NASA: Just Another Arrogant Gov Agency

Science and Technology News, Advanced Military Projects and Space Exploration

Moderators: ryguy, chrLz, Zep Tepi

NASA: Just Another Arrogant Gov Agency

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:33 pm

You would think that after both Challenger and Columbia, that NASA would fully understand that political hubris and meaningless platitudes do not mix (at all!) with safety-critical, envelope-pushing aerospace engineering. Yet based on these statements from NASA officials about the Launch Abort System for the new Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, it is painfully apparant that the hubris and belief that government is better than private industry is still a part of their culture:

http://www.floridatoday.com/article/200 ... into+doubt

NASA's Orion spaceship and the astronauts onboard might not survive an explosive launch failure of the agency's proposed Ares I moon rocket, analyses by Air Force safety experts show.

But NASA says new supercomputer analyses will prove the Ares I launch abort system would do its job, propelling the Orion crew module and astronauts safely away from a dangerous maelstrom of fire and debris during an emergency.


Interesting. No engineer worth his salt that I know of would EVER say something like this! The obvious question is: If you are so certain that the supercomputer analysis will bear the design out, then why bother with the analysis at all? But wait, it gets better:

"We feel we have a very, very, very safe first stage. Very reliable," said Jeff Hanley, manager of NASA's Project Constellation, which is developing Ares rockets and Orion spacecraft in an effort to replace retiring shuttles and to ultimately carry astronauts to the moon by 2020. "We think we have a very robust design for the abort environment."


1) We "FEEL"???????
2) We "THINK"?????
3) Who does he THINK he is fooling with emotional platitudes like "very, very, very safe"? SHOW ME THE NUMBERS you idiot!

Can anyone else see the same hubris and "we know we are good enough" attitude in the statments above that doomed Challenger and Columbia? I sure can. While this has always been a problem at NASA, and despite two accident investigation reports that told NASA it has to clean up its culture, the problem still exists. But these kinds of statements like the above are just more indications that our government and its agencies, as a whole, actually believe that they are better than the private sector and therefore do not have to be as vigilant when it comes to engineering safety critical systems... all they need are a few more emotional "verys" to convince the mostly-technical-illiterate public. It is the exact same hubris exhibited by Senator Dodd and Rep. Frank when folks were pushing them to increase regulation of Fannie and Freddie. But hey, those guys still have their jobs...so not to worry! :shock:

We are soooooo screwed...
Ray
The Universe is an Integrated System. Operational, Functional, and Physical.
User avatar
You Can Call Me Ray
Uncovers Reality
Uncovers Reality
 
Posts: 1914
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:49 pm
Location: Huntington Beach, CA, USA


Re: NASA: Just Another Arrogant Gov Agency

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:40 am

[Mod Edit: The following discussion was split off from the "Obama Watch" thread]


And now witness what is going on with Obama's decision about NASA and the Constellation program: This may qualify as the first truly bipartisan thing he has done, but only in that he has totally pissed off Congressional reps from BOTH PARTIES with this decision... and you certainly can not hang the "its about jobs" rhetoric on this decision, because there is no doubt MORE jobs will be lost, especially in Florida, Texas, and some in Utah. Now, to be honest, I have had several problems with the Constellation program since Mike Griffin took over as Adminstrator under Bush. And also to be honest, the one thing about Obama's decision that I DO like is his decision to turn more responsibility for space access to Low Earth Orbit over to commercial space companies. The problem arises in HOW he did it, and it was totally reckless and without a thought or a plan. Neither NASA nor the FAA currently have sufficient design regulations for commercial spacecraft (a la FAR 25 for transport aircraft) that establish a regulatory basis for how the government can not only ensure safety, reliability, and quality, but also have a means to PROMOTE that commercial market he wants to create. The FAA is one of the best examples of a government success story, and it is ALL (every last bit of it) due to its regulatory basis. Before Obama did what he did, it would have been MUCH better to set out a SOLID goal (if not the moon, then Mars, and if neither of those, a SOLID mission), and also establish a means for the FAA to do what they did for aircraft in the spacecraft arena. He did neither, and now he is not only giving Republicans more ammunition to tell him "no", but he is also pissing off DEMS in key NASA states who are now going to feel the brunt of his bad decision by possibly losing elections this NOV.

