Author Topic: The nature of risk-taking in space launch  (Read 14658 times)

Offline AncientU

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The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« on: 11/05/2017 01:00 PM »
This is an insightful article not directly related to space, but applicable nonetheless.

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Increasing risk appetite is vital for progress

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Speaking at a panel discussion at the Institute of Directors Scotland’s annual conference, the chairman of Dundee’s 4J Studios criticised the risk adverse nature of Scottish society.

He said: “We have got into a comfort zone of how we can remove risk from every part of our lives – our business, our personal lives, civic society, everything.

“That attitude is 100% wrong – we should be maximising our attitude to risk.

Quote
“We need to decide whether we want our society to be competitive in the 21st century or not, and if we do we need to change to that type of risk model right across the country.

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Mr van der Kuyl pointed to Tesla founder Elon Musk’s moves into space exploration as a good example of someone taking risks.

“SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space company, said they were going to put rockets up and land them on a ship so they could reuse them and people laughed,” he told the delegates.

“One fell off the side of the ship and they said that’s OK, we’ll tweak the software.

“In a traditional risk model there would be massive enquiries, everyone would be sat round a table gnashing teeth, delaying things for 10 years until they could make sure there was no mistake.

“SpaceX just kept throwing them up until they got it right, which they did within a year.”
https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/business/business-news/538579/increasing-risk-appetite-is-vital-for-progress/

Is a capacity to tolerate risk the secret sauce missing from today's traditional aerospace programs?
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #1 on: 11/05/2017 02:04 PM »
Yes, it is. We are witnessing a technological anomaly with Space Industry if compared to many other tech industries in the last 50 years. (Half)jokingly I could describe it as a deep rooted psychological block widespread in the industry where everyone celebrates a glorious past and keep struggling to go back to the good old times. What in reality were great engineering conquers only possible because of a trial and error, focus driven attitude have become myths, almost sacred endeavors. Of course the problem was developing safe launch systems.There's a reality however: safety only comes with experience, operational experience: failing, learning and redesigning. The problem is that's impossible when every failed attempt burns hundreds of millions (and every successful one too, I would add): it was impossible to acquire experience and improve safety through operational agility. So what did the 'failure is not an option' mantra bring to us when dealing with this reality? It became a cult, which come up with a costly answer to achieve the illusion of 'safety'. Procedures, procedures, procedures. A wide set of dogmas and rules to follow when designing, building and operating rockets that quickly became rituals, almost magic. That's the only way to make your hundreds of millions rocket 'safe': but be sure not to change anything, otherwise the ghost of an explosion appears in front of you. That's however a mere illusion of safety: it's a '100% safe rocket going by launch history' when it has launched less than 100 times since its maiden flight. The reality is that, as happens with religion, this cult only covers a lack of knowledge. We lack data points, we lack experience and we lack understanding of many possible failure modes. Rockets aren't mature designs and you can't reach maturity if you never let you fail. Since the seventies the Space Industry has been following the wrong way: the problem was developing safe systems when they are expendable and high cost and leave little room for experimenting. The answer has been to keep them expensive, expendable and develop procedures that only make them 'safe' because you launch them so rarely that you never really know. The new answer is different and more rational: get rid of the 'safety at all costs' mantra, at least for now, and focus on designing affordable, high cadence reusable rockets. Once you have that you can experiment and fail cheaply, and actually afford to obtain many real life data points. That's the only way to reach a real, solid and well understood safety. That's the only way rockets can reach airline levels of safety. And, most importantly, that's the only way we can finally get rid of that old, resigned 'space is hard' motto.
Failure is not only an option, it's the only way to learn.
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Offline Lar

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #2 on: 11/05/2017 02:12 PM »
Fail early, fail forward, fail often.

If you're not falling, you're not becoming a better skier.

Failure to try is the biggest failure of all.

Lots of aphorisms. SpaceX gets this. There are some others out there who do too, but not enough.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
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Online meekGee

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #3 on: 11/05/2017 03:40 PM »
Fail early, fail forward, fail often.

If you're not falling, you're not becoming a better skier.

Failure to try is the biggest failure of all.

