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  [Discuss] Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test (Page 3)

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test
Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-14-2024 11:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The launch is now no earlier than 4:43 p.m. EDT (2043 GMT) on Tuesday, May 21. The extra time is to complete additional testing.

With regards to the helium leak, it was detected in the spacecraft's service module and traced back to a flange on a single reaction control system thruster. To address the issue, the propulsion system will be brought up to flight pressurization to allow the helium system to vent.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-17-2024 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The launch has again slipped. It is now no earlier than 3:09 p.m. EDT (1909 GMT) on Saturday, May 25.

Testing showed that the helium leak is within the safety limits for flight, but more time is needed for Boeing to develop additional procedures and for NASA to review Boeing's work before the flight can proceed.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-21-2024 08:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA, Boeing, and ULA are forgoing the Saturday, May 25 launch attempt.
The team has been in meetings for two consecutive days, assessing flight rationale, system performance, and redundancy. There is still forward work in these areas, and the next possible launch opportunity is still being discussed.

NASA will share more details once we have a clearer path forward.

GACspaceguy
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posted 05-22-2024 04:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Two days of discussions, sounds like more issues than a chattering valve and a helium leak. How does this impact the next Vulcan launch. It uses the same facilities, correct?

SpaceAngel
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posted 05-22-2024 07:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How frustrating can this issue get; why can't Boeing and ULA resolve the problem with the helium valve?

GACspaceguy
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posted 05-22-2024 08:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are assuming that the helium issue is in fact the driving issue at this point, it is possible (and I hope not so) they may have uncovered something else while working the original squawk. We just need to wait and see what is driving this new delay.

SpaceAholic
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posted 05-22-2024 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
26th launch is also out, 28th potentially still an option pending management review.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-22-2024 08:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The next launch opportunity is now 12:25 p.m. EDT on Saturday, June 1, with backup dates on Sunday, June 2; Wednesday, June 5; and Thursday, June 6.

NASA, Boeing and ULA officials will provide updates during a media teleconference at 11 a.m. EDT on Friday (May 24).

Blackarrow
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posted 05-23-2024 11:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ULA and SpaceX are separate organizations, but are there any technical reasons why Starliner and Starship could not be launched on the same day? And would there be a minimum necessary separation in time?

SpaceAholic
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posted 05-23-2024 03:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Eight days away from the start of what is anticipated to be a very active hurricane/tropical storm season — just sayin.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-24-2024 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA, Boeing and ULA officials briefed the media today about the status of the CFT preparations working towards a June 1 launch.

The valve issue in the Centaur upper stage has been resolved and the Atlas is ready to roll out again next week.

The helium leak emanating from one of the thrusters in the Starliner service module was traced back to a defective seal. The leak is within safety margins and now that it understood, it is no longer seen as impediment to launch. Boeing will monitor the leak during flight and if it worsens, it can be isolated.

In the process of investigating the leak, Boeing and NASA discovered a "design vulnerability" that in rare circumstances could affect Starliner's ability to perform a deorbit burn. Boeing has developed a workaround for the unlikely situation that the issue presents itself in flight. The company has also begun work on a more permanent software and/or hardware solution for Starliner-1.

The teams are being given the holiday weekend to relax and recharge for the lead up into launch operations next week.

SpaceAngel
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posted 05-26-2024 08:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When are Wilmore and Williams scheduled to return to KSC for Saturday's launch attempt?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-26-2024 09:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to Steve Stitch, NASA's commercial crew program manager, the crew will return to the Cape on Tuesday (May 28), the day before NASA holds a flight readiness review for the changes made since the last launch attempt.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-28-2024 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to United Launch Alliance, the forecast as of today (May 28) shows a 90 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch on June 1 and the same for a 24-hour delay. The primary concern is cumulus clouds. 

Speaking of weather, the storms here in Houston delayed the crew from departing for the Cape, but according to Johnson Space Center PAO, they are still expecting to leave later tonight. There is no arrival event planned.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-28-2024 09:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From NASA's Commercial Crew Program Office (via X):
Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams arrived back at Kennedy Space Center's Launch and Landing Facility aboard T-38 jets, ahead of Boeing's Crew Flight Test.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-30-2024 08:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From United Launch Alliance (via X):
Butch and Suni, your rocket is on the launch pad! The Atlas V just completed its rollout in final preparation for Saturday's mission to launch Boeing's Starliner CFT mission for NASA's Commercial Crew program.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-31-2024 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA video
Experts discuss ahead of Boeing’s Starliner Crew Flight Test, which will carry NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams to and from the International Space Station.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-01-2024 05:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA video
Watch live as two NASA astronauts launch from Boeing's Starliner spacecraft as one of the final steps on the road to certification.

Launch of the ULA (United Launch Alliance) Atlas V rocket and Starliner spacecraft is targeted for 12:25 p.m. EDT Saturday, June 1 (1625 UTC) from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-01-2024 07:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From ULA:
The launch team is troubleshooting the indication of a problem with the topping valve to Centaur's cryogenic tanks.

