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View Diary: NASA, Charlie Bolden, and Breaking with the Past (28 comments)

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  •  Dragon is not designed for deep space (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Troubadour, radarlady

    Orion is.

    That does matter. It matters when you design the shape and size of the craft, it matters when you choose materials to make things from, it matters when you decide how much redundancy you need, it matters in the design of the flight software.

    So, gratz to Musk on what he's done, but what he has NOT done is designed and built a moon / asteroid / Mars capable craft. Not yet.

    And as for his cost advantages, let's just see what his costs are long term. It is so very, very easy to sell the first one, or two, at a considerable loss and claim that will be the long term cost. See "Boeing EELV strategy".

    Full disclosure: Orion pays my bills.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 01:14:49 PM PST

    •  Musk has said the next version of Dragon (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, radarlady

      will be substantially different than the original, and that he built the current version conservatively because they didn't have experience.

      It's not a knock at the expertise of the people making Orion, but at the funding and political process behind its design and manufacturing.  If you work on Orion, you know what I'm talking about, and know that SpaceX doesn't have to deal with even a tenth of that kind of shit - if they need to change something, they just change it, and don't have to go through some insane process chasing down dozens of subcontractors and answering to endless levels of bureaucracy and Congress.

      In Roviet Union, money spends YOU!

      by Troubadour on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 01:26:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Troubadour, radarlady

        And I also know that NASA will have kittens if anyone tries to put one of their astronauts on a vehicle where the paper trail doesn't match what they expect from a man-rated vehicle.

        Having worked with NASA, I can tell you they have some very smart, very experienced people. Not all of the hoops they make us jump through are baloney. Sometimes they contribute quite a bit.

        The goal of going somewhere worthwhile is something we need to re-ignite interest in.

        Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

        by blue aardvark on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 01:31:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It will largely be to NASA's detriment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          radarlady

          rather than SpaceX's, if NASA is overly conservative in its crew program.  SpaceX's manifest would be piled a mile deep with commercial human spaceflight customers.

          It isn't the requirement for safety that's baloney, but the ways in which NASA sometimes dictates how those safety requirements are met instead of defining an objective requirement.  I.e., saying "There must be less than a 0.00001% chance of this happening with a system" is good.  Saying "Because we want this level of probability, we require that your system have this, this, and this features, and no other approach to meeting that probability is acceptable."  That's bullshit.

          In Roviet Union, money spends YOU!

          by Troubadour on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 01:48:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I should also note that SpaceX's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          radarlady

          vertically integrated manufacturing structure is superior to Boeing and Lockheed's vast, far-flung web of subcontractors for innovation, cost-effectiveness, and quality control.  Even if a big prime didn't have to worry about bureaucracy, they'd have to feed changes through their huge network of subcontractors and the feedback would be slow and often adversarial.  Elon Musk wants something changed, he says so and everyone gets the memo simultaneously and collaborates in the same factory in Hawthorne.  

          In Roviet Union, money spends YOU!

          by Troubadour on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 01:54:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's a pretty poor vehicle for deep space. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark

      And in any case, it won't be doing anything of the sort for twenty years.  By that time, you could build a genuine, reusable deep space craft.

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