Lots of aphorisms. SpaceX gets this. There are some others out there who do too, but not enough.

All true, but also combined with disciplined engineering, and the balls to confront engineering challenges in-house, instead of "just" outsourcing everything.  That's development risk, not operational risk, but is equally important.
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Offline JAFO

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #4 on: 11/05/2017 03:58 PM »
I would add that it is society in general. No one's a Winner, no one's a Loser, everyone gets a Participation ribbon handed out in a safe speech zone.

Bullhockey.

I hate having a bad day in the sim and failing checkrides. But failure is part of life, you don't do everything right all the time, and I've learned that a perfect sim means the IP didn't push me hard enough to find my weak points. You have to fail. You have to hang out with smart people who disagree with you. You have to be challenged and make mistakes and fail so you can learn where the weak points are, and come back stronger. And you have to do the same to your contemporaries.


Through history, exploration often meant a one way ticket to whereever the ship was sailing, and they turned people away. If Space X offered a one-way ticket to Mars with a 99.9.....% chance of death within the first year, do you think they'd have a shortage of overqualified volunteers?
« Last Edit: 11/05/2017 09:29 PM by JAFO »
Anyone can do the job when things are going right. In this business we play for keeps.
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Offline AncientU

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #5 on: 11/05/2017 04:10 PM »
Risk tolerance.

If you boiled down the myriad reasons behind one young, private company building a rocket to land 150 tonnes or 100 people per flight on Mars and another prestigious, well-healed organization giving up on even landing on Mars -- though it has been promoting that goal for 40 years -- it would be these two words.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline TripD

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #6 on: 11/06/2017 05:48 AM »
In the past human flights were rare and huge media events. Being that NASA was beholden to the politics of public perception, failure was a larger than life problem. Pun semi intentional.  I think the catch 22 is gaining enough success with the initial missions to lessen public scrutiny on individual flights.

Offline rakaydos

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #7 on: 11/08/2017 09:33 PM »
I would add that it is society in general. No one's a Winner, no one's a Loser, everyone gets a Participation ribbon handed out in a safe speech zone.
Speaking as an early millennial now in my 30s... Noone asked me if I wanted a participation trophy. It was never about us being entitled... it was about the older generation being able to say THEIR kid won something.
It's "underpaid, overworked grad student" millennials that are bringing us back to space, the way the older generation couldn't.
« Last Edit: 11/08/2017 09:35 PM by rakaydos »

Offline JAFO

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #8 on: 11/08/2017 09:41 PM »
I would add that it is society in general. No one's a Winner, no one's a Loser, everyone gets a Participation ribbon handed out in a safe speech zone.
Speaking as an early millennial now in my 30s... Noone asked me if I wanted a participation trophy. It was never about us being entitled... it was about the older generation being able to say THEIR kid won something.
It's "underpaid, overworked grad student" millennials that are bringing us back to space, the way the older generation couldn't.

I love watching this video:




Check out the crowd of employees. I'm glad that Hidden Figures finally told their story, but the overwhelming majority of the early space program was a white men's club. In contrast, I see a rainbow of young people in the Space X video.


Your generation is going to Mars. I hope I'm around to see it. :cheers:
« Last Edit: 11/08/2017 09:58 PM by JAFO »
Anyone can do the job when things are going right. In this business we play for keeps.
— Ernest K. Gann

Offline Jim

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #9 on: 11/08/2017 09:52 PM »

It's "underpaid, overworked grad student" millennials that are bringing us back to space, the way the older generation couldn't.

nonsense.  They are still being lead by other generations.  They are not doing it themselves.
« Last Edit: 11/08/2017 09:54 PM by Jim »

Offline rakaydos

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #10 on: 11/08/2017 10:01 PM »

It's "underpaid, overworked grad student" millennials that are bringing us back to space, the way the older generation couldn't.

nonsense.  They are still being lead by other generations.  They are not doing it themselves.
Even Elon Musk and Gwen Shotwell are only "slacker" GenXers. (I couldn't find a birth date for Tom Mueller, so he's up in the air.)
« Last Edit: 11/08/2017 10:02 PM by rakaydos »

Offline AncientU

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #11 on: 11/09/2017 05:36 PM »

It's "underpaid, overworked grad student" millennials that are bringing us back to space, the way the older generation couldn't.

nonsense.  They are still being lead by other generations.  They are not doing it themselves.
Even Elon Musk and Gwen Shotwell are only "slacker" GenXers. (I couldn't find a birth date for Tom Mueller, so he's up in the air.)

