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 ...
The SpaceX Dragon capsule is prominent in this photo of the Falcon 9 rocket in its lowered position at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's launch complex in Florida.
I wonder if NASA will ever be satisfied with the software?
Lots of great pics on their updates page.
Found this on spaceflightnow.com.
Next Monday’s SpaceX Falcon 9 launch date in doubt
There is an Atlas 5 launch tomorrow at 2:46pm EDT (11:46 PDT).
Might want to start a live thread tomorrow morning for it.
Back to a regular tagline
The software issue has been repeatedly cited as the reason for the delays for about 6 months now. It doesn’t sound like a difficult problem yet it remains, apparently, insurmountable. Is the issue technical or political?
“It doesnt sound like a difficult problem yet it remains, apparently, insurmountable. Is the issue technical or political?”
The didn’t employ enough Muslims.
Somehow the Angry Birds interface didn't cut the mustard?
Commercial providers are NOT CAPABLE of taking over and never will be.
They bought the Angry Brides version by mistake.
That doesn’t look big enough to get 3 people off in an emergency. Maybe 2.
Oh horse hockey. SpaceX has come a lot farther more quickly than CxP would ever had. SpaceX used what works, not re-inventing everything because they (CxP) had buckets full of money.
Cargo and passenger runs to LEO is a great example of how commercial providers can free up NASA to do the blending edge stuff.
Oh, and NASA uses commercial providers for space to ground communications for a number of missions.
So much for commercial Space!
Tell that to Boeing.
I see you are already taking an assbeating for such a silly comment. So I'll just add this.....NASA did it all themselves, no engineers from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Teledyne, Sperry Rand, Motorola, Bendix, Hamilton Sunstand or any other of the multidude of vendors had the slightest input. It was all NASA. Snort.
It’s probably political, NASA is populated by preferentially hired and promoted Affirmative Action bureaucrats that too often do nothing more than try to impede the work of others. And drink coffee and use free Internet.
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
The above explains why PROFIT driven companies haven't been exploiting space. They can't. Haven't been able to without GOVERNMENT approval since 1967.
Sorry, but man has always dreamed of going beyond the horizon. Le Voyage Dans La Luyne was a 1902 B/w film about doing just that.
Henry Ford thought we'd all be flying private commuter planes everywhere by now. How'd that work out? FAA got in the way didn't it.
Now... Exactly WHERE in the Constitution does it give the FedGov the power to run an agency like NASA.
Take your time, we'll wait. It should be easy for you since you think you are so much smarter than us "silly" "fools".
But hey, it's better than what the private markets do...
You are joking right? You really want to talk budget overruns and beaurocracy?
Have you ever actually worked in a large organization in your life? Beyond being a peon line worker in one?
You think budget overruns and delays only happen in Government? if so You are an abject fool.
This particular project is a perfect EXAMPLE.. NASA hired a private company to do a job, and guess what, end of the day the job isn’t finished on time and on budget, and you want to blame NASA for it? The delivered item has FAILED its testing.
Lets see, Edsel, Aztek, WEBVAN, Online Pet food? What was that MOROTROLA project that launched dozens of satellites only to see the boondogle completely fail to create a worldwide satelite phone network? etc etc etc. Industry is LITTERED with projects that haven’t wound up as planned, and that’s part of how it works. Risks are taken, rewards are given for those who succeed, but the OVERWHELMING majority FAIL. 90% of private industry FAILS.. that’s the facts jack.
No doubt government projects overrun, and those overruns get reported because they are big news and easy copy, and joe q six pack who has no idea how large projects get done just gobbles it up as examples of inefficiency. And No doubt at times there is incredible inefficiencies in systems when viewed from a cost basis. NASA is a perfect kicking boy for this idioticly foolish view... They are asked to accomplish a monumentally complex task, something that has NEVER EVER BEEN DONE BEFORE IN THE HISTORY OF HUMANITY... they work on this project, and invariably have to spend more time, effort and energy to get it done than they originally planned. Is this because they are all lazy? or taking bribes? or bad folks? Nope, its because they are DOING THINGS THAT HAVE NEVER EVER BEEN DONE BEFORE, and NOT little things, BIG THINGS. Huge Things, Things that have the potential to change the course of human history and rewrite our most basic understandings of the universe.