Ray
The Universe is an Integrated System. Operational, Functional, and Physical.
User avatar
You Can Call Me Ray
Uncovers Reality
Uncovers Reality
 
Posts: 1914
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:49 pm
Location: Huntington Beach, CA, USA

Re: NASA: Just Another Arrogant Gov Agency

Postby Access Denied » Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:45 am

Well, you have to remember Augustine (excellent choice, at least my Dad assured me he was) and the people he brought to the table (some who I know and support) have more to do with the new NASA plan than Obama… he just listened to what they came up with and used his own best judgment to decide whether or not to support it.

[probably without much concern for the political consequences… hey, he’s new]

You’re right, it isn’t perfect and leaves some important questions unanswered but I think it’s potentially transformational… like breakthrough, radical, future-changing kind of transformational.

That said, it remains to be seen what it looks like after Congress is done having their way with it… my sense is we will have much more to be concerned about and discuss then. As you know, the privatization of space access is a subject near and dear to my heart…

By the way, are you aware of the FAA/AST?

Office of Commercial Space Transportation
http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/hea ... fices/ast/

“Our mission is to ensure protection of the public, property, and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States during commercial launch or reentry activities, and to encourage, facilitate, and promote U.S. commercial space transportation.”

Rest assured some good folks I know are already working with them to try and get it right… the learning curve is steep on both sides but from what I've been hearing, I think they'll get there eventually.
Men go and come but Earth abides.
User avatar
Access Denied
1 of the RU3
 
Posts: 2740
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:32 am
Location: [redacted]

Re: NASA: Just Another Arrogant Gov Agency

Postby longhaircowboy » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:38 pm

Ray you're right about the Obama NASA decision. I like how you state what he should have done with a clear goal. Unfortunately it looks like up to 7,000 people could still lose jobs on the Space Coast(that would be direct employees as well as residual) and word on the streets is the business community could suffer badly.
But hey he gave us over a billion for high speed rail.
Save a horse, ride a cowboy.

Memory...is an internal rumor.
George Santayana
User avatar
longhaircowboy
Focused on Reality
Focused on Reality
 
Posts: 319
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:05 am
Location: Florida

Re: NASA: Just Another Arrogant Gov Agency

Postby Access Denied » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:59 am

I think there may be some misunderstanding about what NASA’s new budget plan represents. As one "New Space" advocate I know paraphrased it in his comment here…

http://nasawatch.com/archives/2010/02/o ... ment-26979

[emphasis mine]

If I had to summarize my first impressions, especially of Bolden's statement -

"We were doing Flags and Footprints. The President and I don't want to do that. We want to colonize space for real. We're going to do the foundations for that now."

Amen!

I recommend reading Bolden’s statement here…

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/420994main_2011 ... emarks.pdf

On the issue of jobs specifically…

“With my deepest gratitude, I commend the hard work and dedication that thousands of NASA and contractor workers have given to Constellation over the last few years. Their commitment has brought great value to the agency, and they will have a pivotal role to play in our future path. Many of the things we've learned will be critical as we move forward. Norm Augustine and his blue ribbon panel of experts, whose advice the President wisely sought, gave us some options for a different path. From those, we have built the path that we are taking.

That is the broad outline. What you can see is that, while there will no doubt be challenges as a result of cancelling Constellation, the funding for NASA is increasing, so we expect to support as many if not more jobs with the FY 2011 funding the President has proposed. Those jobs may not, however, be concentrated on a few manufacturing and development contracts. Moreover, taking the long view, investments in science and technology innovation have proven to stimulate enhanced job growth, through the development of new opportunities for industry across our nation.”
Men go and come but Earth abides.
User avatar
Access Denied
1 of the RU3
 
Posts: 2740
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:32 am
Location: [redacted]

Re: NASA: Just Another Arrogant Gov Agency

Postby longhaircowboy » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:48 pm

I guess I should have been clearer about the job loss. It will be mostly private contractors but thats still a huge number and how do you keep a restaurant open when you lose 8,000 customers?
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... -nasa.html
The number of civil servants is expected to remain roughly the same. But dramatic job cuts are possible among private contractors as NASA transitions to the Constellation program, which is developing the next-generation vehicle and rockets to go to the moon and later to Mars.

