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Boeing Starliner orbital test failure
2

Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

(OP)
The Boeing Starliner spacecraft launched today will fail to dock with the ISS as intended. The test apparently failed due to a software error which prevented reaching the proper orbit.

Brad Waybright

It's all okay as long as it's okay.

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

Apparently the glitch caused an "anomaly" in the orbital insertion burn to normalize the orbit with the ISS: Space.com story

I find it pretty cool that the craft has remained stable with no incident other than not completing the mission. From my uninformed position on space travel, that bodes well for the safety factor in these craft at least; considering they are meant primarily for crewed flight.

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

"Wait- was 'm' for 'miles' or 'meters'?"

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

I believe it was actually micromillimiles.

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

The story doesn't say, but if the capsule is stable and functional, will they be able to perform a retro-burn and bring the capsule back to Earth? I assume that that was going to be part of the original test flight.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

That's unclear; the story on NPR said that the craft burned its fuel load because its mission clock was discombobulated, and therefore did not have sufficient fuel to reach the ISS.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

(OP)
NASA had a press conference and acted like everything's okay except failing to reach the proper orbit, e.g. that if it were manned the crew could have intervened and actually made it to the ISS, that we should expect a normal reentry and landing, etc. That's all within a couple of hours of things going haywire so I'd say it's unlikely that they could really state anything definitive, except that the test failed. No matter the outcome, I'd say this is REALLY good news for SPACEX.

Brad Waybright

It's all okay as long as it's okay.

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

It just isn't Boeing's year, is it?

A successful return to Earth remains to be seen. Nothing they said indicated that the MET error could cause a problem with reentry/landing. While it's up there, they might as well do as much in-space testing as they can.

www.sparweb.ca

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

Quote:

It just isn't Boeing's year, is it?

Let's hope it doesn't catch runaway down trim.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

Some of you might like "Failure is not an option" by Gene Kranz one of the flight controllers for the Gemini and Apollo missions.

Per say I don't see this as a failure of mission. And certainly won't effect the people carrying missions. they know what the fault is.

In Gene's book about his time as the boss of the white team in mission control these sorts of things happened multiple times in the developing missions of Gemini and Apollo and from what I have read it continued with the space shuttle as well. Both hardware and human factors.

From what I have read it was the want for a better word gain on the course correction was also at fault and it was constantly adjusting using loads of fuel. ie it was over correcting for small deviations which then needed correcting the other way.

Unfortunately the crew on the ISS won't be getting their fresh food or toilet paper. There was nothing on it that was mission critical and it won't go to waste.

Only technical issue will be the mass of it will be higher than planned for re entry. But the up side of that is that it will be a good test for bringing astronauts down.

They still have enough fuel for a normal retro burn to de orbit. I would like to think that re entry fuel is ring fenced and can only be accessed after multiple interlocks are removed manually either from the ground or by the astronaut.

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

"They still have enough fuel for a normal retro burn to de orbit. I would like to think that re entry fuel is ring fenced and can only be accessed after multiple interlocks are removed manually either from the ground or by the astronaut."

The good news is you're now aboard the ISS.
The bad news is we hope you like it there!

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

(OP)

Quote (moon161)

The good news is you're now aboard the ISS.
The bad news is we hope you like it there!

If I did like it there, then that wouldn't that be GOOD news too?

Brad Waybright

It's all okay as long as it's okay.

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

I'll rephrase:
Good news: You're aboard the ISS
Bad news: We hope you like it (cause you're stuck there)

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

(OP)
Debate continues as to whether a 2nd orbital test flight is needed. It sounds like a no-brainer after these recent revelations.
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2020/02/boeing-nas...

Brad Waybright

It's all okay as long as it's okay.

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

Ars Technica has been following up.

Starliner has two parts: the capsule and the service module. Apparently there was a bug in the software of the service module that could have caused it to fire its engines and ram the capsule after they detached, which Boeing patched while the mission was happening. This one doesn't sound like something the crew could have done anything about, since it would occur after the SM separated from the capsule.

NASA are now conducting a review of Boeing's corporate safety culture, though NASA is still keeping up the ridiculous line about it being premature to decide on needing a second test flight.

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

"The hurryder I go, the behinder I get" :)

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

They need to understand that until there's a successful FIRST test flight, there can't be a SECOND one.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

Quote (JohnRBaker)

They need to understand that until there's a successful FIRST test flight, there can't be a SECOND one.

That's easy, they already declared that they were successful at testing the hardest parts: NASA Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard said "Systems were tested, but more importantly the teams were tested. The hardest parts of this mission were a tremendous success. The Commercial Crew Program is strong.". They tested their teamwork. And that's the most important thing, not whether the crew is likely to crash and die, but how well they work as a team and the friends they made along the way.

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

The crew of Apollo 13 came back alive.
They didn't land on the Moon.

Show of hands:
Was Apollo 13 a successful mission?

(I'm personally not sure how to answer. The whole story about Apollo 13 is how "the teams were tested" in ways they never expected.)

www.sparweb.ca

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

(OP)

Quote (SparWeb)

Was Apollo 13 a successful mission?
I'd call it a failure, because the primary objective was to land on the moon.
The highest priority was to return the crew safely.
I believe Gene Kranz called it a 'successful failure'.

Brad Waybright

It's all okay as long as it's okay.

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

(OP)
"Systems were tested, but more importantly the teams were tested. The hardest parts of this mission were a tremendous success. The Commercial Crew Program is strong."
That sounds like something a government agency would say following a huge disaster.

Brad Waybright

It's all okay as long as it's okay.

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

Quote (SparWeb)

Was Apollo 13 a successful mission?

Apollo 13 was a failure. They didn't land, they didn't perform any of their experiments.

Apollo 13 was NOT a catastrophic failure: they didn't die. Apollo 1 was the catastrophic failure.

There are very often quite a few ways to fail, and only one way to succeed.

RE: Boeing Starliner orbital test failure

If you read some of the details of many missions, Gemini, Apollo, Shuttle program - you will find many incidences of failures that came really, really close to disaster - but not quite. Some of these 'failures' were only discovered when the vehicle returned. Makes me wonder sometimes how may system failures went completely undiscovered because in the end that system was never used, or if used was never pushed to it's limit, and that failure was part of a stage or module that never returned to Earth.

One example. Apollo 13 was discovered to actually have cracks in it's heat shield. Something they worried about during re-entry for the mission. But cracks were discovered in the heat shield only in the late 1990's when the capsule was totally disassembled for the first time to be refurbished and restored for display in the US after years of display in France. It is not known if they heat shield was cracked during the mission, or during handling in subsequent years. Core plugs were drilled from the heat shield after the mission, but they did not intercept the discovered cracks. Nevertheless, the heat shield was still robust enough to handle Apollo 13 reentry - the highest velocity reentry of the Apollo program.

Another Example: Shuttle mission STS93 in 1999. Multiple failures with the engines and engine computers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6rJpDPxYGU

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