18 thoughts on “Space Safety Follies”

  1. The need to put a lot more effort into making sure that theydon’t suffer a LOC accident when the capsules splash down and get hit by a Japanese container ship that’s running on autopilot. Has anyone done a statistical breakdown on that?

  2. The safety regs are indeed arbitrary, but I think “they will be waived when bureaucratically useful to bureaucrats” would be a more accurate way of stating the reality of the situation. And it’s already happened; there is no way, no how, that putting a crew on EM-1 could have been done without all sorts of waivers, so for them to even ponder that idea, they had to know that such waivers could be had.

    1. This is simply another example of today’s lawless tyranny. Writing laws and waving them for friends is pure tyranny.

      Just in case laws are eeevil.

  3. Wow. That article is nuts. Just reading it gave me the feeling that NASA is run by bureaucrats who have no clue how to actually get anything done. “Get the hell out of my way!” I’m not such a Randian, but that was my reaction to the article.

    1. You’re not the only one to have that reaction. All the whinging about “System Engineering & Integration (SE&I) process and controls” seemed to boil down to – “God, it is so frustrating that we can’t just order you people to do things the way we – the source of all wisdom about everything – have determined that they should be done!”

      Since – all praise be to Cthulhu – ASAP isn’t allowed to do that, its members have to content themselves with meeting four times a year for a marathon mini-Festivus “airing of grievances.”

      The sacred “NASA Way” got 17 people killed over the past 50 years. It would be nice if these worthies would display even a smidgeon of humility anent this rather unimpressive record, but that does not seem to be coded for in the bureaucratic DNA.

      1. But Dick, since they didn’t ‘intend’ to kill those people, it doesn’t count. OTOH, they can read the intent of political enemies with razer sharp accuracy.

  4. Well NASA determined the LoC number of shuttle to be 1 in 65 based on the results of 135 flights. Then the article goes on to say:

    This number was used as an initial benchmark by NASA, which decided that all U.S. crew vehicles – commercial or government – from 2011 onward should meet a safety factor 10 times that of Shuttle, or an LOC requirement of 1 in 650.

    Eh? Why 10 times? Based on what rationale? If there were a 135 flights of shuttle over essentially a 30 year period (minus ~2 years of downtime after each accident*) does that mean they are anticipating 1,350 flights of Commercial Crew? If I’ve done some crude math right, at the flight rate of shuttle that’d be ~300 years of space travel!

    I am beginning to smell some cheese here, and not the freshest variety either Rand….

    Dave

    *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Space_Shuttle_missions

  5. George – the solution clearly is to put destruct charges on all surface ships, so that a MFCO watching the world wide sea range can sink any rogue ship that endangers another.

  6. 56 years after the first manned spaceflight we are talking a LOC of 1 in 270. 56 years after the Wright Brothers, Boeing 707’s were flying across the Atlantic in commercial passenger carrying service every day.

    1. How did we get the safety level represented by the 707? By building and flying a LOT of aircraft, learning from experience what works and what doesn’t. Doing things the SLS way, rocket engineers will die of old age too fast for that to work.

      1. More to the point, safety doesn’t come from regulations.Safety comes because killing off your customers is bad for business.

        Also, competition allows you to judge if a company is killing off too many customers.

  7. Of course it isn’t correct that these safety concerns will be waived whenever necessary. It’s quite the opposite. When a mission is necessary, then safety concerns will be raised, requiring more studies and more personnel to perform them and review them, to justify an increased budget. When the mission is unnecessary and therefore is at risk of being canceled, then safety concerns will be set aside in order to fly, so that the appearance of activity can be maintained and the budget preserved.

  8. The Astronaut Office initially recommended a minimum Commercial Crew LOCV of 1/1000, IIRC, in a “Position Letter,” in 2010 or so. I don’t know how NASA and of course the Astronaut Office became GO with the current 1/270 requirement.

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