Author Topic: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site  (Read 234098 times)

Offline wjbarnett

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #80 on: 11/14/2010 05:14 PM »
Wayne, you'll be perhaps glad to hear that while at the JSC Tweetup this past week I heard someone (NASA employee) say nearly exactly this same thing. (S)he said if NASA didn't change its mode of operations to allow the commercial companies to be *commercial* (ie profit other than cost+ contracts), then NASA would ruin them by restricting their speed, flexibility and innovation.
Jack
Twitter: wjackbarnett

Offline DigitalMan

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #81 on: 11/14/2010 06:35 PM »
I posted this on his blog but I don't think it has showed up yet even though other posts seem to be showing up.  Perhaps this is a more visible place to get answers.

Quote
I have a some questions:

1) I recall seeing a document (but can’t find ATM) that mentioned vehicles with more than 14 successful flights in a row to be considered human rated. Is there no consideration for demonstrated reliability?

2) The existing EELV fleet launches nuclear payloads from time to time. How do the risks and requirements of “Nuclear rating” compare to “Human rating”?

Perhaps Boeing/SpaceX should focus on commercial crew for Bigelow and allow NASA to find its own way.

edit: I think the 'document' was one of the authorization bills.  I'm not sure if the provision is in the one that has become law.
« Last Edit: 11/14/2010 06:36 PM by DigitalMan »

Offline Antares

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #82 on: 11/14/2010 09:46 PM »
I have many data points from at least 2 of the CxP projects of requirements being inserted to ensure individuals or offices were still needed to verify and own them later.  Managers were too weak or averse or supportive/collusive to fight them.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline Namechange User

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #83 on: 11/14/2010 11:22 PM »
I have many data points from at least 2 of the CxP projects of requirements being inserted to ensure individuals or offices were still needed to verify and own them later.  Managers were too weak or averse or supportive/collusive to fight them.

Did you do anything about it if it was in excess to what was considered necessary?  After all, these were government projects and those "offices" are required to ensure their compliance.  I assume, based on previous posts, you are a government employee too. 

With all due respect to you, I have seen multiple posts where you claim to have "proof" of certain "ills" but if another government employee does not stand up to other government employees to hold them accountable, then how does it ever change on the levels that Wayne is refering to in his post?

Contractors, and I'm sure potential commercial providers will too, generally have an opportunity to have input on most requirements.  However, that influence can only carry so far. 

It seems to me it starts with you and others like you. 
« Last Edit: 11/14/2010 11:35 PM by OV-106 »
Enjoying viewing the forum a little better now by filtering certain users.

Offline jongoff

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #84 on: 11/15/2010 04:43 PM »
A very interesting new post from Mr. Hale - "The coming train wreck for Commercial Human Spaceflight".

http://waynehale.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/the-coming-train-wreck-for-commercial-human-spaceflight

The room stands, cheers and says "Bravo!" to Wayne!

Here's hoping this gets wide circulation and has a positive impact!

Agreed.

~Jon

Offline Antares

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #85 on: 11/15/2010 08:36 PM »
I have many data points from at least 2 of the CxP projects of requirements being inserted to ensure individuals or offices were still needed to verify and own them later.  Managers were too weak or averse or supportive/collusive to fight them.

Did you do anything about it if it was in excess to what was considered necessary?  After all, these were government projects and those "offices" are required to ensure their compliance.  I assume, based on previous posts, you are a government employee too. 

With all due respect to you, I have seen multiple posts where you claim to have "proof" of certain "ills" but if another government employee does not stand up to other government employees to hold them accountable, then how does it ever change on the levels that Wayne is refering to in his post?

Tried to avoid Constellation, failed.  Tried to help Constellation, failed, was told to sit down and shut up, didn't have RIDs accepted, was threatened by a manager and other engineers.  They eventually stopped asking for my help.  I fight battles I might actually win.  It was clear that Constellation would collapse eventually, so it was wise to get out.  Most of my data comes from compatriots who could do nothing but stay in.  If you challenge a manager high enough, it costs you your career.  Politics suck.  The entrenched interests cannot be fought individually.  It has to be turned around office by office, with open-minded decision makers all along the line.