Median age at SpaceX is 29, so right in the zone for 'official' Millennial status (born 1980 to circa 2000), and tech savvy.  Cannot be too many older generation 'leaders', but no doubt there are some.  Age characteristic is like NASA of the 1960s -- just a coincidence, I'm sure.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Online Lars-J

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #12 on: 11/09/2017 05:45 PM »
Age characteristic is like NASA of the 1960s -- just a coincidence, I'm sure.

Obviously. :D

Online John Alan

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #13 on: 11/09/2017 06:29 PM »

It's "underpaid, overworked grad student" millennials that are bringing us back to space, the way the older generation couldn't.

nonsense.  They are still being lead by other generations.  They are not doing it themselves.
Even Elon Musk and Gwen Shotwell are only "slacker" GenXers. (I couldn't find a birth date for Tom Mueller, so he's up in the air.)

Median age at SpaceX is 29, so right in the zone for 'official' Millennial status (born 1980 to circa 2000), and tech savvy.  Cannot be too many older generation 'leaders', but no doubt there are some.  Age characteristic is like NASA of the 1960s -- just a coincidence, I'm sure.

Tom Mueller's age is not widely known...
But he started to college in 1979 (records show)...
My guess is he is the "Old Man" of the group in his mid/late 50's...  ;D

On edit... public records show...
GS is 53... EM is 46
« Last Edit: 11/09/2017 06:39 PM by John Alan »

Offline AncientU

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #14 on: 11/09/2017 08:38 PM »
NASA and Aerospace workforce:
Quote
Our analysis in The Space Report 2012 showed that, as of September 2011, more than 70 percent of the NASA workforce was between 40 and 60 years old. By contrast, the age profile of the overall U.S. workforce was more evenly distributed, with less than 45 percent in this range. The NASA workforce also had small number of younger professionals, with less than 12 percent under age 35.

Almost mirror image of age distribution at SpaceX (and probably that of NASA in its glory years).

Quote
The 2011 edition of the annual Aviation Week Workforce Study found that 22 percent of U.S. aerospace and defense company workers were 35 years or younger, a percentage that nearly matches those 56 or older.

https://www.spacefoundation.org/media/space-watch/aging-nasa-and-industry-workforce-creates-concern


« Last Edit: 11/09/2017 08:39 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline Norm38

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #15 on: 11/13/2017 12:13 AM »
Back on topic, I wanted to discuss the Antares scrub Sat morning for range violation. What is the total cost to scrub a rocket launch because some fool in a Cessna or a boat ignores the keepout?  Now it's one thing if a plane is directly in the flight path. It's another thing altogether if it's simply under the flight path.

Future flight rates aren't going to allow that level of concern and schedule impact. If there is no danger to the rocket but only to those who put themselves in harms way, then go ahead and launch. And if that's the day that a rocket explodes, too bad for the Cessna. They were warned.
It actually makes the warnings less serious if they scrub for anyone. Just state simply and firmly, "At 1400 hours on Tuesday a rocket WILL launch, and you don't want to be under it when it does."

Offline alang

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #16 on: 11/14/2017 05:30 PM »
I would add that it is society in general. No one's a Winner, no one's a Loser, everyone gets a Participation ribbon handed out in a safe speech zone.
Speaking as an early millennial now in my 30s... Noone asked me if I wanted a participation trophy. It was never about us being entitled... it was about the older generation being able to say THEIR kid won something.
It's "underpaid, overworked grad student" millennials that are bringing us back to space, the way the older generation couldn't.

Different people age differently.
My personal feeling is that the global wars and superpower rivalry that led to the first flowering of spaceflight raised a bar that was too high for normal times. Who does want to spend 5% of taxation on rockets (present nerds excepted)?
Maybe you are just now living in a time when more things are possible without needing global conflict to make them happen.

