Electronics & Test
Boeing Space Capsule Passes Parachute Drop Test

Boeing's Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft successfully landed in a parachute drop test.   (Source: Boeing)
Boeing's Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft successfully landed in a parachute drop test.
(Source: Boeing)

Return to Article

View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
Page 1/2  >  >>
User Rank
Re: Space Capsules
Mydesign   4/13/2012 8:56:40 AM
1 saves
Naperlous. Thanks for the clarification and technical details. I think the airbag can bring down the air frictional force considerably. At the same time the way of parachute can be affected by other natural sources like Rain, Strom etc.

Ken E.
User Rank
How does this capsule maintain it's orientation during reentry?
Ken E.   4/12/2012 6:13:37 PM
I've often wondered how these capsules maintain their orientation during reentry.  Is the shape aerodynamically stable such that the shield self orients the correct way?  (Doesn't look like it would be, but...)  Or, are there some sort of steering/ or stabalizing surfaces, or thrusters, which maintain orientation? Anyone know?

My understanding is that like the shuttle, heat shield orientation is critical to survival of the craft as it reenters, at literally blazing speed.

User Rank
Re: Space Capsules
kenish   4/12/2012 3:55:34 PM
A trend that seems to be emerging in spacecraft is "decoupling" the cargo and passengers.  20/20 hindsight, but part of the Shuttle's complexity and low launch reliability may have been due to launching crew and cargo together.  The safety and system requirements necessary on a manned launch bring unncessary cost, design complexity, and reliability "hits" to a cargo launch.  Most of the recent ISS support missions are cargo or people only.

The Boeing capsule fits this trend, which again is just my speculation / observation.



User Rank
Re: Space Capsules
SparkyWatt   4/12/2012 1:47:24 PM
The advantage of the vertical flight model is that it requires less energy.  There is a fundamental amount of energy required to reach orbit.  It can be divided into a horizontal (orbital velocity) component and a vertical (gravitational potential) component.  The problem with the horizontal model of space flight is that it adds air friction to that.  The vertical model minimizes the air friction by taking the shortest path out of the air, then dealing with the horizontal energy needed.  Finding the best path to orbit can thus be thought of as an energy minimization problem.

User Rank
Re: Back to the future
naperlou   4/12/2012 12:45:57 PM
Zippy, you are correct.  This is the cheapest way to do it in our current situation.  As jhankwitz speculates it is the money (and consequently politics, etc.).  I worked on the Space Station in the 1980s.  I had colleagues who had worked on it a decade prior.  It didn't launch until a decade after.  The design is not significantly different from the early concept.  We also had experience with Spacelab and MIR.  That is one of the most frustrating aspects of the space program.  It takes forever to get anything done.  During the space race, when we had a goal with a date, we had three capsule designs in less than a decade.  Considering our design tools today, the current pace is VERY SLOW...

User Rank
Re: Space Capsules
JCG   4/12/2012 12:07:01 PM
D.Sherman, I think the 'aerospace plane' goes back even a little further than the X-20 "Dyna-Soar", although it also started roughly the same time.  My history is probably a little suspect, but I think that level spaceflight was in the works since the beginning of the X project planes (although it was obvious that the initial goal was breaking Mach I).  My knowledge is primarily from reading "The Right Stuff", Yeager's biography, and a handfull of articles and book references so it may be full of holes... and I was born after we landed on the moon ('71) so I don't have first hand knowledge.

My understanding is that the space program, since its inception, was split into two major flight model factions... level (horizontal) space flight and vertical space flight.  There were advantages to each... level flight was a more controlled, conventional flight whereas vertical flight may have been considered more of a 'down and dirty' approach...  Imagine which model the early astronauts (test pilots) preferred.  Level flight presents problems at higher atmospheres, as aerodymanics plays less of a role, and environmental oxygen becomes less available combustion engines become more difficult to operate... I think Kennedy's creation of NASA and the Space Race forced us into the vertical flight model because it was 'simpler' (less problems to overcome) and faster because we started out behind in the race.

The X-planes were the of the level-flight model, and I think the X-15 was showing some of the first major successes in level flight.  I've always wondered why the level flight model was abandoned (for the most part)... The SpaceShipOne launch vehicle (WhiteKnightOne) and high altitude planes (e.g. SR-71) make me believe that its feasible and has probably been continued to be tested if not publicly.

Why it's taken so long, I'm sure, is a drawn out tale of politics, budgets, technological and fiscal (mis)management, and changes in the public's patriotism, pride, and priorities.

User Rank
Re: Space Capsules
3drob   4/12/2012 11:29:50 AM
I'm with Beth; this takes me way back to my childhood, watching the news and I Dream of Jeannie (and at least two episodes of Gilligan's Island).  The capsule is such an iconic image that it's strange how quickly it faded from our cultural awareness (which, after the shuttle, really is going backwards).

I was just at Udvar-Hazy (Air and Space Annex) by Dulles Airport, and you don't appreciate how small they are until you are standing next to them.  Or for that matter, how big the Shuttle was until you walk under it.  A must visit destination if you are in the DC area.

But, it does follow the KISS principal (i.e. my size comments above), so I'm excited that perhaps our excile from space will be short lived.

User Rank
Back to the future
Zippy   4/12/2012 11:17:02 AM
Since NASA has been dependent on the Russians to get personnel to and from the Space Station ever since the retirement of the Space Shuttle, I just assumed this ws the cheapest and least risky way to regain that capability.

User Rank
Re: Space Capsules
jhankwitz   4/12/2012 11:08:57 AM
Very good questions.  This technology has been in use since the 60s.  The USSR has be hard-ground landing since day one. The only visible change is the addition of a porthole to enable riders to see outside. My question would be, who's funding this program, and who's receiving the money.  Follow the money and you'll likely get some answers.

Page 1/2  >  >>
Partner Zone
Latest Analysis
Take a look at the top 20 US undergraduate engineering programs. Then tell us -- did your school make the cut?
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Engineers at the University of San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering have designed biobatteries on commercial tattoo paper, with an anode and cathode screen-printed on and modified to harvest energy from lactate in a person’s sweat.
A Silicon Valley company has made the biggest splash yet in the high-performance end of the electric car market, announcing an EV that zips from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and costs $529,000.
The biggest robot swarm to date is made of 1,000 Kilobots, which can follow simple rules to autonomously assemble into predetermined shapes. Hardware and software are open-source.
Design News Webinar Series
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
5/13/2014 10:00 a.m. California / 1:00 p.m. New York / 6:00 p.m. London
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Sep 8 - 12, Get Ready for the New Internet: IPv6
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6

Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: September 30 - October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service