Initial steps by the Blue Team are underway to close out the crew module of Starliner and seal the hatch.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-01-2024 08:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From ULA:
The Atlas V launch team implemented a workaround to resolve the ground instrumentation issue with Centaur topping by switching to redundant circuitry.

Centaur topping has resumed. And with that, approval has been radioed to close the Starliner hatch for flight.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-01-2024 09:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
HOLD! From ULA:
Hold. The countdown has been stopped. Safing of the Atlas V, Starliner and launch pad systems is underway.
From NASA:
Teams have scrubbed today's launch attempt for Boeing's Starliner Crew Flight Test due to an automatic hold of the ground launch sequencer.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-01-2024 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA video
Experts from NASA, Boeing, and United Launch Alliance discuss the June 1, 2024 launch attempt for the agency's Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station, which scrubbed due to an observation of a ground launch sequencer.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-01-2024 02:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The launch is now no earlier than Wednesday, June 5 at 10:52 a.m. EDT. Another opportunity is available June 6 at 10:29 a.m. EDT.

Skyforce1
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posted 06-02-2024 07:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skyforce1   Click Here to Email Skyforce1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This Starliner is a White Elephant. Years behind schedule, billions over budget. Sounds all too familiar. Cancel this program now before we have another accident like Apollo 1 or Challenger. Not worth the time or money with Boeing. Just start with the 737 Max and doors falling off their aircraft. Boeing is in trouble and they know it.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-02-2024 08:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Judging by the comments on social media, you're not the only one with that opinion, but I would suggest it's not justified.

The most recent scrub was caused by a ground-side issue that had nothing to do with Boeing or Starliner. In fact, both launch scrubs involved hardware that was unrelated to the company or the spacecraft.

Further, even with its problems, Starliner survived its first spaceflight to fly again (something that cannot be said, for example, of the first Dragon V2, which blew up on the test stand). Boeing was under no obligation to fly a second orbital flight test but did so at its own cost, which resulted in a successful flight to and from the space station.

Even if you set all of that aside, if the answer to delays and cost overruns was to cancel the program, then Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, the space shuttle and Dragon would have been canceled as well, as all faced the same issues and most encountered more significant problems than Starliner did during their lead up to a first crewed flight.

SpaceAngel
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posted 06-02-2024 08:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If this issue is resolved, what are the odds of launching on June 5 or 6 with regards to the weather?

Axman
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posted 06-02-2024 09:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Axman   Click Here to Email Axman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
...then Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, the space shuttle and Dragon would have been canceled as well
Mercury, Gemini and Apollo were forerunners! Fifty years ago! I'm sorry but Boeing can't use that excuse.

It's a manned capsule atop a rocket. Not even a very sophisticated manned capsule atop a not even very advanced rocket.

It really has nothing to do with comments on social media, it's an actual fact that Starliner is an under-budgeted overrated second order disappointing project, with no redeeming or innovative features whatsoever. It IS failing, and showing little sign of overcoming it's many problems.

Jim Behling
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posted 06-02-2024 10:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Axman:
Not even a very sophisticated manned capsule atop a not even very advanced rocket...
That is wrong on both accounts.
quote:
Originally posted by Skyforce1:
Boeing is in trouble and they know it.
Boeing is not monolithic.

perineau
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posted 06-02-2024 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for perineau   Click Here to Email perineau     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Too bad Boeing didn't develop a crewed version of the highly successful X-37B space plane.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-02-2024 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The X-37B is not a commercial vehicle and its design does not belong to Boeing.
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAngel:
...what are the odds of launching on June 5 or 6
On edit: The U.S. Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron predicts a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions, with the cumulus cloud rule being the concern.
quote:
Originally posted by Axman:
...with no redeeming or innovative features whatsoever.
You are either unfamiliar with the technologies being introduced with Starliner or purposely diminishing them without merit. Either way, according to those who know best — the astronauts who are assigned to fly it — Starliner is as much an innovative spacecraft as is Dragon, if not surpasses the SpaceX spacecraft in a few critical ways.

Axman
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posted 06-02-2024 10:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Axman   Click Here to Email Axman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am neither unfamiliar with the technology, nor purposefully diminishing anything, with or without merit.

Starliner has nothing about it that can be considered innovative in my opinion. Everything about it is just extension, and not really a great deal of extension, of previous technology.

The definition of innovative is: using new methods or ideas. The definition of redeeming is: compensating for faults.

I stand by my statement. Starliner has no redeeming or innovative features.

quote:
Originally posted by Jim Behling:
That is wrong on both accounts.
Please, tell me why I am wrong on both accounts?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-02-2024 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll list three advancements being introduced by the Starliner. There are more, but these immediately stand out:
  • Starliner is the first spacecraft to be able to be manually flown if all of its computers are taken offline. That innovation (if not invention) alone, adds a level of crew safety no other capsule or shuttle can match.

