Ares-1-X: failed load test?

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qso1

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kyle_baron:<br />You still want to turn this Lemon into Lemonade? Five free standing 0-ringed segments, ready to split a part at any moment, durring launch? Time to squash this Lemon.<br /><br />Me:<br />Are you sure its not more like your not willing to give it a chance simply because you don't like the design? Look a little closer at my statement. I did say if it continues to fail structural tests...it will be abandoned. Simply part of testing. I don't care what gets the Orion/Altair to LEO as long as it works. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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I guess whats needed is clarification. You, docm and SG say that NASA does not design anything.<br /><br />I responded to docm in this manner:<br />I would say its true NASA/contractor engineers have not designed a launcher from the ground up and NASA engineers basically put out requirements to contractors rather than perform actual design work. But the existing Delta-IV and Atlas-V launchers have been extensively redesigned to the point they are barely recognizable as to their origins and they seem to work fine.<br /><br />Note the I would say its true part and the part where I said they put out requirements to contractors who do the actual design work?<br /><br />I did go on to say:<br />In the 1970s, NASA engineers had no experience with reusable shuttles but they designed one under fairly strict budget conditions and while shuttle has been an economic disaster, it was technically, a success. And that was based in part on a detailed book called "Space Shuttle: The History of developing the National Space Transportation System" by Dennis R. Jenkins". A book that featured at least two designs including the one that appears to be the version that eventually became what we know today. Those were the Vehicle 3/4 configuration of, May 1973 and the 5/6 config of June 1974, the latter most resembling todays operational shuttle. Credit for these and many other concept/design given to MSFC.<br /><br />There was a design called "Blue Goose" which did look like a NASA inexperienced engineer design, but thats another story.<br /><br />SG says concept and design are two different things in the response he gave "No, those were concepts. The contractors, not NASA, did the design work".<br /><br />To which I asked what the difference was.<br /><br />So from what I can see, there is some difference as to what constitutes design which IMO, boils down to semantics. I don't really have a problem with that but I maintain that NASA has some role in designing its concepts while I also acknlowledge that <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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Dragon04:<br />IF SpaceX can prove the Falcon 9 to be a reliable, man-rated launch vehicle within the next 3 or so years, it will be difficult to convince me why NASA is throwing tens of billions of dollars at Ares.<br /><br />Me:<br />The winds of change which sometimes brings the unexpected...except that in this post its obvious that this situation is not unexpected. I agree, if the private sector comes up with a viable vehicle, why continue with a billion dollar baby?<br /><br />I suspect if things go pretty close to status quo, we will actually see NASA use Ares until it becomes overwhelmingly obvious to them that the private sector alternative is the better approach. Even if Falcon 9 is man rated in 3 years, it may take 9 years for NASA to consider it man rated enough to use, assuming Congress doesn't step in and force NASAs hand. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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holmec:<br />(is it Congresspeeps now?).<br /><br />Me:<br />In some cases...Congressperps. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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scottb50

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The SSME and tiles were the two major jumps in technology so they had the most risk. It's laudable that both have been extremely reliable. That the ET insulation has been a problem is not a problem with the tiles, it's more a problem that it was dismissed as a source of problems intitially and when it later was realized as a problem it wasn't addressed, even though it was seen. <br /><br />The same with the SRB, it was a simple and elegant way to build the rocket and keep the politicians happy. That the temperatures caused the Challenger failure or something else did were both addressed and the problem has not resurfaced.<br /><br />If you look at the overall experience the Shuttle has been tested less then any airliner would be before it is certified, maybe not in total hours of operation, but in takeoffs and landings they are all babies. An airliner might make ten or more takeoffs and landings in a day during testing.<br /><br />With enough experience the SSME could have a 55 launch TBO, but without the usage needed to gain the experience and the cost of doing it on a test stand to gain the experience it can't meet objective. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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qso1

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I agree. The ET foam issue is not the foam itself, its the inability to get it to properly adhere to the tank. The SRB failure was the direct result of operating the booster in an environment for which it clearly was not designed, as evidence by the waivers signed off to allow launch. Temperature waivers in a couple of cases in which the booster "O" ring temp was limited to no lower than 53 degrees IIRC. The OAT that day was just above freezing.<br /><br />Shuttle testing and operation is far less than what airlines encounter to be sure. As for the 55 TBO on SSMEs. I'm not sure that could ever be achieved simply because of the engines complexity. The expense of maintaining that 55 TBO might be to great relatively speaking.<br /><br />The main point in mentioning the shuttles test program is that the shuttle had lots of issues directly relateable to its cost and complexity. Yet we have seen the shuttle operated quite well and with a flight safety rate equal to the best rockets around, something like 98%.<br /><br />Test failures worked out a lot of shuttle bugs that could have doomed it much sooner just as testing will either work out the bugs in Ares, or lead to another LV proposal. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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<br /><br />shuttle_guy:<br />We are talking about a complex space vehicle/booster not a soap box racer.<br /><br />Me:<br />Wow...and here all this time I thought it just a soap box racer!<br /><br />Seriously SG, I know I'm dumb...but not this dumb! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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I guess since I'm not clear on who designs...lets just write Ares off as a piece of s*** and move on. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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propforce

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<font color="yellow">I guess since I'm not clear on who designs...lets just write Ares off as a piece of s*** and move on. </font><br /><br />qso1,<br /><br />I think you're just like most of folks who was "led" to the impression that NASA does everything, i.e., the Shuttle, etc.<br /><br />When NASA was NCAA, they were "the" technical expertise on aeronautics. NASA was still very much a technical powershouse during the days of Werner Von Braun and shortly after; the appllo/ saturn programs. They were heavily involved in defining requirements, intimately involved in the design and did most of the system integration among various contractors.<br /><br />But as I said, time has changed since 50 yrs ago. This is not just NASA but also in various agencies of the DoD. The government decided, for whatever rationale, the technical expertise should reside in the private sector and the agencies should focus on defining mission needs and adminster programs/projects with the private sector. Having been doing so for the last 50 yrs and majority of NASA engineers having been reduced to "monitoring" contractors which most of their educations come from attending contractor presentations and reading briefing charts. As engineer, what would you prefer? Actually doing something in getting things built, or watching someone esle doing something and just pushing paper?<br /><br />Now here comes the Ares program and the "new" NASA did a 180 degree abrupt shift in its approach. They now decide that <i>their</i> engineers should do the design and development of this brand new lanuch vehicle instead.<br /><br />Image the reactions from the aerospace "insiders"!!! You, NASA, who has no credibility nor experience for your current generation of engineers to build anything that work and, without consultation with your industry "partners" or the Congress, just decided to use this U.S. taxpayer's money to keep and "train" your staff on how to do rocket design???? <br /><br />By doing so, b <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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josh_simonson

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Failures in testing is a normal part of the design process particularly in low-margin things like rockets where problems can't be solved with a sledgehammer solution. Keep in mind that SpaceX has blown up a number of engines and other parts as well. Presumably the 'unscheduled' in 'rapid unscheduled disassembly' means that they weren't expecting it.
 
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propforce

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<font color="yellow">Failures in testing is a normal part of the design process particularly in low-margin things like rockets where problems can't be solved with a sledgehammer solution. Keep in mind that SpaceX has blown up a number of engines and other parts as well. Presumably the 'unscheduled' in 'rapid unscheduled disassembly' means that they weren't expecting it. </font><br /><br />I totally agree and we should not use this incident to "bash" NASA. I've said it before, this failure could've happen even if Ares 1 is designed by Boeing or Lockheed Martin; two of best experienced rocket design companies in the U.S. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">I guess since I'm not clear on who designs...lets just write Ares off as a piece of s*** and move on.</font>/i><br /><br />Today's Wall Street Journal has an editorial that blames in part RpK's failure to attract outside venture funding on Ares I. The basic argument is that while NASA might talk nice about buying commercial launch services should they become available, the fact that NASA is building their own launchers scares away large numbers of investors. (Right now the rocket industry relies on a very small number of mega-angles like Musk to fund the private rocket industry.)<br /><br />If, on the other hand, NASA essentially put the billions of dollars it will spend developing and and launching Ares I into an escrow and said "We will <i><b>not</b></i> build our own launch vehicles and we <i><b>will</b></i> spend these billions of dollars to buy launch services", then groups like RpK could attract investors because the investors would be confident that there would be a market down the road.<br /><br />Such an approach is a risk for NASA. What if the private industry doesn't deliver? But without NASA willing to take this risk, how can they expect venture funding to take their risk of funding private rockets?</i>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">I totally agree and we should not use this incident to "bash" NASA.</font>/i><br /><br />Yes, I agree. There are already plenty of incidents to use to bash NASA. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />My concern is that almost every bit of news about Ares I has been bad news. Delays. Major reformulation of the grains. Billions of dollars of extra development costs. Reductions in performance expectations that cascade into other parts of the program. And so on. Ares I makes the Miami Dolphins look good.<br /><br />Ares I really needs some wins.</i>
 
