Author Topic: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer  (Read 41569 times)

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #20 on: 04/28/2023 10:11 pm »
Well, sure, you have to use caveat words when talking about the future… and you most certainly need to do so caveating words when talking about alternate paths!
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline alugobi

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #21 on: 04/28/2023 10:40 pm »
Well, actually, I'm giving you some props for that.  You were pretty quick to latch on to Musk's prediction without any hesitation, so to see you now pulling back just a bit is to your credit. 

Edit:  so there.  Take the rest of the day off.
« Last Edit: 04/28/2023 10:42 pm by alugobi »

Offline Alvian@IDN

The fact that a rocket engineers still believes the 2024 political landing date today (too ambitious even for Apollo standard) is beyond me

Quote from: newspaper author in 1963 probably
Grumman is a toast for not finishing the LM in 1965
« Last Edit: 04/28/2023 11:06 pm by Alvian@IDN »
My parents was just being born when the Apollo program is over. Why we are still stuck in this stagnation, let's go forward again

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #23 on: 04/28/2023 11:12 pm »
Well, actually, I'm giving you some props for that.  You were pretty quick to latch on to Musk's prediction without any hesitation, so to see you now pulling back just a bit is to your credit. 

Edit:  so there.  Take the rest of the day off.
I’ve been pretty consistent that we’re, IMHO, like 6-8 months from the next flight most likely… I’m just willing to entertain the possibility of getting to a near flight ready state a lot sooner, ie ready to start static fire tests.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline matthewkantar

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #24 on: 04/29/2023 12:44 am »
Any one know/wanna guess where this guy is working now? Has a B.O. vibe to him, but he disses people working fr billionaires, so maybe not?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #25 on: 04/29/2023 02:31 am »
Any one know/wanna guess where this guy is working now? Has a B.O. vibe to him, but he disses people working fr billionaires, so maybe not?
He started a company doing GSE/launch pad services, IIRC.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Twark_Main

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #26 on: 04/29/2023 04:23 am »
The SpaceX of today (2023) can afford to do incremental rocket testing, and in fact has to with the Starship because it is so big and complex.

Easy to say when it's not your money paying for it...   ???


How is this 'proposal' anything more than "hey, I've had enough of all this pesky low-cost rapid innovation, now that I've had my fill of excitement it's time to get all OldSpace and bloated on this program...." ?   :-\
« Last Edit: 04/29/2023 04:33 am by Twark_Main »
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Offline jimvela

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #27 on: 04/29/2023 04:30 am »
Any one know/wanna guess where this guy is working now? Has a B.O. vibe to him, but he disses people working fr billionaires, so maybe not?

There's no need to guess- it's a short search away from the URL in the OP of this thread (URL authored by Ben Kellie ) to this:

https://www.launch-company.com/
Or specifically:
https://www.launch-company.com/about
« Last Edit: 04/29/2023 04:31 am by jimvela »

Offline Twark_Main

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #28 on: 04/29/2023 04:34 am »
Any one know/wanna guess where this guy is working now? Has a B.O. vibe to him, but he disses people working fr billionaires, so maybe not?

There's no need to guess- it's a short search away from the URL in the OP of this thread (URL authored by Ben Kellie ) to this:

https://www.launch-company.com/
Or specifically:
https://www.launch-company.com/about

"Oh my God it's full of [ads]"
"The search for a universal design which suits all sites, people, and situations is obviously impossible. What is possible is well designed examples of the application of universal principles." ~~ David Holmgren

Offline RoadWithoutEnd

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #29 on: 04/29/2023 04:54 am »
SpaceX also would’ve had to wait 3 more months to get the better solution installed. So if repair and finish building that solution takes no more than 3 months, then SpaceX is actually STILL ahead and they couldn’t have done better even with hindsight (although I do think extra layers of refractory cement probably would’ve been worth doing with the benefit of hindsight).

Plus, whatever solution was in work wouldn't have had the benefit of all this empirical data, so could have still been inadequate while costing more time and money to fix than what they do now.

Basically, they just have to stop Stage 0 from digging itself a Stage -1. 

The jury isn't in on all the ways the rocket was compromised by its own ignition, but initial appearances are that it's a certified beast that got most of the way to MECO even after having taking a shotgun blast of concrete magma to the gut.  So, depending on how well the OLM and OLT faired, things like reflected shockwaves and heat that normally have to inform GSE development might be a retired risk, and only the pad itself is left to deal with. 

