Author Topic: Reuters: SpaceX safety investigation  (Read 14108 times)

Offline thespacecow

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Re: Reuters: SpaceX safety investigation
« Reply #40 on: 11/13/2023 01:24 am »

Oh really? Who else launched 1,500 tons of rocket hardware per year, performed half dozen LRE firing per day, built a SHLV launch site and factory from the ground up and produced around 1,000 tons of SHLV hardware per year? Let's see some names.

Number of units is relevant and not mass to orbit.  Otherwise, the one launch per year of SLS would matter.


You're just grasping at straws, of course the mass of the unit would matter, moving a 100t spaceship is a lot more likely to cause injury than moving a piece of plastic toy, that's just basic physics.

And yes, one launch per year of SLS does matter, I never claimed it didn't. But one SLS launch only put ~90t to orbit, if we assume SLS team is similar in size to SpaceX's Falcon team, and SLS team has a lower injury rate of 0.8, while SpaceX team has higher injury rate of 2.0, then SLS team has 2.8 times more injury than SpaceX Falcon team on a per ton to orbit basis, since Falcon launched 629t to orbit in 2022. Of course this is based on 2022 numbers, SLS team's record is going to be a lot worse in 2023 since they didn't launch anything, while SpaceX has launched more than 1,000 tons.

Oh, and the "to orbit" part matters too, because actually testing and launching the thing is also dangerous. Your missiles production example is totally not comparable to what SpaceX is doing because:
1. those building the missiles did not test fire them;
2. those building the missiles did not build the equipment that launches them, the launch equipment would be built by aircraft part manufacturers, whose injury rate is a lot higher than 0.8;
3. those building the missile did not launch them, that would be the job of the USAF, whose injury rate is a lot higher still.
« Last Edit: 11/13/2023 03:03 pm by Chris Bergin »

Offline ThatOldJanxSpirit

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Re: Reuters: SpaceX safety investigation
« Reply #41 on: 11/13/2023 06:28 am »
Risk assessment is complicated. Comparative risk assessment is nearly impossible.

OSHA accident rates donít capture high consequence low probability events, these are addressed is safety assessments. Already we are only talking about half the safety picture.

Mass to orbit is irrelevant, as is the number of units manufactured.

What matters is the inherent hazard of the tasks each individual undertakes and the controls in place to protect them.

I would expect munitions production to have low OSHA accident rates because it is a highly controlled repetitive task carried out in a stable process.

I would expect Boca Chica to have much higher accident rates because it performs just about every hazardous operation known to man with ad-hoc arrangements and with constant change.

The Reuters article rightly identifies instances where SpaceX failed to adequately control hazards. We should not attempt to defend this.

Frankly Iím amazed that Reuters didnít find more.  I would expect managers of the calibre and background of Leuders and Gerst to be driving improvements. Iíd also note that we are seeing improved facilities, more automation and proper work access platforms. Although the driver is most likely to improve production, this should also naturally bring down accident rates.

Offline woods170

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Re: Reuters: SpaceX safety investigation
« Reply #42 on: 11/13/2023 07:55 am »
<snip>
Frankly Iím amazed that Reuters didnít find more.  I would expect managers of the calibre and background of Leuders and Gerst to be driving improvements. Iíd also note that we are seeing improved facilities, more automation and proper work access platforms. Although the driver is most likely to improve production, this should also naturally bring down accident rates.

The move away from improvised working areas in glorified tents to well-designed work areas in fixed buildings is almost guaranteed to bring down the accident/injury rate. One of the reasons why Boca has such a high number is that it not only is a place where very large orbital rockets are constructed in substantial numbers, but also it is (still) a construction site where large buildings are in the process of being constructed. The latter always carry substantially higher risk of injury.
Same for the OLS/OLM. Heavy construction work has been going on there for years, whilst also supporting launch and testing operations. Naturally the accident/injury rate is going to be substantially higher when those two sets of activities are combined. As evidenced by the accident/injury rate at KSC. It's much lower in recent years because only launch and testing operations are performed there. Major construction ended with the completion of LC-39A. It picked up in a low tempo when OLS-2 started construction, but that has paused again. Now there is some work being done at SLC-40 (for the crew accesss tower) but again that won't last long. Unlike what we see in Boca, where heavy construction of new facilities will go hand in hand with SS/SH construction, testing and launch operations for many more years to come.