I don't mind being challenged, because I do post tangentially to what I know without enumerating it.  Sometimes on internet fora, one can only establish credibility and others can only judge it by what is said provably - and then the rest is taken as something to go validate with other sources of information.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #86 on: 11/15/2010 11:31 PM »
Thread deleted back. The basic rule of being civil is not to be broken by anyone. If you want to have a back and forth mudslinging contest, do it via PM.

Offline gospacex

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #87 on: 11/16/2010 02:35 AM »
Excellent thread, it exposes the inside politics of NASA which many of us usually have to guess about.

Tried to avoid Constellation, failed.  Tried to help Constellation, failed, was told to sit down and shut up, didn't have RIDs accepted, was threatened by a manager and other engineers.  They eventually stopped asking for my help.  I fight battles I might actually win.  It was clear that Constellation would collapse eventually, so it was wise to get out.

Out of interest: I understand why managers didn't like what you were doing (by trying to do "the right thing" in the technical sense, you were endangering their careers), but why *engineers* were against you?

Offline Jorge

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #88 on: 11/16/2010 02:53 AM »
Excellent thread, it exposes the inside politics of NASA which many of us usually have to guess about.

Tried to avoid Constellation, failed.  Tried to help Constellation, failed, was told to sit down and shut up, didn't have RIDs accepted, was threatened by a manager and other engineers.  They eventually stopped asking for my help.  I fight battles I might actually win.  It was clear that Constellation would collapse eventually, so it was wise to get out.

Out of interest: I understand why managers didn't like what you were doing (by trying to do "the right thing" in the technical sense, you were endangering their careers), but why *engineers* were against you?

Probably best explained by the story of the monkeys/banana/water experiment (which is an urban legend, but it makes a good metaphor).

http://freekvermeulen.blogspot.com/2008/08/monkey-story-experiment-involved-5.html
JRF

Offline Antares

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #89 on: 11/16/2010 06:45 AM »
Out of interest: I understand why managers didn't like what you were doing (by trying to do "the right thing" in the technical sense, you were endangering their careers), but why *engineers* were against you?

Parts of NASA have been indoctrinated that *ANY* trade of safety and cost, even if the safety is only intuitive and negligible when quantified, is verboten.  Parts of NASA refuse to hear what you say if you attack requirements they own if you are from another part of NASA.  Some parts of NASA refuse to deal with other customers of NASA's suppliers - only NASA's interests may be considered, no compromise for the greater good is allowed.

And then there's the infallibility of systems engineering, where all shalls must be traceable to higher shalls, and every shall must be justified (which is where the personnel to verify the shalls are embedded).  Many other posts I've made show I'm pro-systems engineering, but not how CxP implemented it.  'Course, they were hamstrung by prescribed solutions to the shalls at level 1 and 2 and mostly at 3.

But please don't extrapolate my single perspective to all elements of CxP.  I dealt mostly with CxP L2 and Ares L3.  I have friends' perspectives from all over CxP (L2, Ares, Ground, Orion, MOD).  Read others' perspectives besides mine and do a best fit to what your brain tells you.
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #90 on: 11/17/2010 02:13 PM »
New post:
http://waynehale.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/trying-to-clean-up-a-mess/

Sad to hear that, it was nice to see some balance and objectivity in the previous post, as there's a ridiculous amount of "everything will be rosey" backslapping going on for commercial spaceflight, usually from the same "bodies" that keyboard-bash about how "old" the orbiters are when Discovery's age has nothing to do with a two year old (if that) ET - which is the troublemaker for 133.

I'm probably digressing anyway, as the problem appears to be people's interpretations of the original post. Nothing one can do about that, however!

Welcome to the internet ;)

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #91 on: 11/17/2010 03:47 PM »
Just read Wayne's trainwreck article.  Spot on.    Beauracracy is mos' def part of the problem.  Add cost-plus, and you have profit before accomplishment.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Jim

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #92 on: 11/17/2010 04:57 PM »
Wayne,

Were you familiar with how NASA dealt with Spacehab and how that could relate to the current situation?

