. Oshin
 
FGITD
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:04 pm

I agree that SpaceX has a somewhat glossed over their own history, and chalk that up partially to their bizarre fanboy following Who seem to believe Musk can do no wrong. But I think it's again worth noting that they were developing an entire launch system from 0, and they had a new direction they wanted to try. Launch, orbit, rendezvous, land the booster(s) and see what the spacecraft can do.

By comparison, what Boeing is doing is practically the Gemini program all over again. Launch, try to rendezvous, and see what they can do.

Another interesting but somewhat irrelevant factor has to be the publicity of it all. NASA learned the hard way that people get bored quickly, even if you're walking on the moon. Boredom = funding/public support. SpaceX makes a spectacle of everything, even blowing up what is essentially a storage tank in a field in Texas. Everyone needs to make this return to space a big production beyond just the launch.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:01 am

The biggest issue is that Boeing was supposed to be the more experienced, old school of the two contenders, and thus should have known better. Boeing made extensive references to their heritage in space flight, and played that up to become one of the two vendors, while SpaceX was supposed to be the newer, but higher risk entrant.

And to think that we also didn't have SpaceX as part of the Commercial Crew program; Boeing pushed extremely hard, lobbying for sole rights to the program. It took a lot of push back by various groups to make sure that NASA awarded the contract to two vendors, for redundancy's sake. Now, we see in hindsight, this was the right judgment call; we needed a redundant launch option in case a serious issue cropped up with one of the options, and it appears we have a serious issue with one. Interestingly enough, it's the vendor that was supposed to be the safe option that's having the issue, not the supposedly higher risk one.
 
DarkKnight5
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:16 am

This is sort of shocking for me to say (I’m surprised even by the thought), but Boeing might be the Sears and Roebuck of aerospace. At one point, the biggest titan in their industry, too big to fail, Printing money, untouchable. Then the industry changes and boom your bankruptcy stock is trading at $0.28 per share. Everything burns.
 
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Nomadd
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:00 am

FGITD wrote:
SpaceX makes a spectacle of everything, even blowing up what is essentially a storage tank in a field in Texas. Everyone needs to make this return to space a big production beyond just the launch.

That wasn't SpaceX. It was a few crackpots who live there and stood outside the fence, watching and recording the test.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:54 am

In better news, ULA has just flung Solar Orbiter towards the correct star. It sports a solar shield partially made from baked animal bones, making it the farthest an animal will travel from earth.
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
meecrob
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Mon Feb 10, 2020 7:05 pm

Nomadd wrote:
FGITD wrote:
SpaceX makes a spectacle of everything, even blowing up what is essentially a storage tank in a field in Texas. Everyone needs to make this return to space a big production beyond just the launch.

That wasn't SpaceX. It was a few crackpots who live there and stood outside the fence, watching and recording the test.


I, and I think I speak for spacenerds everywhere, thank you for being a crackpot outside a fence, Nomadd! Cheers!
 
BEG2IAH
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Re: United Launch Alliance - Tests, Launches, News, Developments

Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:05 pm

Not trying to rehash things, this was reported 3 hours ago: https://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/new ... ere-s.html

Is this another case of "successful" outsourcing? The whole software needs to be reviewed... Wow.

Fair use excerpt...

Boeing found more issues with its spaceship. Here’s why that matters locally.

By Alex Soderstrom – Staff writer, Orlando Business Journal
3 hours ago
Florida, we have a problem.

A Feb. 7 update from representatives of Boeing and NASA revealed more issues with Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft than previously indicated, which likely will lead to delays and put pressure on Space Coast employees involved with Starliner to make up for lost time.

The updates came as The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) and NASA work on a joint investigation into the technical issues that prevented the Starliner capsule from docking with the International Space Station in a test mission on Dec. 20.

Boeing and NASA attributed the issues Starliner faced after its maiden launch from Cape Canaveral to a timer malfunction caused by a software glitch. But an ongoing review of Starliner has revealed multiple software problems aboard the spacecraft, which is meant to carry astronauts to and from the space station.

The multiple issues discovered likely mean there are bigger problems for the spacecraft, Douglas Loverro, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, said during a teleconference on Feb. 7. “[The review] told us that we have a more fundamental problem. It’s not just the specific issues that we discovered in this flight.”

The fundamental problem, Loverro said, is likely the way the software was tested and reviewed. All of the spacecraft’s software code will have to be reviewed, John Mulholland, Boeing vice president and program manager for the Starliner Program, said during the teleconference.

The software issues almost certainly mean delays for the program, Don Platt, director of the Spaceport Education Center at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, told Orlando Business Journal. Boeing and NASA planned to launch humans aboard Starliner this year, but Boeing most likely will fall behind SpaceX, the other company testing a spacecraft to take astronauts to the space station, in achieving a human launch, Platt said. “[The software review process is] going to take multiple months, I’d think.”

The delays, in turn, likely will put more pressure on workers involved with the program to make up for lost time, Platt said. Starliner was built at Kennedy Space Center, and the program is supported by multiple Florida suppliers, though Boeing did not clarify exactly how many.

This investigation teaches another important lesson for the region’s aerospace companies, Platt said. “It just shows that software is still a big issue and something people don’t take into account enough.”

More information regarding the future of Starliner will be shared when the review finishes at the end of February, NASA Administrator John Bridenstine said.
Flying at the cruising altitude is (mostly) boring. I wish all flights were nothing but endless take offs and landings every 10 minutes or so.

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