Skip to comments.SpaceX: Private launch to space station now delayed indefinitely
Posted on 05/02/2012 4:19:15 PM PDT by MinorityRepublican
The first commercial cargo run to the International Space Station is off for next week.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, announced the latest delay Wednesday. The company did not set a new launch date.
A Falcon rocket carrying a Dragon capsule was supposed to blast off from Cape Canaveral on Monday. But additional software testing was ordered. The test flight is already three months late.
It will be the first time a private entity launches a supply ship to the space station. Only governments currently do that. NASA used to stockpile the space station through the shuttles. But the fleet was retired last summer. The space agency wants commercial providers to take over that role.
(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...
Not when they have government handlers screwing with them constantly.
Get the government out of the Space industry. It doesn’t fit anything in Art 1 Sec 8.
Whoa. I'm using the blue shirt dude in the pic for reference. I don't even want to think about how 7 people fit in there.
The Dragon is about the same diameter as the Apollo capsule, but longer.
The the seating arrangement, you can look it up online to see the details. Of course, everyone is pretty much in a fetal position for the duration, just like Mercury.
I certainly don't have a problem with that. The only stretch of the Constitution possible is for national defense, and ISS ain't that.
Here come the bizarre comments.
Because anyone that rides it, has got to have great big brass ones.
You left out "and complain endlessly about private corporations and that evil profit thing."
“Commercial providers are NOT CAPABLE of taking over and never will be.”
Right, because the government is all-knowing and all-powerful. Hogwash!
(BTW, don’t forget that the majority of satellite launches these days are by private companies!)
I remain confident that SpaceX will not only resolve these issues, it will also launch manned missions within two years.
What kind of payload can these things carry?
Computing power and automated super-precise manufacturing today is practically free compared to the Apollo years. We are also in a natural gas boom so the initial fuel cost will be relatively cheap. I don't think we are too far off from discovering and extracting new fuels outside our planet using robotics. It was only a matter of time until a few wealthy investors saw this potential.
I'm and engineer and am seriously considering moving cross country for a position in this industry.
Of course the government has the ability to derail everything at a whim for its own self interest. What they hate the most is being caught in a lie or when their incompetence is uncovered. What they fear here is articles highlighting how much cheaper private firms can bring up payloads. It will make some people think and ask questions about what else they're doing wrong...
Whatever you do when space traveling it is wise to avoid wearing red shirts
Don’t kid yourself, software can be incredibly complex, and diagnosing and removing a problem is not as simple as it always sounds or seems.
With any complex system, you reach a point where, the odds of reparing one problem increase the likelihood of introducing new ones. This is true of any complex integrated system.
Now, I don’t know if this is the case with this, or if its just politics in play. However, I can tell you, that the quality standards that NASA is likely trying to enforce are far beyond what most private enterprise companies would in house do. That’s not a bad thing folks, its the nature of the beast.
However, even if this launch is delayed another 6 months and winds up a year late, keep this in mind:
The Shuttle Program was officialy laucnehd on January 5, 1972, with an intended goal of 50 launches per year. The first launch of the first shuttle occurred on April 12, 1981. As we all know it never got near 50 launches a year, and each launch cost over $250 Million when the program began, and around 1/4 a BILLION when the program ended. Not only that, but flaws in the rocket design, which eventually cost the Challenger crew its lives, were detected and reported by engineers in 1977,1978 and 1979, but no corrective measures were taken to solve the problems. After Challenger 2.4 BILLION was spent to fix known issues.
In total the program launched 135 missions in 11 years, 2 failed as we know catastrophically with loss of the orbiter and crew.
Understand the shuttle is a far more complex animal that this project, the shuttle was reusable, manned etc etc, however, even if this winds up with a year of delays before launch it will still be far more effective than NASA’s efforts.
Understand also, this is not meant as a stab at NASA, they are a fine organization, some of the smartest minds in the world work there, unfortunately though they are managed it appears by calibre that is far lower in its competence. It also has the overhead of being part of a political system, that doesn’t make things easy to happen. When founded, it was told DO IT, funded and politics stayed out of it.. Government knew to accomplish this task it was going to be expensive and decided it was worth the investment, now NASA is chartered to still do these incredible things, but bean counters and arm chair quarter back politicians are saying, still do it, but do the Trillion Dollar Idea, for 25 Billion.
I honestly think the government needs to decide what it wants to do with NASA. For the last few administrations it seems that there isn’t much direction, and things have been willy nilly. The organization has still done amazing things, simply landing a capsule and rover operating on another planet, is a stunning scientific and engineering achievement. Let alone doing it twice, and both of them working working well beyond their intended design parameters, and one still operating to this day. Etc Etc.
