Author Topic: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?  (Read 16036 times)

Offline Danderman

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Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« on: 08/10/2017 07:49 PM »
https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/08/the-new-leader-of-trumps-space-council-seems-skeptical-of-spacex/

This article claims that Scott Pace thinks Commercial Crew is risky, but putting crews on SLS on its second flight is OK.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #1 on: 08/10/2017 08:09 PM »
https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/08/the-new-leader-of-trumps-space-council-seems-skeptical-of-spacex/

This article claims that Scott Pace thinks Commercial Crew is risky, but putting crews on SLS on its second flight is OK.

We've seen SLS/Orion derangement syndrome before, and it would not be surprising for candidate/President Trump to espouse one thing and do the exact opposite - i.e. say he supports the private space sector but then not actually do that.

Still, too early to tell how any of this will play out in the National Space Council (NCS), and as I've been pointing out regarding the SLS and Orion, the die was set many years ago when Congress did not fund any payloads or missions for them to support - and the current Congress has shown no interests in funding any either. Someone saying they "support" the SLS and Orion will be meaningless without any real funding from Congress.

As to Commercial Crew, no doubt there will still be many unknowns regarding their safety. They are relatively simple LEO transportation systems, not battleships, so there is always the possibility for foreign object damage (FOD). But every transportation system has relied on luck to a certain degree in their early iterations, and those riding on Commercial Crew vehicles will understand that danger can always show up unexpectedly.

I believe the byword is "calculated risks", not "no risks".
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #2 on: 08/11/2017 02:10 AM »
This article was a bit unfair in its characterizations of Scott Pace IMO. Eric Berger likes to go after anyone or anything that dares question the dogma of "it must be all commercial." If you look at what Mr. Pace actually said a reasonably minded person would conclude that he has (or had in some cases) healthy skepticism of promises coming from the commercial space sector. Lets look at this in detail.

Quote from: Scott Pace
Elon Musk sat in my office in 2002 and told me he'd have 10 launches a year by 2006, I'm still looking at my watch.

Berger then implies that Pace meant that SpaceX is unreliable. I don't have the context of the quote but it looks like Pace was merely pointing out that just announcing something doesn't mean it will come to pass in the expected timeframe. Saying Musk is overly optimistic is not the same thing as saying SpaceX is unreliable.

Then Berger goes after him for repeating the anecdote in 2017 before SpaceX completed 10 launches. If you read the above paragraph Pace notes that he used the anecdote to point out the need to be somewhat skeptical about ambitious goals. Being cautious and realistic doesn't mean that he hates commercial space.

In the 2012 radio interview Pace expresses concerns over accelerating commercial crew development too quickly (by "bending or "accelerating" the rules). Note that this was before the COTS 2 flight. Regular cargo flights were still in the future at this point and the official administration line was that commercial crew would be online 3 years later.

Personally I think Pace was overly cautious in his analysis but I can understand why he might have felt that way back then.

In short, I don't see any evidence that Pace is going to be some sort of anti-commercial space zealot. If anything he has argued for an all of the above approach that combines the capabilities of both OldSpace and NewSpace (which I believe is the right way to go).

Edited to add: In terms of Pace believing that commercial crew is dangerous I don't think you can make that implication from the quote. F9 has flown more than the number of times he mentioned in 2012.
« Last Edit: 08/11/2017 02:19 AM by Endeavour_01 »
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Online QuantumG

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #3 on: 08/11/2017 02:51 AM »
All spaceflight is dangerous. It's ridiculous to think otherwise.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #4 on: 08/11/2017 03:32 AM »
If you look at what Mr. Pace actually said a reasonably minded person would conclude that...

I'm sure you weren't implying that Eric Berger is not a "reasonably minded person"...   ;)

Quote
...he has (or had in some cases) healthy skepticism of promises coming from the commercial space sector. Lets look at this in detail.

Here's the irony though, is that how many people believe the U.S. Government is any better than the commercial sector at delivering on promises for cutting edge systems?

Being "skeptical" about challenging dates is not new, unique, or limited to the private sector. And the potential for failure is also not limited to the private sector, since we all have our favorite cancelled government programs that we wished would not have been cancelled due to failure of one sort or another (X-33 for me).

So maybe it was an inadvertent sin of omission for Pace that he didn't provide some context around "promises" in the space sector as a whole - government and private.

Quote
Then Berger goes after him for repeating the anecdote in 2017 before SpaceX completed 10 launches. If you read the above paragraph Pace notes that he used the anecdote to point out the need to be somewhat skeptical about ambitious goals. Being cautious and realistic doesn't mean that he hates commercial space.

He didn't "go after him", Berger simply repeated what Pace had stated and asked him about it.

Quote
In the 2012 radio interview Pace expresses concerns over accelerating commercial crew development too quickly (by "bending or "accelerating" the rules). Note that this was before the COTS 2 flight. Regular cargo flights were still in the future at this point and the official administration line was that commercial crew would be online 3 years later.

Yet CRS turned out all right, and so far Commercial Crew seems to be progressing well. Are there concerns? Sure. Is that normal for this type of program? Yes.

I think the other way to look at this though is to consider that maybe Pace is too cautious for human spaceflight programs.

Consider that for the COTS program that RpK and SpaceX were awarded the initial contracts, but RpK missed a milestone and was replaced by Orbital Sciences. I'd say that was smart risk management by NASA management of the time.

And for Commercial Crew, it was Gerst himself that signed off on the source selection statement, and when that document was released it showed everyone how seriously NASA was evaluating risk.

So who was wrong, Pace or Gerstenmaier? Pace has never worked with human spaceflight programs directly, so maybe Pace doesn't have enough experience to properly evaluate the topic?
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online QuantumG

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #5 on: 08/11/2017 03:37 AM »
Yet CRS turned out all right, and so far Commercial Crew seems to be progressing well.

COTS/CRS and CCDev aren't really comparable. As Zubrin once said, it's the difference between la carte and a banquet.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline yg1968

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #6 on: 08/11/2017 04:23 AM »
I didn't like the article either. Taking quotes from five years ago isn't a fair article. Scott Pace isn't Mike Griffin.

Online QuantumG

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #7 on: 08/11/2017 04:27 AM »
Scott Pace isn't Mike Griffin.

Well... if Pace took off his glasses you'd be hard pressed to tell 'em apart.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #8 on: 08/11/2017 05:08 AM »
Yet CRS turned out all right, and so far Commercial Crew seems to be progressing well.

COTS/CRS and CCDev aren't really comparable. As Zubrin once said, it's the difference between la carte and a banquet.

My point was about risk - COTS was a risk for NASA, yet they managed it even though it didn't go entirely as they thought it would.

And I'm not sure Pace has ever been in a position where he had to weigh significant operational risk, which could inform part of his attitude towards commercial space...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Proponent

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #9 on: 08/11/2017 07:54 AM »
If you look at what Mr. Pace actually said a reasonably minded person would conclude that he has (or had in some cases) healthy skepticism of promises coming from the commercial space sector.

That's fine, but where is Pace's skepticism about NASA?  Recall that circa 2010, NASA insisted that it needed the baby step of Aries I-X to retire risk along the way to developing a Shuttle-derived launch vehicle.  This year, in its analysis of crewing EM-1, it claims to need no test flights at all (the problem was just the cost).  Has Pace ever had anything to say about that?  Given his skepticism of commercial crew, why would he not be concerned about the risks of putting a crew even on EM-2, given that 1) it will be only the second flight SLS or Orion's service module, 2) neither of Orion's major contractors, namely Lockheed Martin and ESA, has ever built a crewed spacecraft, and 3) it will be flying all the way out to the moon?

I think the gist of Berger's article is that Pace fails to apply his skepticism equally to NASA and commercial.

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #10 on: 08/11/2017 11:04 AM »
Yet CRS turned out all right, and so far Commercial Crew seems to be progressing well.

COTS/CRS and CCDev aren't really comparable. As Zubrin once said, it's the difference between la carte and a banquet.

Then what is Orion?

Online mike robel

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #11 on: 08/11/2017 01:01 PM »
Appetizer?  Trying to suck you into the rest of the meal whether it is banquet or a la carte?

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #12 on: 08/11/2017 08:47 PM »

I'm sure you weren't implying that Eric Berger is not a "reasonably minded person"...   ;)

In this particular instance I don't think Mr. Berger was being reasonably minded, hence my statement on the article being a bit unfair towards Mr. Pace.


That's fine, but where is Pace's skepticism about NASA?
 

To be fair NASA has been launching humans into space since the 1960s. I don't think anyone should be "skeptical" about NASA's ability to launch humans. Let's also be clear here that Pace's skepticism about commercial crew was/is pretty mild. In the 2012 interview he made a point about not letting launch fever override safety. Additionally he pointed out how many successful launches are needed for commercial and government customers to feel good about putting their payloads on a commercial rocket. I don't see any indication that he was saying, "commercial crew is too dangerous" or "it will never work."

Edited to add: Personally I don't think anyone should be "skeptical" of SpaceX's (or Boeing's) ability to launch people into space either. Skeptical of timelines and other various promises? Sure, but not their ability. It is true though that this type of structure (commercial companies owning the LVs and the spacecraft) is new and doesn't have as much of a track record as previous NASA programs.

