Author Topic: SES-10 Booster its block 3 and some details on refurbishment  (Read 12184 times)

Offline ThePonjaX

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In the reddit the user DSBromeister give some very interesting details about the process:

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[]DSBromeister *
I've been waiting so long for this! I interned at LC-39A while the refurb was going on and boy did B1021 give us trouble! I'm so happy to finally see my baby fly!
Edit: since people are asking for more info, I'll give a couple fun problems we ran into.
Trying to upgrade parts from block 2 to block 3, failing to install them three times, then giving up and trying (and succeeding with) a method from block 1
Trying to remove parts that weren't originally intended to be removable
Discovering parts on the booster that theoretically didn't exist before it launched

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/62aqi7/rspacex_ses10_official_launch_discussion_updates/dfl9xge/

and

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[]FredFS456
Parts that theoretically didn't exist? What do you mean?
permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
[]DSBromeister
This part was (is?) made of a stock material on assembly rather than fabricated, but wasn't officially given a part number until after the launch of CRS-8. It must have been created during B1021's original assembly and installed, but with no way to officially record its installation since a part number didn't exist. Fast forward to refurb and it calls for the removal of a part that was never officially installed, so I had to dig up some other paperwork detailing what occurred.

https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/62aqi7/rspacex_ses10_official_launch_discussion_updates/dflcu5g/

This give us a good idea the some of the changes happening on Block-5


Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Thanks for posting this, although not sure SpaceX will appreciate this being made public on Reddit!

Assuming the posts are accurate, interesting that SpaceX's CM at the time allowed the booster to fly with a part that couldn't be officially recorded ...

Offline pippin

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And some idea on "hey, just refuel and refly"

Offline ThePonjaX

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Thanks for posting this, although not sure SpaceX will appreciate this being made public on Reddit!


That's why I copied the text because I'm afraid it's going be removed in no time  8)

Online envy887

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Trying to upgrade parts from block 2 to block 3, failing to install them three times, then giving up and trying (and succeeding with) a method from block 1

Why was a v1.2 vehicle flying with parts from Block 2? Unless our understanding that v1.1 = Block 2 is incorrect, that's very odd.

Online rockets4life97

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Trying to upgrade parts from block 2 to block 3, failing to install them three times, then giving up and trying (and succeeding with) a method from block 1

Why was a v1.2 vehicle flying with parts from Block 2? Unless our understanding that v1.1 = Block 2 is incorrect, that's very odd.

It has been suggested before that SpaceX is continuously iterating such that every vehicle is a little different. At some point, there is a threshold (or some other large major change) that constitutes the creation of a new "block".

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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It has been suggested before that SpaceX is continuously iterating such that every vehicle is a little different. At some point, there is a threshold (or some other large major change) that constitutes the creation of a new "block".

Yes appears to be Elon's MO. Tesla works the same. When a change is ready it goes on cars from that point onwards; no such thing as this year's model.
« Last Edit: 03/30/2017 01:03 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Online john smith 19

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It has been suggested before that SpaceX is continuously iterating such that every vehicle is a little different. At some point, there is a threshold (or some other large major change) that constitutes the creation of a new "block".
Well SX have certainly used most launches for testing various new operational ideas. If you have a vision of where you want your vehicle to be and the current version is not there why would you not keep changing it till it got the performance you wanted (provided you're OK with the risk of a payload losing mishap if you get things seriously wrong)?  After all if they are not coming back....

Obviously that fairly freewheeling approach has to be slow down a bit once you start getting stages back and you want to relaunch them. 

Note that with modern ERP systems continuing to make every LV a bit different is possible (certainly in the US) but that also means you have to maintain mfg capability for each seperate BOM for each separate 1st stage you wish to maintain.

And if there's anything we've learned about SX it's they really don't like to run multiple parallel supply chains of anything.

On this basis I suspect the operating lives of this group of first stages is going to be quite brief and the bar for how difficult something has to be before it's a case "No, too difficult. Send the stage to Testing for tear down and destructive tests" is going to be fairly low.

The first stage being built from now on are likely to be longer lived, but honestly, does anyone know what "long lived" means in this context?
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Online Herb Schaltegger

That kind of haphazard configuration control does not bode well for assuaging worries of government customers. :(
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Offline JamesH65

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Trying to upgrade parts from block 2 to block 3, failing to install them three times, then giving up and trying (and succeeding with) a method from block 1

Why was a v1.2 vehicle flying with parts from Block 2? Unless our understanding that v1.1 = Block 2 is incorrect, that's very odd.

It has been suggested before that SpaceX is continuously iterating such that every vehicle is a little different. At some point, there is a threshold (or some other large major change) that constitutes the creation of a new "block".

I believe it was Jim who stated, quite some time ago, that all launch vehicles have iterative changes. Which does make sense, if you encounter a minor problem, you fix it.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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That kind of haphazard configuration control does not bode well for assuaging worries of government customers. :(

I wonder if this was part of the systems engineering concerns NASA raised with SpaceX following the CRS-7 failure?

Of course the booster was built over a year ago now, so things may have changed.

Online RonM

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Quote
Trying to upgrade parts from block 2 to block 3, failing to install them three times, then giving up and trying (and succeeding with) a method from block 1

Why was a v1.2 vehicle flying with parts from Block 2? Unless our understanding that v1.1 = Block 2 is incorrect, that's very odd.

