Category Archives: Space

The Safety Of SLS

I have no difficulty whatsoever believing this:

Most troubling of all, the internal assumption at MSFC is that the first SLS flight will have a built-in risk of failure of around 8%. This risk is being “baked in” to the design of SLS in part due to decisions being made at MSFC about software and avionics – decisions that are being made so as to not surface troublesome issues that no one wants to deal with. One can imagine that safety folks at MSFC are nervous.

This is no way to build a rocket folks.

Once you understand that (unlike at SpaceX) the goal is not to build a rocket, it all makes sense.

SpaceX’s Announcement

A preview:

[Update a while later]

Here’s Nadia Drake’s story on the announcement. The Q and A ended up being sort of a goat rodeo.

[Update early evening, PDT]

Here’s the full presentation.

[Wednesday-morning update]

Here’s Eric Berger’s take, and Jeff Foust’s. And one from Casey Dreier at the Planetary Society.

[Update a couple minutes later]

And Chris Davenport’s.

[Update a couple more minutes later]

And Loren Grush says there’s still a lot to figure out. No kidding.

[Update another couple minutes later]

And Wayne McCandless is skeptical (with a plug of my book).

[Update a few minutes later]

Thoughts from Bob Zubrin.

[Update a while later]

Joel Achenbach says don’t pack your bags for Mars yet. And Ken Chang says Elon just needs to figure out how to pay for it. Well, I think there are other issues as well. Meanwhile, the National Space Society is gung ho (as they should be, it’s much more in line with the group’s stated objective than anything NASA is doing).

[Update a couple minutes later]

Miri Kramer’s five takeaways.

SpaceX Update

This is an interesting announcement, in the context of Elon’s Mars speech next week in Guadalajara:

At this stage of the investigation, preliminary review of the data and debris suggests that a large breach in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank took place. All plausible causes are being tracked in an extensive fault tree and carefully investigated. Through the fault tree and data review process, we have exonerated any connection with last year’s CRS-7 mishap.

Makes sense, but still doesn’t sound like they’ve gotten to the root cause.