Quote
Given his skepticism of commercial crew, why would he not be concerned about the risks of putting a crew even on EM-2

He might say that a rocket and spacecraft designed mainly for human spaceflight differs from a rocket whose primary role is commercial and cutting costs. I don't know. Maybe Mr. Berger should have asked him. 

Dragon 2 will only have one test flight before crew is put on it, just like Orion. I haven't heard Mr. Pace criticize either policy so I don't think he is being unfair to the commercial side. 
« Last Edit: 08/11/2017 08:58 PM by Endeavour_01 »
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Online QuantumG

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #13 on: 08/11/2017 11:02 PM »
Then what is Orion?

Soylent Green.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #14 on: 08/11/2017 11:05 PM »

Online QuantumG

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #15 on: 08/11/2017 11:07 PM »
Then what is Orion?

Soylent Green.

People?

Yup. More specifically, feeding people to people.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #16 on: 08/11/2017 11:10 PM »
Then what is Orion?

Soylent Green.

People?

Saturday night at the Golden Corral? (American all-you-can-eat buffet, with Jeff Foxworthy as spokesperson)
 :) :D 8)
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Offline Kansan52

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #17 on: 08/11/2017 11:23 PM »
Gut reaction, Yes. But all rocketry is dangerous.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #18 on: 08/11/2017 11:27 PM »
To be fair NASA has been launching humans into space since the 1960s. I don't think anyone should be "skeptical" about NASA's ability to launch humans.

Except for the fact that "NASA" doesn't do everything, it depends on the private sector to design, build, test, and in some case manage spaceflight operations for NASA. The last I looked 85% of NASA budget was used to pay contractors to do things for NASA.

Also, "NASA" is not a person, it is an organization of people that come and go. Maybe there is some tribal knowledge, but otherwise new people have to rely on documentation that has been done with other spaceflight hardware.

For instance, there is no department at NASA that is fully staffed with people that have previously built and tested capsule spacecraft, since that would put them well into their 70's, so the Orion spacecraft, which is designed and built by Lockheed Martin, is being overseen by people at NASA that don't have direct experience building and operating capsule spacecraft. The same for the SLS, since the Saturn V was the last fully integrated rocket that was built for NASA, and again NASA didn't design and build it, contractors did.

So yes, without a complete staff of people with firsthand operational experience building and launching rockets and spacecraft, it is fair to be skeptical about NASA's ability to launch humans into space. I would not put their chances below the private sector, but not much above them either - everyone is breaking new ground.

Quote
Edited to add: Personally I don't think anyone should be "skeptical" of SpaceX's (or Boeing's) ability to launch people into space either. Skeptical of timelines and other various promises? Sure, but not their ability.

What Pace said was:

"...I don't see it as derogatory but rather a statement of skeptical caution about ambitious goals."

Building the largest capsule ever built, and building the largest rocket America has had in over 50 years is quite ambitious, and NASA's ability to meet schedules for large programs is not very good either. So again, Mr. Pace seemed like he was being selective in his criticism, and purposely ignoring any comparisons to NASA's track records.

Quote
Dragon 2 will only have one test flight before crew is put on it, just like Orion. I haven't heard Mr. Pace criticize either policy so I don't think he is being unfair to the commercial side.

Out of the three human-rated spacecraft, Orion, Spaceliner & Dragon Crew, Dragon has the most direct operational lineage since it is directly evolved from the Dragon Cargo spacecraft and it will be flying on an evolved version of the Falcon 9. Even Starliner will be flying on a proven launcher.

It will be NASA's Orion & SLS that will has the least operational history when they fly.

So again it's not that Pace was pointing out valid concerns, but that he was ignoring the valid concerns for NASA's own human-capable hardware, which will have the LEAST amount of operational history when it flies humans.

Was he trying to be educational and fair about his criticism? Didn't look like it to me, and apparently not to Eric Berger either.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline IRobot

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #19 on: 08/11/2017 11:33 PM »
Spaceflight fatality rate is around 1.4% (death per person-flight), or 3.3% (deaths vs total nr of astronauts).
Navy Seals is less than 1% (deaths vs total members).
Alaska fisherman death rate is 0.1% per year, which is slightly less than cancer death rate.

Stats are not completely comparable, but they show spaceflight is still quite dangerous. At the same time, the sample is quite small (less than 1000 spaceflights), so stats are not that good. Also if you remove the 2 shuttle flights, which had a non-capsule system with no LAS system, the death rate drops considerably.

So considering the small sample size, the overall country/mankind return per flight and the willingness of astronauts to risk their lifes, I think safety is a bit overrated.

What is worst? An astronaut that dies doing great things for his country/mankind or a fisherman that dies because fishing is the only way to provide for his family? The fisherman doesn't have much choice, does he?

So IMO safety should not block spaceflight progress. And NASA safety obsession with commercial crew is taking us nowhere.
Ironically, making the second SLS flight with a crew is quite risky for usual NASA business, but the flight itself takes us nowhere.
« Last Edit: 08/11/2017 11:48 PM by IRobot »

Offline Endeavour_01

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #20 on: 08/12/2017 12:11 AM »
To be fair NASA has been launching humans into space since the 1960s. I don't think anyone should be "skeptical" about NASA's ability to launch humans.

Except for the fact that "NASA" doesn't do everything, it depends on the private sector to design, build, test, and in some case manage spaceflight operations for NASA. The last I looked 85% of NASA budget was used to pay contractors to do things for NASA.

I'm not an idiot Ron. I know that NASA uses private contractors. I was talking about the traditional approach to manned spaceflight used by NASA (i.e. "NASA owned"). Aside from a couple of flights from SpaceShip One that approach has been the only way humans have launched from U.S. Soil. To say that you have to have an equal amount of skepticism for an organization that has been doing this for 50 years vs. organizations that are just starting out is ludicrous.

Look I am a fan of commercial crew. I am looking forward to them with a passion. I go out of my way to inform people about it and point out all the wonderful possibilities that it brings to the space program. That said, I can understand people being skeptical. It is a normal reaction to something new. From the quotes I have read it doesn't seem that Pace has (or had) an unhealthy amount of skepticism towards commercial crew or treated it unfairly compared to NASA programs.

Quote
So again, Mr. Pace seemed like he was being selective in his criticism, and purposely ignoring any comparisons to NASA's track records.

Pace was being asked specifically about commercial crew. He gave his opinion on commercial crew. He is not required to talk about SLS when the question was about commercial crew. Again I would have preferred that Mr. Berger had asked him directly, "What do you think about crew flying on EM-1 or EM-2" vs. just speculating about Mr. Pace's views on the subject.

Quote
Out of the three human-rated spacecraft, Orion, Spaceliner & Dragon Crew, Dragon has the most direct operational lineage since it is directly evolved from the Dragon Cargo spacecraft and it will be flying on an evolved version of the Falcon 9. Even Starliner will be flying on a proven launcher.

Yes Ron I understand that SLS will be less flight tested than Atlas V or F9 (although RS-25, RL-10, and other components are well understood and have been rigorously tested). My point was about Orion and Dragon 2. Yes, Dragon 2 has a lot of lineage from Dragon 1 (although you could also argue that there a good amount of Apollo heritage in Orion). That said, both capsules will fly one test flight (Dragon 2 Demo 1 and Orion EM-1) before crews are put on them. I have never heard Pace criticize the plan for Dragon 2 so I fail to see how he is hypocritical for, presumably, backing crew on EM-2.
I cheer for both NASA and commercial space. For SLS, Orion, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Starliner, Cygnus and all the rest!
I was blessed to see the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-99. The launch was beyond amazing. My 8-year old mind was blown. I remember the noise and seeing the exhaust pour out of the shuttle as it lifted off. I remember staring and watching it soar while it was visible in the clear blue sky. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and I will never forget it.

Online Chris Bergin

Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #21 on: 08/12/2017 12:50 AM »
Ok, so people still want to post on here.

Unlocked, but the following posts better be award winners or it's getting locked again ;)

Offline woods170

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #22 on: 08/12/2017 06:55 PM »
Ok, so people still want to post on here.

Unlocked, but the following posts better be award winners or it's getting locked again ;)
Well, Chris unlocked this thread and sure enough the thread has remained quiet for the next 18 hours. That, and the fact that the award winning post is reply #3, should be enough to consign this thread to the archives section. But heck, that's just my $0.02.

Offline MattMason

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #23 on: 08/12/2017 08:40 PM »
My thoughts:

"Dangerous?" The first two American manned space projects (and I believe all of the Russian spaceflights) barely tamed ballistic missiles that statistically exploded or veered off-course long before they met their objectives. The rockets meant to test and then launch spacecraft to the moon were more man-rated with all the lessons learned.

To think that either CC manufacturer hasn't added and implemented sufficiently reliable LAS and have reliable launch vehicles (particularly ULA) is a bit silly. Shall we remember that the last NASA launch vehicle had no such thing out of hubris in thinking that spaceplanes were airplanes?