Offline Llian Rhydderch

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #17 on: 12/29/2017 10:48 PM »
I would add that it is society in general. No one's a Winner, no one's a Loser, everyone gets a Participation ribbon handed out in a safe speech zone.
Speaking as an early millennial now in my 30s... Noone asked me if I wanted a participation trophy. It was never about us being entitled... it was about the older generation being able to say THEIR kid won something.
It's "underpaid, overworked grad student" millennials that are bringing us back to space, the way the older generation couldn't.

Different people age differently.
My personal feeling is that the global wars and superpower rivalry that led to the first flowering of spaceflight raised a bar that was too high for normal times. Who does want to spend 5% of taxation on rockets (present nerds excepted)?
Maybe you are just now living in a time when more things are possible without needing global conflict to make them happen.

Innovation is not primarily driven by mongo public budgets.  Vast resources help, but whether innovative or more traditional design paths are chosen for development is not principally a function of budget. 

It does not require that the absurdly high-percentage of US GDP and US Federal tax receipts that was spent on the 1960s-era space race--Cold War fighting, by other means than purely military technology, to extend military rocket design paradigms (fly once and destroy the vehicle; use/extend ICBM technology rather than the winged options of X-15-type efforts; etc.) to put a (very) few humans into space and even fewer on the Moon--to innovate.  That was merely the path the political decision makers chose at the time.

Move away from political incentives...
... get the state out of the way to allow more "permissionless innovation"...
... and get into a regime of economic incentives that drove innovation in every other transportation sector (wheel, marine, rail, aeroplane) when they were developed, and you'll get innovation at much faster rates with much much less expenditure of public funds. 

(computer and IT technology (ICT) is merely one example.  Imagine leaving government bureaus of the US and Russia/Soviet Union in charge of innovating in ICT since 1960 and imagine what our computer platforms would be looking like today.  Oh, wait, you can kind of do that by comparing what tech was developed in the areas with more restrictive political economic and legal regimes guiding technology development).
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Offline Mader Levap

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #18 on: 12/30/2017 01:23 AM »
What people like Llian Rhydderch will never tell you is that this approach works only for things where profit is expected.

Rare disease? Pure space exploration (or pure sciences in general)? Free market won't help you in this and many other cases.

In fact, free market will come in new area only when someone else (usually that "totally unable to innovate" government) sufficiently develop it and lower risks - like with Internet (and yes, computers). Giving all credit for these things to free market is historical revisionism.
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Offline Dalhousie

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #19 on: 12/30/2017 01:36 AM »
Risk tolerance.

If you boiled down the myriad reasons behind one young, private company building a rocket to land 150 tonnes or 100 people per flight on Mars and another prestigious, well-healed organization giving up on even landing on Mars -- though it has been promoting that goal for 40 years -- it would be these two words.

They haven't done it yet.
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Offline speedevil

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #20 on: 12/30/2017 02:31 AM »
What people like Llian Rhydderch will never tell you is that this approach works only for things where profit is expected.

Rare disease? Pure space exploration (or pure sciences in general)? Free market won't help you in this and many other cases.

In fact, free market will come in new area only when someone else (usually that "totally unable to innovate" government) sufficiently develop it and lower risks - like with Internet (and yes, computers). Giving all credit for these things to free market is historical revisionism.

The internet is a poor example in several ways.
AOL and compuserv and several other online pre-internet services were getting quite large by the time the government sponsored commercial use of the internet overtook them with globally working email.

It is quite possible even with modest delays in this happening, inter-provider email (the killer app of the day), the internetworking of these providers would have produced something very, very different, with all content curated by these massive platforms.
As one example, Minitel in france took off and got a monopoly, which remained for a very long time after the internet.

Standardisation of railway gauges or container sizes might be a better example, but even here it's unclear, as they were often developed by single companies that 'won' in the market in their region before standardisation.

Offline AncientU

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #21 on: 12/30/2017 01:19 PM »
Risk tolerance.

