15 thoughts on “The Latest ASAP Report”

  1. I’m with Bob Z. The schedule risk associated with contractors working faster than NASA can check their work is particularly rich.

  2. Plus there is the GAO report / written testimony released this morning in advance of the House Committee meeting. Page 13 explains how NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Office internal estimates (taking into account what they see as the overly ambitious goals set by both contractors in an effort to motivate their teams and a greater assumed efficiency than NASA believes is realistic) predict SpaceX certification in December 2019 and Boeing certification in February 2020.

    1. “… predict SpaceX certification in December 2019 and Boeing certification in February 2020.”

      Which more than anything else more likely is a prediction of when the NASA funding committee Chairs at the core of the SLS/Orion coalition in Congress think it will be safe to allow such a threat to SLS/Orion, to fly with NASA astronauts. NASA knows what its funders demand.

  3. In the mean time, we will continue to fly American astronauts on a system that has a demonstrated track record of killing one out of 70 crews, in order to get to the point where Dragon and CST-100 are “proven” to kill no more than one out of 270 crews.

    Oh, and SpaceX has now flown and recovered more Dragons, without a Dragon failure, than Gemini.

  4. “The report complements NASA and SpaceX for looking at a new design for the COPV helium tanks, but also appears quite willing to force endless delays in order to make sure the issue here is completely understood, even though this is likely impossible for years more.”

    Not a rocket scientist myself, obviously. But couldn’t SpaceX make a bunch of small rockets that used COPV tanks of the same design, put a bunch of sensors and cameras on them, and launch them to see what happens? I’m aware that would probably be very expensive. I’m asking if it would be possible, and if it might help prevent NASA stonewalling.

    1. The problem is they could do all that and still not understand the problem. Others have studied if they could manage a graceful failure with enough sensors but it always seems to fail catastrophically.

      The way SpaceX does things is probably the best way to solve the problem, but people are going to die at some point. 747s kill people as well, which is why they are so safe today.

  5. SpaceX needs to build Dragon 2 for themselves as well as NASA and just fly their own with their own test crews. I’m sure there will be no lack of volunteers.
    Alternatively “git them politicians away from that rocket and shoot it!”

  6. NASA (or FAA, other Gov. agency) will never let Dragon 2 fly maned
    before SLS/Orion. It would be too embarrassing and reveal to everyone that the emperor has no clothes. Elon should fly chimps
    and name each one for a Senator or Congressman.

    Or as you say, Rand, suck it up, and let NASA call the shots.

  7. Invite the Indian Space Agency to cooperate on a Dragon Lunar Landing and have them certify it fit for their astronauts.

    1. SpaceX has a concern about intellectual property, but Dragon is going to replaced so why not let India buy and license Dragons on their own launch vehicles and modify them from there?

  8. I know this is old news, but I just watched the Commercial Crew Panel Discussion from ISPCS 2017 back in October, and the biggest thing I got from it was Kathryn Lueders saying that they had the choice of deciding to get FAA licenses for these commercial crew flights or to fly them as non-FAA-approved government flights, and that by deciding to go through the FAA, one benefit was paving the way and making it easier for the companies to license future crewed non-NASA flights.

    The only other news for me was that even back then SpaceX had started fabrication of the Dragon 2 capsules for the first two post-certification operational missions.

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