Fix that one thing and the rest might be straightforward.
Model verification is always good. I am rather interested in the counter-question (with the image of the enormous flame diverter of Soyuz in mind):
Given the size of the rocket, has the pad worked better than assumed by people always expecting a flame diverter?

The literal pad (the ground directly beneath the OLM) was close to a worst-case scenario, but the rocket working that long despite such an incredible onslaught and resulting failures is impressive.  Whatever measures are implemented for the pad will now be better-designed than if they were just guessing about their needs without a single full-scale launch.
Walk the road without end, and all tomorrows unfold like music.

Offline matthewkantar

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #30 on: 04/29/2023 05:08 pm »
Any one know/wanna guess where this guy is working now? Has a B.O. vibe to him, but he disses people working fr billionaires, so maybe not?

There's no need to guess- it's a short search away from the URL in the OP of this thread (URL authored by Ben Kellie ) to this:

https://www.launch-company.com/
Or specifically:
https://www.launch-company.com/about

Ahhhh! Makes sense now. Went from innovator to vendor. Apologies for not clicking the links myself.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #31 on: 04/29/2023 05:18 pm »
I do think it’s a good point that a highly engineered flame trench would’ve allowed more static fires, BUT the overall dismissive tone in this article is really off-putting. I think he’s trying to distance himself from E, but geez.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline jimvela

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #32 on: 04/29/2023 05:36 pm »
I do think it’s a good point that a highly engineered flame trench would’ve allowed more static fires, BUT the overall dismissive tone in this article is really off-putting. I think he’s trying to distance himself from E, but geez.

Maybe the overall dismissive tone is bitterness for time spent "in the trenches" earlier in his career...
Or perhaps there's a relationship of his bitter and condescending tone to interacting with executives that can't bother to get engineering calculations correct or even do them (note:  probably not just one example, if in the industry for very long.)
Or maybe just really does fundamentally dislike one previous boss.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #33 on: 04/29/2023 05:38 pm »
Yeah, it’s plausible the opinion is colored by his opinion of E. Understandably, as E is kind of an a-hole getting into political culture war stuff, but it’s bad to let that color your technical arguments.
« Last Edit: 04/29/2023 05:42 pm by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline GWH

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #34 on: 04/29/2023 05:39 pm »
Enjoyed the article, nothing wrong with taking a look and questioning things.

The comparison to SLS's flight seemed a bit misplaced.  Yes it and Orion had a near perfect mission and debut - but the consequences of failure there were extremely high. Risking a bespoke multi-billion dollar capsule and the schedule of the entire Artemis program on the debut launch of a new rocket?

At this stage SpaceX can still afford to take risks and fail - but no they shouldn't look like amateurs doing it.

Time will tell what the consequences of their risks are. If the pad is good to go in months like is claimed, NBD  if the schedule shifts over 6 months then they took a bad risk.

We could very easily have been looking at 2 years of delays to proving Orion after a failed SLS and asking "How could they be so reckless".
« Last Edit: 04/29/2023 05:43 pm by GWH »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #35 on: 04/29/2023 05:43 pm »
It’s fundamental to taking a failure-forward approach that some of your mistakes will look amateurish.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline matthewkantar

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #36 on: 04/29/2023 08:19 pm »
Comparisons to SLS are okay, if one remembers they are paying ~a hundred times as much for similar engines and then throwing them away. A big part of scrappy/crappy is getting it done on the cheap. Getting it done at SLS prices will never change things.

Offline alugobi

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #37 on: 04/29/2023 08:43 pm »
Getting it done at SLS prices will never change things.
That's by design with that program.

Online Cheapchips

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #38 on: 05/01/2023 03:56 pm »
Starship may be the last chance for SpaceX engineers to make big mistakes that look really dumb. None of this stuff would be allowed on the Falcon 9 side of things.

Starship is the last hurrah for crappy or even scrappy at SpaceX.

When Starship is operationally mature, I wouldn't be surprised if they start another (s)crappy program.   It helps retain talent, attracts new employees and generally drives the company forward and all that stuff.

I don't have a specific project in mind. I'm not convinced they need to pursue an even bigger lift vehicle. There is a wealth of things that need to be done towards their multi planetary ambitions though.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2023 03:57 pm by Cheapchips »

Offline jimvela

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Re: Scrappy or crappy? Critique by former SpaceX lead engineer
« Reply #39 on: 05/01/2023 04:08 pm »
The really (S)crappy work will be if starship to Mars is successful, then the whole business of building a permanent presence on Mars will commence.

Talk about monster engineering problem...

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