Author Topic: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches  (Read 33033 times)

Offline meekGee

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #80 on: 10/13/2023 04:32 pm »
Observations from a fellow member:
Jim is laconic.  Like the Spartan reply to Philip of Macedon.  He's not a loquacious chap, at least on-line.

First of all, this splinter thread should not be a take-all-comers "rasslin'" match.  If you are not happy with his replies, then maybe someone should further research and write an NSF article about it. Jim might consent to be a source?

Please also avoid turning this discussion into a Jim bear-baiting. They are illegal, including here in the forum.   It's happened before, and the results are deleted.

[Philip: If I invade Laconia, I shall turn you out.
Spartan ephors' reply: If.]
I've waited till after the Psyche launch so people are chiller...

Being laconic has nothing to do with it.  Over all of his posts, Jim never once explained how postponing Starlink till after Psyche improves Psyche's chances of success.

We all understand the contractual obligation SpaceX signed up for. The argument is that it's outdated and serves no useful purpose - actually being counter productive.

Rather than respond to the point, most of his posts are just dismissals or insults.  Nobody else made this about Jim. People just reacted to the non-content.

To the point, as is, not only was Psyche deprived of post launch analysis of Starlink 6-22, but also of the chance to stand down in case 6-22 failed. The former was inevitable but the latter was by choice.  A poor choice.

No favors were done to anyone, except to middle managers that feel like their butts are covered, since they "didn't potentially overlook information" that they now for certain didn't even have.
« Last Edit: 10/13/2023 08:16 pm by meekGee »
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Offline thirtyone

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #81 on: 10/13/2023 06:02 pm »
Just my two cents into this discussion, but consider this: perhaps the reason SpaceX has had such a high mission success rate *while* improving costs and performance over time *is* because of things like partners like NASA (and SpaceX's engineers internally) do now have exceptionally good processes and opportunities to thoroughly review mission data. They have clearly made design changes and iterations over time (significant for high reliability systems), yet their success rate is exceptional.

Remember, this is how most modern software development works - you literally release new versions of Facebook every day, a product of thousands or tens of thousands of developers, and for the most part it works fine every day. This is only due to exceptionally well engineered deployment and test processes.

It's often a dangerous mistake when people get complacent and forget that the reason things are so reliable *is* because of all that forgotten infrastructure that keeps everything running

Offline Jim

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #82 on: 10/13/2023 08:31 pm »

To the point, as is, not only was Psyche deprived of post launch analysis of Starlink 6-22,

That was never going to happen

Offline meekGee

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #83 on: 10/13/2023 09:30 pm »

To the point, as is, not only was Psyche deprived of post launch analysis of Starlink 6-22,

That was never going to happen
Which is what I wrote. That part was inevitable.  But on top of that, they also lost the opportunity to react to an obviously faulty 6-22 launch, and they gained no data.  So a little bit lost, and nothing gained.

Plus, they held up another launch vehicle for over a week, which is maybe a smaller issue, but it just adds to the overall inaneness of this practice.
« Last Edit: 10/13/2023 09:31 pm by meekGee »
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Offline gbl

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #84 on: 10/13/2023 09:32 pm »
Question for Jim (from Novice here):
AIUI, SpaceX is collecting a lot of telemetry data on each launch that needs to be analyzed. Do you think an automated process will be able to perform such analyses in the near future such that it could satisfy NASA's data review? With Falcon 9's increased launch cadence, perhaps 3 times a week by next year, manual data reviews seem hard to accomplish so rapidly (every 2-3 days). 
« Last Edit: 10/13/2023 09:33 pm by gbl »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #85 on: 10/13/2023 10:02 pm »
Question for Jim (from Novice here):
AIUI, SpaceX is collecting a lot of telemetry data on each launch that needs to be analyzed. Do you think an automated process will be able to perform such analyses in the near future such that it could satisfy NASA's data review? With Falcon 9's increased launch cadence, perhaps 3 times a week by next year, manual data reviews seem hard to accomplish so rapidly (every 2-3 days).
Spacex DOES have such an automated system in place. They have for years. An old timer from NASA told me about it, said it was far more advanced than what NASA had at the time. But NASA has to do their own analysis, and because it applies to any kind of launch vehicle and because NASA doesnít launch nearly as often, itís not really feasible to be so automated.
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Offline ZachS09

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #86 on: 10/14/2023 12:02 am »
AMOS-7 was lost because a process change (LHe load sequencing and load speed) uncovered a new failure mode (solid LOX formation within CoPV weave) in the upper stage.