Offline madscientist197

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #93 on: 11/18/2010 03:01 AM »
Some people have difficulty with attempts at constructive criticism. I hope that this is not going to discourage Wayne from continuing to share his thoughts -- I thought his original post stood perfectly well on its own.
John

Offline yg1968

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #94 on: 11/19/2010 04:41 PM »
Phil McAlister of NASA's CCDev program responds to Wayne Hale's comments:
http://www.spacenews.com/civil/101119-former-shuttle-manager-decries-nasas-commercial-crew-safety-regs.html 

Offline Wayne Hale

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #95 on: 11/19/2010 08:40 PM »
And let me be the first to say, Phil is exactly right.  It is a complex business and ensuring safety is difficult. 

Offline edfishel

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #96 on: 11/19/2010 08:49 PM »
I want to second MadScientist's comments and hope that we can recognize that these are serious, dedicated people talking about serious issues. I am so grateful to Wayne for his hours of patient explanations to the news media to make the "technical" into the "understandable".  Let's please not degenerate into flaming, and keep this dialogue going at a high level.

Offline madscientist197

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #97 on: 11/20/2010 12:03 PM »
And let me be the first to say, Phil is exactly right.  It is a complex business and ensuring safety is difficult. 

I guess at a fundamental level, that's the problem -- everyone has the same end in mind, it's just a matter of how you get there.

My impression is that this issue ultimately comes down to trust; this is about the trade-off between trusting in NASA to ensure safety and trusting in commercial companies to ensure safety. As far as specification goes I see at least three options:
* NASA providing explicit specifications
* NASA providing limited specifications (with implicit subsidiary implications, obviously)
* NASA providing explicit specifications but with ad-hoc alterations and waivers to allow for innovation (I see this as being the most probable outcome).

If we assume the necessity to guarantee a certain level of safety we can trade-off between more limited specifications and a more complex oversight process (Not that I see guarantees of safety in this business as being more than rough indicators of safety.)


I think the most important question that can be asked about commercial cargo/crew is 'What do we actually want out of it?' Part of the issue may be that we don't have a truly rational discussion because we don't explicate all the trade-offs; we merely recite our own prejudices. Sometimes I hear commercial cargo/crew recited as being an end in itself -- it is not. Presumably we want a decrease in the cost of launching mass to orbit, perhaps even a self-sustaining space-launch industry. Unfortunately, humanity has yet to find a reliable process by which to formalise the process of innovation, so we are merely finding our way in the dark.
« Last Edit: 11/20/2010 12:07 PM by madscientist197 »
John

Offline gospacex

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #98 on: 11/20/2010 01:01 PM »
And let me be the first to say, Phil is exactly right.  It is a complex business and ensuring safety is difficult.

I guess at a fundamental level, that's the problem -- everyone has the same end in mind, it's just a matter of how you get there.

Not really. The goal is not the same. Of course everybody wants safety, but safety isn't a binary variable with just two states: "safe" and "unsafe". It's a continuum.

Obviously no one wants to use utterly unsafe rockets, but no one wants absolutely safe rockets too, because the only way to make rockets absolutely safe is to ensure they never fly.

Thus, the real question is not merely "how to ensure safety?", it's also "with understanding that too much safety can be crippling, what level of safety do we want to have?".

Since this second part of the question is not immediately obvious, "safety card" can be played by people who are more interested in keeping their oversight positions than in advancing HSF.

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Wayne Hale sets up his own blog site
« Reply #99 on: 11/20/2010 03:30 PM »
McAllister is spinning with enough centrifugal force to lose the truth.

Hale wrote: “Somewhere along the line, we have crossed over the optimum point to ensure safety and just added cost and delay,” he added.

The regs have crossed well over the optimum point, in my mind, having read some of them lately.  That's the issue.  The solution is to get back to that optimum point, where the requirements can be succinctly stated and be less confusing.  From the article:

Quote
Still, commercial space proponents said the initial draft demonstrates the reluctance by some NASA officials to the type of dramatic changes in oversight necessary to create a thriving commercial sector.

The dramatic change in oversight is not Lazy-Fair.  [Using Walt Kelley's authoritative spelling.]  The dramatic change is reasonable, succinct, unambiguous clarity in the regulations.