Offline jak Kennedy

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Re: Reuters: SpaceX safety investigation
« Reply #43 on: 11/13/2023 08:52 am »
Weapons production (guided missile)
AIM-7 Sparrow   70,000
AIM-9 Sidewinder  110,000   
AIM-120 AMRAAM  20,000   1200 per year
AGM-65 Maverick  70,000
AGM-88 HARM   23,000
AGM-158 JASSM  8,000
AGM-84 Harpoon 10,000
AGM-114 Hellfire 100,000+
 Standard 15,000+
FIM-92 Stinger 45,000+
MIM-104 Patriot 10,000+       
FGM-148 Javelin 45,000+
BGM-71 TOW 77,000+
MRLS 200,000 +

All made in completely different environment than SpaceX manufactures. Perhaps when Starship fits on a bench and workers can work at waist height then they will be comparable.
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Offline edzieba

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Re: Reuters: SpaceX safety investigation
« Reply #44 on: 11/13/2023 10:20 am »
The idea that any article that suggests SpaceX could do something better (because other companies have demonstrated it can be done better) is a 'hit piece' is laughable.

As is the idea that responsibility for safety can be delegated to individual workers. Both history and common sense shows this has both never worked in the past, and why it has not worked: if performance metrics exist but safety is not incorporated into them (which it is not if there is no standard for safety that all must meet) then anyone who does a job in a safe manner is actively penalised for it vs. a worker who flaunts safety. Plus, no PPE will protect you from some yahoo 60m above you dropping a wrench because safety tethers are optional and he thinks they're annoying - individual responsibility for safety does not work when the number of people on a job site is greater than 1.

Rather than yelling at anyone hwo suggests improvement is possible, instead improve.

Offline Hobbes-22

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Re: Reuters: SpaceX safety investigation
« Reply #45 on: 11/13/2023 11:00 am »
Basically every injury could be traced back to something you shouldíve done but didnít. ...

I was at a Great Lakes shipyard in the 2010's one day. A fellow worker was walking through a corridor that contained equipment that had been completed, inspected and signed off on months ago. A hidden internal flaw in a spring caused it to break, resulting in a piece of metal swinging into the corridor as he walked by. The metal punched through his hard hat, fractured his skull and damaged his brain such that he lost use of one side of his body, lost the ability to speak, lost half his vision and hearing and most of his intellectual capabilities. He was wearing the required hard hat, eye protection, ear protection, flame resistant clothing and steel-toed boots. So what is it that he should have done but didn't?

Congratulations, you found an exception. IIRC over 90% of accidents are caused by human error, so that's what the majority of safety measures are intended to prevent.

Offline meekGee

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Re: Reuters: SpaceX safety investigation
« Reply #46 on: 11/13/2023 12:06 pm »

And yes, one launch per year of SLS does matter, I never claimed it didn't.


Yeah, and I am the one grasping a straws.   Tonnage to orbit has no bearing on matter.


Oh, and the "to orbit" part matters too, because actually testing and launching the thing is also dangerous. Your missiles production example is totally not comparable to what SpaceX is doing because:
\

wrong again.
To orbit does not matter.  Of course, "My" missile does not compare to what SpaceX is doing because all SpaceX workers (minus the few that work FTS) do not handle energetic materials.  Everyone of the 1000's of missiles I listed have ordnance, warheads and solid motors.
Yup. It’s definitely true the solid rocket motor propellant used by many launch vehicles is pretty hazardous, as can be seen from the PEPCON disaster in 1988 that killed 2 and injured hundreds or the 1997 one with another fatality. Or the 2003 fatality at a Pratt and Whitney explosion. Or the 2 fatalities of Amtech workers at Redstone Arsenal in 2010. It’s definitely true solid rocket propellant is dangerous.

And yes, one launch per year of SLS does matter, I never claimed it didn't.


Yeah, and I am the one grasping a straws.   Tonnage to orbit has no bearing on matter.


Oh, and the "to orbit" part matters too, because actually testing and launching the thing is also dangerous. Your missiles production example is totally not comparable to what SpaceX is doing because:
\

wrong again.
To orbit does not matter.  Of course, "My" missile does not compare to what SpaceX is doing because all SpaceX workers (minus the few that work FTS) do not handle energetic materials.  Everyone of the 1000's of missiles I listed have ordnance, warheads and solid motors.
Yes, some safety problems come from choice of technology, not only from safety culture.

