Boeing flubbed the first mission of the CST-100. Seemingly a routine mission for SpaceX after completing over 20 deliveries to the International Space Station, Boeing showed how not to do it. During the December 2019 Demo flight for the Boeing Starliner CST-100, the Starliner did not reach its planned orbit. Nor did the Starliner dock to the International Space Station as planned. Boeing was able to complete a number of mission objectives during the flight to comply with the milestones related to NASA’s Commercial Crew.
On the ULA Atlas V rocket at 6:36 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20, the Boeing Starliner launched from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Boeing has a long rich history in both aviation and spaceflight. This mission, already three years behind in schedule, should have been a slam dunk.
After launching to the incorrect orbit, Boeing was able to successfully recover the Starliner. NASA shared that Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft did successfully complete the first land touchdown of a human-rated capsule at the White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico at 7:58 a.m. EST (5:58 a.m. MST) on December 22, 2019. The landing followed a deorbit burn for the botched flight, separation of the spacecraft’s service module, and successful deployment of its three main parachutes and six airbags. Boeing’s approach to the Starliner is unique as the prior US-made capsules, including the SpaceX Dragon, are water recoveries.
Starliner settling softly to the ground on Airbags wasn’t enough.
The NASA and Boeing investigation into the spaceflight was disclosed in Early March 2020. The recommendations included a list of corrections that needed to be addressed prior to the Starliner launching again. The investigation documented 61 “corrective actions” for the company’s Starliner spacecraft. This type of test did do what it was supposed to do. Find issues before people are exposed to potentially dangerous situations. This human risk reduction is a hallmark of the NASA Commercial Crew Program which was put in place to alternatives to the Space Shuttle and Soyuz spacecraft. NASA associate administrator Doug Loverro shared with reporters on a conference call that he expected it months for Boeing to work through the list to be ready for another test flight.
By Bill D’Zio, Originally posted on www.westeastspace.com March 28, 2020
NASA may have sidelined the Lunar Gateway for a return mission to the Moon, but it is not stopping the momentum. NASA has awarded several contracts for the Lunar Gateway including the most recent one to SpaceX. This demonstrates the growing capabilities of New Space companies to capture contracts and complete missions.
“This contract award is another critical piece of our plan to return to the Moon sustainably. The Gateway is the cornerstone of the long-term Artemis architecture and this deep space commercial cargo capability integrates yet another American industry partner into our plans for human exploration at the Moon in preparation for a future mission to Mars.”
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a press release statement about the award to SpaceX.
NASA Awarded SpaceX the first Artemis Gateway Logistics Services (GLS) contract. The award for resupply services to the Gateway will require delivery of goods to a Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). Not sure what a NRHO orbit is? A NRHO is a highly elliptical orbit that takes about 7 days for each orbit. Want some more details, just click here: Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). There are a few options for NRHO orbits, but NASA is leaning towards the L2 9:2 lunar synodic resonant southerly Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) which would be the likely location of the lunar Gateway. A simplification of the orbit is shown below.
Cargo and payloads would be delivered to to the Gateway in NRHO above the moon. Deliveries would be made with the he Logistics Module (LM). The acronym LM may be slightly confusing for some people familiar with the Apollo Missions done fifty years earlier. The LM for the Apollo Missions was the “Lunar Module”. (Note LM “Lunar Module” was shortened from LEM “Lunar Excursion Module”)
Based on the 2019 NASA draft RFP document (GLS-RQMT-001) the Logistics Module (LM) will deliver a minimum 3400 kg (7496 lb) pressurized payload and cargo each mission to the Gateway under the NASA GLS contract. In addition to the the pressurized cargo, the LM will also deliver a minimum 1000 kg (2205 lb) unpressurized cargo and payloads per mission to the Gateway.
The proposed Canadian robotic arm (Canadarm3) would assist with unloading unpressurized cargo. The actual delivery of Robotic Arm was originally excluded as a potential baseline mission for cargo delivery as the mass of the the ISS Canadarm2 was 1,497Kg and 17 m long. The CSA concept for the Canadarm3 will be less than 900Kg and only 9 m because of the smaller size of the Lunar Gateway so it might also be considered for one of the first cargo delivery mission…
We face complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty about the future consequences of cryptocurrency use. There are doubts about the positive and negative impacts of the use of cryptocurrencies in the financial systems. In order to address better and deeper the contradictions and the consequences of the use of cryptocurrencies and also informing the key stakeholders about known and unknown emerging issues in new payment systems, we apply two helpful futures studies tools known as the “Future Wheel”, to identify the key factors, and “System Dynamics Conceptual Mapping”, to understand the relationships among such factors. Two key scenarios will be addressed. In on them, systemic feedback loops might be identified such as a) terrorism, the Achilles’ heel of the cryptocurrencies, b) hackers, the barrier against development, and c) information technology security professionals, a gap in the future job market. Also, in the other scenario, systemic feedback loops might be identified such as a) acceleration of technological entrepreneurship enabled by new payment systems, b) decentralization of financial ecosystem with some friction against it, c) blockchain and shift of banking business model, d) easy international payments triggering structural reforms, and e) the decline of the US and the end of dollar dominance in the global economy. In addition to the feedback loops, we can also identify chained links of consequences that impact productivity and economic growth on the one hand, and shift of energy sources and consumption on the other hand.