I think the least safe instance for the crews on either will be the time before launch. Same for Apollo. I think, also, these two companies have more to prove than the agency they're making them for.
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Online QuantumG

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #24 on: 08/12/2017 09:40 PM »
Spaceflight fatality rate is around 1.4% (death per person-flight), or 3.3% (deaths vs total nr of astronauts).

[..]

the sample is quite small (less than 1000 spaceflights)

... and this is for going around in circles. Once humans start going out into the solar system and doing productive work we'll see even more deaths. Hopefully by then astronauts won't be national heroes any more.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #25 on: 08/14/2017 02:14 PM »
The term dangerous is very "fluidic" and what was deemed so becomes the norm over time no matter what type of mechanical conveyance... Read your history folks...
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #26 on: 08/15/2017 01:18 AM »
The term dangerous is very "fluidic" and what was deemed so becomes the norm over time no matter what type of mechanical conveyance... Read your history folks...

Except that you may have the arrows pointed the wrong way.

Yeah, lots of new mechanical conveyances were labeled "dangerous" by somebody when they were introduced. That's where the old joke "Get a horse!" comes from.

But most of them were dangerous when introduced, and over time, they got safer because people insisted that they become safer. We no longer accept the levels of safety for transportation vehicles that we accepted even 20 years ago. There was a recent crash test of a brand new car and (I think) a 1998 car and the brand new car was far safer. Airbags, crumple zones, etc. all are better than 20 years ago.

You could look at aviation safety as well. The statistics are all available. Take a look at military aviation. If you've read The Right Stuff or books about test pilots in the 1950s and fighter pilots in the same era you know that they all knew guys who died in crashes. Military aviation had high accident and fatality rates in the 1950s and even the 1960s. And then those rates started to drop and drop fast. Now the number of military aircraft fatalities in the U.S. military is quite small.

Even naval aviation got a lot safer. I think it was around 1988/89 that U.S. naval aviation, which is inherently more risky than conventional aviation (because you're landing on that tiny postage stamp of moving steel in a big cold ocean) reached safety rates equivalent to the U.S. Air Force. And they did it through incredible effort. There's a new book out by Robert F. Dunn, "Gear Up, Mishaps Down: The Evolution of Naval Aviation Safety, 1950-2000," that goes into this in detail. The U.S. Navy didn't simply say "This is dangerous, accidents happen, it's okay for people to die." They worked on the issue and they increased safety.

American society does not accept the same fatality rates that it did in the past, not in civilian transportation or the military.
« Last Edit: 08/15/2017 01:19 AM by Blackstar »

Offline Lar

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #27 on: 08/15/2017 01:28 AM »
American society does not accept the same fatality rates that it did in the past, not in civilian transportation or the military.
Nor should it. I think space is a bit farther behind but hopefully we'll see rates trending down there as well.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline yg1968

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #28 on: 08/15/2017 01:37 AM »
It's different for rockets, you don't get thousands of test flights. Plus, rockets are inherently dangerous.

Offline Lar

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #29 on: 08/15/2017 01:50 AM »
It's different for rockets, you don't get thousands of test flights. Plus, rockets are inherently dangerous.
True so far... but maybe within our lifetimes we see flight rates an order of magnitude or two higher...

And yes, they are.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #30 on: 08/15/2017 02:01 AM »
The term dangerous is very "fluidic" and what was deemed so becomes the norm over time no matter what type of mechanical conveyance... Read your history folks...

Except that you may have the arrows pointed the wrong way.

Yeah, lots of new mechanical conveyances were labeled "dangerous" by somebody when they were introduced. That's where the old joke "Get a horse!" comes from.

But most of them were dangerous when introduced, and over time, they got safer because people insisted that they become safer. We no longer accept the levels of safety for transportation vehicles that we accepted even 20 years ago. There was a recent crash test of a brand new car and (I think) a 1998 car and the brand new car was far safer. Airbags, crumple zones, etc. all are better than 20 years ago.

You could look at aviation safety as well. The statistics are all available. Take a look at military aviation. If you've read The Right Stuff or books about test pilots in the 1950s and fighter pilots in the same era you know that they all knew guys who died in crashes. Military aviation had high accident and fatality rates in the 1950s and even the 1960s. And then those rates started to drop and drop fast. Now the number of military aircraft fatalities in the U.S. military is quite small.

Even naval aviation got a lot safer. I think it was around 1988/89 that U.S. naval aviation, which is inherently more risky than conventional aviation (because you're landing on that tiny postage stamp of moving steel in a big cold ocean) reached safety rates equivalent to the U.S. Air Force. And they did it through incredible effort. There's a new book out by Robert F. Dunn, "Gear Up, Mishaps Down: The Evolution of Naval Aviation Safety, 1950-2000," that goes into this in detail. The U.S. Navy didn't simply say "This is dangerous, accidents happen, it's okay for people to die." They worked on the issue and they increased safety.

American society does not accept the same fatality rates that it did in the past, not in civilian transportation or the military.
All good points but it still doesn't explain why the addition of the word "commercial" makes a LV and spacecraft "dangerous"... I'm thinking back to the old astronaut joke about the vehicle that they were sitting in was built by the lowest bidder in a traditional NASA run program..
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #31 on: 08/15/2017 02:54 AM »
All good points but it still doesn't explain why the addition of the word "commercial" makes a LV and spacecraft "dangerous"... I'm thinking back to the old astronaut joke about the vehicle that they were sitting in was built by the lowest bidder in a traditional NASA run program..

It's not "the addition of the word 'commercial.'" It's the amount of insight and oversight during development. It's how many reviews, meetings, audits and tests are required.

You guys read these articles and draw your conclusions, but you lack the context and the knowledge of what is really being discussed. Government procurement isn't simply a signed piece of paper for a contract. There's a lot more going on. There's a whole level of involvement by the customer (i.e. the government) in the development, and that's what Dr. Pace was referring to.


Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #32 on: 08/15/2017 03:53 AM »
It's not "the addition of the word 'commercial.'" It's the amount of insight and oversight during development. It's how many reviews, meetings, audits and tests are required.

I'm not a rocket engineer, so discount as desired...  ;)

Having worked for a number of defense contractors building electronic systems for weapons of war, other than DCAS inspectors we never saw too many government people during our development or production of our products. So at least for our types of products we were the experts in what we were doing, not the government.

I mention that because it seems like it's assumed that "the government" knows more than commercial aerospace about rocketry, which for someone on the outside seems odd since NASA doesn't build their own rockets - commercial aerospace does. NASA would be the expert on how they want spacecraft to interface with their space station, so NASA being involved with Commercial Cargo and Crew partners makes a lot of sense, especially since those spacecraft are to be certified by NASA for ISS operations.

Quote
Government procurement isn't simply a signed piece of paper for a contract. There's a lot more going on.

No doubt, there are things that the U.S. Government needs to be involved with, especially when highly explosive systems will be operated on government property and could be carrying government owned equipment and supplies.

But NASA is buying a service, not a product, so there shouldn't be as much involvement in the design, development, production, testing and operations of commercial launchers as there would be in a government product like the SLS.

Quote
There's a whole level of involvement by the customer (i.e. the government) in the development, and that's what Dr. Pace was referring to.

After reading the article I looked up Dr. Pace and saw that he doesn't have any "operational experience" in space transportation, just academic interest and policy level type stuff. Maybe that doesn't matter, but it seemed to put him more in the category of pundit than being an expert on the matter of "danger", especially in light of what NASA has actually been willing to do over the past 10 years. Which is why I didn't think his comments really carried a lot of weight from a practical standpoint, but being part of the reconstituted NSC will allow his opinions to carry a lot of political weight - regardless how valid his views may be.

My $0.02
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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #33 on: 08/15/2017 09:19 AM »
All good points but it still doesn't explain why the addition of the word "commercial" makes a LV and spacecraft "dangerous"... I'm thinking back to the old astronaut joke about the vehicle that they were sitting in was built by the lowest bidder in a traditional NASA run program..

It's not "the addition of the word 'commercial.'" It's the amount of insight and oversight during development. It's how many reviews, meetings, audits and tests are required.

You guys read these articles and draw your conclusions, but you lack the context and the knowledge of what is really being discussed. Government procurement isn't simply a signed piece of paper for a contract. There's a lot more going on. There's a whole level of involvement by the customer (i.e. the government) in the development, and that's what Dr. Pace was referring to.
Yes, but NASA has provided their input all the way throughout the LV and spacecraft development as can be seen that SpaceX has abandoned propulsive landing for their main customer as per their wishes. Will future astronauts die, hopefully not but the possibility always will exist and the agency has their own sad history of catastrophic failures when they designed, owned and operated the LVs and spacecraft. In the end those unwilling to take the risks need not apply as I did personally taking my own measure...
"The laws of physics are unforgiving"
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #34 on: 08/15/2017 09:45 AM »

You could look at aviation safety as well. The statistics are all available. Take a look at military aviation. If you've read The Right Stuff or books about test pilots in the 1950s and fighter pilots in the same era you know that they all knew guys who died in crashes. Military aviation had high accident and fatality rates in the 1950s and even the 1960s. And then those rates started to drop and drop fast. Now the number of military aircraft fatalities in the U.S. military is quite small.
Of course so did the rate at which new aircraft were being designed, probably due to the cost.  :(

With no new aircraft designs you could cut the test pilot fatality rate to zero.