Since there's no need to use solids for orbital launch, how does that help your case?

ULA employees handle energetic materials all the time, and ULA doesn't get points for that, since it's a needless risk.



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Offline meekGee

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Re: Reuters: SpaceX safety investigation
« Reply #47 on: 11/13/2023 12:16 pm »
Watching Boca Chica operate, it looks to me like a giant accident waiting to happen, everywhere I look.

It's all ad-hoc, everything keeps changing, they've been pushing deadlines for years upon years, working at night, in bad weather, etc.

And yet - they are relatively safe.

It's a great testament to how good people and common sense are equally effective as rigid safety procedures - and allow for much higher productivity.

ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline spacenut

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Re: Reuters: SpaceX safety investigation
« Reply #48 on: 11/13/2023 12:19 pm »
I would like to know how many minor accidents, such as a cut, bruise, pulled muscle, or such that was reported.  Also, how many lives have been lost, or permanent injuries?  Many minor accidents are caused by the person themselves not using common sense or practices, or the right tool for the job.  I still think this is a hit piece released right before this Starship/Superheavy launch.  Also, the more work you do, they more accidents they will have, but 99% will be minor and not enough to shut down a job. 

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Reuters: SpaceX safety investigation
« Reply #49 on: 11/13/2023 01:12 pm »
I would like to know how many minor accidents, such as a cut, bruise, pulled muscle, or such that was reported.  Also, how many lives have been lost, or permanent injuries?  Many minor accidents are caused by the person themselves not using common sense or practices, or the right tool for the job.  I still think this is a hit piece released right before this Starship/Superheavy launch.  Also, the more work you do, they more accidents they will have, but 99% will be minor and not enough to shut down a job.
Most minor accidents eg cuts, bruises are caused by actually doing physical work.

Offline rfdesigner

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Re: Reuters: SpaceX safety investigation
« Reply #50 on: 11/13/2023 01:43 pm »
The idea that any article that suggests SpaceX could do something better (because other companies have demonstrated it can be done better) is a 'hit piece' is laughable.

As is the idea that responsibility for safety can be delegated to individual workers. Both history and common sense shows this has both never worked in the past, and why it has not worked: if performance metrics exist but safety is not incorporated into them (which it is not if there is no standard for safety that all must meet) then anyone who does a job in a safe manner is actively penalised for it vs. a worker who flaunts safety. Plus, no PPE will protect you from some yahoo 60m above you dropping a wrench because safety tethers are optional and he thinks they're annoying - individual responsibility for safety does not work when the number of people on a job site is greater than 1.

Rather than yelling at anyone hwo suggests improvement is possible, instead improve.

I have gray hair..  I've knocked around a bit.

I live not far away from Salisbury UK.  After the poisonings, the place was flooded with press.  None of them wanted to know what was happing.  All of them came with a pre-conceived story and so were looking for any evidence that would back up their claims that everything was so so scary.  For the police that had to deal with it all, and the businesses that had to shut it was not a good time, but for everyone else, life just went on..  but the press weren't in the slightest bit interested, they wanted to show everyone was terrified...  99% B.S.

Also many years ago I worked for a company which was doing some business with British Aerospace, we were designing some kit, they were going to make it. part of the deal was a share swap, so they took a very minority interest in the firm.
A journalist from the most boring paper in the world, the Financial Times, came down asking about rumors of us being taken over by BAe.. no no, we explained, it's a minority share swap, their voice is heard but they don't get control.

Next day in the FT: "Take over by BAe"

If you read it in the press, it's probably a lie.

Online Chris Bergin

Re: Reuters: SpaceX safety investigation
« Reply #51 on: 11/13/2023 03:10 pm »
Way too many crap posts in this thread. Trimmed and locked as there's clearly no value in the replies, and a lot are offensive which have no place on this site. If you want to post crap links to the likes of "The Salon" - go on reddit.

Also, some of you need to understand how some media work. SpaceX announced they are close to the second launch of Starship. Out comes an anti-SpaceX "Investigation" article (and regurgitated by "Business Insider." Editorial will have been sat on this article for months waiting for max impact.
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