Florida just can't take any more jobless we're already floundering.
Save a horse, ride a cowboy.

Memory...is an internal rumor.
George Santayana
User avatar
longhaircowboy
Focused on Reality
Focused on Reality
 
Posts: 319
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:05 am
Location: Florida

The Great Obama Plan For NASA

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:06 am

Hope & Change Rhetoric Comes To Florida's Space Coast! :lol:

So LHC, I wonder if you are getting all geared-up and excited for Obama's (very brief) visit to KSC tomorrow? (I think my sarcasm is showing!)

Of course, I hope everyone is aware that the REAL purpose of his trip is a $30,000+ per couple political fundraiser in Miami at the home of Gloria Estefan and her husband. The stop at KSC is really just enough time for a potty break, press some flesh, tour the VAB, and then give a rousing teleprompter-infused cheerleading speech for how his new plan is going to change the game, and all that other Hope and Change kinda stuff. And after a few carefully selected questions from some carefully selected and screened "participants", it will be "it's been great, but I gotta go over to Glorias for dinner! You all take care and remember me come November!"

Neil Armstrong finally made his voice known. And as we all know, this is a guy who remains VERY VERY quiet and out of the public eye, especially considering his untarnished hero status since Apollo 11. (Unlike the annoying Buzz "pay attention to me!" Aldrin)

Wonder what juicy tidbits will come out of this whole mess tomorrow.
Ray
The Universe is an Integrated System. Operational, Functional, and Physical.
User avatar
You Can Call Me Ray
Uncovers Reality
Uncovers Reality
 
Posts: 1914
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:49 pm
Location: Huntington Beach, CA, USA

Re: NASA: Just Another Arrogant Gov Agency

Postby Access Denied » Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:22 pm

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:Wonder what juicy tidbits will come out of this whole mess tomorrow.

From SpacePolitics

White House responds to Armstrong criticism
http://www.spacepolitics.com/2010/04/15 ... criticism/

“The President will outline a renewed strategy tomorrow in Florida that will provide more jobs for the area, greater investment in innovation, more astronaut time in space, more rockets launching sooner, and a more ambitious and sustainable space program for America’s future,” Gibbs said, noting that the Augustine Committee found that Constellation was “un-executable” under existing timelines and budgets. “The program that had been in place,” he said, “was not going to — just simply not going to happen.”

From Buzz…

“What this nation needs in order to maintain its position as the 21st century leader in space exploration is a near-term focus on lowering the cost of access to space and on developing key, cutting-edge technologies that will take us further and faster – while expanding our opportunities for exploration along the way,” Aldrin stated. “The President’s program will help us be in this endeavor for the long haul and will allow us to again push our boundaries to achieve new and challenging things beyond Earth. I believe that this is the right program at the right time, and I hope that NASA and our dedicated space community will embrace this new direction as much as I do.”

I wholeheartedly agree, it’s time for a fundamental change in the way NASA does business and let private industry do what it does best.

Also, from Rand Simberg’s Transterrestrial Musings responding to Representative David Wu’s “attempts to defend the status quo”…

Me Versus Neil
http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=26019

And as for foxes and chicken coops, yeah, let’s let NASA, that has wasted untold tens of billions in failed attempts to make serious progress in human spaceflight, and seems to be getting worse by the decade, have fifty billion more, with no oversight.

The American people do deserve better. Finally, there’s a chance that they will get better, rather than a certainty of continued expensive stagnation.

You may like Rand’s blog Ray, although he’s a fan of commercial spaceflight like me, check out his political commentary, he’s an ObamaNot…
Men go and come but Earth abides.
User avatar
Access Denied
1 of the RU3
 
Posts: 2740
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:32 am
Location: [redacted]

Re: NASA: Just Another Arrogant Gov Agency

Postby longhaircowboy » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:57 pm

Naw Ray as a matter of fact I'm disappointed. He's gonna put people outa work and we already have 12% unemployed. Not good. Wish i coulda gone to protest.
Save a horse, ride a cowboy.

