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Author Topic:   Boeing's CST-100 Starliner Crew Flight Test
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 04-03-2019 10:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA and Boeing Extend Starliner Crew Flight Test Duration to Space Station

NASA and Boeing have agreed to extend the duration of the company's first crewed flight test to the International Space Station after completing an in-depth technical assessment of the CST-100 Starliner systems. NASA found the long-duration flight to be technically feasible and in the best interest of the agency's needs to ensure continued access and better utilization of the orbiting laboratory.

The extended duration test flight offers NASA the opportunity to complete additional microgravity research, maintenance, and other activities while the company's Starliner is docked to station. The mission duration will be determined at a later date.

"NASA's assessment of extending the mission was found to be technically achievable without compromising the safety of the crew," said Phil McAlister, director of the commercial spaceflight division at NASA Headquarters. "Commercial crew flight tests, along with the additional Soyuz opportunities, help us transition with greater flexibility to our next-generation commercial systems under the Commercial Crew Program."

The Crew Flight Test is now targeted for late 2019, to be confirmed closer to that timeframe.

Above: Boeing's Starliner prepares for acoustic testing at Boeing's spacecraft test facilities in El Segundo, California. This vehicle, known as Spacecraft 2, will fly Starliner's Crew Flight Test after it returns to Florida from environmental testing. (Boeing)

Boeing's Crew Flight Test spacecraft recently completed its Environmental Qualification Test campaign at the company's Space Environment Test Facilities in El Segundo, California. The Crew Flight Test vehicle underwent rounds of acoustics vibration, thermal vacuum and electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic contamination testing. These tests are designed to simulate the harsh environments of launch, ascent and orbit and also prove that the electronics systems will operate in space and not interfere with other satellites or the station.

NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Mike Fincke and Boeing's Chris Ferguson are continuing preparations for the Crew Flight Test at Johnson Space Center in Houston. They are training on Starliner's systems, including nominal and unlikely scenarios, such as water rescue training. They are also well into space station training, and are now focusing on becoming a longer duration crew. Mann and Fincke are training for upcoming spacewalks, and Ferguson is training to support them from inside the station.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 49848
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-12-2019 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Boeing release
Ready for Orbit! Starliner Passes Environmental Qualification Testing

"Test like you fly" is a mantra Boeing's CST-100 Starliner team takes to heart, proven by the success of a recent environmental test campaign at Boeing's Space Environment Test Facility in El Segundo, Calif. During testing, the first Starliner that will carry people to space was subjected to similar environmental conditions it will see on launch, ascent and orbit.

"Environmental testing is one of the most challenging campaigns of any spaceflight development program, and we succeeded in under 100 days," said John Mulholland, Vice President and Program Manager, Boeing's Commercial Crew Program. "Thorough ground testing is a critical part of our strategy to ensure the shortest possible time between flight tests and long-duration missions for our NASA customer."

In Boeing's acoustic chamber, test teams subjected Starliner to intense sound waves that simulated liftoff and ascent. In the large thermal-vacuum chamber, the spacecraft experienced extreme temperature swings, from freezing cold to heat from solar radiation in a vacuum simulating the space environment. Finally, teams tested the spacecraft's systems for potential electromagnetic interferences in a highly specialized, noise-free anechoic chamber.

The complex series of tests was needed to qualify Starliner for repeated missions to and from the International Space Station, with crew safety always the top priority.

In addition to environmental qualification testing, another version of Starliner specifically created for structural testing was put through hundreds of unique conditions, which yielded several billion points of data needed to validate Starliner's structural design. Read more about that testing here.

"We put the spacecraft through a gauntlet of tests to prove it's ready," said Boeing Test & Evaluation's Space Environmental Test Leader Brad Mejia. "Everything we needed to conduct the testing, including a team of experts who are used to testing for space, are right here in southern California."

Having successfully completed environmental qualification testing, the spacecraft was carefully packaged and shipped via semi-truck back to Florida, where it will first leave the planet. There, teams will continue readying the spacecraft for that highly-anticipated first crewed launch into space.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 49848
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-23-2019 08:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
United Launch Alliance (ULA) release
Atlas V departs factory for historic mission

The first Atlas V rocket to launch astronauts into space emerged from the United Launch Alliance factory today, rolling into a giant cargo ship for transport to Cape Canaveral.

Above: The Atlas V booster and Centaur stages leave the Decatur factory on May 23, 2019 for the CFT launch.

ULA built the Atlas V at the sprawling 1.6-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Decatur, Alabama, taking raw materials and turning them into a rocket to launch the first crew of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.

After speeches celebrating the milestone by Alabama elected officials and ULA and Boeing dignitaries in attendance, ULA workers moved the Atlas V booster stage and Centaur upper stage down the road for loading into the Mariner vessel docked nearby.

The 312-foot-long ship is purpose-built to navigate both shallow waters of rivers and ocean travel to reach ULA's launch sites. It has been making the trek from Decatur to Cape Canaveral since 2001.

Above: The Atlas first stage for CFT travels down the road the Decatur dock.

This rocket, known as AV-082, will launch Starliner on the Crew Flight Test (CFT) to the International Space Station part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. CFT will follow the maiden voyage of Starliner, the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test (OFT) targeted for August.

Aboard will be Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson, a three-time space shuttle astronaut and commander of space shuttle Atlantis on the final shuttle mission; NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, a veteran of three spaceflights, including two long-duration stays on the International Space Station, and NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, a spaceflight rookie making her first trip into space.

Once at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the Atlas V will begin integrated operations and processing for the CFT launch.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-07-2020 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Astronaut Chris Ferguson withdraws from Boeing Starliner test flight

Boeing's first commercial astronaut has stepped down from commanding the first crewed test flight of the company's new spacecraft, citing family commitments.

Chris Ferguson has been replaced by NASA astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore aboard the CST-100 Starliner Crewed Flight Test (CFT), which is targeted to lift off to the International Space Station in 2021. The change comes two years after Ferguson was assigned to fly on the mission with NASA astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann.

"Next year is very important for my family. I have made several commitments, which I simply cannot risk missing," said Ferguson in a video statement on Wednesday (Oct. 7). "I'm not going anywhere, I'm just not going to space next year."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-06-2021 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mann reassigned from Starliner Crew Flight Test

NASA has reassigned astronaut Nicole Mann to the agency's SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Crew Program.

Mann was previously assigned to Boeing's Crew Flight Test. NASA decided it was important to make this reassignment to allow Boeing time to complete the development of Starliner while continuing plans for astronauts (like Mann) to gain spaceflight experience for the future needs of the agency's missions.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Mike Fincke will continue to provide experience for Boeing as the agency prepares for NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test. Additional Boeing flight assignments will be made in the future.

Mann is a California native and a colonel in the Marine Corps. She earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Science in mechanical engineering with a specialty in fluid mechanics from Stanford University. She is an F/A-18 test pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours in more than 25 aircraft. NASA selected Mann as an astronaut in 2013. This will be her first trip to space.

"It has been the opportunity of a lifetime to train on a brand-new spacecraft, the Boeing Starliner, and it has been fantastic to work with the Boeing team," Mann said. "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to train on another new spacecraft – the SpaceX Crew Dragon – and appreciate the teams at NASA who have made that possible. I am ready to fly and serve on the International Space Station."

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-16-2022 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
NASA assigns two astronauts to Boeing's Starliner crew flight test

NASA has selected the first crew to fly on board Boeing's new commercial spacecraft.

Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Suni Williams will fly on the Crew Flight Test (CFT) of the CST-100 Starliner capsule, launching as soon as perhaps later this year. The two veteran astronauts will spend about two weeks in Earth orbit, with most of the mission spent at the International Space Station.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-03-2022 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Boeing release
NASA, Boeing adjust Starliner Crew Flight Test launch date

The Crew Flight Test (CFT) of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner is now targeted to launch in April 2023, a window Boeing and NASA agree is the optimal timeframe for the International Space Station visiting vehicle schedule.

"We understand our customer must consider the needs of the International Space Station in scheduling the certification flight of a second U.S. commercial crew transportation system," said Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager for the Starliner program. "We are working to have the CFT vehicle ready to fly ahead of the new launch date."

The refurbishment of a previously flown crew module and production of a new service module for CFT are continuing at Boeing's Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility in Florida. Once both modules are complete, they'll be mated and tested for flight.

The Starliner team recently completed a successful Crew Validation Test (CVT) with NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore, Suni Williams and Mike Fincke. CVT is a critical milestone conducted near completion of the crew module and is a measure of confidence for the astronauts as they progress toward launch.

Boeing and NASA are working together to achieve flight readiness. In-flight anomalies from Starliner's Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) are on a path to close in the coming weeks, following thorough data reviews, fault tree analyses, and agreed-to mitigation plans.

"Starliner's two uncrewed orbital flight tests provided invaluable information about our spacecraft," Nappi said. "Additional learnings are expected as Starliner transitions from a fully autonomous flight without crew to flights with crew. With the help of experienced NASA test pilots, Wilmore and Williams, we are closer to our goal of flying a safe and capable spacecraft."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 49848
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-15-2022 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Boeing release
Teams Train for Starliner's First Crewed Flight

NASA and Boeing teams continue to conduct training and testing ahead of the Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT), scheduled to launch in April 2023 to the International Space Station for the agency's Commercial Crew Program.

For the crewed flight test, Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, returning approximately eight days later in White Sands, New Mexico.

Most recently, the CFT Super Suited Week took place at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston in late October through early November. During the training, NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Suni Williams, CFT commander and pilot, respectively, and Mike Fincke, CFT backup spacecraft test pilot, donned their spacesuits while participating in various simulations, good day and bad day scenarios, and spacecraft ingress and egress. The event also gave the crew extended time to get comfortable wearing their suits.

Prior to that, the astronauts participated in a crew validation test in October to evaluate and fine tune operations. These tests provide astronauts with hands-on training while giving the launch pad crew further experience with crucial tasks. In addition, teams can address issues encountered during previous checks and identify items that still need to be resolved prior to launch.

During the exercise, the astronauts suited up and tested the pressurized crew module to assess seat fit, suit functionality, cabin temperature, audio, and day of launch operations. The teams cycled through different environmental control configurations and flow rates, including oxygen and emergency gas, so the crew will be accustomed to a variety of scenarios on orbit. The astronauts also familiarized themselves with camera, tablet, and wireless application set-up. Communication checks went well between the Mission Control Center and the crew in the spacecraft.

Overall, the training activities gave the astronauts and support teams confidence in operations and built their knowledge base for subsequent flight preparation activities.

"Preparing for this flight doesn't feel like traditional training that Suni and I went through for missions on the space shuttle or Soyuz," Wilmore said. "We're thoroughly embedded in all aspects of developing a brand-new spacecraft, making this more akin to an experimental process. The entire team is learning how to plan, train, and fly Starliner into space."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 49848
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-24-2023 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Boeing release
Starliner Spacecraft Readied for Crew Flight Test

The Starliner spacecraft for the Crew Flight Test (CFT) is now complete, following the mating of its crew and service modules.

Above: The Starliner team works to finalize the mate of the crew module and new service module for the Crew Flight Test that will take NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Sunita "Suni" Williams to and from the International Space Station. (Boeing/John Grant)

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner team completed the production milestone on Thursday, Jan. 19, in advance of the planned April launch with NASA astronauts Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Sunita "Suni" Williams to the International Space Station.

During the operation, a crane lifted the reusable crew module atop the brand-new service module in the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center to become a fully operational spacecraft.

"Every member of our team is invested in giving Butch and Suni a great ride to the International Space Station," said Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager for the Starliner program. "We're building off the successes and lessons learned from Orbital Flight Test-2, and all of the pieces for CFT are coming together."

With a completed spacecraft, teams will continue outfitting the crew module's interior, conducting integrated vehicle testing and performing final spacecraft checkouts. The spacecraft will then undergo weight and center of gravity testing prior to rolling out of the Starliner factory en route to its United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch complex.

CFT is targeted to launch in April 2023, in accordance with the International Space Station visiting vehicle schedule.

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