Author Topic: DART Accident report  (Read 6397 times)

Offline Jim

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DART Accident report
« on: 05/16/2006 11:55 am »
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/dart/main/index.html

Another feather to go in the hat of MSFC, along with X-33, X-34, X-37, SLI, etc

Offline Propforce

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Re: DART Accident report
« Reply #1 on: 05/16/2006 08:37 pm »
Good MIB report.  NASA and particularly MSFC should take these recommendations to heart, in light of this major task they're taking on for the CEV and the CLV.

Offline Paul Howard

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Re: DART Accident report
« Reply #2 on: 05/17/2006 04:50 pm »
Oops comes to mind.

Offline Ducati94

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RE: DART Accident report
« Reply #3 on: 05/17/2006 11:41 pm »
All under the leadership of Mad Dan G. And the cheaper, better, faster mantra.  or (build a little, fly a little and crash a little). I think with a human rated CLV MSFC may break the budget but will stand strong  on meeting requirements .

Offline Jim

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RE: DART Accident report
« Reply #4 on: 05/18/2006 01:29 am »
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Ducati94 - 17/5/2006  7:28 PM

All under the leadership of Mad Dan G. And the cheaper, better, faster mantra.  or (build a little, fly a little and crash a little). I think with a human rated CLV MSFC may break the budget but will stand strong  on meeting requirements .

Sean was in office for much of the development,  but it was the fine technical management of MSFC that was the reason for the lack of sucess.

Offline Propforce

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RE: DART Accident report
« Reply #5 on: 05/18/2006 04:40 am »
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Jim - 17/5/2006  6:16 PM
Sean was in office for much of the development,  but it was the fine technical management of MSFC that was the reason for the lack of sucess.


Hey now, that DART program manager is a personal friend of mine.  But I still can not find fault in your statement ;)


Offline Ducati94

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RE: DART Accident report
« Reply #6 on: 05/18/2006 12:52 pm »
You are correct if all the right decisions were made the mission would have been successful. My point was in the context the mission was selected it was a high risk mission (an attempt to use the X- plane method vs. the human rated method).  The report points out that has the visibility and importance of DART changed the method of managing risk did not.  Several technology demonstrators were selected and this was the only one made it to orbit. One of the objectives for SLI was to grow the people and develop the skills across NASA required for developing new space craft.

Offline publiusr

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Re: DART Accident report
« Reply #7 on: 05/18/2006 06:56 pm »
We just had the wrong folks working at MSFC. How many new craft has Goddard EVER built? We still have good folks here in North Alabama.

Offline yinzer

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RE: DART Accident report
« Reply #8 on: 05/18/2006 07:06 pm »
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Ducati94 - 18/5/2006  5:39 AM

You are correct if all the right decisions were made the mission would have been successful. My point was in the context the mission was selected it was a high risk mission (an attempt to use the X- plane method vs. the human rated method).  The report points out that has the visibility and importance of DART changed the method of managing risk did not.

I guess that's a good thing, because the typical way of changing the method of managing risk for an X-plane has been to pile on requirements until you can't afford it then cancel it (X-34), or to hand it off to someone else who is less risk-averse (X-37 / DARPA).

At least now there are some people at MSFC with actual flight hardware experience, and they've learned the "repurposing flight software is trickier than you think" lesson a lot less embarrassingly than the Ariane V folks did.

It also looks like the AVGS sensor more or less worked, which is useful to know before flying Orbital Express.  Now if only they had the opportunity to try a couple more times before moving on to the CLV...
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Offline Jim

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RE: DART Accident report
« Reply #9 on: 05/18/2006 07:21 pm »
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yinzer - 18/5/2006  2:53 PM


At least now there are some people at MSFC with actual flight hardware experience, and they've learned the "repurposing flight software is trickier than you think" lesson a lot less embarrassingly than the Ariane V folks did.

They had a contractor working for them and what work they did (MSFC) mucked it up

Offline yinzer

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RE: DART Accident report
« Reply #10 on: 05/18/2006 07:46 pm »
Sure.  There's a great powerpoint up on spaceref somewhere about attempts to figure out how to drop the X-37 from the B-52, where the author (from DFRC I think) really lays into the MSFC folk.  But if they're going to get better, they need a) to try and b) to identify what's not working for them.

And it may be that they need to try something not important enough that it doesn't have the "must work" pressure, and simple enough that they can succeed, just to build up some confidence and experience.  DARPA and the AFRL seem to be having success with this approach - they fly STP and XSS satellites on a pretty regular basis, and have built up to a pretty good capability with XSS-11.
California 2008 - taking rights from people and giving rights to chickens.

Offline Propforce

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Re: DART Accident report
« Reply #11 on: 05/18/2006 09:10 pm »
Well... I've always stated that one learn more from a failure than a success.  Unfortunately a space experiment is an expensive place to learn from your mistakes, especially if those could have been avoided if you had applied the "lessons learned".  From the MIB report, it appears that MSFC did not apply many good systems engineering practice.  

This maybe off-topic, but it goes back to prove my point in the CLV particular thread.  If MSFC has enough difficulties, as is, in "managing" a R&D program designed by contractors, what makes everyone think that MSFC is capable on taking the "design" of a CLV themselves, especially considering that they have never done it before????  

The CLV is too important for NASA's future.  It's far better to leave the design in the hands of experienced people.



Offline spacedreams

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Re: DART Accident report
« Reply #12 on: 05/19/2006 04:26 am »
On one hand, the general reaction to this mission goes straight to the heart of what is wrong with the American view on space exploration. The purpose of DART was experimental. They specifically wanted to bring in new blood to try new concepts and do it as cheap as possible, and to learn. That is what they did. Unfortunately somewhere along the line the stakes changed but the requirements didn't. Could they have been more successfull? Probably, but at a cost which wasn't the point. If we push the American space industry into a corner where failure is never an option we will never succeed and we will not be able to afford it. If we only flew missions that were 100% safe we would never fly. Is that really what we want? Of course when humans are involved the expectations should be much higher but with DART, why???? It just became a political animal. I personally don't blame them for not being perfect and I think their "failure" was much more valuable that a zero risk, bankrupt, never-flown program.

However, on the other hand, I do agree that we should take a close look at the skills and experience we have available at MSFC before we throw the future of manned space launches at them exclusively. I have a great deal of respect for Von Braun and his crew and the miracles they worked at the dawn of the space age. But those guys are not there anymore. Does NASA alone have the systems and personel to design a spacecraft today? From my experience, that is very questionable. Along with that, the ATK/Horowitz deal does not seem on the up and up either (and it is not like he left on good terms after his last flight anyhow). Over the past couple decades the human spaceflight side of NASA has been much more focussed on "project management" and not really honing their engineering/science skills. The majority if not all of the design and build work is done by contractors.  What makes Griffin think that he has the personnel to design a vehicle through PDR and hand it over to to contractors to do the dumb manufacturing work? They simply don't have the skills in the civil servant ranks. On the other hand, there is a wide variety of commercial companies that have been developing and flying rockets for decades now. Experience matters and NASA doesn't have it without help.

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