Boeing is about to begin wind tunnel tests of its CST-100 manned capsule.


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

The competition heats up: Boeing is about to begin wind tunnel tests of its CST-100 manned capsule.

This is good, but there is something about the pace of development of the CST-100 that seems mighty slow to me. Last September there were indications that Boeing might shelve the project, which were countered in November by word that they were instead considering increasing their investment.

The slow pace suggests to me that management has rejected the latter. It also suggests that while they haven’t shelved the project, they are not pushing it hard, which means that eventually it will die because it will fail to compete with other more ambitious and competitive efforts.

Share

5 comments

  • wodun

    The slower pace of the timeline seems to be inline with NASA’s slow pace though ya?

    It is too bad that NASA turned them down for the scaled up crew version of the X-37b but maybe that is good for the Dreamchaser.

    IMO, we need a vehicle that will put the maximum number of people in orbit. We shouldn’t be limiting the number of passengers based on the current size of the ISS but maximizing the the possible number of passengers based on the capabilities of our current launchers.

    NASA support through a COTS/CCDev type of program would not only give NASA more flexibility in staffing, rotations, and productivity but would also allow companies to sell these services to others who’s ability to close the business case depends a lot on the number of people that can be put into space.

  • Pzatchok

    Didn’t this thing already fail its shake test by almost falling apart?

    Oh well. Its a fully government funded project that is designed to make money during its design, build and test phase.

    They have no plans on making money on its launches.

  • I think you are confusing Boeing’s CST-100 capsule with Lockheed Martin’s Orion capsule. See: Engineers at Lockheed Martin add structural braces to fix the cracks found in the first Orion capsule.

  • maximizing the the possible number of passengers based on the capabilities of our current launchers

    Bull’s eye. That would be looking to the future a step ahead of others.

    More generally, we should by sizing all payloads to the current crop of launchers with incremental increases done in partnership with commercial providers.

    Bigelow for example, primed the pump by demonstrating his BA2100. If he demonstrates profitability with his twin BA330 Alpha station concept, how long would it take before some launch provider scales up to launch it?

  • Pzatchok

    Correct, thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *