Author Topic: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks  (Read 44390 times)

Online woods170

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #180 on: 01/25/2018 06:36 AM »
What speaks for NASA is that they were asked by the current administration to look into crew on EM-1. NASA did so and (fortunately) concluded that crew on EM-1 was technically possible but not a good idea when viewed from schedule-, financial- and safety repercussions.

NASA never, by themselves, considered putting crew on EM-1. They had learned the lesson from STS-1.

Quote from: nasaspaceflight.com
NASA will not put a crew on EM-1, cites cost – not safety – as main reason

Quote from: Lightfoot
At the end of the day, we found it technically feasible to fly crew on EM-1, as long as we had a commitment of additional resources and schedule

Quote from: NASA Office of the administrator
Based on this study, NASA concluded crew could have flown on Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), provided timely and sufficient funding, with an increased risk acceptance and moving the launch schedule to most likely early 2020.

While it is good that NASA would not have done this study without external prompting, this is not NASA learning their lesson. Safety is a technical criteria, so saying "technically feasible" means that the safety risks are acceptable, STS-1's lesson was that the risks are not acceptable without a strong reason that crew is required.

Emphasis mine.

I disagree with your assessment. SLS is a NASA-run vehicle and, as such, safety can be bought by "designing it in". However, NASA didn't originally consider flying crew on EM-1 because of the increased price tag on an already very expensive vehicle, as well as considerations for crew safety and schedule issues.

When asked by the administration to look into flying crew on EM-1 anyway NASA eventually came to the same conclusion. Putting crew on EM-1 will cost extra, comes with increased risk acceptance and adds delay:

http://spacenews.com/nasa-decides-not-to-place-a-crew-on-first-slsorion-mission/

Quote from: Jeff Foust
“But when Robert (Lightfoot) and I (Bill Gerstenmaier) look at this overall, it does add some more risk to us, because it’s the first crew on the vehicle,” he said. The work to add crew to EM-1 would have cost NASA an additional $600–900 million, and delay the launch likely to the first or second quarter of 2020.

“The culmination of changes in all three of those areas (Risk, Cost, Delay) said that overall, probably the best plan we have is actually the plan we’re on right now,” Gerstenmaier said. “When we looked at the overall integrated activity, even though it was feasible, it just didn’t seem warranted in this environment.”

This clearly shows that safety in fact very much was a factor in deciding NOT to put crew on EM-1. It just wasn't the only factor.

In that respect the headline of Chris G's article is misleading. Cost was not the main reason. It was a combination of three things:
1. Increased risk (related to the safety of the crew flying on a brand new rocket and brand new spacecraft)
2. Additional cost (related to modifying the vehicle and Orion to carry crew)
3. Additional delay (related to the time needed to execute the modifications)
« Last Edit: 01/25/2018 06:38 AM by woods170 »

Offline meberbs

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #181 on: 01/25/2018 04:13 PM »
...

While it is good that NASA would not have done this study without external prompting, this is not NASA learning their lesson. Safety is a technical criteria, so saying "technically feasible" means that the safety risks are acceptable, STS-1's lesson was that the risks are not acceptable without a strong reason that crew is required.

Emphasis mine.

I disagree with your assessment. SLS is a NASA-run vehicle and, as such, safety can be bought by "designing it in". However, NASA didn't originally consider flying crew on EM-1 because of the increased price tag on an already very expensive vehicle, as well as considerations for crew safety and schedule issues.
No, you cannot buy safety by just "designing it in." That would fall into the category of "engineering hubris" and it can quite literally get people killed.

This is really where the on topic part of this conversation ends, since this thread is about commercial crew, so the fact that actual unmanned test flight(s) are fundamental to crew safety is relevant. Your misinterpretations and misrepresentations of NASA's decision and their stated reasons for it are not relevant, but for completeness I have addressed them below.

As you said, cost and schedule were driving reasons for the decision, but it is obvious that safety was not. They said the safety risk was acceptable. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is not exactly a good thing, just better than both the reasons and the thing being wrong.

...
This clearly shows that safety in fact very much was a factor in deciding NOT to put crew on EM-1. It just wasn't the only factor.
I don't know what you are looking at, because I have no idea how you would draw that conclusion. They admit that the risk is worse, but if you look at the quote I provided which is earlier in that article, it is quite clear that they did not consider that a problem. Also, I think you are making the assumption that risk and safety mean the same thing. They don't, there is a such thing as cost risks and schedule risks for example. Even assuming they were using this interchangeably with crew safety (which may be the case), it is clear that this was not the reason for the decision.