If you boiled down the myriad reasons behind one young, private company building a rocket to land 150 tonnes or 100 people per flight on Mars and another prestigious, well-healed organization giving up on even landing on Mars -- though it has been promoting that goal for 40 years -- it would be these two words.

They haven't done it yet.

Exactly.  After 40 years and uncounted billions wasted, they gave up.
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Offline woods170

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #22 on: 12/30/2017 01:45 PM »
Risk tolerance.

If you boiled down the myriad reasons behind one young, private company building a rocket to land 150 tonnes or 100 people per flight on Mars and another prestigious, well-healed organization giving up on even landing on Mars -- though it has been promoting that goal for 40 years -- it would be these two words.

They haven't done it yet.

Exactly.  After 40 years and uncounted billions wasted, they gave up.
Again, I might add.

That is, until a new administration comes along and re-directs to Mars (again). Has happened before (and will happen again IMO).

Personally I refer to it as Moon-Mars Ping-Pong: roughly every decade the direction of US BLEO HSF changes course to either the Moon or Mars.

Offline IntoTheVoid

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #23 on: 12/30/2017 04:13 PM »
That is, until a new administration comes along and re-directs to Mars (again). Has happened before (and will happen again IMO).

Personally I refer to it as Moon-Mars Ping-Pong: roughly every decade the direction of US BLEO HSF changes course to either the Moon or Mars.
Of course.

No one gets credit for continuing what the last guy started, especially if he was from another party, and extra-especially if you can't finish it. Instead, if the last guy said 'moon', you can say 'Mars', and claim 'vision'. If the last guy said 'Mars', you can say 'Moon' and claim 'fiscal restraint/realism'.

Once something feels attainable, I expect them to jump on, whatever it is. (And very possibly claim credit, even if no one buys it)

Offline Jim

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #24 on: 12/30/2017 08:42 PM »
Risk tolerance.

If you boiled down the myriad reasons behind one young, private company building a rocket to land 150 tonnes or 100 people per flight on Mars and another prestigious, well-healed organization giving up on even landing on Mars -- though it has been promoting that goal for 40 years -- it would be these two words.

They haven't done it yet.

Exactly.  After 40 years and uncounted billions wasted, they gave up.

No, the point is that Spacex hasn't done it

Offline Jim

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #25 on: 12/30/2017 08:44 PM »

(computer and IT technology (ICT) is merely one example.  Imagine leaving government bureaus of the US and Russia/Soviet Union in charge of innovating in ICT since 1960 and imagine what our computer platforms would be looking like today.

 It was government spending and needs in 60's that launched the IC chip industry. There would be not consumer electronics of the 70's
« Last Edit: 12/30/2017 08:45 PM by Jim »

Offline AncientU

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #26 on: 12/30/2017 08:50 PM »
Risk tolerance.

If you boiled down the myriad reasons behind one young, private company building a rocket to land 150 tonnes or 100 people per flight on Mars and another prestigious, well-healed organization giving up on even landing on Mars -- though it has been promoting that goal for 40 years -- it would be these two words.

They haven't done it yet.

Exactly.  After 40 years and uncounted billions wasted, they gave up.

No, the point is that Spacex hasn't done it

The point is that SpaceX is on a rational and believable path to do it after just a few years of launching rockets, and NASA, after over 50 years, has no plan and even admits it isn't going to happen. 

Tens of Billions of dollars and decades of space launch experience separate these two -- which do you think has the best chance of succeeding?
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline Jim

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #27 on: 12/30/2017 09:04 PM »
neither

Online meekGee

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #28 on: 12/30/2017 09:07 PM »
Risk tolerance.

If you boiled down the myriad reasons behind one young, private company building a rocket to land 150 tonnes or 100 people per flight on Mars and another prestigious, well-healed organization giving up on even landing on Mars -- though it has been promoting that goal for 40 years -- it would be these two words.

They haven't done it yet.

Exactly.  After 40 years and uncounted billions wasted, they gave up.