  • It is the first human spacecraft to land on land using airbags, an innovation based on the techniques pioneered for landing on Mars.

  • It is the first spacecraft that can be fully flown by its on board computers, its crew or by flight controllers on the ground.

Axman
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posted 06-02-2024 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Axman   Click Here to Email Axman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Correct me if I'm wrong, but all of the pre-Shuttle flights could be flown in the event of a computer failure (including the LEM). Indeed to take the argument further, enabling flight in the event of a computer failure isn't a step forward more like a necessary step to keep up to pace with flight requirements. That's not innovative.

Landing on airbags is not innovative. Mercury landed on airbags. Landing on airbags on land rather than the sea is not innovative. Anybody leaping from a helicopter at height can tell you there is no difference to hitting earth or water, you're dead either way.

It may be the first manned spacecraft that can be fully flown by its on board computers... its hardly the first spacecraft with that abilility though is it? In fact most satellites in the 1960s were controlled that way.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-02-2024 12:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I didn't think it needed to be stated that spacecraft that existed prior to fly-by-wire systems could of course be flown manually. But from the space shuttle on forward (including the modern Soyuz and Shenzhou) all were or are incapable of functioning without active computer systems.

I believe the engineers at ILC Dover would disagree with your outright dismissal of landing on land with airbags as not being innovative.

As for the last point, it wasn't about being fully flown by its on board computers — it is about being fully controllable by all three. Mercury, Gemini and Apollo could only be flown by the crew or computer. The space shuttle up until the loss of Columbia could only be fully flown by the crew. Even after 2003, it required a crew aboard to run a cable from the flight deck to the middeck computers to enable an autonomous reentry.

Dragon can only be fully flown by the on board computers or the ground. The crew only has limited control by way of pre-programmed buttons and their touchscreens.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-02-2024 02:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Per ULA CEO Tory Bruno, the next launch attempt will be on June 5 (via X):
Ground system launch sequencer repair is complete (replacement of power chassis). Retesting nearly complete. Engineering Review Board just finished up. Good to go pending successful finishing of the retesting.

Jim Behling
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posted 06-02-2024 02:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Axman:
Please, tell me why I am wrong on both accounts?
Centaur is the most advanced upper stage. It has the highest performance of any upperstage.

Atlas V avionics can perform yaw/RAAN steering. If the spacecraft can handle it, this allows for launch windows instead of instantaneous launch times. This allowed Atlas V Cygnus missions to have 30 to 45 minute launch windows even though they were ISS missions. The Atlas V is able to steer right or left to get on the proper track (when launch earlier or later than the optimum time).

This also allowed Mars missions to have one to two hour launch windows. The trajectory to parking orbit would be the same for all days in the launch period, which made it easier for nuclear launch approval. The Centaur would alter pointing, start time and duration of the second burn to put the spacecraft on the proper trajectory regardless the of the launch time. This is something that Delta and Falcon could/can not do.

quote:
Correct me if I'm wrong...
The lunar module could not fly without a computer. It could not land or return to orbit without a computer. the abort system had a separate computer.

Mercury wasn't a true airbag, it did not inflate and it could not work on land.

Most satellites in the 60's had no computers. Just sequencers, tape readers or simple analog controls.

Axman
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posted 06-03-2024 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Axman   Click Here to Email Axman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All very fine answers. But they are answers to arguments that have been edited to suit.

Yes, I agree that Starliner has 'advancements' to prior technology, but I stand by my point that advancements are not innovations.

Spacecraft have been flown manually before. Rockets have been steered previously. Mercury did have airbags... when is an airbag not an airbag? Suddenly because it wasn't inflatable!?

Computers v manual flight is a side issue about control of the vehicle. It doesn't really matter if the vehicle is or is not controlled by a combination of actors, because all the actors were in place previously: again, it is an argument about advancements vs innovation.

It is a manned capsule atop a rocket - 1940's members of the British Interplanetary Society and the VfR would instantly recognise it.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-03-2024 10:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You seem to be confusing the definition of innovation for invention. An innovation, by definition, is a "change made to an existing product, idea, or field."

Just because something has been done before doesn't mean that a new approach to doing it isn't an innovation or innovative. In fact, that is what innovations are. To quote an example from Merriam Webster:

One might say that the first telephone was an invention, the first cellular telephone either an invention or an innovation, and the first smartphone an innovation.
To adapt that for our purposes: the first spacecraft to land back on Earth was an invention; the first spacecraft to land back on land was an invention or innovation; and Starliner, being the first spacecraft to land on land using airbags, is an innovation.

Axman
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posted 06-03-2024 10:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Axman   Click Here to Email Axman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK. Merriam Webster, a dictionary of American English? I think this is a case of "two people divided by a common language."

In my dictionary it states "Innovation: a new idea, method or product. An invention."

I think I am losing this argument. I concede.

MartinAir
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posted 06-03-2024 12:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MartinAir   Click Here to Email MartinAir     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Also, even with the cost overruns, it is in real terms less expensive than comparable US manned programs.


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