It has been suggested before that SpaceX is continuously iterating such that every vehicle is a little different. At some point, there is a threshold (or some other large major change) that constitutes the creation of a new "block".

I believe it was Jim who stated, quite some time ago, that all launch vehicles have iterative changes. Which does make sense, if you encounter a minor problem, you fix it.

You see the same thing with aircraft.

Offline cscott

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That kind of haphazard configuration control does not bode well for assuaging worries of government customers. :(
Is this "haphazard"---or is a necessary consequence of trying to document every piece of electrical tape and every sheet of cork that sometimes minor things fall through the cracks.  The OP never said they weren't able to determine how the part got there, just that they needed to consult backup documentation.  Which is what that backup documentation (and close-out pictures, etc) is for.

The difficulty mostly seemed to be trying to refit a block 2 core as block 3 when that had never been done before, and wasn't designed to be do-able.

Sure, bugs were discovered, but the overall process looks very documentation-full to me. I'm not sure it deserves to be tarred with "haphazard".

EDIT: the OP says, "this wasn't​ really a mistake by anyone in particular, and it didn't​really affect anyone except the part inventory people, so maybe I dramatized the issue a little too much haha."
« Last Edit: 03/30/2017 03:50 PM by cscott »

Online Kansan52

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Reading both of his posts, it seems he misspoke on his ideas of blocks. He withdraws it later.

Offline matthewkantar

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What appears "haphazard" to a low level worker may be appear much more rational to the higher ups. Also, Elon wasn't just joking around when he said SpaceX was like the dog that caught the bus. Yes they were planning all along to reuse stages, but I think they started getting them back in useable shape faster than they thought they would

Matthew
« Last Edit: 03/30/2017 04:11 PM by matthewkantar »

Offline LouScheffer

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That kind of haphazard configuration control does not bode well for assuaging worries of government customers. :(
On the other hand, what other vendor has had a different crew try to modify a fully completed booster based on the supposed configuration?  I'd not be surprised to find a lot of configuration errors at the bottom of the ocean.   Configurations are a lot like code - everyone swears theirs is completely under control, but when you actually check, you often find it's not so perfect.

Online abaddon

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That kind of haphazard configuration control does not bode well for assuaging worries of government customers. :(
If only NASA and the USAF were deeply involved with SpaceX as part of the certification processes being run by both instituations...

Offline Coastal Ron

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I believe it was Jim who stated, quite some time ago, that all launch vehicles have iterative changes. Which does make sense, if you encounter a minor problem, you fix it.

As Leonard McCoy was famous for saying on Star Trek:

"I know engineers, they LOVE to change things."

And there is a saying we using manufacturing when introducing a new product:

"Shoot the engineers and ship the product!"

Constant iteration is not necessarily a bad thing, and in fact it can be a very good thing.  For instance:

- For low rate production it sometimes takes a long period of time to dial in your production processes, since not everything engineering designs is easily manufacturable.

- Especially in the electronics world component availability and supplier changes to components is a constant challenge, so engineering has to keep up with the world as it is, not as they would like it.

- Over time engineering may discover better ways of designing parts and assemblies, and it makes sense to incorporate those changes as soon as practical.

The approach that SpaceX is using tends to be on the active side of the scale with regards to configuration stability, and it's understandable that some may not be comfortable with that.  It's a philosophy that is always trying to balance product iteration speed with product success - all while running a business that requires success.

Reusable stages are going to help them to iron out issues that would have taken time and money with expendable stages, so we'll see if it works out in the end.  Just as an outside observer, I think they are doing a good job so far...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online Herb Schaltegger

That kind of haphazard configuration control does not bode well for assuaging worries of government customers. :(
If only NASA and the USAF were deeply involved with SpaceX as part of the certification processes being run by both instituations...

As noted above, this probably explains some of NASA's concerns following the CRS-7 situation.

Disagree all you like, but configuration control issues have led to more than one fatal aviation incident (both civil and military). And these are well-established fields with incredibly meticulous certification procedures. Those procedures exist for a reason: because when people don't document what they did and things go bad, you can never be certain you actually figured out why they went bad - unless, as had happened more than once - you discover parts in the debris that weren't supposed to be there, or evidence of prior repairs or construction that weren't supposed to be have been done that way.

So, yeah, if what this intern said initially was accurate (*), it's a mark of poor configuration control.(**) And let's be honest - configuration control is HARD. It's arguably among the hardest parts of the any serial production business, even when the product itself isn't changed from unit to unit. Suppliers change specifications, processes by *their* suppliers get changed without notice, et cetera. We never heard the final root cause for why those struts all failed in the post-CRS 7 batch testing, but again, configuration control failed.

Worse than being hard, it's expensive and it's not sexy. Which, I guess to some in this crowd, seems to be the most important element.

(*) The kid may have been overstating for the purposes of making an "exciting" post on Reddit; yet another reason I stay away from that cesspool of misinformation and horrible user interface.

(**) If you read the L2 ISS Daily Status Reports, configuration control issues is not a SpaceX-specific problem. There have been a number of recent minor issues that have been found to include pieces installed incorrectly, connectors reversed, and so on, despite all the best efforts by NASA and its contractors to maintain rigorous control.
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Online Space Ghost 1962

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The irony is that configuration control has been a strength of that organization.

It has to be if you practice agile development in aerospace, otherwise the situation is not diagnosable in the slightest. As it is already a nightmare with traditional aerospace, you're pushing it.

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