Author Topic: Discussion of NASA data review delaying SpaceX launches  (Read 30208 times)

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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[Edit to add context from Psyche mission thread - SpaceX originally delayed the F9 Starlink 6-22 launch because there would not have been enough time for NASA to analyse the launch data prior to the following FH Psyche launch]

I find it unfortunate that they have to analyse every prior Falcon launch. Of course I understand why (if there was an indicator of a possible issue that wasn’t analysed and anything ever happened there’d be hell to pay).

But they have way more data on Falcon than any other launch vehicle NASA uses. They have also analysed all prior FH launches. It saddens me that data from 71 prior launches this year wouldn’t be enough and it would have to be 72 if Starlink 6-22 launches.
« Last Edit: 10/12/2023 05:19 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline cpushack

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #1 on: 10/11/2023 09:32 pm »
I find it unfortunate that they have to analyse every prior Falcon launch. Of course I understand why (if there was an indicator of a possible issue that wasn’t analysed and anything ever happened there’d be hell to pay).

But they have way more data on Falcon than any other launch vehicle NASA uses. They have also analysed all prior FH launches. It saddens me that data from 71 prior launches this year wouldn’t be enough and it would have to be 72 if Starlink 6-22 launches.

Rules likely from the days of ULA launching a few missions a year, and being a bureaucracy, they can't update or flex them

Offline Jim

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #2 on: 10/11/2023 09:34 pm »
I find it unfortunate that they have to analyse every prior Falcon launch. Of course I understand why (if there was an indicator of a possible issue that wasn’t analysed and anything ever happened there’d be hell to pay).

But they have way more data on Falcon than any other launch vehicle NASA uses. They have also analysed all prior FH launches. It saddens me that data from 71 prior launches this year wouldn’t be enough and it would have to be 72 if Starlink 6-22 launches.

It has nothing to do with the amount of data.  NASA wants the data of the last mission before theirs.

Offline mn

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #3 on: 10/11/2023 10:06 pm »
I find it unfortunate that they have to analyse every prior Falcon launch. Of course I understand why (if there was an indicator of a possible issue that wasn’t analysed and anything ever happened there’d be hell to pay).

But they have way more data on Falcon than any other launch vehicle NASA uses. They have also analysed all prior FH launches. It saddens me that data from 71 prior launches this year wouldn’t be enough and it would have to be 72 if Starlink 6-22 launches.

It has nothing to do with the amount of data.  NASA wants the data of the last mission before theirs.

Oh yes we know they 'want' it.

But does that 'want' hold up to logical scrutiny when applied in to the current context?

I'm with FST that it does NOT hold up.

If we need the data from the latest launch before we go ahead, then logically if the latest launch didn't launch yet we should have to wait for it to launch. (yes I know that doesn't make any sense, and that is exactly my point)

(The rule made sense once upon a time)

Online abaddon

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #4 on: 10/11/2023 10:16 pm »
I find it unfortunate that they have to analyse every prior Falcon launch. Of course I understand why (if there was an indicator of a possible issue that wasn’t analysed and anything ever happened there’d be hell to pay).

But they have way more data on Falcon than any other launch vehicle NASA uses. They have also analysed all prior FH launches. It saddens me that data from 71 prior launches this year wouldn’t be enough and it would have to be 72 if Starlink 6-22 launches.
Would it sadden you more if they have the option to look at the data, choose not to, and miss something as a result that causes the launch to fail?

I understand it can look like a burden, but having more flights with more data is an opportunity no other launcher has or has ever had.  They're just doing their due diligence to take advantage of that.
« Last Edit: 10/11/2023 10:19 pm by abaddon »

Online abaddon

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #5 on: 10/11/2023 10:21 pm »
I find it unfortunate that they have to analyse every prior Falcon launch. Of course I understand why (if there was an indicator of a possible issue that wasn’t analysed and anything ever happened there’d be hell to pay).

But they have way more data on Falcon than any other launch vehicle NASA uses. They have also analysed all prior FH launches. It saddens me that data from 71 prior launches this year wouldn’t be enough and it would have to be 72 if Starlink 6-22 launches.

It has nothing to do with the amount of data.  NASA wants the data of the last mission before theirs.
But does that 'want' hold up to logical scrutiny when applied in to the current context? [...] I'm with FST that it does NOT hold up.
And you're basing this on what knowledge or insight?  Are you sitting in on the data reviews?  Do you have any idea what you're talking about?  If you're going to slag NASA for this please let us know what credentials and involvement you have in this process.

The arm-chair quarterbacking around here can be really something else.