No, the point is that Spacex hasn't done it

They also haven't landed or reused a booster yet.
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Offline AncientU

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #29 on: 12/30/2017 09:19 PM »
neither

For one who is so certain about everything, that's a bit non-committal.
Hang it out there, Jim.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline Jim

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #30 on: 12/30/2017 09:31 PM »
neither

For one who is so certain about everything, that's a bit non-committal.
Hang it out there, Jim.

No, I am certain that neither of them will go to Mars in my lifetime.

Offline woods170

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #31 on: 12/30/2017 10:04 PM »
neither

For one who is so certain about everything, that's a bit non-committal.
Hang it out there, Jim.

No, I am certain that neither of them will go to Mars in my lifetime.

You were also certain that Obama would be one-term president.

So you are either terminally ill (which I really don't hope) or your crystal ball needs an overhaul.

Offline woods170

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #32 on: 12/30/2017 10:05 PM »
Risk tolerance.

If you boiled down the myriad reasons behind one young, private company building a rocket to land 150 tonnes or 100 people per flight on Mars and another prestigious, well-healed organization giving up on even landing on Mars -- though it has been promoting that goal for 40 years -- it would be these two words.

They haven't done it yet.

Exactly.  After 40 years and uncounted billions wasted, they gave up.

No, the point is that Spacex hasn't done it

You missed the joke.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #33 on: 12/30/2017 11:15 PM »

(computer and IT technology (ICT) is merely one example.  Imagine leaving government bureaus of the US and Russia/Soviet Union in charge of innovating in ICT since 1960 and imagine what our computer platforms would be looking like today.

It was government spending and needs in 60's that launched the IC chip industry. There would be not consumer electronics of the 70's.

IIRC, all or virtually all of the first ICs were manufactured to meet the demand of Minuteman II (most) and Apollo (remainder).  There was a high proportion of defective ICs that were discovered in testing, so production had to account for the predicted proportion of finished ICs that did not meet specs.
« Last Edit: 12/30/2017 11:16 PM by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline AncientU

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #34 on: 12/31/2017 12:26 AM »

(computer and IT technology (ICT) is merely one example.  Imagine leaving government bureaus of the US and Russia/Soviet Union in charge of innovating in ICT since 1960 and imagine what our computer platforms would be looking like today.

 It was government spending and needs in 60's that launched the IC chip industry. There would be not consumer electronics of the 70's

If development had stayed in government hands, there wouldn't be consumer electronics today.
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Offline Lar

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #35 on: 12/31/2017 03:11 AM »
Capitalism vs government, who invented the internet, integrated circuits, etc....  is general politics. Don't go there.
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Offline alang

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #36 on: 01/02/2018 01:43 AM »
neither

For one who is so certain about everything, that's a bit non-committal.
Hang it out there, Jim.

No, I am certain that neither of them will go to Mars in my lifetime.

What would it take to moderate your certainty?
If in the next few years SpaceX did build a fully reusable launch vehicle that cost a small fraction of the Shuttle refurbishment costs to reuse it then would you start to have doubts?

Offline AncientU

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #37 on: 01/02/2018 12:20 PM »
neither

For one who is so certain about everything, that's a bit non-committal.
Hang it out there, Jim.

No, I am certain that neither of them will go to Mars in my lifetime.

What would it take to moderate your certainty?
If in the next few years SpaceX did build a fully reusable launch vehicle that cost a small fraction of the Shuttle refurbishment costs to reuse it then would you start to have doubts?

They'll be opening brew pubs on Mars before that certainty would budge... and then it would be to complain about the availability of Bud Light.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Online john smith 19

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #38 on: 01/02/2018 04:01 PM »
The internet is a poor example in several ways.
AOL and compuserv and several other online pre-internet services were getting quite large by the time the government sponsored commercial use of the internet overtook them with globally working email.
Look deeper.