There is no such thing as perfect safety. Avoiding "obviously" dangerous approaches and systems seems a good idea yet (for example) all human rated US systems post X15 have astonishingly toxic hypergols for RCS and OMS functions

Yet I don't see anyone talking about phasing them out, despite their very deep lack of "safety."  :(

It should also be noted that even the Shuttle proved in actual operation just a little better than a fully ELV,

The challenge of course is to deliver better safety without bankruptcy.

BTW the first A in NASA is for aeronautics.

Is it mandatory for every US plane builder to consult with NASA on any new design?

I don't think it is, although I'm sure they have ready access to most of NASA's test reports on such subjects, and if their design is exotic they'd be unwise to consult the library to see what's been done already (you have to work very hard to find something that is truly never, ever been tried or proposed earlier).

"Safety" is a classic tactic for for a mature bureaucracy to defend it's territory against new comers who are basically, not employees of that bureaucracy.

And I don't think anyone doubts NASA is a very mature bureaucracy.  :(
« Last Edit: 08/15/2017 09:59 AM by john smith 19 »
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #35 on: 08/15/2017 01:20 PM »
After reading the article I looked up Dr. Pace and saw that he doesn't have any "operational experience" in space transportation, just academic interest and policy level type stuff. Maybe that doesn't matter, but it seemed to put him more in the category of pundit

He started out as an engineer at Rockwell on the shuttle program.

But since you opened up the issue of credentials: this is the policy section, what are your credentials to comment on policy?

Offline yg1968

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #36 on: 08/15/2017 02:17 PM »
After reading the article I looked up Dr. Pace and saw that he doesn't have any "operational experience" in space transportation, just academic interest and policy level type stuff. Maybe that doesn't matter, but it seemed to put him more in the category of pundit

He started out as an engineer at Rockwell on the shuttle program.

But since you opened up the issue of credentials: this is the policy section, what are your credentials to comment on policy?

You don't need credentials for space policy. Everyone can have an opinion.
« Last Edit: 08/15/2017 02:17 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #37 on: 08/15/2017 02:26 PM »
Having worked for a number of defense contractors building electronic systems for weapons of war, other than DCAS inspectors we never saw too many government people during our development or production of our products. So at least for our types of products we were the experts in what we were doing, not the government.

Were you there for the design, development and prototype testing for your product?   Have you been involved in a major weapon system procurement?


I mention that because it seems like it's assumed that "the government" knows more than commercial aerospace about rocketry, which for someone on the outside seems odd since NASA doesn't build their own rockets - commercial aerospace does.

Do you understand the governments role in the design, development and testing of fighters?  It is the same role that NASA does.
« Last Edit: 08/15/2017 02:27 PM by Jim »

Offline yg1968

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #38 on: 08/15/2017 02:28 PM »
Bear in mind that Space's comments were made 5 years ago before CCtCap when commercial crew was still under SAAs.

Remember Musk's recent comments about NASA's oversight being difficult for his employees. He qualified it by saying it that it is necessary for commercial crew but there was clearly some frustration in his tone over how cumbersome the oversight has become under CCtCap.

My own view is that this cumbersome oversight doesn't make commercial crew any safer just more expensive. Insight is important for commercial crew but oversight should be minimized.

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #39 on: 08/15/2017 02:31 PM »
Bear in mind that Space's comments were made 5 years ago before CCtCap when commercial crew was still under SAAs.

Remember Musk's recent comments about NASA's oversight being difficult for his employees. He qualified it by saying it that it is necessary for commercial crew but there was clearly some frustration in his tone over how cumbersome the oversight has become under CCtCap.

My own view is that this cumbersome oversight doesn't make commercial crew any safer just more expensive. Insight is important for commercial crew but oversight should be minimized.

NASA oversight discovered people sitting on installed COPV's

Offline yg1968

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #40 on: 08/15/2017 02:38 PM »
Bear in mind that Space's comments were made 5 years ago before CCtCap when commercial crew was still under SAAs.

Remember Musk's recent comments about NASA's oversight being difficult for his employees. He qualified it by saying it that it is necessary for commercial crew but there was clearly some frustration in his tone over how cumbersome the oversight has become under CCtCap.

My own view is that this cumbersome oversight doesn't make commercial crew any safer just more expensive. Insight is important for commercial crew but oversight should be minimized.

NASA oversight discovered people sitting on installed COPV's

I didn't know that. After the COPV accident or before?
« Last Edit: 08/15/2017 02:38 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #41 on: 08/15/2017 02:39 PM »
Bear in mind that Space's comments were made 5 years ago before CCtCap when commercial crew was still under SAAs.

Remember Musk's recent comments about NASA's oversight being difficult for his employees. He qualified it by saying it that it is necessary for commercial crew but there was clearly some frustration in his tone over how cumbersome the oversight has become under CCtCap.

My own view is that this cumbersome oversight doesn't make commercial crew any safer just more expensive. Insight is important for commercial crew but oversight should be minimized.

NASA oversight discovered people sitting on installed COPV's

After the COPV accident or before?

after, see the reports on the incident.  That is why there was some question on the actual cause.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #42 on: 08/15/2017 03:55 PM »
After reading the article I looked up Dr. Pace and saw that he doesn't have any "operational experience" in space transportation, just academic interest and policy level type stuff. Maybe that doesn't matter, but it seemed to put him more in the category of pundit

He started out as an engineer at Rockwell on the shuttle program.

Interesting that is not listed on his NASA biography, though I'm not sure that makes any particular case for whether he has "operational experience". Still you'd think if he thought it was important that he would have listed it.

However based on his age, and that he graduated from college with a B.S. in Physics in 1980, and then a Masters in Aeronautics & Astronautics and Technology & Policy from MIT by 1982, any work he did on the Shuttle at Rockwell would have been on the back end of the program (i.e. Columbia 1st flew in 1981).

Quote
But since you opened up the issue of credentials: this is the policy section, what are your credentials to comment on policy?

As I state often because so many are rocket engineers on NSF, my background is in manufacturing operations, and for government programs I was usually the equivalent of the program manager for the manufacturing of government products. As such I interfaced with Program Managers, engineering, quality, and whoever else could affect the production and test of "my" products, from contract award to shipping the last unit. Plus I also did production status reviews for our customers, who could be the government.

In short, I have as much policy experience as rocket engineers do...  ;)
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Danderman

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #43 on: 08/15/2017 08:58 PM »

You guys read these articles and draw your conclusions, but you lack the context and the knowledge of what is really being discussed. Government procurement isn't simply a signed piece of paper for a contract. There's a lot more going on. There's a whole level of involvement by the customer (i.e. the government) in the development, and that's what Dr. Pace was referring to.



This was the argument against procurement of commercial launch services Back in the Day when the government was responsible for civil launches; the "conventional wisdom" was that only the government had the expertise to safely conduct space launches. That assumption took a hit in 1986. At the time, the story was that NASA would not launch a rocket until the paperwork weighed as much as the rocket.

After 1990, when NASA began to procure launch services commercially, an amazing thing happened - the cost to the taxpayer per launch dropped, and the success rate remained unchanged, if not better.

So, we have heard the "commercial is dangerous" message before, and it turned out to be false.

Note: I am not suggesting that all government oversight over space launches disappeared after 1990, only that the "involvement" of NASA significantly diminished at that point.
« Last Edit: 08/15/2017 08:59 PM by Danderman »

Offline Proponent

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #44 on: 08/16/2017 10:02 AM »

I'm sure you weren't implying that Eric Berger is not a "reasonably minded person"...   ;)

In this particular instance I don't think Mr. Berger was being reasonably minded, hence my statement on the article being a bit unfair towards Mr. Pace.


That's fine, but where is Pace's skepticism about NASA?
 

To be fair NASA has been launching humans into space since the 1960s. I don't think anyone should be "skeptical" about NASA's ability to launch humans. Let's also be clear here that Pace's skepticism about commercial crew was/is pretty mild. In the 2012 interview he made a point about not letting launch fever override safety. Additionally he pointed out how many successful launches are needed for commercial and government customers to feel good about putting their payloads on a commercial rocket. I don't see any indication that he was saying, "commercial crew is too dangerous" or "it will never work."

Edited to add: Personally I don't think anyone should be "skeptical" of SpaceX's (or Boeing's) ability to launch people into space either. Skeptical of timelines and other various promises? Sure, but not their ability. It is true though that this type of structure (commercial companies owning the LVs and the spacecraft) is new and doesn't have as much of a track record as previous NASA programs.

Quote
Given his skepticism of commercial crew, why would he not be concerned about the risks of putting a crew even on EM-2

He might say that a rocket and spacecraft designed mainly for human spaceflight differs from a rocket whose primary role is commercial and cutting costs. I don't know. Maybe Mr. Berger should have asked him. 

Dragon 2 will only have one test flight before crew is put on it, just like Orion. I haven't heard Mr. Pace criticize either policy so I don't think he is being unfair to the commercial side. 