No private company, EVER has even remotely tried to do the things that NASA has done. I applaud the SPACEX projects, and all the X projects, but even the folks who work on trying to get those X Prizes openly admit, they are building upon the lessons that were learned by those huge investments. The reusable space plane is an accomplishment, and a great one, but do you think the folding wing design to slow the cract without heat shielding could have come about without the decades of research, development and practical application that came before it???? They are attempting to accomplish things cheaper, which is great, but they aren’t accomplishing them in vaccuums they are building on the knowledge and engineeering discovered by NASA and other agencies around the world who have done so.
Industry is littered with failures, cost overruns and budget breaks. The difference is that in private industry its all part of the game. You don’t have leadership changes ever 4 years, that change mid stream requirements, etc etc etc.
You are a fool my friend, you can worship at the trough of the marketplace, right across from the fool who worships at the trough of government. Two sides of the same idiotic coin.
Space Flight didn’t happen in the private sector my friend, you can cite your treaty, but the reality is not one private company was even trying to reach space, until the Russians (government program) put a satellite in orbit) and then the US GOVERNMENT made it a priority to respond here, and launched the space agency.
Space exploration doesn’t exist without government, its not like the automobile, or the airplane. No one, Not one private company existed with the goal to reach space prior to the launch of sputnik. You don’t have a grandfather of the space age, you can’t cite one person or a small group of folks who got a rocket into space, because unlike the automobile or the airplane, you couldn’t tinker your way there. It took initiatives like NASA and The Soviet Unions initiatives to get there... it wasn’t something that private industry was going to do. Private industry has benefitted greatly from the results of these programs, all sorts of technological problems had to be overcome which launched all sorts of products and firms from them.
Folks who worship at the trough of market need to wake up, government is not inherently evil, that claim is just as ludicrous as leftist and commies who argue free markets are inherently evil.
Private Industry didn’t build the interstate highway system, nothing like it was on the books or even being attempted, governemnt did, that system modernized the private industry greately, but no private industry was planning or doing it.
Do I agree with everything government does? Nope, not even close, but the idea that government has no role in things is just idiotic. You wish to live somewhere where the government accomplishes nothing, I suggest you go find yourself a nice place in a narco republic somewhere, and enjoy the anarchy.
Its very easy to buy into the Government is evil, just as it is the market is evil world views. Both are inherently flawed. Capitalism in and of itself is no less likely to lead to objectificaton and opression than any other ISM my friend. Capitalism works when its operating within the confines of a moral government and legal system. Left to its own devices it is no less likely to repress and opress. Don’t believe me? Go look at parts of the world where the government is virtually non existant, and capitalism exists. Lives are traded for pennies because on paper that’s what their life is worth. Capitalism can be used to justifies indentured servitude, prostitution, etc etc etc.. none of these constructs violate the fundamental tenants of capitalism itself. You go watch a 5 year old tied to a wall in a chinese factory every day, so his parents can both work for a barely sustiance wage, and tell me that capitalism can be any less detrimental to the human condition and spirit that communism.
Capitalism is a great system, but don’t foolishly dillude yourself that when left to its own devices it will not happily turn into opression. It is only moral if it operates within the structual confines of moral oversight, and that doesn’t come from within.
There are many Government success stories, the difference is, when the government does do something successfully it cannot legally profit from it. It may have the same 90% failure rate, or even higher, but it cannot directly benefit from the successes. More than 1650 spin off companies have launched out of technologies directly created by NASA and its research... out of ~50 years of existence.... that’s an average of 33 new products a year!! Now of course NASA doesn’t to make the bit payoffs on its successes. They go into the public domain and others do.
