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  [Discuss] Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test
Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-03-2019 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Please use this topic to discuss Boeing's CST-100 Starliner Crew Flight Test (CFT) mission to the International Space Station.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-11-2019 10:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chris Ferguson, Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann are undergoing training for the mission, as these photos show.

Above: Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson helps NASA astronauts Nicole Mann (left) and Mike Fincke (right) train for a spacewalk inside the International Space Station Airlock Mockup at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston in February.

Above: Boeing astronaut and CST-100 Starliner Crew Flight Test crew member Chris Ferguson trains for a contingency water landing in NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Above: NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson review International Space Station training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

oly
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posted 07-28-2019 02:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Have any details been made public regarding the steps taken to man-rate the Atlas V rocket?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-28-2019 08:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Most of the human-rating process is comprised of system reviews and paperwork documentation. Modifications to the vehicle have included adding redundancy to some of the critical systems and configuring the Atlas to recognize and respond to anomalies more quickly, with regard to triggering the Starliner abort system.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-06-2019 01:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA released a crew portrait:
From left to right, NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson, and NASA astronaut Nicole Mann pose for the official crew portrait for Boeing's Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station, part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-28-2020 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From a NASA update:
After a successful OFT-2, Boeing and NASA will fly Starliner’s first crewed mission, the Crew Flight Test, currently targeted for no earlier than June 2021.

Recently, the CFT crew helped test software updates with real flight hardware in Boeing’s Avionics and Software Integration Lab in Houston. They practiced performing manual separation events for several low likelihood contingencies, demonstrating the software improvements had no adverse effect on controls needed to stay safe in any situation. The crew also participated in procedural dry runs for future life support tests with the Starliner spacecraft in Florida. Later this year, the CFT crew will be suited inside the spacecraft with the vehicle providing all of their life support.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-07-2020 10:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Butch Wilmore is replacing Chris Ferguson on Boeing's Starliner Crew Flight Test. Ferguson, who stepped aside for personal reasons, will serve as the director of Mission Integration and Operations.
"I have full confidence in the Starliner vehicle, the men and women building and testing it, and the NASA astronauts who will ultimately fly it," Ferguson said. "The Boeing team has taken all lessons from our first uncrewed Orbital Flight Test to heart, and is making Starliner one of the safest new crewed spacecraft ever fielded. I will be here on the ground supporting Butch, Nicole and Mike while they prove it."

David C
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posted 10-09-2020 11:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I feel for Fergie having to make this move but CST-100 development has really dragged on. For Butch, Christmas has come early.

David C
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posted 09-26-2021 03:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, in view of the lengthy delays to OFT-2, I wonder if the Wilmore/Ferguson seat swap may get reversed? My understanding was that it came about because Fergie had personal commitments in 2021. Well 2021 will have come and gone.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-06-2021 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nicole Mann has been reassigned from the Starliner Crew Flight Test to SpaceX Crew-5 "to [sooner] gain spaceflight experience for the future needs of the agency's missions," NASA has announced.

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

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-19-2022 07:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA is waiting until after the second Starliner orbital flight test (OFT-2) to decide on the CFT crew. Per Kathy Lueders, NASA's Associate Administrator for the Space Operations Mission Directorate:
We'll be looking at final CFT and PCM-1 timelines this summer and then we'll be making final crew selections for all for the increments coming up.
The prior crew assignments were set aside after the OFT-2 launched was delayed last year, said astronaut Butch Wilmore.
Since that time in August, the three of us [Wilmore, Mike Fincke and Suni Williams] have been working as a cadre supporting Starliner and we know that we are not necessarily assigned for CFT and we've known that since that timeframe.

The powers that be could assign anyone they want. We hope they pick one of us three or a couple of us three to go on CFT — we've been working the program — but we've known since that time that we've been working as a cadre.

Lueders said that it has not been decided yet if CFT will fly with two or three astronauts or how long the flight will be. Those decisions rely in part on when the mission will fly and the crew contingent on the space station at the time.