Quote
“The document runs a mind-numbing 260 pages of densely spaced requirements,” Hale wrote.

I would say categorically that I could rewrite that document in a month, so as to be one hundred pages.  I know I'll be criticized for saying this, but I would start with the Gemini twelve pager, and write in that style, with that clarity.  It could be done.

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“Most disappointing, on pages 7 to 11 is a table of 74 additional requirements documents... Taken all together, there are thousands of requirement statements...

What they need is an editor, more than anything else.

Quote
And for every one NASA will require ... massive amounts of paperwork and/or electronic forms. ... This is one of the major reasons why spaceflight is as costly as it is.”

This is one of the reasons for excessive costliness, not the reason.  It needs to be tightened up.  Launch costs include all costs, and cost reductions need to be found everywhere.  It almost seems that the necessary innovation would be the less glamourous work of eliminating waste wherever it is found.  The wasted effort of excessive regulation is the problem; to be solved by working to characterize the regulation as appropriate, not excessive.

Quote
McAlister countered those assertions, saying the space agency is striving “to maximize safety and reliability” without burdening commercial firms with unnecessary requirements that lead to higher development and operations costs.

Counter the assertions if you will, but it is a falsehood to change the goalposts: the issue is not at all a call for less safety and less reliability.  The falsehood lies in this subtle charge made by McAlister.  Instead, he should counter the assertions by saying that the regulations have to be overly complex rather than sufficiently complex.  Defend that position of excess complexity.

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“A simplistic page count” of the commercial crew requirements document does not “reflect the quality of the requirements,” he wrote...

And it is a false characterization to simplify Hale's commentary as only a page count.

Quote
... adding that most of the pages published include the rationale for requirements to show industry the intent of the requirements and give them “the flexibility to meet the requirements in innovative ways.”

In other words, by his own petard he is hoisted.  Uhhh, that would be McAlister.  The regulation is:  Thou shalt drive at 65mph on the Interstate.  The rationale? Saves lives, yada yada.  Not part of the reg, however.  Part of backup documentation for those who wonder, why 65?

The wordy rationale should not be part of the regulation.  It is backup information.  And another falsehood:  The rationale simply doesn't give anyone any flexibility.  Not only that, the regs actually stifle flexibility, like this one:  The launch system shall bring home the astros alive.  The flexibility of maybe bringing them home un-dead, or gravely wounded, or partially incapacitated, or flat out dead as doornails, or in some other "innovative" fashion is exactly the sort of "flexibilty" that a regulation aims to eliminate.

McAlister is making marketing statements with a dead pan delivery.  It's simply wrong to approach Hale's comments in this fashion.

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What’s more, the task being undertaken is extremely complex, McAlister wrote.

Next, he'll be telling us that rocket science is hard or that the Moon has no atmo.

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Space agency officials must evaluate a wide variety of factors to gain the confidence that missions will be successful. Those factors include ... the contractor’s flight vehicle, ... systems, operating conditions, mission planning and flight crew training, McAlister wrote.

Absolutely.  Pick a number between twelve and one hundred, however.  If we can say that the Gemini capsule should protect the astros, why can't we say that the Orion capsule should protect the astros?  What's the functional difference needing a twenty fold increase in statement length?

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“NASA and the aerospace community have developed an outstanding complement ...
 

Rah, rah, ree.  Kick 'em in the knee.  Rah, rah rass.  Kick them in the other knee.  This is a cheerleading statement, and has nothing to do with Hale's essential assertion that launch costs can be adversely affected by overly complex regulation, such that it is entirely conceivable that the nascent commercial industry will be hamstrung, not enabled, by the theoretical leveling of the playing field to an unnecessary fineness.

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“Simple, straightforward requirements and the flexibility to use good industry based standards could allow commercial space flight to be as successful as those programs or the NASA Launch Services program,” Hale wrote. “But we are not on that path.”

No, Mr. McAlister, we are not on the path to accomplishment.  Tighten up both your language, and the language of the necessary regulations. 

Somebody call an insurance agent.  This is part of the holdup.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

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