It's true that Pace's discussion of crew safety is focused principally on the launch-vehicle aspect of it.  Because he is a prominent figure in space policy, we have many sources of information about his views aside from Berger's article.  In particular, Pace has suggested (see 13:37:47 and following) that a launch vehicle should not carry a really valuable payload until it has at least seven successful launches under its belt.  Atlas V easily satisfies that criterion, and will rack up further flights before it first carries a Starliner with crew.  Falcon 9 should too, before it carries a Dragon 2 with crew (I hedge a bit only because I don't know how many F9 Block 5 flights will have occurred, but F9 family heritage counts for something too).

SLS, in contrast, will fly once before it carries a crew, and Pace is on record (see attachment) advocating sending a crew past Mars on its very first flight.  SLS's Shuttle heritage counts for something, but under the scenario Pace advocated, it would have been ten years since NASA itself had launched anything.  How does that square with the once-per-year cadence we've been told is needed for safe operations? 

Considering the fact that NASA has not brought a new launch vehicle to flight since the 1980s and has not developed a launch vehicle that met its major design goals since the 1960s, how could anybody have more confidence in NASA's ability to get a new launch vehicle right on the very first flight than in SpaceX's ability to get it right after dozens of flights or ULA's after a hundred or so?  I think Pace applies inconsistent standards for NASA and commercial crew launch.
« Last Edit: 08/16/2017 10:08 AM by Proponent »

Offline woods170

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #45 on: 08/16/2017 10:09 AM »
It's true that Pace's discussion of crew safety is focused principally on the launch-vehicle aspect of it.  Because he is a prominent figure in space policy, we have many sources of information about his views aside from Berger's article.  In particular, Pace has suggested (see 13:37:47 and following) that a launch vehicle should not carry a really valuable payload until it has at least seven successful launches under its belt.  Atlas V easily satisfies that criterion, and will rack up further flights before it first carries a Starliner with crew.  Falcon 9 should too, before it carries a Dragon 2 with crew (I hedge a bit only because I don't know how many F9 Block 5 flights will have occurred, but F9 family heritage counts for something too).

SLS, in contrast, will fly once before it carries a crew, and Pace is on record (see attachment) advocating sending a crew past Mars on its very first flight.  SLS's Shuttle heritage counts for something, but under the scenario Pace advocated, it would have been ten years since NASA itself had launched anything.  How does that square with the once-per-year cadence we've been told is needed for safe operations? 

Considering the fact that NASA has not brought a new launch vehicle to flight since the 1980s and has not developed a launch vehicle that met its major design goals since the 1960s, how could anybody have more confidence in NASA's ability to get a new launch vehicle right on the very first flight than in SpaceX's ability to get it right after dozens of flights or ULA's after a hundred or so?  I think Pace has demonstrated grossly inconsistent standards for NASA and commercial crew launch.
The inconsistent standards will be justified by NASA by means of the magic words "Insight" and "Oversight".

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #46 on: 08/16/2017 01:47 PM »
This was the argument against procurement of commercial launch services Back in the Day when the government was responsible for civil launches; the "conventional wisdom" was that only the government had the expertise to safely conduct space launches. That assumption took a hit in 1986. At the time, the story was that NASA would not launch a rocket until the paperwork weighed as much as the rocket.

After 1990, when NASA began to procure launch services commercially, an amazing thing happened - the cost to the taxpayer per launch dropped, and the success rate remained unchanged, if not better.

So, we have heard the "commercial is dangerous" message before, and it turned out to be false.


You refer to "commercial" in the early 1990s and "commercial" today as if they are the same thing. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #47 on: 08/16/2017 01:48 PM »
The inconsistent standards will be justified by NASA by means of the magic words "Insight" and "Oversight".

Just because you don't understand what those words mean does not mean that they mean nothing to the people who actually do government procurement.

Offline woods170

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #48 on: 08/16/2017 01:58 PM »
The inconsistent standards will be justified by NASA by means of the magic words "Insight" and "Oversight".

Just because you don't understand what those words mean does not mean that they mean nothing to the people who actually do government procurement.
You parsed my post incorrectly. I very much do understand the meaning of those words and fully understand how they allow SLS to fly manned on only it's second mission while requiring multiple launches of non-NASA vehicles. "Inconsistent" is how it is perceived by the ill-informed public. As I pointed out in my post there will come a time that NASA will explain the supposed "inconsistent standards" and it is a guaranteed fact that such an explanation will contain the words insight and oversight.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #49 on: 08/16/2017 08:51 PM »
NASA said that under commercial crew SAAs, it had insight but not oversight. So that was the excuse for Congress and NASA to mandate FAR for CCtCap.

Now that NASA has oversight under FAR, the delays and the cost of commercial crew have increased.

I am not advocating that NASA should have no oversight but it appears to be excessive under CCtCap. Hopefully, it will diminish once certification has been acheived.
« Last Edit: 08/16/2017 08:52 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #50 on: 08/16/2017 10:07 PM »
NASA said that under commercial crew SAAs, it had insight but not oversight. So that was the excuse for Congress and NASA to mandate FAR for CCtCap.

Now that NASA has oversight under FAR, the delays and the cost of commercial crew have increased.

I am not advocating that NASA should have no oversight but it appears to be excessive under CCtCap. Hopefully, it will diminish once certification has been acheived.

The companies didnt have to take the money

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #51 on: 08/16/2017 11:02 PM »
The inconsistent standards will be justified by NASA by means of the magic words "Insight" and "Oversight".

Just because you don't understand what those words mean does not mean that they mean nothing to the people who actually do government procurement.
You parsed my post incorrectly.

No. I repeated your entire post. I didn't "parse" anything incorrectly. Go look at what you wrote--I reposted the whole thing. I think you don't understand what you're referring to.

Offline Danderman

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #52 on: 08/17/2017 01:59 AM »
The question remains:

Is manned flight on the 2nd SLS going to be "safer" than manned flight on the 8th launch of a "commercial" system?

Offline yg1968

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #53 on: 08/17/2017 02:44 AM »
NASA said that under commercial crew SAAs, it had insight but not oversight. So that was the excuse for Congress and NASA to mandate FAR for CCtCap.

Now that NASA has oversight under FAR, the delays and the cost of commercial crew have increased.

I am not advocating that NASA should have no oversight but it appears to be excessive under CCtCap. Hopefully, it will diminish once certification has been acheived.

The companies didnt have to take the money

The companies will do whatever NASA asks. But that doesn't mean that this was the best model to use. You often hear that NASA should follow the COTS model for new commercial programs but you rarely hear that NASA should follow the commercial crew model for new programs. There was a lot of political interference under the commercial crew program which lead to a FAR/more cumbersome oversight program under CCtCap. In any event, it's water under the bridge now. But I am starting to think that the COTS model will not be replicated in the future. Hopefully, it's not too late for commercial habitats (Nexstep) to avoid the same problems that commercial crew experienced. 
« Last Edit: 08/17/2017 01:38 PM by yg1968 »

Offline woods170

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #54 on: 08/17/2017 06:57 AM »
NASA said that under commercial crew SAAs, it had insight but not oversight. So that was the excuse for Congress and NASA to mandate FAR for CCtCap.

Now that NASA has oversight under FAR, the delays and the cost of commercial crew have increased.

I am not advocating that NASA should have no oversight but it appears to be excessive under CCtCap. Hopefully, it will diminish once certification has been acheived.

The companies didnt have to take the money

The companies will do whatever NASA asks. But that doesn't mean that this was the best model to use. You often hear that NASA should follow the COTS model for new commercial programs but you rarely hear that NASA should follow the follow the commercial crew model for new programs. There was a lot of political interference under the commercial crew program which lead to a FAR/more cumbersome oversight program under CCtCap. In any event, it's water under the bridge now. But I am starting to think that the COTS model will not be replicated in the future. Hopefully, it's not too late for commercial habitats (Nexstep) to avoid the same problems that commercial crew experienced. 
Too late already for commercial habitats. NASA has already decided that any step beyond demonstrators will be FAR-based. This is to prevent a repeat of the early CCtCAP funding debacle.
What basically happened is that the COTS model was a little TOO successful. It showed that significant "stuff" could be done for FAR (pun intented) less money than normally (under traditional procurement procedures) could be done. The COTS final report was pretty much a slap in the face of established old-space companies like Boeing and LockMart and even a slap in the face of certain NASA centers and certain entrenched NASA management.
The success of COTS also didn't go down too well with certain folks in US Congress. It took them a while but eventually they, supported primarily by old-space, managed to "level the playing field" between SLS/Orion on the one hand and it's CCP "competition" (yes, CCP is actually perceived as "competition" to SLS/Orion) on the other hand. It all became FAR. And those same forces acting in US Congress will make d*mn sure that any future major HSF program, such as habitats, will be FAR-based.
It is, after all, about "bringing home the bacon". And COTS did far too little of that for the states with large aerospace companies.
« Last Edit: 08/17/2017 07:01 AM by woods170 »

Offline yg1968

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #55 on: 08/17/2017 01:35 PM »
I am hoping that the new NASA admistrator will change things for the future (Nextstep) rounds of habitat development. But I admit that I have the same concerns as you that they will end up following the CCtCap model for habitats and not the COTS model. My understanding is that the inside of the habitat (including ECLSS) will be governmental but the outside of the habitat module will be commercial. That seems like an odd way of dividing things.
« Last Edit: 08/17/2017 01:43 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #56 on: 08/17/2017 02:46 PM »
But I admit that I have the same concerns as you that they will end up following the CCtCap model for habitats and not the COTS model.