I thought AMOS-7 was lost during a test, not a launch.  There were exploring a faster LOX load sequence.  It wasn't the LOX load sequence they had been using in previous launches or that they planned to use in the AMOS-7 launch.  It was a new data point.

I'm imaging a graph with one axis being fill time and another axis being perhaps pressure and yet another being temperature.  This was just a combination of conditions that they hadn't tried before.

Quote
That was not the first launch to use that process change, and there were opportunities to review past load sequences and pick up fibre break noise from the accelerometer telemetry just as it was picked up for AMOS-7.

If I understand you, you're saying that after the AMOS-7 accident, they discovered that they could detect "fibre break noise" in the right circumstances.  But I'm guessing that they were not looking to detect any such thing before the accident.

I don't think they should be blamed for not looking for "fibre break noise" in earlier LOX loadings.  I suspect it's only because of the accident that we know that this is something to look for.

I didnít know there was an AMOS 7. How come Spacecom didnít make that satellite as a backup for AMOS 6, but rather mount it on Falcon 9 only for it to be lost in the test failure?

AMOS-7 was originally launched as AsiaSat 8 on a F9 v 1.1 on on 5 August 2014 - In 2017 the sat was leased to Spacecom and renamed AMOS-7, The sat is in orbit and operational.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AsiaSat_8

Obviously the post meant the ill-fated AMOS-6

I said that as a joke so as to not sound rude while pointing out the minor error.
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Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #87 on: 10/14/2023 12:17 am »
"Fool me once: shame on you. Fool me twice: shame on me."

If this situation was a surprise to SpaceX, then they learned a lesson. Going forward, they need to factor the opportunity costs of the foregone launches into the price of any launch that has this constraint. NASA can choose to either relax the constraint or pay the premium.

Offline meekGee

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #88 on: 10/14/2023 04:37 am »
"Fool me once: shame on you. Fool me twice: shame on me."

If this situation was a surprise to SpaceX, then they learned a lesson. Going forward, they need to factor the opportunity costs of the foregone launches into the price of any launch that has this constraint. NASA can choose to either relax the constraint or pay the premium.
I doubt it was a surprise...  but yeah, they should, I like the idea.
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Offline Rebel44

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #89 on: 10/15/2023 03:24 pm »

That's an explanation for the content of this thread, I'm looking for an explanation of what information there is in flight n-1 that informs risk decisions about flight n, but that isn't available from flight n-2, n-3, n-4....

A new failure
And if you postpone the Starlink flight to after Psyche - how does that help?



3) But another possibility is that the Starlink Falcon 9 has a defect not present in the Psyche Falcon Heavy.  In this case, the anomaly investigation might push the Psyche launch out beyond the end of its launch period only to find the Psyche launch vehicle is clean.  Weíd incur a 15-month slip and tens of millions in extra expense for nothing.


Prevents from have to go before Congress, when Psyche buys it and there was problem in the previous launch but the data wasn't reviewed.

It also would affect insurance rates on commercial mission.

IMO, there is a fault in this argument.

Scenario: Let's say that the upper stage for the Psyche and Starlink 6-22 shared a common fault which only would be discovered after the hypothetical failure of the Psyche launch - I am pretty sure that it would also result in everyone being dragged into Congressional hearings - with one of the questions at that point being why was the launch of Starlink 6-22 delayed when it would have provided at least data about any serious issue(s).

Offline joek

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #90 on: 10/15/2023 03:54 pm »
IMO, there is a fault in this argument.
...

Not sure there is a fault in the argument, just not well articulated. Alternate scenario: Psyche and planned SpaceX launches (e.g., Starlink 6-22) shared differences from prior launches. NASA wants to ensure those differences do not impact Psyche. So they look for the latest data on which to evaluate the difference and potential impact to Psyche. Seems reasonable. Jim might have provided a clue there ...
the launch vehicles are not static.  These are not the same design as a year ago.  Every upperstage is new.