Riddle me this sherlock, if building rockets is so damned easy, and the private industry could have done this without the treaty.. why is it India is building a manned space program with governement money? After all its got a good cashflow and capitalist system going now... why is government behind their efforts? We’ve already done the hard work, seems simple enough, just copy what we’ve done and go for it, some private company should be willing to invest the energy, $$ and effort without government backing now..
You have no clue here.
$500 for hammer? $1500 for a toilet seat? NASA was rife with such overcharged bullshit.
No private company, EVER has even remotely tried to do the things that NASA has done.
Again... Why would they? The profit motive was OUTLAWED in 1967.
Take your wall of irrelevant text and shove it.
When you have a real point, come back and make it.
Treaty was in 1967, sputnik launched in 1957. And no one was trying for it before 1957 at all.. so please stop the silliness.
Here’s the simple facts, do you know what the industry average is for software development? What it is for being on time and budget??? DO you?
Its +/- 25%, 50% of the time. That means, only 1/2 the time does a software project come in at +/- 25% of its original plan! That not NASA, that’s not government beauracracy, that’s INDUSTRY WIDE!!!!
Now, given most software development is nowhere near the complexity of doing the things NASA is asked to do daily, you really think NASA is just padding folks pockets? Is there waste, any large organization has waste! I worked for a company that was still spending $5000 a month to provide dial up service to its network for 3 customers! Back in the day that services provided the bulk of its clients interactions, but as the clients slowly shifted to their own internet connections they slowly stopped using it, to a point where only 3 were left, but the company was still paying that $5k a month for YEARS. And nope, that wasn’t government.. private industry.
I worked for a company that was paying maintenance contracts on hardware they hard retired 5 years ago! Again, Private Industry.
Any large organization has inefficiencies and communcation breakdowns, private or public, if you think otherwise you are a fool.
Lets just visit your private industry argument for a second shall we... the Ansari XPRIZE that said ship to 100 Miles from earth surface 2 times in 2 weeks, 10 Million bucks to the winner... Well, guess what, it was announced in 1996, it was claimed in 2007, and to date, not one commercial flight has flown. The XPRIZE basically said, replicate the performance perameters that didn’t even match what was done in 1964 by the Russians.
I don’t take anything away from the winners, but it took private industry 11 years to replicate something that was done by governments 41 years earlier, other than reusability of the capsule, and only had to reach 1/2 as high.
Why did it take them 11 years? Hmm? All the hard work had been done, and they weren’t even required to use a launch from earth rocket, they could piggy back on a plane first. They had 41 years of newer technology, much of it initially funded and developed via NASA or its spin offs... etc etc etc.
Oh and BTW, that $10 Million Dollar prize that was paid out for the XPRIZE.. it took over $100 Million dollars to accomplish.
To give you some comparsion there, the cost to send the 2 rovers to Mars and operate their original design spec was 820 Million. So, private industry spent a full 1/8 of nasa’s budget to design, build, send, land and operate 2 rovers to another planet, just to accomplish something Government space agencies did 41 years prior... Yep, you are right, NASA’s just a hugely inefficient organization wasting money hand over fist.
Your arguments don’t hold up to scrutiny, you have ideological blinders on that you will never allow yourself to see through.
Same thing happened when Man explored the New World. Governments (NASA) blazed the trail then Free Enterprise came in and made it work.
I see so many FReepers on the Space threads claiming NASA should be phased out. No, NASA should concentrate on blazing the trail and establishing a base on the Moon and then Mars. Then set the Free Enterprisers lose and let them make it pay off.
You are gonna need Space stations around both the Moon and Mars as well as Earth lots of opportunity for Free Enterprise to get in their and make it work. Especially when we finally establish a Lunar Base!
And all of the best rocket scientists were being hired by the GOVERNMENT on the missiles to use against the Soviets. Most of which were spirited out of Germany after WWII.
Why bother mining asteroids when most of the iron and steel you needed came from the Iron Range in Minnesota? It didn't make economic sense.
It does today.
$820 million to send two remote controlled golf carts to Mars. Yep... There's a heck of an ROI...
You aren't very good at the whole economics thing are you?
They do that efficiently??