She did say, however, that they are not looking at flying a Boeing company astronaut on CFT, only NASA astronauts.

Below: NASA astronauts Sunita Williams, Mike Fincke and Barry "Butch" Wilmore at the launch pad on May 18, 2022, before Boeing's Orbital Flight Test-2 mission to the International Space Station. (Boeing/John Grant)

oly
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posted 05-22-2022 11:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Given Starliner experienced more thruster issues during its orbital flight, will Boeing make changes to the thruster design before the crew flight test?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-23-2022 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It depends on what Boeing learns after analyzing the data. It may not be an issue with the thrusters at all, but rather a false sensor reading (for example).

Mark Nappi said whatever they learn, they will incorporate the proper time to address in the downtime between when OFT-2 lands and CFT launches.

SpaceAngel
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posted 05-28-2022 11:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With the completion of OTF-2, when will NASA and Boeing set up a launch date for the Boeing CFT manned mission?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-28-2022 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA and Boeing officials have said they expect to select a launch window, as well as the crew contingent and mission parameters later this summer.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-16-2022 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams have been assigned to fly the two-week Crew Flight Test.

Mike Fincke will train as the backup spacecraft test pilot and remains eligible for assignment to a future mission.

A launch date review will take place in late July after Boeing and NASA conclude analyzing the results from Orbital Flight Test-2.

brianjbradley
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posted 06-16-2022 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for brianjbradley   Click Here to Email brianjbradley     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I feel bad for Jeanette Epps, who doesn't seem to be in the Starliner rotation and was so celebrated when assigned to Suni Williams' crew with Josh Cassada and Koichi Wakata.

Paul78zephyr
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posted 06-16-2022 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams have been assigned to fly the two-week Crew Flight Test.
Robert, so Boeing Starliner CFT will only be a crew of two? Was it always planned to be a crew of two?

Also why isn't Williams the Commander - isn't her NASA experience, tenure, etc, make her the more senior astronaut? I understand they are both USN Captains.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-16-2022 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The previous CFT assigment was three astronauts (first Ferguson, Mann and Boe and then Wilmore, Mann and Fincke). As explained today by NASA:
Based upon current space station resources and scheduling needs, a short duration mission with two astronaut test pilots is sufficient to meet all NASA and Boeing test objectives for CFT, which include demonstrating Starliner's ability to safely fly operational crewed missions to and from the space station. To protect against unforeseen events with crew transportation to the station, NASA may extend the CFT docked duration up to six months and add an additional astronaut later, if needed.
NASA did not share its reasoning as to how the mission roles (commander, pilot) were selected.
quote:
Originally posted by brianjbradley:
I feel bad for Jeanette Epps, who doesn't seem to be in the Starliner rotation...
From NASA's release today:
NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps continues to prepare for an upcoming long duration mission aboard Starliner-1. NASA also has identified backup flight opportunities for Epps on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for additional scheduling and resource flexibility. Epps has begun cross-training on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to prepare for this possibility.
Epps is expected to fly on SpaceX Crew-5 if an agreement with Roscosmos to fly cosmonaut Anna Kikina cannot be reached in time for the flight.

Gordon Eliot Reade
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posted 06-20-2022 07:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Eliot Reade   Click Here to Email Gordon Eliot Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm very excited and looking forward to what I'm sure will be a super successful first manned flight of the Starliner. I plan to watch the launch in person.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-01-2022 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Based on NASA's internal schedules, the Starliner crew flight test shows a Dec. 8 launch date, with a subsequent docking at the space station from Dec. 9 to Dec. 14, Ars Technica reports.
This date is far from written in stone. It is subject to adjustment for a variety of reasons, including the ongoing review of data from Starliner's first test flight in May, as well as docking port availability on the space station. However, that such a date is now appearing on the schedule indicates a reasonable possibility that Starliner will make a second flight this year.

A NASA spokesman, Josh Finch, said the agency was not ready to formally set a launch date for Boeing's Crew Flight Test.