COTS is a dead model.  It was unique that it was to develop capabilities not just for the government. COTS monies were used for and paid for Falcon 9 development. Commercial use of Antares has yet to happen.

Unless a capability has potential to be used by others or have a long term NASA procurement and will have the commercial partners putting in some skin, COTS is not a viable contracting mechanism. 

Also, COTS flowed into CRS contract for services, just as CCtCap is flowing into CCP services.

For habitats, COTS type procurement is a no go.
A.  COTS tested spacecraft and launch vehicles over 2-3 flights.  Is that going to happen with a habitat?
B.  The follow on to COTS was CRS.  How would COTS development of habitats flow into a procurement "habitat" services.   This is not the same as a commercial space station where NASA could by time on one or rent one.  It doesn't work when a habitat is going to be part of a station that is still managed by NASA.

Service contracts are great and NASA should be using more of them.  COTS contracts have limited applicability and there are few places that they fit in.

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #57 on: 08/17/2017 02:47 PM »
I am hoping that the new NASA admistrator will change things for the future (Nextstep) rounds of habitat development.

You are wasting your wishes.

Offline notsorandom

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #58 on: 08/17/2017 03:19 PM »
COTS is a dead model.  It was unique that it was to develop capabilities not just for the government. COTS monies were used for and paid for Falcon 9 development. Commercial use of Antares has yet to happen.
Also Antares / Cygnus came only after Rocketplane Kistler failed. NASA paid $32.1 million to Rocketplane Kistler and got nothing in return. Of the three companies involved in COTS one was wildly successful, one met the minimum requirements but hasn't found any non-NASA use, and one failed.
« Last Edit: 08/17/2017 03:24 PM by notsorandom »

Offline Danderman

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #59 on: 08/17/2017 04:52 PM »
Failure is part of the free Enterprise system, if no one fails, the system isn't working (in terms of non-technical risks).

As for Orbital, I seem to recall they secured a commercial customer for satellite deployment.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #60 on: 08/17/2017 07:14 PM »
But I admit that I have the same concerns as you that they will end up following the CCtCap model for habitats and not the COTS model.

COTS is a dead model.

That certainly seems to be the case but it's unfortunate given how succesful it was in terms of bang for the buck.
« Last Edit: 08/17/2017 08:29 PM by yg1968 »

Offline yg1968

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #61 on: 08/17/2017 07:17 PM »
I am hoping that the new NASA admistrator will change things for the future (Nextstep) rounds of habitat development.

You are wasting your wishes.

You are probably right on this also. But there was some indication from the President's FY 2018 budget that the Administration wanted habitats to be the next public-private partnership.
« Last Edit: 08/17/2017 07:18 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #62 on: 08/17/2017 07:30 PM »
But I admit that I have the same concerns as you that they will end up following the CCtCap model for habitats and not the COTS model.

COTS is a dead model.

That certainly seems to be the case but it's unfortunate given how succesfull it was in terms of bang for the buck.

It was a unique case

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #63 on: 08/17/2017 07:54 PM »
But I admit that I have the same concerns as you that they will end up following the CCtCap model for habitats and not the COTS model.

COTS is a dead model.

That certainly seems to be the case but it's unfortunate given how succesfull it was in terms of bang for the buck.

It was a unique case

Maybe. But that is also the situation every time something is done for the first time - it's unique. But if it has merit then it will be done again, and then no longer be unique.

And if the U.S. Government truly wants to do more in space, without Congress having to spend more, then COTS could be a viable method to accomplish that, since the private sector wants to do more in space too.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #64 on: 08/17/2017 08:26 PM »

And if the U.S. Government truly wants to do more in space, without Congress having to spend more, then COTS could be a viable method to accomplish that, since the private sector wants to do more in space too.

As far as manned space, there is no more. 

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #65 on: 08/17/2017 08:42 PM »

And if the U.S. Government truly wants to do more in space, without Congress having to spend more, then COTS could be a viable method to accomplish that, since the private sector wants to do more in space too.

As far as manned space, there is no more.

...as of today. Which is why I said "if", since that can change tomorrow. And if it does change, then we'll have COTS as a model of what does and doesn't work, and CCP as a model of what does and doesn't work - and no doubt the SLS & Orion experiences to reference too. The more data you have to evaluate your options the better, which includes cost effectiveness and safety.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #66 on: 08/17/2017 09:16 PM »
COTS isn't a model that is available for every procurement.  It isn't a procurement system, in the first place.  It is a development model. There are no future manned system developments that can use it.  It has to be a system or services  that NASA is going to buy multiple times and that have commercial applications.

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #67 on: 08/17/2017 09:25 PM »
SLS would never be COTS, CRS is the optional model

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #68 on: 08/17/2017 11:46 PM »
COTS isn't a model that is available for every procurement.  It isn't a procurement system, in the first place.  It is a development model. There are no future manned system developments that can use it.

...that we know of today.

All we know is what has happened in the past, not even you knows what's going to happen in the future, and all I've been saying is that the experiences we had with COTS, CCP, and even the government-owned SLS and Orion, will help us to decide what the best route will be when/if NASA is tasked to do more HSF in space.

Quote
It has to be a system or services  that NASA is going to buy multiple times and that have commercial applications.

Of course. Not sure why you think this is a point of contention. It's not.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #69 on: 08/18/2017 12:12 AM »
COTS isn't a model that is available for every procurement.  It isn't a procurement system, in the first place.  It is a development model. There are no future manned system developments that can use it.

...that we know of today.

All we know is what has happened in the past, not even you knows what's going to happen in the future, and all I've been saying is that the experiences we had with COTS, CCP, and even the government-owned SLS and Orion, will help us to decide what the best route will be when/if NASA is tasked to do more HSF in space.

Quote
It has to be a system or services  that NASA is going to buy multiple times and that have commercial applications.

Of course. Not sure why you think this is a point of contention. It's not.

That is why COTS is not going to be used, there is nothing in the future that fits the point that is not in contention.   

Offline yg1968

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #70 on: 08/18/2017 01:19 AM »
COTS isn't a model that is available for every procurement.  It isn't a procurement system, in the first place.  It is a development model. There are no future manned system developments that can use it.  It has to be a system or services  that NASA is going to buy multiple times and that have commercial applications.

You could argue that habitats fits such a need. Habitats modules are needed everywhere (Moon, Mars, Cislunar and LEO) and they could be rented out commercially to NASA, foreign governments and space tourists.
« Last Edit: 08/18/2017 01:22 AM by yg1968 »

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #71 on: 08/18/2017 01:25 AM »
NASA isn't going to buy more than one and how would a commercial company do a development and test program?. Build a couple of  modules and fly them in LEO for a year before going into production.  Who commercially is going to use these modules.

Offline yg1968

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #72 on: 08/18/2017 01:51 AM »
You can test a smaller scale module at the ISS such as Beam. NASA could use a habitat in cislunar space for the DSG, one in LEO and one on the Moon. The deep space transport also needs one. Mars also needs habitats. These modules could be rented out commercially to tourists and foreign governments (in addition to NASA).

It's not related to habitats but NASA has also spoken of a program to transport cargo to the Moon. That could be another candidate for a new COTS like program.
« Last Edit: 08/18/2017 01:54 AM by yg1968 »

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #73 on: 08/18/2017 01:57 AM »
Habitat procurement for each project going to be years/decades apart.  Not enough to stimulate a commercial market.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #74 on: 08/18/2017 02:25 AM »
NASA isn't going to buy more than one...

Which is speculation about a program that doesn't yet exist, so the requirements are unknown.

Quote
...and how would a commercial company do a development and test program?

It depends of course, but certainly there were many that said COTS could not work, and yet it did. So let's not be pre-bound by the past.

Quote
Build a couple of  modules and fly them in LEO for a year before going into production.  Who commercially is going to use these modules.

Since we don't know the requirements we can't know how they will be satisfied.

The past decades has been remarkable in space history as far as developing capabilities for space, so I would not doubt the ability of the private sector to keep stepping up and exceeding expectations.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #75 on: 08/18/2017 02:46 AM »
It is idiotic to think NASA is going to get funding that would support multiple projects that use habitats

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #76 on: 08/18/2017 02:59 AM »

It depends of course, but certainly there were many that said COTS could not work, and yet it did. So let's not be pre-bound by the past.


No, it is not a open nebulous process.   COTS was to help develop a system that will have gov't and commercial uses.  And then have a procurement that buys multiple "copies" of the system.   COTS is not just giving out money and letting the contractor work open loop.   It has to a system/service that will be procured maybe 7-15 times or so.   It isn't for a one, two or three of a kind procurement.   For example, COTS would not work on an X-37 type project.  There are only two of them.

