12 thoughts on “Just Fly Already”

  1. Considering the original design specifications called for 5 crew doing full time maintenance; I’d say there will be a bit less science with only 3 onboard an assembly complete station. Maybe they should send up an EU astronaut from the Netherlands with a blue suit and a big finger?

  2. Also, what’s the fuss? I read all over the place how great and successful Boeing’s pad abort test was. Why it is designed to safely land with only 2 out of 3 main parachutes. I mean look at that! Hot spare redundancy with automated veto even in the landing and deceleration system. That’s fancy. On to the orbital test flight… by the end of year no less!

    Oh… the first crew test flight was supposed to be middle of this year, as of just a year ago before it was delayed to 2020 missing the date NASA purchase of Soyuz seats ending in FY19. Well… SpaceX is behind too [because they keep wasting money on Starship and not on graft for NASA safety]! And look at that, SLS will launch soon, like some time within the next decade!

  3. Right now, they could, theoretically, fly crew on the Dragon 2, because SpaceX has, (I think?) completed construction (or almost) in the Dragon to be used on the crew mission.

    It is true that all the tests are not yet complete. One major issue is the drop tests for the redesigned parachute system. They have several more to go. (Plus the in-flight abort)

    But, the issue should not be whether or not the capsule is currently capable of meeting NASA exacting standards (which of course don’t apply to NASA vehicles, because shut up). No, the issue ought to be, is Dragon 2 (or Starliner, for that matter) currently safer than Soyuz? That’s the only sane metric. And, oh by the way, a further factor ought to be giving the USA the ability to reach space again.

      1. Does NASA really consider Soyuz to be “safe enough?” How many “waivers” does it take to get their people launched on one?

        But yes, if either American system meets or exceeds the Soyuz criteria, then why do they keep piling on requirements that have caused years of delays?

  4. Dragon has flown into orbit and returned almost as many times as all of the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft combined, with one Dragon having flown three times. It has never failed, and even in the one flight where a Falcon 9 exploded under it, the Dragon survived and would haven been recovered had the software been configured to deploy the parachutes. It is far superior to Soyuz at this point in its development. Soyuz had killed four people in fewer flights than Dragon has had.

    There isn’t any excuse whatsoever for NASA’s continued aversion to flying astronauts on it. What I see is NASA stalling for time until more Soyuz can be produced, at which time they will continue to buy those at outrageous prices while still “qualifying” Dragon – a process that will never reach completion. If an America dies on a Soyuz flight, oh well. Soyuz has had such a long record of not killing anyone (we won’t mention the close calls) that we, NASA, felt fully justified in putting our people on such a low-risk system.

    Rand’s thesis in Safe is Not an Option is illustrated in spades by NASA’s continued foot-dragging: Human spaceflight isn’t important, and therefore no lives should be risked in its pursuit.

    However, we have a $100 billion national asset up there. It takes six to run it and have any time left over to do research. But we’re going to go to three crew. Is that enough to maintain the place? Apparently not, from everything we have been told. Forget there being no science…the $100 billion orbiting asset will be at risk. And if it has to be abandoned, there is a very good chance of it causing on the order of $1 billion damage when it comes back to Earth.

    What if we sent three more astronauts up on a Dragon, and they didn’t make it? It would be tragic, don’t get me wrong. But from a cost perspective, it would amount to another $9 million for compensation of the families. I’m going by what the FAA uses as its figure for accidental fatalities among the uninvolved public – the compensation for families of involved government employees would likely be less.

    I’m glad I don’t have to deal with this kind of crap any more. And I feel very sorry for Jim Bridenstine, who’s a very good, capable person, for having to try to make it all work (rather than having NASA do something worthwhile).

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