In that respect the headline of Chris G's article is misleading. Cost was not the main reason. It was a combination of three things:
1. Increased risk (related to the safety of the crew flying on a brand new rocket and brand new spacecraft)
2. Additional cost (related to modifying the vehicle and Orion to carry crew)
3. Additional delay (related to the time needed to execute the modifications)
Nope. This is one of the only news sites that doesn't lie with their headlines. While the delay had some influence in the decision, cost was the biggest driver, and the risk was determined to be completely acceptable and therefore a non-factor.
« Last Edit: 01/25/2018 05:07 PM by meberbs »

Online woods170

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #182 on: 01/25/2018 06:23 PM »
...
While it is good that NASA would not have done this study without external prompting, this is not NASA learning their lesson. Safety is a technical criteria, so saying "technically feasible" means that the safety risks are acceptable, STS-1's lesson was that the risks are not acceptable without a strong reason that crew is required.

Emphasis mine.

I disagree with your assessment. SLS is a NASA-run vehicle and, as such, safety can be bought by "designing it in". However, NASA didn't originally consider flying crew on EM-1 because of the increased price tag on an already very expensive vehicle, as well as considerations for crew safety and schedule issues.
No, you cannot buy safety by just "designing it in." That would fall into the category of "engineering hubris" and it can quite literally get people killed.
And yet "designing in" safety is exactly what NASA is doing with SLS and Orion. "Designing safety in" not just refers to the design of the vehicles but also to the procedures used by NASA to reduce risk and increase safety. Such as being in full control of the design and execution of that design. Or requiring one or more demonstration missions before putting crew on a vehicle.

Is that "engineering hubris"? Maybe. But crew safety was designed into SLS/Orion by stipulating that no crew will fly on the first mission. That was (and still is) the original plan, and it is a direct result of the lessen learned from STS-1.


This is really where the on topic part of this conversation ends, since this thread is about commercial crew, so the fact that actual unmanned test flight(s) are fundamental to crew safety is relevant. Your misinterpretations and misrepresentations of NASA's decision and their stated reasons for it are not relevant, but for completeness I have addressed them below.
They are only misinterpretations and misrepresentations in your eye. And I will explain why below.


As you said, cost and schedule were driving reasons for the decision, but it is obvious that safety was not. They said the safety risk was acceptable. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is not exactly a good thing, just better than both the reasons and the thing being wrong.

...
This clearly shows that safety in fact very much was a factor in deciding NOT to put crew on EM-1. It just wasn't the only factor.
I don't know what you are looking at, because I have no idea how you would draw that conclusion. They admit that the risk is worse, but if you look at the quote I provided which is earlier in that article, it is quite clear that they did not consider that a problem. Also, I think you are making the assumption that risk and safety mean the same thing. They don't, there is a such thing as cost risks and schedule risks for example. Even assuming they were using this interchangeably with crew safety (which may be the case), it is clear that this was not the reason for the decision.
You did a wonderful job of completely MISinterpreting my post.
My original point was that there were three factors involved in the outcome of the "crew on EM-1"-study. Bill Gerstenmaier mentioned all three during the media teleconference on May 12, 2017. The three factors are:
1. Increased risk. And knowing Bill Gerstenmaier he means Crew Risk (aka: it is less safe to launch a crew on an unproven rocket). He is not referring to schedule risk or financial risk because he refers to those seperately.
2. Additional cost
3. Delay to 2020 (or beyond).

Bill then continues to make clear that the culmination of those three factors led them to stick to the original plan (to not launch crew on EM-1):
Quote from: Bill Gerstenmaier
The culmination of changes in all three of those areas said that overall, probably the best plan we have is actually the plan we’re on right now.
For some inexplicable reason you don't seem to parsing Bill correctly. "All three", as cited by Bill, includes crew risk (and thus crew safety), cost and delay.
You stating that "safety was not a driving reason" is therefore flat out wrong. As is your entire line-of-reasoning regarding this matter.



In that respect the headline of Chris G's article is misleading. Cost was not the main reason. It was a combination of three things:
1. Increased risk (related to the safety of the crew flying on a brand new rocket and brand new spacecraft)
2. Additional cost (related to modifying the vehicle and Orion to carry crew)
3. Additional delay (related to the time needed to execute the modifications)
Nope. This is one of the only news sites that doesn't lie with their headlines. While the delay had some influence in the decision, cost was the biggest driver, and the risk was determined to be completely acceptable and therefore a non-factor.
You seriously believe that NSF is the only site that doesn't occasionally screw-up its reporting?
Mister, that equals to stating that man is infallible. The reporting done here is just as susceptible to an occassional error as any other good space-reporting website.
Misleading can be done intentional and UNintentional. And I thoroughly believe that Chris G UNintentionally emphasized cost over safety when he drew up his article. But, like you, he managed to incorrectly parse what Bill Gerstenmaier actually stated.

