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Forum:Commercial Space - Military Space
Topic:[Discuss] Boeing Company's CST-100 spacecraft
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onesmallstepHere's hoping that Boeing has gotten its act together and ensures a rigorous quality control, safety and testing program for this spacecraft, unlike their 787 Dreamliner. The passenger jet has received bad press due to a recent spate of fires and inadequate testing of its batteries (the same kind of tests done on CELL PHONE batteries? Really?) I think the nation's space program — not to mention the lives of astronauts who will ride aboard CST-100- demands nothing less than excellence.
Robert PearlmanTo be fair, comparing the lithium ion batteries in your cell phone to the ones used to power the 787 is a bit like comparing the tires on your car to those that were used by the space shuttle. They both include the same materials but the engineering behind them is an order of magnitude different.

In the case of the 787, it wasn't as if Boeing didn't test them, as Wired reported earlier this year:

The batteries and the airplane as a whole did undergo the most rigorous flight test certification program in airliner history. The lithium-ion batteries were approved by the FAA in 2007 after years of testing and debate over their use on the 787.
And then again, in this report describing the redesign:
Boeing's previous battery tests during original certification included crushing cells, driving nails through them and intentionally introducing short circuits to induce failure. Boeing found "nothing adverse happened" during these tests, and so it expected the battery's box and existing internal protection to be sufficient. The company says it followed the certification process set out by the FAA.
It should also be noted that Boeing has a contract with NASA to provide the same lithium-ion batteries that power the 787 for use on the International Space Station. The batteries will be installed outside the modules on an unpressurized structural hoist.
onesmallstepPoint taken, Robert, but there are also those issues with the wiring and fires. Sloppiness at best, or serious neglect at worst. Of course, mass-producing a commercial jetliner for many customers is different from providing a spacecraft to one - but safety, above all, should be paramount in both vehicles, no? The tires on a car should not fail no more than those that were used on shuttle - the lives on board depend on it. Hopefully, Col. Chris Ferguson, STS-135 commander, will in his new role at Boeing not lose sight of that.
SpaceAholicHave learned through some local governmental officials that a dry lake bed here in our county not to far from where I reside (the Wilcox Playa) is being seriously considered by NASA and Boeing as a recovery location for the CST-100.

Inquiries have gone out to the hospital, law enforcement and public safety agencies to determine what level of organic support can be provided and what will need to be brought in by stakeholders. 2017 was cited as when ops will commence at the Playa.

Robert PearlmanBoeing video release
Boeing Unveils America's First Space Taxi, Unlocks Possibilities for Future

Imagine flying in America's first space taxi, seeing Earth fade into the distance. Boeing is revolutionizing space travel and is one step closer to making it possible for you to experience previously what only astronauts could: space travel.

See more Boeing innovations at

SkyMan1958One little detail, they need some Russian rocket engines for the pictured launch vehicle...
Jim Behling
Originally posted by onesmallstep:, above all, should be paramount in both vehicles, no?
No. If you want to be safe, then don't go. There is a risk cost trade.

Here is a better mantra. Mission first, safety always.

onesmallstep True enough, but as in the case of Challenger, Columbia and some aviation disasters, schedules, internal pressures and a rigid mindset came at the expense of safety. A company's 'culture' can be as important as the components it builds.

No risk can be entirely eliminated, and the best antidote is to design a vehicle the best way you can, keeping in mind that lives depend on it. I'm sure Chris Ferguson will have that on his mind when he takes command of the first manned flight of the CST-100 in a few years.

Lou ChinalAny proposal for duration of the first mission? Crew size?
Robert PearlmanPrior to the cease work order, Boeing (and for that matter, SpaceX too) said it was too early to discuss the details of their first uncrewed or crewed test flights.

The only NASA requirement for the crewed demo is that it carry at least one NASA astronaut and that it reaches the space station.

HeadshotThis may be a silly question, but can anyone tell me what the differences will be between the CST-100 and Orion spacecraft?

I know the CST-100 will operate in LEO and the Orion will venture into deep space, but what are the physical/engineering/technical characteristics (besides different "heat shields") to make one suitable for LEO and the other for deep space? GNC systems? Propulsion? ECS?

Robert PearlmanD. All of the above. But to offer one specific example:

CST-100 is equipped with batteries and, to meet NASA's requirements, solar cells lining its bottom, such that it only has enough electricity reserves to reach the space station.

Orion is equipped with batteries as well, but its service module is also outfitted with large solar arrays to generate the electricity needed for longer journeys into space.

Lou ChinalIt was stated that a 12 inch-wide model about 1/14 the size was used for wind tunnel tests. That would mean the CST-100 is 14 feet or 168 inches in diameter? Artists, model builders, graphic designers want to get the scale right.

I have scoured Boeing's website for dimensions. Am I missing something?

Jim Behling
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
No risk can be entirely eliminated, and the best antidote is to design a vehicle the best way you can, keeping in mind that lives depend on it. I'm sure Chris Ferguson will have that on his mind when he takes command of the first manned flight of the CST-100 in a few years.
Not true. There are cost trades, there is risk that has to be accepted so as not to have gold plated vehicle.

Also, we don't know what will be on his mind and it is highly unlikely he will still be around for that flight.

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