Memory...is an internal rumor.
George Santayana
User avatar
longhaircowboy
Focused on Reality
Focused on Reality
 
Posts: 319
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:05 am
Location: Florida

Re: NASA: Just Another Arrogant Gov Agency

Postby Access Denied » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:04 am

Well, I would encourage those who are skeptical to listen to Obama’s speech if they haven’t already and hold him (and NASA) accountable. For example, on jobs in Florida he had this to say…

President Barack Obama on Space Exploration in the 21st Century
http://www.nasa.gov/news/media/trans/ob ... trans.html

Finally, I want to say a few words about jobs. Suzanne pointed out to me that the last time I was here, I made a very clear promise that I would help in the transition into a new program to make sure that people who are already going through a tough time here in this region were helped. And despite some reports to the contrary, my plan will add more than 2,500 jobs along the Space Coast in the next two years compared to the plan under the previous administration. So I want to make that point. (Applause.)

We’re going to modernize the Kennedy Space Center, creating jobs as we upgrade launch facilities. And there’s potential for even more jobs as companies in Florida and across America compete to be part of a new space transportation industry. And some of those industry leaders are here today. This holds the promise of generating more than 10,000 jobs nationwide over the next few years. And many of these jobs will be created right here in Florida because this is an area primed to lead in this competition.

Now, it’s true -- there are Floridians who will see their work on the shuttle end as the program winds down. This is based on a decision that was made six years ago, not six months ago, but that doesn’t make it any less painful for families and communities affected as this decision becomes reality.

So I’m proposing -- in part because of strong lobbying by Bill and by Suzanne, as well as Charlie -- I’m proposing a $40 million initiative led by a high-level team from the White House, NASA, and other agencies to develop a plan for regional economic growth and job creation. And I expect this plan to reach my desk by August 15th. (Applause.) It’s an effort that will help prepare this already skilled workforce for new opportunities in the space industry and beyond.

We’ll see…
Men go and come but Earth abides.
User avatar
Access Denied
1 of the RU3
 
Posts: 2740
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:32 am
Location: [redacted]

Re: NASA: Just Another Arrogant Gov Agency

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:54 pm

AD,

Access Denied wrote:Well, I would encourage those who are skeptical to listen to Obama’s speech if they haven’t already and hold him (and NASA) accountable. For example, on jobs in Florida he had this to say…


So how much is the Obama PR office paying ya? :D

Seriously, though, AD.... I think we have all seen quite enough of Obama's song and dance to know that words really mean little to him. They are tools for campaigning. And on this very topic (NASA) he said one thing in the campaign, and then did another (which reflected the FIRST thing we said in Florida before someone told him he needed to change his message to get Florida votes).

Deeds, not words. No amount of words coming from any speech that Obama makes matters much anymore, AD. And that is especially true for fame-seeker extraordinare, Buzz Aldrin. In fact, perhaps the single biggest problem with NASA is that the major centers responsible for human spaceflight have degenerated to nothing but a bunch of sound bite mills. This is an area where you can mine the internet all you want trying to prove me wrong, but I was there. I worked with NASA on OSP in 2003, and then it became CEV in 2004, right up through the downselect in 2006. Not only did the NASA "designers" I worked with in Houston not know how to properly setup metrics and weighting factors for a "analysis of alternatives" system trade study, but almost all of the Boeing Houston people I worked with had also no design experience. Lots of experience from the operations side, but operating a complex system is NOTHING compared to having to design one.

And don't get me started on the ultra-crappy requirements written by NASA. They blatantly break at least 3 of the most important rules laid out for writing technical requirements in ANY systems engineering course on writing good requirements.

So let's agree on this aspect: NASA needs a major overhaul (as do a great many useless federal government departments that have outlived their usefulness). But the manner in which Obama has gone about it, at least from what I see now, will NOT HOLD NASA centers accountable. And the "seed money contracts" he has let out to the group of companies calling themseves "NewSpace" have no definitive requirements at all!

As far as what NASA needs as an overhaul, they almost had it. When Sean O'Keefe brought in former Navy Admiral Craig Steidle, there was a hope that he could and would transform NASA into a real engineering outfit again, not the PR & press release mill that it has become, where its contractors do all the heavy lifting. But then Mike Griffin was put in charge, and because he was a career academic, he bristled at Steidle's position that his "pet design" (which became ARES-1 and CEV) had to actually earn its wings via measurable trade studies which gauged that architecture's ability to meet objectives and missions. Griffin pissed of Steidle, and there went NASA's big chance at reform.

