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Author Topic:   Boeing's CST-100 Starliner Crew Flight Test
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 44780
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

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

Posts: 44780
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

Posts: 44780
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

Posts: 44780
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
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."

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