It was the combination of the three factors listed above that led to NASA's decision to stick to the original plan (no crew on EM-1)
Your interpretation that crew safety did not play a role is incorrect. And  IMO the reason for your misinterpretation is this: you assume that ONLY safety can be the leading driver for the study that was performed by NASA.
And that is just flat out wrong. In the bigger scheme of things decisions are always taken based on a number of factors involved. Risk, and its effect on safety, is just one factor. Not THE factor.
But clearly, you fail to understand this.

Offline meberbs

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #183 on: 01/25/2018 07:34 PM »
No, you cannot buy safety by just "designing it in." That would fall into the category of "engineering hubris" and it can quite literally get people killed.
And yet "designing in" safety is exactly what NASA is doing with SLS and Orion. "Designing safety in" not just refers to the design of the vehicles but also to the procedures used by NASA to reduce risk and increase safety. Such as being in full control of the design and execution of that design. Or requiring one or more demonstration missions before putting crew on a vehicle.
Designing it in is obviously part of obtaining a safe vehicle, but requiring proof through test and demonstration, is not "designing it in." It is proving it, and is a separate and obviously necessary step. A step that is skipped by your and NASA's claim that crew could have been safely flown on EM-1. Your attempt at redefining this term is both wrong and in obvious contradiction with how you previously used it.

You previously used it to claim that NASA is special and exempt from reality so they can build a safe vehicle on the first try, despite historical evidence to the contrary.

Is that "engineering hubris"? Maybe. But crew safety was designed into SLS/Orion by stipulating that no crew will fly on the first mission. That was (and still is) the original plan, and it is a direct result of the lessen learned from STS-1.
You were defending NASA's claim that they could safely launch astronauts on EM-1. The point you just made is evidence to the contrary. If you are going to change your position to agree with my original point, then please do so explicitly and don't waste time arguing for no reason.

They are only misinterpretations and misrepresentations in your eye. And I will explain why below.
You are obviously trying to retroactively change what you said without admitting to it. It is already clear by this point in your post.


You did a wonderful job of completely MISinterpreting my post.
My original point was that there were three factors involved in the outcome of the "crew on EM-1"-study. Bill Gerstenmaier mentioned all three during the media teleconference on May 12, 2017. The three factors are:
1. Increased risk. And knowing Bill Gerstenmaier he means Crew Risk (aka: it is less safe to launch a crew on an unproven rocket). He is not referring to schedule risk or financial risk because he refers to those seperately.
2. Additional cost
3. Delay to 2020 (or beyond).
Yes, that is what you said before, and you are still misrepresenting the statement that was made. If you are going to claim I misinterpreted something you said, you would have to point to somewhere I claimed you said something different. As I already said, they admitted to the increased risk, but in the part where they explicitly stated the reasons for the decision, they explicitly stated only cost and schedule stating technical (which would include safety) was acceptable.

Bill then continues to make clear that the culmination of those three factors led them to stick to the original plan (to not launch crew on EM-1):
Quote from: Bill Gerstenmaier
The culmination of changes in all three of those areas said that overall, probably the best plan we have is actually the plan we’re on right now.
For some inexplicable reason you don't seem to parsing Bill correctly. "All three", as cited by Bill, includes crew risk (and thus crew safety), cost and delay.
You stating that "safety was not a driving reason" is therefore flat out wrong. As is your entire line-of-reasoning regarding this matter.
Please stop ignoring the multiple quotes I provided a couple posts back that directly contradict your claims. When you look at them in context it is obvious that cost and schedule alone were claimed to be enough to decide against it, and safety alone would not have been.



Nope. This is one of the only news sites that doesn't lie with their headlines. While the delay had some influence in the decision, cost was the biggest driver, and the risk was determined to be completely acceptable and therefore a non-factor.
You seriously believe that NSF is the only site that doesn't occasionally screw-up its reporting?
Mister, that equals to stating that man is infallible. The reporting done here is just as susceptible to an occassional error as any other good space-reporting website.
That is not what I said at all, I did not say that they never make a mistake, I said that the don't write baseless sensational headlines. They obviously make mistakes, but if that was not an accurate and fair assessment of NASA's statements they would change it when someone pointed it out.