All I see is more beefing-up of the politics of NASA by Obama and Bolden, and especially the person behind the curtain that no one should look at, Garver. NASA needs less politics, not more. And Obama and his teleprompter driven speeches have proven themselves to be nothing but politics.

Ray
The Universe is an Integrated System. Operational, Functional, and Physical.
User avatar
You Can Call Me Ray
Uncovers Reality
Uncovers Reality
 
Posts: 1914
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:49 pm
Location: Huntington Beach, CA, USA

Re: NASA: Just Another Arrogant Gov Agency

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:30 am

Access Denied wrote:We’ll see…


Yes, indeed, we are starting to see exactly what Obummer has in store for NASA:

Using NASA as a diplomatic department, rather than space exploration department

"When I became the NASA administrator -- or before I became the NASA administrator -- he charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering," Bolden said in the interview.


Now we see why Obama had to add some budget to NASA, while he was also killing Constellation. The reason should be obvious. He has to give some NASA money to Muslim nations as a bribe. Because that is all that this amounts to, and indeed it is what politics always amounts to: who gets the money.

NASA contractors are losing their jobs. But don't worry, no one will get laid off from NASA, because that is pure government cheese thru and thru. And oh, while we lay off American aerospace workers because we are shutting down our only space launch development program, we are also gonna funnel some cashola to the Muslims to make them feel better (try to buy them off).

BTW...what exactly was it that the MUSLIMS contributed to math and science? I thought it was the Persians who were the major contributors?

Ray
The Universe is an Integrated System. Operational, Functional, and Physical.
User avatar
You Can Call Me Ray
Uncovers Reality
Uncovers Reality
 
Posts: 1914
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:49 pm
Location: Huntington Beach, CA, USA

Re: NASA: Just Another Arrogant Gov Agency

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:16 am

The jury continues to chime in that there won't be any magical "hope and change" (or is that "game changing?") activities that is going to turn NASA around from its recent abysmal history. Here is the latest mistake, as related by former Space Shuttle manager Wayne Hale (a guy whom I respect as a person who knows BS systems engineering when he sees it).

The Coming Train Wreck For Commercial Human Spaceflight

Now NASA has released a draft (dated Oct. 8, 2010) of its requirements CCT-REQ-1130 ISS Crew Transportation and Services Requirements. I’d like for you to read it but it is behind NASA’s IT firewall and you must have an ID and password to access it. I have read it and I’m disappointed. The document runs a mind-numbing 260 pages of densely spaced requirements. Most disappointing, on pages 7 to 11 is a table of 74 additional requirements documents which must be followed, in whole or in part. Taken all together, there are thousands of requirement statements referenced in this document. And for every one NASA will require a potential commercial space flight provider to document, prove, and verify with massive amounts of paperwork and/or electronic forms. This, folks is the old way of doing business. This is one of the major reasons why spaceflight is as costly as it is.

NASA at its highest leadership level has committed to try to allow commercial space flight providers a great deal of flexibility and cost control. There are ways to do this which will not compromise safety in design or operation. But having NASA civil servants as the arbiters of whether or not thousands of requirements have been satisfied is not the way to accomplish neither safety nor cost efficiency.

So whether Commercial Space Flight gets $6 billion or $3 billion or $50 million, the entire effort is on the way to a train wreck.

NASA must change or this effort will fail.


Unfortunately, Wayne, it already has failed. If this misguided, and poor effort at systems engineering is continued and pushed forward, it will simply turn it into NASA's next EPIC FAIL.

I am already shining up my "I told you so" badge. I can't wait until these requirements see the light of day (and the mandatory public comment phase). I am going to tear them the new bunghole that they so desperately need in this regard!
Ray
The Universe is an Integrated System. Operational, Functional, and Physical.
User avatar
You Can Call Me Ray
Uncovers Reality
Uncovers Reality
 
Posts: 1914
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:49 pm
Location: Huntington Beach, CA, USA


Google

Return to Science & Technology

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron