The Latest Fantasy From The Usual Suspect

Mark Whittington now “thinks” (to use the word generously, since it is without evidence) that Doug Cooke has made his imaginary friends in his imaginary “Internet Rocketeers Club” “very angry.” I wonder if he “thinks” they’re so angry that they’re going to go after him with their Illudium Pew-36 Explosive Space Modulators.

Of course, to be fair, it’s hard to provide evidence about the emotions of imaginary friends.

It certainly doesn’t make me very angry. In fact, it doesn’t make me angry at all. Like all of Mark’s posts about his imaginary friends, who don’t seem to have names, I find it amusing. Of course, I don’t really care much what Doug Cooke says. But has a response to it in comments at Space Politics:

“‘I attended the review myself, and despite what was said in the blogosphere and the sensational media, it was very professionally done,’ he said.”

Cooke’s memory of the Ares I PDR is at complete odds with the written record.

Many reviewer comments highlighted the PDR’s lack of technical substance and preference for requirements processing over actual design analysis. It was arguably a System Requirements Review (SRR, which should have been completed much earlier in the program), not a Preliminary Design Review (PDR). Among the comments making these points:

[snip many comments worth following the link to read]

Finally, Cooke’s comment here from the STA luncheon:

“So we asked a lot of hard questions, and I have to say that the team was especially well-prepared.”

Just makes no sense. If the team had been well-prepared, then they wouldn’t have earned so many yellow and yellow/red grades in the review. Out of ten grades, Ares I earned four yellow grades and three yellow/red grades. As NASA’s next human space flight system, Ares I should be a model of technical excellence. Instead, the program hasn’t done its homework (or is finding its homework too difficult, given the constraints on the design) and is earning average or below average grades in seven out of ten areas — about as close to failing as a program could get.

The specific technical concerns pointed out by the reviewers in the yellow/red grades include ridiculously stupid issues, like document interfaces and physical clearances, that should have been resolved long before PDR. Examples are:

“- No formal process for control of models and analysis.
– Areas of known failure still need to be worked, including liftoff clearances.
– Process for producing and resolving issues between Level 2 and Level 3 interface requirement documents and interface control documents is unclear, including the roles and responsibilities of managers and integrators and the approval process for identifying the baseline and making changes to it.
– Numerous known disconnects and “TBDs” in the interface requirement documents, including an eight inch difference between the first stage and ground system and assumption of extended nozzle performance not incorporated in actual first and ground system designs.”

For several decades, Cooke has been a stalwart human space exploration architecture designer and line engineer on the STS and ISS program. But, and forgive my French, if this is the kind of crap that’s going to pass for technical excellence with the new ESMD AA in an Ares I PDR (or any other NASA technical review), then NASA needs yet another a new ESMD AA, and Cooke should go back to architecture studies. The program simply can’t afford for things to keep going the way they are.

Doug Cooke, like Mike Griffin, is likely a short timer. It’s pretty hard to get very wound up about his attempts to whitewash this disaster. I suspect that it will be over soon enough.

[Monday morning update]

From another comment, on Ares’ compliance with the Aldridge Commission recommendations:

I’d argue that the approach that is being taken with the Ares transportation system in particular doesn’t advance U.S. science, economic, or security interests, is not sustainable or affordable, does little to advance technologies, knowledge, and infrastructure, does little to promote international and commercial participation, and “builds in-house” rather than “acquiring” crew transportation to the ISS. In fact, the Ares approach not only doesn’t advance these areas, but it actually harms a lot of them, for example, by competing with them or absorbing funding from them.

But other than that, it’s great.

[Another Monday morning update]

Hilarious. Now Mark imagines that this post is “very heated.”

Mark seems to have a great deal of difficulty discerning actual emotions of others, or perhaps projects his own on them. For some bizarre reason, he often imagines that I am “angry” or full of “rage,” or “heated,” when I rarely, if ever display this, either personally, or on line. I think that some people are simply emotionally blind.

I can’t even parse this:

Now I can understand Rand being not angry at Doug Cooke, He treated the Internet Rocketeer Club with supreme contempt. But me? I wonder what the obsession is?

Can anyone figure out what he’s attempting to say here? I can’t. He can understand me being “not angry” at Doug Cooke? Well, that’s good, I guess, since I’m not angry at Doug Cooke. Or at Mark. But who is the (inappropriately capitalized) “He” who treated Mark’s imaginary friends with “supreme contempt”? Me? Doug Cooke? And is “He” also treating Mark with “supreme contempt”?

Well, if amused ridicule of his ungrammatical fantasies constitutes that, I guess I’ll have to plead guilty.

[Early afternoon update]

Clark Lindsey correctly points out that Doug Cooke is confused. It wasn’t Mark’s imaginary Internet Rocketeer Club that dissed his PDR — it was NASA employees who actually participated in it. Admittedly, some of us in the blogosphere pointed this out, but he’s shooting the messenger here.

4 thoughts on “The Latest Fantasy From The Usual Suspect”

  1. Mark finds conspiracies and secret societies around every corner. Not only the “Internet Rocket Club” but also the “Clear Lake Group” — an imaginary organization that Mark infiltrated as “senior space policy analyst.”

    Meanwhile, he still can’t name any of the “experts” that he “talks to.”

    I’m starting to wonder. Could it be that Mark really is a professional novelist, after all?

    Could it be that Mark is really Dan Brown? 🙂

    Brown’s writing doesn’t show the dreadful grammar and punctuation that Mark’s does, but perhaps that’s simply the result of having an editor. They seem to have similar thought processes and standards of evidence, though.

    And in “Deception Point,” Brown put forth crackpot theories about space policy that are quite similar to Mark’s.

    Maybe that’s why Mark refuses to answer questions about himself? If his cover is blown, the Vatican and the Illuminati might get him? 🙂

  2. Eh, what a waste reading that site. In one article Gagnon was whining about why Bank of America wouldn’t give (“loan”) money to a failing company (Republic Windows and Doors) so it could pay its employees one last time. Banks aren’t in business to give money away. Taking money from Uncle Sam fails to change that role.

    Also, there’s not much IRC (Internet Rockeeter Club) response in that thread. You have who may or may not be associated with NASA and/or IRC. And a few short posts by other people.

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