Thursday , August 11 2022

Unique: SpaceX, Boeing's design risks threaten new delays for the United States space program


SEATTLE (Reuters) – NASA has warned SpaceX and Boeing Co of design and security concerns about their competitive astronaut launching systems, according to industry sources and a new government report, which threatens the U.S. application. to regenerate its human space lighting program later this year.

Star Starer CST-100 Boeing Co asthma capsules can be seen at a production facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., January 15, 2019. REUTERS / Eric M. Johnson

NASA pays $ 2.6 billion to SpaceX and $ 4.2 billion Boeing to build rocket and capsule launching systems to return astronaut to the International Space Station from US soil for the first time since the Shuttle Space America program becomes dark 2011.

Immediately before the first un-manned test trip scheduled for March 2 under the NASA multibillion-dollar Commercial Crew Program, NASA's security advisory panel set out four "key items of risk" in its annual report in 2018 earlier this month.

For Boeing, they include the structural weakness of the capsule when the heat shield is used. For SpaceX, the report mentioned the redesign of a SpaceX rocket canister following the 2016 explosion and a "loading and going" process of filling the rocket with the current crew already in the capsule. "Parachute performance" continued to be a problem for both companies.

"There are serious challenges to the current launch timetables for SpaceX and Boeing," said the report.

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Two people with direct information about the program told Reuters that the space agency's concerns exceeded the four listed items, and included a one-off risk ledger in early February Includes 30 to 35 technical concerns in place for SpaceX and Boeing. Reuters could not check out all the bronze items. But he said the sources that are familiar with the issue that companies have to "" most "address the worries and concerns before flying from astronaut and, ultimately, tourists to space.

NASA's risk database is updated regularly during NASA's strict certification process, which includes data collection, testing and collaboration with SpaceX and Boeing, the people said. Boeing and SpaceX systems have already been deferred several times in recent years, which are common in this sector given the complexity of the construction of a multibody-dollar space that can bring the gravity of the ground .

NASF spokesman Joshua Finch queried all the technical questions on Boeing and SpaceX systems for companies, stating confidentiality, but said: "Safe flight always takes priority over a timetable."

Boeing spokesman, Josh Barrett, said the company "closed" the risk of the capsule's structural weakness when it completed its structural test program in January. Although Boeing works through a number of other issues, they do not "drive any major changes to the architectural system."

"Our numbers show that we are more than NASA's security requirements," said Barrett.

SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson said the company, who works with NASA, has developed "one of the safest, most advanced systems of ever built human lighting".

"SpaceX is not more important than a flying crew safe," said Gleeson, calling it "central to our company's long-term goal of enabling people who dream of flying to space."

After setting up by Elon Musk, Chief Executive of Tesla Inc., SpaceX has reduced the cost of launching a rocket with innovative reusable rocket technology, while Boeing traces its space business back into human space trips. United States in the 1960s and is also the world's largest player.

The clock ticks. The U.S. has been paying Russia about $ 80 million per ticket for a trip to the International Space Station, a $ 100 billion orbitital research laboratory which flies about 250 miles (402 km) above Earth.

There are no seats available for US crew on Russian spacecraft after 2019 given production timescales and other factors. NASA said last week that she was considering paying for two more seats to the space station for this fall and spring 2020 to secure US access.

The NASA scheme for additional seats came weekly after its security panel, said that Congress should set up a "mitigation scheme" in case delays threaten US access to space station – echoing earlier concerns from the Accountability Office The US Government

NASA intends to carry out a Friday flight willingness review for a unmanned SpaceX mission on March 2. NASA will decide whether to test the flight without a crew, while SpaceX is going to & # 39 ; the issues raised for human mission.


Three people who are familiar with the project say that the US space agency has identified some design inconsistencies between earlier SpaceX capsules designed to transport cargo to the International Space Station, and a new version who has planned to carry people.

Some of the risks – such as those set out in huge parachute designs that use when the capsule turns back to the Earth at a supersonic speed – is Uncommon considering how close SpaceX is to experience flights, two of the people said.

The timing of using SpaceX parachute and the paragute interaction itself has expressed concerns about parachute performance, and may be able to slow down the capsule enough to ensure the safety of the crew, two people said.

SpaceX has completed 17 parachute tests for the Commercial Crew Program to date, with 10 additional tests planned before Crew Dragon's second mission, Gleeson said. He also said that his parachute systems have been designed with redundancy so that the vehicle can remain safe at stake if one parachute fails.

NASA's security panel said in its report that SpaceX might need to redesign its parachute system. Re-design would probably triggered more tests and possibly weeks or months of extra delays, two people said.

NASA also came to find design problems with the system that can help sing SpaceX capsule in an upright position once it grows in the sea, raising the risk of taking a lot Very water, according to two industry sources and confirmed by the official official of NASA.

SpaceX 's Gleeson said that the outer shell of a Dragon Crew is resistant to water, and the spacecraft itself thrives and does not pose a risk to the crew members after litter.


NASA announced earlier this month that SpaceX is now targeting March 2 instead of February 23 for its flying crew Dragon Crew without a crew, with an airplane flying planned for July. NASA explained the delay by identifying suspicious concerns to both contractors, such as the need to complete hardware and other work tests.

NASA said that the Boeing single crew Starliner would fly "not earlier" than April, with the current crewing mission for August. Here is the timetable at risk now, according to the NASA report.

Slide Show (2 images)

The challenges ahead of Boeing include last year's failure during the testing of its launch station engines, which lost chewing fuel at the test stall, said Boeing Barrett. The accident has been caused by defective valves Boeing has been redesigned and resettled by the supplier, although the new valves have to be re-tested, Barrett said.

The test tickets are also part of the data collection needed to close some risk items, NASA said.

"SpaceX and Boeing have two, similar, security challenges," said one source of the US government.

Reported by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Additional reports by Tracy Rucinski in Washington and Joey Roulette in Orlando, Florida; Edited by Edward Tobin

Our Standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.
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