Misleading can be done intentional and UNintentional. And I thoroughly believe that Chris G UNintentionally emphasized cost over safety when he drew up his article. But, like you, he managed to incorrectly parse what Bill Gerstenmaier actually stated.
No, you are the one who misinterpreted it, because you continue to ignore what Lightfoot clearly stated in both his quoted statement and in the official letter from the office of the administrator.

And  IMO the reason for your misinterpretation is this: you assume that ONLY safety can be the leading driver for the study that was performed by NASA.
No, I am not making that assumption. Cost and schedule can obviously be factors, but unless the cost was truly astronomical, it would not outweigh the fact that the risk of putting humans on the first launch of a new vehicle is unacceptable. It is hard to outweigh a factor in a trade study that is simply a non-starter.

The rest of your post is you reepeating yourself, as if repeating false statements will make them true.

Offline happyflower

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #184 on: 01/25/2018 09:02 PM »
So I read the last 4 posts. Phew. TLDR: Safety is either #1 or #2 reason NASA wont fly astronauts on EM-1.

Online woods170

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #185 on: 01/26/2018 06:01 AM »
<Whole lotta OT disagreement between meberbs and woods170>

Clearly we disagree. But I'm not going to pull this thread any further OT than you and I already did.

Offline meberbs

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #186 on: 01/26/2018 11:46 AM »
<Whole lotta OT disagreement between meberbs and woods170>

Clearly we disagree. But I'm not going to pull this thread any further OT than you and I already did.
There is one on topic point though, and you seem to have argued both sides, so can you clarify this:

Do you agree that unmanned test flight(s) before launching crew is fundamentally necessary for crew safety?

Offline scdavis

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #187 on: 02/19/2018 01:52 AM »
All "unknowns" can be assigned risk factors and those risks can be mitigated in design. This is a core principal of all engineering not just aerospace.

Would you consider STS to be a good example of how all unknowns can be mitigated using NASA design and processes?

Offline su27k

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #188 on: 02/19/2018 02:09 AM »
One reason SLS is so expensive is because of all of these studies done to quantify the risks and then the steps taken to mitigate them. Groups like SpaceX simply ignore much of this process and weather through the consequences by having a cheap system. That is why Dragon 2 as expensive as everything else SpaceX has developed up to this point combined: all the NASA oversight into safety.

Dragon 2 total development cost is about $2B, just 1/7th of Orion's budget after 2010, so it's clear even with NASA safety oversight SpaceX is still crazy cheap, and safety oversight cannot explain SLS's horrendous cost.

Offline ulm_atms

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #189 on: 02/19/2018 02:11 AM »
Completely ridiculous.
All "unknowns" can be assigned risk factors and those risks can be mitigated in design. This is a core principal of all engineering not just aerospace.
One reason SLS is so expensive is because of all of these studies done to quantify the risks and then the steps taken to mitigate them. Groups like SpaceX simply ignore much of this process and weather through the consequences by having a cheap system. That is why Dragon 2 as expensive as everything else SpaceX has developed up to this point combined: all the NASA oversight into safety.

How can you assign risk factors to something if it is um....unknown?  That is the whole point of unknown-unknowns.  If you can apply a risk factor....then it is a known, not an unknown!

Offline MaxTeranous

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #190 on: 02/19/2018 09:29 AM »
All "unknowns" can be assigned risk factors and those risks can be mitigated in design. This is a core principal of all engineering not just aerospace.
One reason SLS is so expensive is because of all of these studies done to quantify the risks and then the steps taken to mitigate them. Groups like SpaceX simply ignore much of this process and weather through the consequences by having a cheap system. That is why Dragon 2 as expensive as everything else SpaceX has developed up to this point combined: all the NASA oversight into safety.

No they can't. Engineers are not clairvoyants, they can only do mitigation and design around known physics and concepts and use tools and systems that exist to simulate for identify possible issues. Simulations are not perfect, unknown unknowns exist. They can get close certainly, but there is no such thing as 100% perfect design.

Also most of those risk mitigations just are that - mitigations, not solutions to remove the risk entirely. An LOC of 1/350, 1/1,000 or 1/100,000 doesn't mean that it won't fail the very first time regardless.

Offline envy887

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #191 on: 02/19/2018 02:27 PM »
I gave up on NASA risk analysis when they made the tortured claim that Ares I would be safer than an EELV.
I'm not sure it's fair to compare NASA under Mike Griffin with the NASA of today.

That's a good point, and the political pressure at the time is very different than today.

Still, I don't like the attitude that safety can simply be bought with enough paperwork. Analysis is certainly essential, but eventually you run into "unknown-unknowns" with novel systems, and it's hard to get to very high levels of reliability without experience with the system. NASA's response was that if they spend enough money, EM-1 will be safe.