"Boeing is working to be hardware ready in support of the company’s crewed flight test this year," Finch said. "The Starliner team is in the process of delivering the initial uncrewed flight test data to NASA and jointly determining forward work ahead of crewed flight. Engineering and program reviews are continuing, culminating in a launch schedule assessment toward the end of July based on spacecraft readiness, space station scheduling needs, and Eastern Range availability."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-25-2022 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA and Boeing are now targeting February 2023 for the launch of the Starliner Crew Flight Test (CFT). Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams will fly on "Calypso," the capsule that flew the first Orbital Flight Test (OFT).

The CFT mission is expected to remain docked to the International Space Station for eight days.

After the OFT-2 mission, it was decided to make several modifications, including changing the data load being fed to sensors that caused the shutdown of several reaction control system thrusters and removing filters that were hampering the operation of the active thermal control system.

Headshot
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posted 08-25-2022 10:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mighty, experienced, Boeing got almost twice the money from NASA that SpaceX received. Yet Boeing will be flying their first crewed Starliner to the ISS almost three years after SpaceX launched their first manned Dragon capsule to the ISS.

I am not certain whether SpaceX is that good or Boeing is that bad, but I have my guesses.

On the brighter side, at least Boeing will have managed (knock on wood) to get at least one crew to the ISS before it is de-commissioned and de-orbited.

Robert Pearlman
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Boeing suffered a setback due to software problems of its own doing, but then corrected the issue and a flew a second orbital flight test that was neither required by or paid for by NASA (Boeing absorbed the cost of $595 million).

According to the astronauts who have worked on its development, the Starliner is a more than capable vehicle that they are eager to see fly with a crew. Boeing is aiming to launch its crew flight test in February and then its first post-certification mission by November 2023, followed by (at least) one mission to the International Space Station per year.

brianjbradley
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posted 08-26-2022 09:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for brianjbradley   Click Here to Email brianjbradley     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was listening to the telecon. I wasn't sure I was correct in hearing them say they aim for one Starliner flight per year. Thanks for confirming that, Robert.

I feel like that is a low flight rate after so much time, effort and money. I suppose there is a comfort in a back-up, non-Russia route to ISS if SpaceX Crew Dragon was grounded.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-26-2022 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Keep in mind that one mission per year is only filling NASA needs. Starliner may also fly commercial missions, including flights to the new commercial space stations as they are established.

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posted 08-26-2022 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apparently I was wrong as I thought Dragon vs Starliner was an apples to apples comparison. The problem is that the general public only sees that Boeing got two plus billion dollars more than SpaceX and delivered three years later. In the general public's mind any goodwill that Boeing might have received from bankrolling the OFT-2 flight is largely negated due to that Boeing's screw-ups caused the issues in the first place. Besides, the public might reason, that extra money Boeing received more than pays for the second OFT.

I understand now that SpaceX provided a spacecraft which fulfills the minimum of NASA management's requirements, but Boeing built a somewhat more capable spacecraft that had abilities the astronauts deemed of value. I doubt if the general public understands or appreciates such nuances.

oly
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posted 08-26-2022 08:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For the commercial crew contract, Starliner and Dragon are direct comparisons because they both try to achieve the same commercial crew program requirements which were formed to facilitate the development of a U.S. Commercial Crew Space Transportation capability to achieve safe, reliable, and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit.

That Boeing's option may have more crew control input options or provide more instrumentation for the crew to look at is somewhat irrelevant to the NASA requirements and a decision taken by Boeing.

As a part of the Commercial Crew Program, a Certification Products Contract (CPC) was developed to establish certification plans that were designed toward achieving safe, crewed missions to the space station. These included data that resulted in developing engineering standards, tests, and analyses of crew transportation system designs. Both Boeing and SpaceX met the certification standards set down.

The second phase of the two-phase certification plan for commercially built and operated integrated crew transportation systems was the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) Contract. For this, Boeing received $4.2 billion and SpaceX received $2.6 billion.