Online AncientU

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #77 on: 08/18/2017 10:26 AM »

It depends of course, but certainly there were many that said COTS could not work, and yet it did. So let's not be pre-bound by the past.


No, it is not a open nebulous process.   COTS was to help develop a system that will have gov't and commercial uses.  And then have a procurement that buys multiple "copies" of the system.   COTS is not just giving out money and letting the contractor work open loop.   It has to a system/service that will be procured maybe 7-15 times or so.   It isn't for a one, two or three of a kind procurement.   For example, COTS would not work on an X-37 type project.  There are only two of them.

Sounds like the perfect formula for an exploration-class rocket.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #78 on: 08/18/2017 10:56 AM »

Sounds like the perfect formula for an exploration-class rocket.

Industry is already going to be build them on their own dimes.  No need for NASA to chip in.
« Last Edit: 08/18/2017 10:56 AM by Jim »

Offline yg1968

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #79 on: 08/18/2017 01:37 PM »
Habitat procurement for each project going to be years/decades apart.  Not enough to stimulate a commercial market.

The market would be to rent out the habitats not to build them. But that doesn't work if NASA makes the inside of the habitat (ECLSS, etc.) governmental as it currently intends to do it. I hope that changes.
« Last Edit: 08/18/2017 01:38 PM by yg1968 »

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #80 on: 08/18/2017 01:57 PM »
Habitat procurement for each project going to be years/decades apart.  Not enough to stimulate a commercial market.

The market would be to rent out the habitats not to build them. But that doesn't work if NASA makes the inside of the habitat (ECLSS, etc.) governmental as it currently intends to do it. I hope that changes.

Again, not enough market for that either.  One per 5 years or more. 

Offline Lar

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #81 on: 08/18/2017 03:40 PM »
Habitats is a bit off topic, just sayin'
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Offline Danderman

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #82 on: 08/18/2017 04:40 PM »
What we are seeing here is that the philolosophy of the National Space Council is very much in sync with Old School thinking that space is too tough for anyone but NASA to manage.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #83 on: 08/19/2017 06:13 AM »

It depends of course, but certainly there were many that said COTS could not work, and yet it did. So let's not be pre-bound by the past.

COTS was to help develop a system that will have gov't and commercial uses.  And then have a procurement that buys multiple "copies" of the system.   COTS is not just giving out money and letting the contractor work open loop.

No one is arguing this point, so I'm not sure why you are (well, maybe I do...). You appear to be trying to deny that a need for a public/private partnership will happen again, and all I've been saying is that you don't know that. No one does.

Of course maybe you're arguing that you don't want public/private partnerships to happen again, which if so then just state that.

Quote
It has to a system/service that will be procured maybe 7-15 times or so.

Yep. Which could happen if the U.S. Government determines that there is a need to help humanity expand out into space - for it's own selfish reasons of course, since the U.S. Taxpayer is not that magnanimous. And as of today I don't see what that reason would be, but since we're likely years away from the need to make such a commitment we're also years away from the need to decide if public/private partnerships would help.

In the meantime I don't think Commercial Crew is necessarily anymore dangerous than what our options have been recently, although everyone hopes they will be more safe. Time will tell...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline DarkenedOne

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #84 on: 08/24/2017 05:35 PM »
But I admit that I have the same concerns as you that they will end up following the CCtCap model for habitats and not the COTS model.

COTS is a dead model.  It was unique that it was to develop capabilities not just for the government. COTS monies were used for and paid for Falcon 9 development. Commercial use of Antares has yet to happen.

Unless a capability has potential to be used by others or have a long term NASA procurement and will have the commercial partners putting in some skin, COTS is not a viable contracting mechanism. 

Also, COTS flowed into CRS contract for services, just as CCtCap is flowing into CCP services.

For habitats, COTS type procurement is a no go.
A.  COTS tested spacecraft and launch vehicles over 2-3 flights.  Is that going to happen with a habitat?
B.  The follow on to COTS was CRS.  How would COTS development of habitats flow into a procurement "habitat" services.   This is not the same as a commercial space station where NASA could by time on one or rent one.  It doesn't work when a habitat is going to be part of a station that is still managed by NASA.

Service contracts are great and NASA should be using more of them.  COTS contracts have limited applicability and there are few places that they fit in.

Of course there are going to be systems that NASA will need that are unique, and are not applicable for commercial applications.  No body denies that, but the problem is that these cases are often overstated.

The shuttle was a prime example of this case.  We spent decades spending 5+ billions of dollars a year operating a custom launch system to put people and cargo in LEO when the Russians just used man-rated variants of the launch systems they sold commercially.  Not only did they spend far less, but they had a much more safe and reliable system.  It's no wonder that the Chinese opted copy them in their space program.

I cannot see any reason why the COTS model cannot be used for all cargo deliveries to NASA outposts from here on out.  I do not see why SLS even needs to be man-rated.   I think the need for SLS is quite questionable in the first place.

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #85 on: 08/24/2017 05:45 PM »
but they had a much more safe and reliable system. 

No, not true.  they had the same number of fatal accidents.  Shuttle had more fatalities because it carried more passengers.

\
I cannot see any reason why the COTS model cannot be used for all cargo deliveries to NASA outposts from here on out.

Not happening for a decade at least.
« Last Edit: 08/24/2017 05:57 PM by Jim »

Offline DarkenedOne

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #86 on: 08/24/2017 06:06 PM »
but they had a much more safe and reliable system. 

No, not true.  they had the same number of fatal accidents.
Sure if you go back far enough, but they have not had an fatal accident since 1971.  It has flown 100s of times since then.  Many more times than the Shuttle.  There is a good reason why the US decided to rely on the Soyuz as the only means of manned transport to the ISS without any backup.  It pretty much is the epitome of launch reliability. 

\
I cannot see any reason why the COTS model cannot be used for all cargo deliveries to NASA outposts from here on out.

Not happening for a decade at least.
Well I am not confident that NASA will have another outpost for at least another decade.  For the mean time COTS style contracts will provide transport to and from the ISS for people and cargo. 

Offline Jim

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #87 on: 08/24/2017 06:08 PM »

Sure if you go back far enough, but they have not had an fatal accident since 1971.  It has flown 100s of times since then.  Many more times than the Shuttle. 


Same number of spacecraft flights.

Offline spacetraveler

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #88 on: 08/30/2017 06:23 PM »
Sure if you go back far enough, but they have not had an fatal accident since 1971.  It has flown 100s of times since then.  Many more times than the Shuttle.  There is a good reason why the US decided to rely on the Soyuz as the only means of manned transport to the ISS without any backup.  It pretty much is the epitome of launch reliability. 

Let's not forget though that there would be no ISS (at least in its current form) without Shuttle. It certainly had unique capabilities that the Russian system did not.
« Last Edit: 08/30/2017 06:24 PM by spacetraveler »

Offline spacenut

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #89 on: 08/30/2017 06:32 PM »
Titan IV then and currently Atlas V and Delta IV Heavy could have carried up the components to build ISS probably cheaper than Shuttle.  Also if they had kept Saturn V in production and even larger station could have been launched, and Saturn IB could have ferried the astronauts via Apollo.  Yes Shuttle had a mechanical arm.  However a module with a mechanical arm could have been launched and Apollo could have docked to and assembled the ISS, like a manned space tug.  Saturn technology could have evolved into reusable rockets also. 

Offline woods170

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #90 on: 08/30/2017 07:40 PM »
Sure if you go back far enough, but they have not had an fatal accident since 1971.  It has flown 100s of times since then.  Many more times than the Shuttle.  There is a good reason why the US decided to rely on the Soyuz as the only means of manned transport to the ISS without any backup.  It pretty much is the epitome of launch reliability. 

Let's not forget though that there would be no ISS (at least in its current form) without Shuttle. It certainly had unique capabilities that the Russian system did not.
If Shuttle had not been there, and the USA still had been serious about a big space station, then the USA would have found another way to construct one. Jim once pointed out that "the shuttle-way" of building the ISS was in fact inefficient.
The Soviet-developed system, where new components of an orbital complex automatically performed rendez-vous and docking to the growing station, was in fact more advanced than what was used to construct the USOS part of the station.

But, we are steering off-topic here. So, let's get back to the subject of Commercial Crew supposedly being dangerous.
« Last Edit: 08/30/2017 07:41 PM by woods170 »

Offline spacenut

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #91 on: 08/30/2017 07:45 PM »
Commercial crew has no reason to not be as safe as they can make it.  They will not get contracts or have a business case if they were not safe.  So, no, they are not anymore dangerous than shuttle was.  It still has yet to be seen, however, SpaceX has shown they can launch and land a capsule.  Boeing has previous experience and Atlas V is a reliable rocket.  No reason for either to not be safe.  Yes, SpaceX had one failure, but it was not with a Dragon II which has the Dracos for emergency escape. 

Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #92 on: 08/30/2017 07:48 PM »
The quick answer is Commercial Crew Dangerous? Yes
Spaceflight in general is dangerous. It doesn't matter if it's commercial or government. Space is hard.... period. I don't see a time when it won't be. We just have to find a balance between being too risk adverse and being too gung ho. Commercial Crew is happening and quite frankly, it's about time.

Offline SWGlassPit

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #93 on: 09/01/2017 05:55 PM »
Commercial crew has no reason to not be as safe as they can make it.  They will not get contracts or have a business case if they were not safe.

I would caution you very strongly on these statements.  Spaceflight is still very dangerous.  It's safer than it used to be, but we should not fool ourselves into thinking it's "safe" according to a typical understanding of that word.

The safest spacecraft is the one that never flies.  Everything else is a trade.

Offline Hog

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #94 on: 09/05/2017 12:48 PM »
Safe-free from harm or risk

Certainly doesn't apply to spaceflight.  Heck there are risks of being in spacecraft on the ground.

Ah, the lessons of Apollo-1.
Paul

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #95 on: 09/09/2017 10:30 PM »
Commercial crew has no reason to not be as safe as they can make it.  They will not get contracts or have a business case if they were not safe.

I would caution you very strongly on these statements.  Spaceflight is still very dangerous.  It's safer than it used to be, but we should not fool ourselves into thinking it's "safe" according to a typical understanding of that word.

I think spacenut was just pointing out the obvious - that if potential customers perceive a provider is not being as safe as they can, then they won't be a preferred option. Not that Commercial Crew providers will wait until they have eliminated all potential risk.

It's all about market perception, but that perception is based on what customers perceive, not what providers what to project.

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The safest spacecraft is the one that never flies.

If it doesn't fly, then it's not a spacecraft - it's an expensive and overbuilt simulator. Just wanted to point that out...  ;)

Quote
Everything else is a trade.

And we humans are good at making trade offs when danger is present - and when I say "good" I mean that humanity as a whole seems biased towards discovery, which means we should have plenty of people to rely upon for wanting to try out space travel in one way or another.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online QuantumG

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #96 on: 09/10/2017 09:07 PM »
I think spacenut was just pointing out the obvious - that if potential customers perceive a provider is not being as safe as they can, then they won't be a preferred option.

Huh? Surely there's concerns other than "safety". Ya know, like price and availability?

Quote from: Coastal Ron
Not that Commercial Crew providers will wait until they have eliminated all potential risk.

Then what the hell are they waiting for?

Quote from: Coastal Ron
It's all about market perception, but that perception is based on what customers perceive, not what providers what to project.

What customers? I really doubt the commercial customers who have contracted SpaceX to fly them around the Moon have "living a safe life" as their top priority. I really doubt they chose SpaceX over the Russians on the grounds of safety. There's much more important considerations - like actually being able to make a deal and stick to it with legal recourse if the provider keeps changing things and threatening to take someone else instead of you - a behaviour for which the Russians are renowned. Not to mention the cabbage for every meal during training.

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #97 on: 09/11/2017 08:48 PM »
I think spacenut was just pointing out the obvious - that if potential customers perceive a provider is not being as safe as they can, then they won't be a preferred option.

Huh? Surely there's concerns other than "safety". Ya know, like price and availability?

The topic is related to safety though, so I ignored those other (valid) factors.

Quote
Quote from: Coastal Ron
Not that Commercial Crew providers will wait until they have eliminated all potential risk.

Then what the hell are they waiting for?

Some things take time. Like the 787, which seemed to take an inordinate amount of time before it became operational, and now they are commonplace.

Quote
Quote from: Coastal Ron
It's all about market perception, but that perception is based on what customers perceive, not what providers what to project.

What customers?

Well there is only one for today, so we're all projecting into the future here. And we're all hoping that Commercial Crew actually provides enough value that it inspires companies and individuals to buy rides separately from what the ISS requires. So no doubt about it, we are all hoping that there is an emerging market soon to come.

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I really doubt the commercial customers who have contracted SpaceX to fly them around the Moon have "living a safe life" as their top priority.

I actually think it was one of their top priorities. There are less expensive ways to die here on Earth.

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I really doubt they chose SpaceX over the Russians on the grounds of safety.

No? Do you have confidence in the quality of Russia's space sector as of today?

But beyond that, the Russians may say they have the capability to send humans around the Moon, I think it's pretty obvious that they are struggling to do routine space stuff today, so doing extra-ordinary things in space would be a stretch. And though SpaceX may not have experience in sending humans around the Moon (which the Russians don't either), Elon Musk tends to be more open about what they can or can't do than what Russians would be. Musk agreed to send humans around the Moon because it coincides with his future space plans, whereas Russians would just be doing it for the money you give them - up front.

Quote
There's much more important considerations - like actually being able to make a deal and stick to it with legal recourse if the provider keeps changing things and threatening to take someone else instead of you - a behaviour for which the Russians are renowned. Not to mention the cabbage for every meal during training.

Valid points all, but I don't think that was as big of a factor. YMMV of course.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online QuantumG

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #98 on: 09/11/2017 09:37 PM »
Valid points all, but I don't think that was as big of a factor. YMMV of course.

It is... the Russians are in the business of milking 10 customers of their money for 1 that actually gets to fly. There's this little game they play where they deny their customers are even customers and then play them off against each other. One would hope SpaceX won't be doing anything like that and maybe the Russians will give it up when they have some competition. Either way, the only reason why commercial crew is not flying right now is that NASA is their customer and to make that customer happy there has to be lots of assurances about safety.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Doesitfloat

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #99 on: 09/12/2017 06:56 PM »
If we can make it so where then most dangerous thing a passenger on a spacecraft does, ( on the day of space launch) is get in their car and drive to the launch site. 
That's good enough.

Offline Ictogan

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #100 on: 09/12/2017 09:14 PM »
If we can make it so where then most dangerous thing a passenger on a spacecraft does, ( on the day of space launch) is get in their car and drive to the launch site. 
That's good enough.
We're still a few orders of magnitude away from that.

Online QuantumG

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #101 on: 09/13/2017 12:34 AM »
Yeah, that's ridiculous. Even if you ignore the uncomfortable fact that you're riding a rocket to get to space, once you're there you're in space - the harshest environment people have ever operated in. Space is hard... and, get this, dangerous. That's how it is. Deal with it.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Danderman

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #102 on: 09/13/2017 04:22 AM »
Valid points all, but I don't think that was as big of a factor. YMMV of course.

It is... the Russians are in the business of milking 10 customers of their money for 1 that actually gets to fly. There's this little game they play where they deny their customers are even customers and then play them off against each other. One would hope SpaceX won't be doing anything like that and maybe the Russians will give it up when they have some competition. Either way, the only reason why commercial crew is not flying right now is that NASA is their customer and to make that customer happy there has to be lots of assurances about safety.

This is wildly off topic, but since I have seen original contracts to fly on Russian vehicles,  I can say the bulk of funds are transmitted exactly as the Soyuz rocket leaves the pad. Prior to that, only small payments are made.

Getting back on topic, the question is not Commercial Crew vs some abstract concept of safety, but rather vs crew on SLS flight 2.

Offline woods170

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #103 on: 09/13/2017 05:46 AM »
Getting back on topic, the question is not Commercial Crew vs some abstract concept of safety, but rather vs crew on SLS flight 2.
Insight vs oversight. We don't need say more according to some folks.
« Last Edit: 09/13/2017 05:47 AM by woods170 »

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Re: Is Commercial Crew Dangerous?
« Reply #104 on: 09/13/2017 03:15 PM »
There's been a lot of discussion about the safety of commercial crew vs. other systems.  And I think without a whole lot more technical insight it's hard to conclude anything other than the commercial crew systems can be at least as safe as other comparable systems out there, and have a reasonable chance of being quite a bit safer (depending on what you are comparing it to) due to the inherent design features (abort system, etc) and the flight heritage of the launch vehicles.

But IMHO equally if not more important is whether the management and decision-making model for commercial crew will be as safe or safer than the analogous processes for shuttle, ISS, SLS/Orion, etc. That's where the commercial crew program is quite a bit different. And, that, frankly, was the common failure in all three of NASA's fatal human space flight accidents. It took these three fatal accidents for NASA to arrive at the decision making process and associated management model they had at the end of the shuttle program. Now they are attempting to apply that model to a program with considerably less in-line involvement of NASA engineers, and with companies who take very different approaches to systems safety than the approaches developed by and/or used by NASA in previous programs.

On COTS/CRS, NASA was able to take a very hands-off role in everything except the portions of the system and operations that interface with ISS, since that's where the risk to the crew was.  In commercial crew, every aspect of the system design and nearly every operational decision has direct implications for crew safety.  So is a model where NASA has less in-line responsibility and the contractors have more latitude to develop their own approaches, and a model where contractors are working to meet their requirements in a fixed-price contacting environment safer than in an environment where NASA has more flexibility to direct changes? Can NASA and the contractors effectively apply the lessons learned from challenger and columbia in terms of not squashing dissent and elevating the concerns of the engineers closest to the hardware to the right decision makers in this very different acquisition & development model? I honestly think those are pretty big unknowns and will be the biggest drivers in terms of the safety of this program vs others. 

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