NASA again delays manned spacecraft. Bob Zimmerman BehindtheBlack.com

Jul 14, 04:24 AM

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(Photo: CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – This is an artist's conception of the CST-100 under development by The Boeing Co. of Houston for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). In 2011, NASA selected Boeing during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities to mature the design and development of a crew transportation system with the overall goal of accelerating a United States-led capability to the International Space Station. The goal of CCP is to drive down the cost of space travel as well as open up space to more people than ever before by balancing industry’s own innovative capabilities with NASA's 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Six other aerospace companies also are maturing launch vehicle and spacecraft designs under CCDev2, including Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), Blue Origin, Excalibur Almaz Inc., Sierra Nevada Corp., Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and United Launch Alliance (ULA). For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial

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NASA again delays manned spacecraft. Bob Zimmerman BehindtheBlack.com

http://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/points-of-information/gao-report-indicates-nasa-forcing-more-delays-in-commercial-crew/

A Government Accountability Office report released today suggests that NASA’s complex certification requirements will cause further delays in first operational missions of the commercial crew capsules of Boeing and SpaceX.

The report shows when NASA believes Boeing and SpaceX will each have completed a single non-crewed test flight, a test flight with crew, and then undergo a certification process to become ready for operational flights. This is known as the “certification milestone.”

Based on NASA’s “schedule risk analysis” from April, the agency estimates that Boeing will reach this milestone sometime between May 1, 2019, and August 30, 2020. For SpaceX, the estimated range is August 1, 2019, and November 30, 2020. The analysis’ average certification date was December, 2019, for Boeing and January, 2020, for SpaceX.

These are obviously razor-thin margins, but the new report also indicates that Boeing is ahead in submitting paperwork needed for approval of its various flight systems and processes. This is consistent with what independent sources have told Ars, that Boeing is more familiar with NASA and better positioned to comply with its complex certification processes. [emphasis mine]

This does not surprise me. From the beginning of commercial crew there have been people at NASA working to slow SpaceX down so as to not embarrass Boeing as well as SLS/Orion. By using the “complex certification process,” which really has little to do with engineering and everything to do with bureaucracy and power politics, NASA has effectively succeeded in preventing SpaceX from getting off the ground. The company could have flown a manned Dragon at least a year ago, if NASA had not stood in the way and imposed numerous safety demands, some of which make no sense.

Meanwhile, NASA’s bureaucracy and certification process has created a situation where neither company might be ready to fly when the ticketed flights on Russian Soyuz capsules end. To solve this gap the agency is actually thinking of stretching out ISS missions so it doesn’t have to fly ferry missions as much. While longer missions to ISS make sense — if your goal is to learn how to get to Mars — this isn’t why NASA is thinking of doing it. Instead, it is doing it so that it can make private space, especially SpaceX, look bad.

All in all, NASA’s management seems entirely uninterested in real space exploration, and ...