It should be noted that as a part of their certification process, SpaceX was asked to provide a reliable launch vehicle with their Falcon 9 design frozen at Block 5 and achieve a set number of successful launches to receive crew rating as a part of their system.

The story so far is that SpaceX has satisfied its commercial crew program target and Boeing is yet to achieve theirs.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-23-2023 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Kathy Leuders, NASA Associate Administrator of the Space Operations Mission Directorate (via Twitter):
We're adjusting the space station schedule including the launch date for our Boeing Crew Flight Test as teams assess readiness and complete verification work. CFT now will launch following the Axiom Mission 2 for optimized station operations.

Target launch dates for Ax-2, still planned in early May, and Starliner will be shared soon.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-29-2023 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA and Boeing are now targeting no earlier than July 21, 2023 for the launch of the Starliner Crew Flight Test.

The date is being driven by the schedule for other launches, including Axiom-2 and a cargo mission, which will both precede CFT, and Crew-7, which will follow CFT in mid-August.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-11-2023 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Boeing has added mission designators to the exterior of Calypso, the Starliner that was used for the first Orbital Flight Test (OFT) and next, the Crew Flight Test (CFT).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-01-2023 07:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Boeing is standing down from a July 21 launch of the Starliner Crew Flight Test as it works on addressing potential safety issues with the spacecraft.

Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager for Starliner, said today that it is "feasible" that CFT could still launch this year, but he did not want to commit to any dates or timeframes as the issues are being analyzed.

GACspaceguy
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posted 06-02-2023 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Disappointed in the delay but fully on board with the safety aspect. I can say from my own aviation career those types of decisions are frustrating to make but are needed and should be supported.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-07-2023 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Mark Nappi, Boeing's vice president and program manager for CST-100 Starliner, during a status update for the Crew Flight Test mission:
We're anticipating that we're going to be ready with the spacecraft in early March. That does not mean that we have a launch date in early March. That means that we are ready with the spacecraft. We're now working with NASA's Commercial Crew Program Office and ULA on potential launch dates based on our readiness.

GACspaceguy
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posted 08-07-2023 02:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Almost 2 years after their last test flight. I truly hope once they get their act together they will be a successful option to the ISS.

SkyMan1958
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posted 08-07-2023 04:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unfortunately, at this point, it has become almost laughable as to when Starliner flies.

The way I look at it now is that without Boeing participating in Commercial Crew (CC) at the beginning of CC, and thus giving the US Government a feeling of reassurance about the CC program, we might not have seen the Commercial Crew program ever funded. To me it's almost like SLS... given that SLS gives Congress a "stake" in space exploration, Congress is willing to fund other programs, such as Starship HLS, that truly are useful.

One thing, does anyone know if ULA has enough Atlas V rockets set aside to even launch seven Starliner missions (one CFT plus 6 operational)? I'm guessing that Vulcan is designed to be human rated, but you would still need to fly quite a few unmanned Vulcans to officially man rate them for operational use.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-07-2023 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All seven Atlas V rockets needed to fly CFT and the six Boeing PCM flights are reserved and under contract with United Launch Alliance, which has committed to supporting the vehicle even after moving all other payloads to Vulcan.

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posted 08-07-2023 07:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TRANSLATION: Early March in Boeing-speak is mid-August.

perineau
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posted 08-08-2023 02:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for perineau   Click Here to Email perineau     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the Starliner is redundant at best — already seven years behind schedule, do they really need a second spacecraft for the last four years of the ISS?!?!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-08-2023 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by perineau:
...do they really need a second spacecraft for the last four years of the ISS?
Ask that question again should (knock on wood) Dragon experience an anomaly requiring a long down period to address.

Also, recall that the full purpose of the commercial crew program wasn't just to service the International Space Station, but to get multiple vehicles up and running to service the post-ISS low Earth economy. Boeing is a partner in the Blue Origin and Sierra Space-led Orbital Reef commercial space station, which could provide more use for Starliner.


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