Transterrestrial Musings  

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay

Alan Boyle (MSNBC)
Space Politics (Jeff Foust)
Space Transport News (Clark Lindsey)
NASA Watch
NASA Space Flight
Hobby Space
A Voyage To Arcturus (Jay Manifold)
Dispatches From The Final Frontier (Michael Belfiore)
Personal Spaceflight (Jeff Foust)
Mars Blog
The Flame Trench (Florida Today)
Space Cynic
Rocket Forge (Michael Mealing)
COTS Watch (Michael Mealing)
Curmudgeon's Corner (Mark Whittington)
Selenian Boondocks
Tales of the Heliosphere
Out Of The Cradle
Space For Commerce (Brian Dunbar)
True Anomaly
Kevin Parkin
The Speculist (Phil Bowermaster)
Spacecraft (Chris Hall)
Space Pragmatism (Dan Schrimpsher)
Eternal Golden Braid (Fred Kiesche)
Carried Away (Dan Schmelzer)
Laughing Wolf (C. Blake Powers)
Chair Force Engineer (Air Force Procurement)
Saturn Follies
JesusPhreaks (Scott Bell)
The Ombudsgod
Cut On The Bias (Susanna Cornett)
Joanne Jacobs

Site designed by

Powered by
Movable Type
Biting Commentary about Infinity, and Beyond!

« A Tale Of Two Senators | Main | More Hypersonic Overhype »

For Want Of A Few Lines Of Code

I haven't read SpaceX's post mortem on their second Falcon 1 flight yet, but Jon Goff has.

It's an interesting example of a complex system failure, in which a small problem in a complex, highly-coupled system can spiral out of control. As to the question of why put in slosh baffles when the problem wouldn't have happened with the right software, it's belt and suspenders. Even with the software problem, slosh baffles may have saved the day, and the additional weight is probably worth the increase in robustness of the system.

Then again, maybe they just added them before they figured out what had really happened...

Of course, the real lesson for SpaceX (and despite the long history of such things, people often have to learn the hard way) is that good configuration management is critical to success.

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 16, 2007 06:59 AM
TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference this post from Transterrestrial Musings.

Didn't they lose the first Ariane5 to a similar software testing problem? Or was it actually worse as they ported software tested on the A4 and didn't remodel?

Posted by Dave at June 16, 2007 09:12 PM

Too many engineers have learned the hard way that belt and suspenders is best; now I think it's called fault tolerant configuration design.

Posted by Lee Valentine at June 16, 2007 10:34 PM

Of course reusable systems would not have this kind of complex failure

Posted by tom at June 20, 2007 08:17 AM

Of course reusable systems would not have this kind of complex failure.

Of course they could. What are you talking about?

Posted by Rand Simberg at June 20, 2007 08:29 AM

Post a comment

Email Address: