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Boeing, SpaceX Prepares Crew Cap Suspension Tests – Spaceflight Now



Boeing and SpaceX are preparing to launch abortions in the coming weeks to validate crew escape systems for the new Starliner and Crew Dragon spacecraft, which are now scheduled to begin transporting astronauts to the International Space Station in the first half of next year.

Scheduled abortion tests are scheduled to begin as early as next week when Boeing plans a test abortion test of its Starliner crew capsule on Monday, November 4, in New Mexico. SpaceX is gearing up for a ground-based test launch of the Crew Dragon abortion engines on Cape Canaveral just after Wednesday, November 6th.

"It's a very complicated dance as we prepare to fly," said Kathy Luders, who directs the NASA commercial crew program. "We are about to have a period of final, major integrated testing … along with tons of certification work. We tend not to say that it's just paper, because it's not just paper, but all the key things that show that design is qualified and we have vehicles at the right level of risk so we can fly over them. "[1

9659004] NASA commissioned Boeing and SpaceX to develop new human-rated spacecraft to cease US reliance on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft for transportation of astronauts to and from the International Space Station. After completing the test flight of the crew, the Starliner and Crew Dragon spacecraft will begin regular crew rotation missions at the orbital research laboratory.

The Space Agency awarded Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew contracts in 2014, valued at $ 4.2 billion and $ 2.6 billion, respectively.

After years of delays due to lack of funding and technical problems, Boeing and SpaceX officials say their spacecraft should be ready to launch astronauts next year. Bob Kabana, director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, said this week that he expects the capsules to be ready for flight crews in six to eight months.

Boeing Pad Triple Hour Test Window Opens at 7am MST (9am) EST; 1400 GMT). The full-scale Boeing Staringer spacecraft test model – with crew and service module – will take off from the White Sand Army Missile Range in New Mexico on a rapid test of the Emergency Avoidance System. [

"I call this a space shuttle launch site," says Chris Ferguson, Boeing test pilot, astronaut and director of Starliner crew and mission systems.

The tile-break test will show that the Starliner can "quickly separate and move away from a fired vehicle if something goes wrong," Ferguson said on October 22 in a panel discussion at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington.

Ferguson will fly on the first Starliner Crew mission, a test flight expected to launch next year.

During startup crews, emergency engines based on the Starliner Service Module will propel a Spacec raft from the top of their United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 missile in the event of a Cape Canaveral launch pad.

"We will go from zero speed, zero altitude and safely demonstrate an altitude of 1 mile, about 1- mile down the ability to remove a vehicle and safely lower it in what will be a desert environment for the White Sands test , but what would be right off the coast of Florida if we actually had a launch pad to suspend. [19659004] "A lot of everything we've been working on over the last eight years (all of it) is wrapped in about a 90-second test, so it's going to be pretty exciting," Ferguson said.

No astronauts will fly on the capsule during the swab abandonment test.

The Boeing Staringer abort test will continue for 95 seconds from launch by landing the crew module. Credit: Boeing

In a space mission, Boeing's Starliner will have 64 engines that will be used during abortions, orbit maneuvers and re-entry. All pushers are built by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

The four biggest pushes are the startup abortion engines based on the Starliner service module. In the event of an abortion, each engine will be instantly lit and powered to produce about 40,000 pounds of thrust that will propel the spacecraft from rocket damage to the ground or into battle.

Liquid fuels refuse engines burning a harmful mixture of hydrazine and nitroxide tetroxide would only fire on flight in the event of an emergency launch.

Another set of 20 service modules for orbital maneuvering and motion control, each generating 1,500 pounds of thrust, will be used to control the capsule orientation during interruption of launch, orbital insertion after separation from the second stage of the Atlas 5 rocket. and other major changes in the trajectory of space.

There are 28 propulsion response systems in the Starliner Service Module for smaller orbital maneuvers and for restarting the orbit of a space station. 12 reusable Starliner Crew Modules, 100 kg each, will control the attitude or orientation of the ship during re-entry.

The Starliner cap, slanted for next week's discontinuity test, is mounted on the same type of adapter that will connect a true spacecraft to the top of a ULA Atlas 5 rocket. When the vessel ignites its four starter abortions, the ventilation doors of the adapter will open to prevent an overpressure event.

For a swab break test, the four starting aborting engines or LAEs will ignite in 5.1 seconds, producing a combined thrust of 160,000 pounds to push the spacecraft from the White Sands test bench Smaller orbital maneuvers and position control, or OMAC, the pushers will fire for 10.1 seconds to initiate the roll-over maneuver and control the orientation of the capsule.

Then the pushers will pulse to overturn the spacecraft and fly the tail first on an arc that will take the vehicle to a maximum altitude of 1349 meters above ground level about 18.6 seconds after takeoff.