There is a lot of heritage in EM-1, and I would ride it given the chance  :). But I don't believe the first launch will be as safe as an Atlas or Falcon flight, no matter how much you prepare. Practical experience with systems that are used over and over again is extremely important to reliability, and I don't see NASA's safety culture embracing that fact.
Completely ridiculous.
All "unknowns" can be assigned risk factors and those risks can be mitigated in design. This is a core principal of all engineering not just aerospace.
One reason SLS is so expensive is because of all of these studies done to quantify the risks and then the steps taken to mitigate them. Groups like SpaceX simply ignore much of this process and weather through the consequences by having a cheap system. That is why Dragon 2 as expensive as everything else SpaceX has developed up to this point combined: all the NASA oversight into safety.

NASA has an institutional habit of rationalizing known risks using bad data and assumptions, and even if they didn't, there is no way to do enough analysis to guarantee the safety of a system. But there is an often-demonstrated way to do enough analysis to never get to an actual flight.

Offline scdavis

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #192 on: 02/19/2018 05:02 PM »
Reflecting further on the claim that rigorous process can remove all risks...

Clearly rigorous design and test processes such as failure mode effects analysis have value. For a critical products (whether critical due to cost, function, or risk to human life), it would be incredibly negligent to shortcut these. In many cases, it is literally criminally negligent when an engineer fails to perform this type of analysis. Presumably SpaceX has quite rigorous process, failure analysis, code and hardware reviews, tests, etc. ... completely apart from anything NASA forces them to do. I can't imagine this not being the case.

So let's shift the discussion to a cost/benefit analysis. *How much* analysis/test/FMEA/process is "best" for rocket development? Rockets are expensive, prone to blow up, carry expensive equipment, and sometimes carry humans. So a lot more of these offsetting processes are needed versus a less critical product.

But any type of test and analysis has a point of diminishing returns. At some point, you've probably found all the problems you are going to find using those methods. But in a complex system, problems are still lurking -- due to things you don't know or incorrect assumptions, problems *will* be missed. No matter how much time & money you spend, you will not find them.

So again, how much is "just right?" The answer is probably very different for different companies, who have different aims and different stakeholders. SpaceX with a single majority shareholder & CEO has the advantage over any public company or government agency because they don't have to worry about skittish stakeholders. SpaceX has freedom of movement, freedom to find problems through failure, that others do not have. And that's a freedom Elon understands to his maximum benefit.

His fail-early fail-often mindset is not just "Silicon Valley" -- it's the massive wave of Software Engineering generally over the last decade. In my discipline, the industry has learned since the 80's at a super rapid pace across thousands of large engineering enterprises creating massively complex software tools... that engineers make mistakes! Lots of them! Even world-class software engineers make a mistake every 100 lines of code. Great process can find a lot of them, but certainly not all. We need the filter of really good test and analysis regimes to clear out the first several rounds of failures... but then we need to test the thing constantly in use, in real world environments, to shake out the remaining issues.

In my view SpaceX is doing it well. As demonstrated with a successful first FH launch campaign, they clearly did a ton of analysis and iterative testing (having designed their whole hardware architecture to be iteratively testable!). But they aren't paralyzed by trying to achieve the unachievable. They are willing to fail in order to learn faster. With the ability to then analyze returned rockets, which no one else in the market can yet perform, they are then able to make the rocket even more reliable due to reams of real-world data.

Offline Kansan52

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #193 on: 02/19/2018 05:30 PM »
... With the ability to then analyze returned rockets, which no one else in the market can yet perform, they are then able to make the rocket even more reliable due to reams of real-world data.

Would you accept an edit to 'unique data' instead of 'reams of ... data'? Everyone has lots of telemetry data. The data gained from analysis of a landed first stage may not deviate much (or any) from the telemetry data. But it is certainly unique.

Offline scdavis

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Re: ASAP still has concerns over Commercial Crew LOC risks
« Reply #194 on: 02/19/2018 05:36 PM »
... With the ability to then analyze returned rockets, which no one else in the market can yet perform, they are then able to make the rocket even more reliable due to reams of real-world data.

Would you accept an edit to 'unique data' instead of 'reams of ... data'? Everyone has lots of telemetry data. The data gained from analysis of a landed first stage may not deviate much (or any) from the telemetry data. But it is certainly unique.

I agree that "unique" is the differentiating point -- and a huge advantage. Everyone can run their rocket engines on a test stand. Only SpaceX can recover a booster and look for weak points, cracks, weld issues, fatigue, etc. in the entire booster after experiencing launch acceleration and max Q loads.

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