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qso1

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propforce:<br />I have reviewed NASA's Ares 1 design and development plan in NASA's own documents. No doubt others, such as the Shuttle_Guy, who work in this industry have as well.<br /><br />Me:<br />This is the part that makes it unclear to me. You and SG say NASA does not design...yet your statement above seems to suggest they design at some albiet low level. What I guess I'm lookin for now is clarification. A NASA SP that states NASAs role if any...in conception of their projects.<br /><br />Otherwise, whats the big deal if NASAs engineers are inexperienced if they don't actually do any design work at all...meaning they don't even so much as sketch a basic design or concept on a napkin.<br /><br />Ares for example...if Ares is as screwed up already as many here believe...why chastise NASA? Why not go after the contractor designer of Ares? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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propforce:<br />I think you're just like most of folks who was "led" to the impression that NASA does everything, i.e., the Shuttle, etc.<br /><br />Me:<br />I address this separately...I don't easily get led into anything I research. In fact, the whole reason I'm looking at this design issue is because I wrote a book and parked it several years ago. I started posting on SDC afterwards in part to assure my book is technically accurate by looking at more than one source. Right now with statements by experts like you and SG that make me appear like some kind of novice (SG...Shuttle is not a sop box racer). Being "led by" implies I cannot separate the wheat from the chaff due to being a greenhorn.<br /><br />I don't have any incentive to continue the book. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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RadarRedux:<br />Such an approach is a risk for NASA. What if the private industry doesn't deliver? But without NASA willing to take this risk, how can they expect venture funding to take their risk of funding private rockets?<br /><br />Me:<br />NASA is caught between a rock and a hard place. Develop an Apollo like return to the moon on a non Apollo, low budget. Whats worse, if Ares is going to cost billions...then the only alternative seems to be a private sector solution. A solution that has not been demonstrated on a large enough scale yet. That is, nobody (Private industrywise) outside NASA has a manned LV in advanced testing or operation. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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josh_simonson:<br />Failures in testing is a normal part of the design process particularly in low-margin things like rockets where problems can't be solved with a sledgehammer solution. Keep in mind that SpaceX has blown up a number of engines and other parts as well. Presumably the 'unscheduled' in 'rapid unscheduled disassembly' means that they weren't expecting it.<br /><br />Me:<br />I totally agree and said as much in my first post on this thread. In past posts I have seen people bash NASA while praising the Musks who have yet to demonstrate some of their plans. When one of the new startups experience a problem such as the engines space X lost, they begin to sound more NASA like when using terms like "Unscheduled disassembly" because they were not expecting a schedule disruption. Especially when they have to demonstrate more robust schedule capability. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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propforce

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<font color="yellow">This is the part that makes it unclear to me. You and SG say NASA does not design...yet your statement above seems to suggest they design at some albiet low level.</font><br /><br />qso1,<br /><br />Now I begin to question your reading comprehension! Unless you're purposely ignoring my points above. <img src="/images/icons/rolleyes.gif" /><br /><br />Please read my posts above. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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qso1

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I did read your points...lets make this easy.<br /><br />What company is the Ares boosters current contractor designer? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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spacester

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Can I interject for a sec?<br /><br />One can specify a Design Objective, namely the thing's general configuration, top-level technology choices, and what its capabilities are.<br /><br />One can specify a Functional Design, namely the thing's physical makeup, manufacturing method choices, technology verification programs, the system of systems definition, specific performance specs.<br /><br />Much later, one can specify a Production Design: how exactly to build the thing.<br /><br />Design is a highly iterative process. Even the very first steps in the process are re-visited often. There is going to be a lot of re-evaluation of the Design Objective due to feedback from the attempt to define a Functional Design to achieve the objective.<br /><br />I'm hoping to learn from this thread more about just how NASA is going about this most complex design process.<br /><br />My understanding from propforce's post is that NASA is suddenly trying to specify the Functional Design, which most would agree is a very bad idea. Traditionally, as SG describes it, what NASA defined was Concepts in support of Objectives. Contractors would then specify the earliest summaries of how the entire vehicle would go together. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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qso1

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I agree, and thats what in essence, I tried to say but failed to do so effectively. However, I have a final response I'm about to post that I hope communicates this better.<br /><br />SGs description seems pretty accurate to me except he seemed to think there was a difference between concept and design. But I agree in general with all of the process both SG and propforce describe. Something I hope my next post clears up. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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In reviewing where this got started, I looked at my posts and the responses.<br /><br />Me:<br />In the 1970s, NASA engineers had no experience with reusable shuttles but they designed one under fairly strict budget conditions and while shuttle has been an economic disaster, it was technically, a success.<br /><br />In the above, I did clearly fail to mention the contractors larger role in designing and manufacturing which lead directly to the response below:<br /><br />Docm:<br />Correction. The shuttle was not designed by NASA. It was designed & built by contractors....<br /><br />Docm:<br />As far as issuing requirements go, pardon me if I sound condescending since I don't know your background, it was compiled as result of these "studies" -- again, most likely with significant input from contractors since they most likely performed the detail studies and submit results to NASA.<br /><br />Me:<br />You mentioned it was compiled as a result of these studies. These studies appear to me to have been designs as in design studies. In addition, here at SDC, sourcing is always stressed and I referenced a source that shows numerous designs with MSC credited and other, more detailed designs with the applicable contractor credited. I'm presenting a case using at least one source while you and SG simply tell me without sourcing, that NASA does not design which implies only the contractors do.<br /><br />I consider you and SG both to be quite knowledgeable and in fact, I would consider you and SG reliable sources of info. The problem right now is, we are in disagreement over whether NASA participates in designing at any level at all. You and SG pretty much<br />seem to say no while I have found evidence that NASA does do designs, albiet at a low level and with contractor input which I have always said.<br /><br />Now it may be that we are not quite in agreement as to what constitutes design. I used the term detailed design to describe the level of design contractors do and NASA has not done <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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holmec

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>My concern is that almost every bit of news about Ares I has been bad news.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />Ditto. There has been small good news in the form of progress, but some big good news would do the program a world of good. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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