Throttles will stop firing 17 seconds after takeoff, and a series of pilots, drone and basic parachutes will start to deploy in T + plus 20 seconds, according to Boeing.

The craft will eject its service module at T + plus 34 seconds to fall to the ground. The crew module will then release its main thermal shield and then inflate the airbags to force the landing of the White Sands capsule about 95 seconds after take-off.

SpaceX completed the suspension test for its Crew Dragon spacecraft in 2015 and plans to install a flight abortion test later this year at the Kennedy Space Center to test the capsule's ability to launch a Falcon rocket. 9 after expiration.

NASA gave both companies the opportunity to decide whether to conduct an abortion test on the flight.

The Lueders called the Boeing pad to end "a tremendous ordeal for us. "

" Obviously, it will be important for us to understand how the separation for CM and SM (crew and service module) works, checking the chutes, making sure the forecasts are right for us, "Liuders said on Wednesday

Boeing is in the final stages of assembling and testing two Starliner spacecraft inside a former space shuttle hangar at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The first of the capsules is planned to launch a bucket naked after December 17 aboard an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force pad 41 for a one-week unmanned test flight to the space station.This mission, called the Orbital Test Flight, will not have an active abortion system, but Luders said NASA wants to see the Starliner submit to the abortion test before moving on with the OFT mission.

"OFT does not have an abortion system on it because it is an undeveloped mission, but obviously the way the system splits and everything else will has affected the progress of OFT, so it is crucial for us to start this and test and understand it before we deploy the spacecraft (

The Starliner crew flight test to the space station will follow for some time during the first half of 2020, with NASA astronauts Mike Fink joining Ferguson and Nicole Mann.

Meanwhile SpaceX

The test launch next week will be a repeat of the SpaceX hot-fire test, attempted in April, which ended with the explosion that destroyed the Crew Dragon spacecraft that successfully completed an unmanned test flight to the space station a month ago.

Investigators identified a sealed valve in the Crew Dragon abortion system that led to the explosion.

"Honestly, for us, the flight crew year, when something like this happens, is a great call to wake the team that they have to be diligent and careful," Luders said. "We lost the car very quickly.

"It was a very expensive vehicle for us," she said. "We were off to a high start with the Demo-1 (unmanned test flight) and then lost that vehicle. This vehicle was going to a museum somewhere. I am really proud of the way the team worked diligently during the anomaly investigation in the summer, working through system changes.

A faulty non-return valve inside the propulsion system allows nitric oxide oxidizer, which the eight of the Crew Dragon SuperDraco rocket engines consume mixed with hydrazine fuel to enter high pressure helium tubes during tillage testing prior to testing above fire in April.

The helium system is used to quickly compress the propulsion system, which allows SuperDraco engines to ignite during an emergency launch. The eight SuperDraco cumulative engines generate 128,000 pounds of thrust, performing the same function as Boeing's Staringer starter abortions.

When the abortion system began to pressure in the April test, nitrogen tetroxide, which leaked into the helium pressure system back into a non-return valve made of titanium.

"Imagine having a lot of pressure back a fluid hose (it) has considerable force and it essentially destroyed the non-return valve and caused the explosion," says Hans Koenigsman, SpaceX's vice president of construction and flight reliability, in a briefing in July.

"We realized that… when the pressure is high and you drive a high energy slug into a titanium component, you can have this rather violent reaction," Koenigsman said.

The overwhelming result was surprising. they expected that titanium, a material used for decades in space vehicles around the world, could react so explosively in such an environment.

In rockets and space The purpose of the ship is that the disks are designed to be disposable The disks block the path between the combustion system and the pressure systems until they are destroyed during the engine start sequence, allowing the liquids to mix.

Assuming the test SuperDraco goes well, SpaceX will upgrade the cap for a crash test

The full-scale Falcon 9 rocket – with all its parts other than a second stage engine – will load the Crew Dragon capsule into the stratosphere for demonstration abortion at high altitude. [19659004] The test interruption plan requires the rocket to launch from launch pad 39A into the Kennedy Space Center and arc over the Atlantic, firing its nine major engines in nearly a minute and a half, as it would during a typical launch. SpaceX will pre-program the nine Falcon 9 acceleration engines to shut down after speeding up.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft computer will detect the loss of thrust and trigger an abortion approximately 88 seconds after lifting, Lueders said, and the capsule will parachute into the Atlantic, where recovery teams will be ready to retrieve it.

Like Boeing, SpaceX builds a separate Crew Dragon spacecraft for the first flight of an astronautical company called Demo-2. NASA astronauts Bob Benken and Doug Hurley are assigned to fly the Demo-2 mission to the space station.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .


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