However, folks getting disgusted that SpaceX is being delayed, need to look at the context, even if it is year late, it will still be far cheaper than NASA, and be a truly noteworth accomplishment.
Sorry to break this to you, but without the Government involvement, there would be no space industry.
Henry Ford didn’t say, lets go to the Moon. Like it or not, space exploration was created by and exists because of government involvement. You believe otherwise, you are either incredibly ill informed, or willfully ignorant.
This private company is building a Rocket and System FOR NASA! NASA hired them to do this role, they didn’t get a contract or $$ out of the blue, they were HIRED BY NASA to do this... so, they have to meet NASA’s expectations.
This wasn’t some private company who just said, hey, I feel like building a rocket today and see if I can find customers.... they were explicitely hired by NASA to do this task.
At the end of the day, I am sure they will be successful, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have problems or failures along the way... They will do it, and in the end it will be less expensive most likely, but its not like this is some company who just randomly built a rocket and now needs to quiet NASA to launch it, they were hired by NASA to do this. NASA (government) is paying this private company to do this.
So, please, stop with the silliness.
Those who argue the market is the solution to all evils, are no less fools that those who argue government is the solution to all evils.
” complain endlessly about private corporations and that evil profit thing”
Really? Because you know, NASA accomplishes nothing without tons of private companies right? You are aware of this? You do realize NASA hired this private company to build this system and fill this role right???
NASA is not free from politics, but NASA’s failings are not anti-capitalism or private companies, its failings have been at least from my limited view into what the public gets to see about it is management that simply does not remotely understand technology or engineering. This is not a problem unique to NASA in the least.. I see this daily in my job. I deal with Managers at all levels who go to some management school or another, and make decisions based on “managerial criteria” and are promoted, judged etc on these same criteria, that boil down to bottom line numbers that have little to nothing to do with engineering correctness or excellence.
This conflict, is what lead directly to nearly all the issues with the Shuttle program, and it far predated the explosion of 1986 and the break up during reentry in 2003. Managing to budgets and timelines and being judge by this and this alone as the major criteria for success when dealing with this sort of thing, inevitably leads to failure, and systemic failure. Risks and short cuts are taken that never should be. Any project can hit a date or a budget, but it will not be correct if that date and budget are incorrect.
NASA should always manage to CORRECTNESS, period, and I know engineers by their very personalities want nothing less, and when things fail, its because of only 2 reasons, 1) Something occurred that was never expected, or not planned for or 2) they were ordered to ignore their concerns and do it anyway, or were unable to quantify their concerns appopriately to decision makers.
The 2 shuttle disasters in a way exemplify both of these.
The first, engineers reported issues with the rocket boosters in 76,77 and 78...but they were ignored by management. Even on launch day 1986 engineers were still warning management, but because they could not prove their case the decision to launch was made. The evidence and data was there, but they did not extrapolate it appropriately to prove failure would be almost assured if they launched that day.
The second, even engineers didn’t want to believe the numbers, math doesn’t lie, but because they had had strikes before, they just assumed all would be well. These engineers weren’t fools, they were some of the brightest minds on the planet, but human intuition can cause folks to deny cold hard facts. The strike was noticed, and end of the day dismissed. And even after failure some engineers were still not willing to believe that rediculously light foam could puncture the wing. Yet, that’s exactly what happened. The shuttle really wasn’t ever designed to deal with foam strikes, but they had happened routinely and never had a significant issue occured from them, so when this one happened, even though it was larger than any they had seen, and that it had struck the leading edge of the wing, the engineers that voiced concern were not unanimous, and management wasn not convinced to worry.
Now do not get me wrong, I have had great managers that were not technically savvy, but they were competent enough to “know what they didn’t know” and listen to their people. I’ve also had managers with tech background who were arrogant idiots, who did not listen to or trust those under them. On the large however, I would much rather deal with management that TRUSTS ITS PEOPLE AND HAS A TECHNICAL BACKGROUND... but if I have to choose just 1 quality, it would be managers who trust their people.
I’ve been on both sides of this fence, had to convince management of my stand, and the manager who’s needing convincing. I don’t like to override an engineer, ever, I know they are competent people, but at times I have been the one to not be convinced of their concern. Its never a decision I take lightly, but it does happen and will always happen.
NASA management however seems to have shown at times to be almost flippant, and that’s where you get into major trouble.
However to label NASA anti private business is just silly.
Sorry, that should read 1/2 a BILLION DOLLARS PER LAUNCH when the program ended
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