Online steveleach

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #91 on: 10/15/2023 05:52 pm »
IMO, there is a fault in this argument.
...

Not sure there is a fault in the argument, just not well articulated. Alternate scenario: Psyche and planned SpaceX launches (e.g., Starlink 6-22) shared differences from prior launches. NASA wants to ensure those differences do not impact Psyche. So they look for the latest data on which to evaluate the difference and potential impact to Psyche. Seems reasonable. Jim might have provided a clue there ...
the launch vehicles are not static.  These are not the same design as a year ago.  Every upperstage is new.
But that would be a reason to delay Psyche until after the other launch from which they would gain more data. It can't be a reason to delay the other launch until after Psyche.

Offline mkent

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #92 on: 10/15/2023 08:19 pm »
In the good old days, the delay was no big dealÖ

There was a one-day delay to the 113th flight for a constellation with over 4,000 operational satellites.  Itís still no big deal.

Offline mn

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #93 on: 10/15/2023 08:30 pm »
In the good old days, the delay was no big dealÖ

There was a one-day delay to the 113th flight for a constellation with over 4,000 operational satellites.  Itís still no big deal.

Nobody thinks it's a big deal. (Ok if this ends up being the difference between making it to 100 this year some people will make it a big deal...)

We are just debating whether delaying the launch is logically correct. (Because we like to debate lots of things that make almost no difference in the big picture)

Offline alugobi

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #94 on: 10/15/2023 08:38 pm »
The next launch can't come soon enough.

Offline Jim

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #95 on: 10/16/2023 02:51 pm »

We are just debating whether delaying the launch is logically correct. (Because we like to debate lots of things that make almost no difference in the big picture)

If it make no difference and allows people to cover their asses, then it is logically correct.

Offline Jim

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #96 on: 10/16/2023 02:53 pm »
with one of the questions at that point being why was the launch of Starlink 6-22 delayed when it would have provided at least data about any serious issue(s).

Not a given.
« Last Edit: 10/16/2023 02:53 pm by Jim »

Offline LouScheffer

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #97 on: 10/16/2023 04:54 pm »
We are just debating whether delaying the launch is logically correct. (Because we like to debate lots of things that make almost no difference in the big picture)
If it make no difference and allows people to cover their asses, then it is logically correct.
Except delaying the Starlink launch doesn't even accomplish this.  Assume Psyche fails, and the Starlink launch could have foretold this  -  the situation where ass-covering is needed.   Then NASA managers will get hauled before Congress, and asked why they delayed the launch of Starlink beyond Psyche, thus ruling out the possibility of even a blatant error (like a second stage failure) being found.

Offline eriblo

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #98 on: 10/16/2023 05:01 pm »
Reading the whole thread in one go some posters have touched on it but to summarize:

Three relevant cases when there is not enough time to fully review launch N-1 before launch N which has a specific launch window:

A) N-1 and N have a common failure mode which is found without full review.

B) N-1 has a failure mode which is found without full review but N does not. However, confirming that will make N miss the window.

C) N-1 and N have a common failure mode that would only have been found after a full review and which causes the loss of N.

While A and B are important for the mission, C is only important for the political fallout.


If the probability of A is lower than that of (B or C)1 it makes logical sense to delay N-1 after N. This is not at all unreasonable for a mature but slowly evolving launch system.


1After considering the cost of delaying to the next window and the political "cost" of C.
« Last Edit: 10/16/2023 05:12 pm by eriblo »

Offline Jim

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches
« Reply #99 on: 10/16/2023 05:07 pm »
We are just debating whether delaying the launch is logically correct. (Because we like to debate lots of things that make almost no difference in the big picture)
If it make no difference

and allows people to cover their asses, then it is logically correct.
Except delaying the Starlink launch doesn't even accomplish this.  Assume Psyche fails, and the Starlink launch could have foretold this  -  the situation where ass-covering is needed.   Then NASA managers will get hauled before Congress, and asked why they delayed the launch of Starlink beyond Psyche, thus ruling out the possibility of even a blatant error (like a second stage failure) being found.

Wrong.  The premise is that the previous launch canít be reviewed without delaying Psyche.  There is no way to review the previous.

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