Offline mn

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #6 on: 10/11/2023 10:25 pm »
I find it unfortunate that they have to analyse every prior Falcon launch. Of course I understand why (if there was an indicator of a possible issue that wasn’t analysed and anything ever happened there’d be hell to pay).

But they have way more data on Falcon than any other launch vehicle NASA uses. They have also analysed all prior FH launches. It saddens me that data from 71 prior launches this year wouldn’t be enough and it would have to be 72 if Starlink 6-22 launches.

It has nothing to do with the amount of data.  NASA wants the data of the last mission before theirs.
But does that 'want' hold up to logical scrutiny when applied in to the current context? [...] I'm with FST that it does NOT hold up.
And you're basing this on what knowledge or insight?  Are you sitting in on the data reviews?  Do you have any idea what you're talking about?  If you're going to slag NASA for this please let us know what credentials and involvement you have in this process.

The arm-chair quarterbacking around here can be really something else.

A logical explanation would be far more appreciated.

Edited - rephrased original text
« Last Edit: 10/11/2023 10:41 pm by mn »

Offline mn

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #7 on: 10/11/2023 11:30 pm »
Let's try the logic.

Psyche is scheduled to launch on the 12th, mission xyz is scheduled for the 6th, so the rules dictate that we must review the data from launch xyz before giving the go for launch for Psyche. So far so good.

Now launch xyz gets delayed to the 10th and there won't be enough time to analyze the data before the Psyche launch. We now have two choices.

A: Delay launch xyz.
B: Proceed with the launch of xyz and get only partial data (we'll know within a few minutes if the launch was successful or not.
(For fun I'll add option C), proceed with launch of xyz but don't even look at any data, since no data is better than partial data)

Either option will result in launching Psyche without the benefit of the data from mission xyz.

Now which choice makes more sense?

If all you need is to satisfy a rule that says we must have data from the most recent launch then option A makes sense.

But if you want the most possible data before the Psyche launch then option B is preferable as it would give you partial data rather than no data with option A.

Now if you can explain the flaw in my logic I'll be happy to hear.

Thank you

Offline Jim

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #8 on: 10/11/2023 11:50 pm »
I find it unfortunate that they have to analyse every prior Falcon launch. Of course I understand why (if there was an indicator of a possible issue that wasn’t analysed and anything ever happened there’d be hell to pay).

But they have way more data on Falcon than any other launch vehicle NASA uses. They have also analysed all prior FH launches. It saddens me that data from 71 prior launches this year wouldn’t be enough and it would have to be 72 if Starlink 6-22 launches.

Rules likely from the days of ULA launching a few missions a year, and being a bureaucracy, they can't update or flex them

wrong

Offline Jim

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #9 on: 10/11/2023 11:57 pm »

Oh yes we know they 'want' it.

But does that 'want' hold up to logical scrutiny when applied in to the current context?

I'm with FST that it does NOT hold up.

If we need the data from the latest launch before we go ahead, then logically if the latest launch didn't launch yet we should have to wait for it to launch. (yes I know that doesn't make any sense, and that is exactly my point)

(The rule made sense once upon a time)

wrong.  It doesn't hold up.  The same applies to major tests of components

The whole reason for telemetry is the next mission.

Offline Remes

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #10 on: 10/12/2023 12:01 am »
The whole reason for telemetry is the next mission.
not if the last one didn't make it.

Offline ulm_atms

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #11 on: 10/12/2023 12:04 am »
I find it unfortunate that they have to analyse every prior Falcon launch. Of course I understand why (if there was an indicator of a possible issue that wasn’t analysed and anything ever happened there’d be hell to pay).

But they have way more data on Falcon than any other launch vehicle NASA uses. They have also analysed all prior FH launches. It saddens me that data from 71 prior launches this year wouldn’t be enough and it would have to be 72 if Starlink 6-22 launches.

Rules likely from the days of ULA launching a few missions a year, and being a bureaucracy, they can't update or flex them

wrong
Any chance for a little more info for that answer?  Do you know the reason(s) NASA would ask this of a rocket that has so much history at this point?  I understand the certifications needed for payloads at the begining...but SpaceX already has those so what's up with them needed the last few launches of data at this point?

Offline alugobi

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #12 on: 10/12/2023 12:10 am »
I'm confused.

Offline jimvela

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #13 on: 10/12/2023 03:25 am »
The whole reason for telemetry is the next mission.
not if the last one didn't make it.
ESPECIALLY if the last one didn't make it. 

But, the rules around how to handle telemetry reviews needs to catch up with the realities very high cadence launch vehicle families.

Online LouScheffer

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #14 on: 10/12/2023 03:37 am »
It has nothing to do with the amount of data.  NASA wants the data of the last mission before theirs.
Oh yes we know they 'want' it.

But does that 'want' hold up to logical scrutiny when applied in to the current context?
When the time between launches becomes less than the time to do a review to NASA's satisfaction, this rule becomes impossible to follow (because while NASA is reviewing the results from one launch, the next launch takes place.  This in turn needs to be reviewed, and while that's happening another launch takes place, and so on.)

As an extreme example, it's not possible for commercial airplane flights to wait until all previous flights have completed, even though this could be considered optimal for safety.

We may be getting close to this limit already.  I don't know how long NASA would like to review the results of the last launch, but SpaceX is launching about every 4 days.  If NASA would like a week to review the last launch they are already screwed.  If NASA would like to keep this rule, they will need to continually speed up their reviews to keep ahead of the increasing launch cadence. 

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #15 on: 10/12/2023 06:24 am »
It has nothing to do with the amount of data.  NASA wants the data of the last mission before theirs.

NASA will know immediately if the proceeding mission was a success, put payload(s) into the correct orbit(s) etc. They will also know if there were any major issues that didn’t impact the mission (such as a booster engine failure that was compensated for).

So time for data review can only be for more subtle potential indicators of problems that didn’t affect the outcome of the last mission, but conceivably might a future one. Clearly that’s a non-zero probability risk.

I think the number of previous missions that have been analysed does have a bearing on how big that risk is. (Although I accept that it’s complicated by the extent to which SpaceX continually makes tweaks/improvements, for which there could be more limited data available.) There are lots of other risks this data analysis doesn’t cover - such as an issue with the specific 2nd stage on the NASA mission that has of course never flown before.

So for me the issue comes down to, at what point does the risk of not analysing the last flight in detail  become small enough that it makes no meaningful difference to the overall risk for the next mission?

Offline meekGee

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #16 on: 10/12/2023 10:42 am »
Good discussion, I was noticing the same thing.

The whole purpose of the review is defeated if the earlier launch is actually postponed to avoid breaking the rule.

If the critical mission is mission "X", you should be able to launch mission Y right before it, if the alternative is to postpone Y so it's after X.

Because then you won't get the data anyway...

Sounds like nobody wants to be in a position where some flaw was detectable in Y, but there will always be some mission Z that goes after X, and what there was a clue in Z?  It never ends.

Agreed that this is a leftover rule from when launches were typically a month apart, and on rare occasions they'd come close.
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline mn

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #17 on: 10/12/2023 11:37 am »
It has nothing to do with the amount of data.  NASA wants the data of the last mission before theirs.
Oh yes we know they 'want' it.

But does that 'want' hold up to logical scrutiny when applied in to the current context?
....
As an extreme example, it's not possible for commercial airplane flights to wait until all previous flights have completed, even though this could be considered optimal for safety.
....

You are missing an important detail in your example.

Regular flights can continue as usual, but when a very important flight comes up then all flights that cannot complete before this very important flight departs have to be delayed.

/s

Offline Jim

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #18 on: 10/12/2023 12:08 pm »
It has nothing to do with the amount of data.  NASA wants the data of the last mission before theirs.
Oh yes we know they 'want' it.

But does that 'want' hold up to logical scrutiny when applied in to the current context?
....
As an extreme example, it's not possible for commercial airplane flights to wait until all previous flights have completed, even though this could be considered optimal for safety.
....

You are missing an important detail in your example.

Regular flights can continue as usual, but when a very important flight comes up then all flights that cannot complete before this very important flight departs have to be delayed.


Airliner analogies do not apply at this timeframe

Offline ThatOldJanxSpirit

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Re: Discussion of NASA data review delaying launches
« Reply #19 on: 10/12/2023 12:25 pm »
I find it unfortunate that they have to analyse every prior Falcon launch. Of course I understand why (if there was an indicator of a possible issue that wasn’t analysed and anything ever happened there’d be hell to pay).

But they have way more data on Falcon than any other launch vehicle NASA uses. They have also analysed all prior FH launches. It saddens me that data from 71 prior launches this year wouldn’t be enough and it would have to be 72 if Starlink 6-22 launches.
Would it sadden you more if they have the option to look at the data, choose not to, and miss something as a result that causes the launch to fail?

I understand it can look like a burden, but having more flights with more data is an opportunity no other launcher has or has ever had.  They're just doing their due diligence to take advantage of that.

But delaying that flight so that there is no data for you not to look at (yeah I know) is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing ‘la la la la’ very loudly.

SpaceX has to delay a flight. Psyche gets less data than if that flight actually flew. Some middle managers get to cover their derričres against hypothetical criticism.

Not good.

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