Those companies didn't develop their own protocols. They came from the TCP/IP stack.  The front end UI of their systems might have been proprietary but it was sitting on things developed on the USG's dime to linke multiple networks together for remote access  to specialized computing resources from a single desk. IOW "Inter-networking"
Quote from: speedevil
It is quite possible even with modest delays in this happening, inter-provider email (the killer app of the day), the internetworking of these providers would have produced something very, very different, with all content curated by these massive platforms.
Something more like Facebook but with charges perhaps?
Quote from: speedevil
As one example, Minitel in france took off and got a monopoly, which remained for a very long time after the internet.
Are you aware that "Mintel" terminals were supplied for free by the French (state owned monopoly) telephone company? They'd worked out that an online phonebook would save them a shed load of money updating (and then distributing) copies of the phone book
BT in the UK (also a state owned monopoly telco at the time) did something similar with Prestel, but conceived as a general information service.
Yup, for the French "White Pages" was the killer app.  :)
Quote from: speedevil
Standardisation of railway gauges or container sizes might be a better example, but even here it's unclear, as they were often developed by single companies that 'won' in the market in their region before standardisation.
And look what a mess that has left rail transport of goods across certain national boundaries.  :(
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Online john smith 19

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #39 on: 01/02/2018 04:11 PM »
neither

For one who is so certain about everything, that's a bit non-committal.
Hang it out there, Jim.

No, I am certain that neither of them will go to Mars in my lifetime.
Before you mock him consider what would happen to SX plans if Musk were to (for example) drive into a telephone pole (I imagine there are still a few of those dotting the Californian landscape) like the head of Amroc?  :(

TBF to Jim I don't think he's the sort of person who then turns round and says "I'm surprised it took them so long."
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Online john smith 19

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #40 on: 01/02/2018 04:21 PM »
They'll be opening brew pubs on Mars before that certainty would budge... and then it would be to complain about the availability of Bud Light.
Many a successful business plan has been spoken in jest.

Consider...

Ingredients (water, Barley, Hops) untouched by any Earth pollution.

Made by people who take pride in their work.

On Mars, 10gals of home brew (and a pleasant evening of oblivion for the staff of "Musk Villas") . On Earth 66 pints of "Authentic, Made on Mars Micro Brew" at $200+* a pint.


*Allowing for targeted shipping cost levels and a modest profit.
« Last Edit: 01/02/2018 04:27 PM by john smith 19 »
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. Believe no one. Run your own numbers. So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline Ekramer

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #41 on: 01/02/2018 06:29 PM »
They'll be opening brew pubs on Mars before that certainty would budge... and then it would be to complain about the availability of Bud Light.
Many a successful business plan has been spoken in jest.

Consider...

Ingredients (water, Barley, Hops) untouched by any Earth pollution.

Made by people who take pride in their work.

On Mars, 10gals of home brew (and a pleasant evening of oblivion for the staff of "Musk Villas") . On Earth 66 pints of "Authentic, Made on Mars Micro Brew" at $200+* a pint.


*Allowing for targeted shipping cost levels and a modest profit.
Ah, in another thread I was saying the Martian economy will be based on “million dollars in a shoebox” exports.  I was thinking Martian jewellery but I like the idea of Martian single malt whiskey. Two bottles in a shoebox might come close, especially in a Martian glass bottle and shot glasses.

Offline Jim

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #42 on: 01/09/2018 12:33 AM »
neither

For one who is so certain about everything, that's a bit non-committal.
Hang it out there, Jim.

No, I am certain that neither of them will go to Mars in my lifetime.

You were also certain that Obama would be one-term president.


The result of Obama's second term was Trump.  So the prediction of a reaction to Obama's presidency was just 4 years off.
« Last Edit: 01/09/2018 12:35 AM by Jim »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #43 on: 01/09/2018 12:50 AM »
The result of Obama's second term was Trump.

... and to be fair, no-one would have believed you if you predicted that. ;)
I hear those things are awfully loud. It glides as softly as a cloud. What's it called? Monowhale!

Offline Lar

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #44 on: 01/09/2018 12:59 AM »
Guys...
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline Dave G

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #45 on: 01/14/2018 01:10 AM »
Going back to the original post in this thread, which talked about the risks SpaceX took to achieve reusability, I kind of see it the opposite.  Musk's analogy: It's like there's a pallet with $ millions in cash falling through the sky. Why wouldn't they try to catch that?  And now that SpaceX has shown it works, I think any company that isn't designing their next rocket for reusability is taking a huge risk.

But looking at SpaceX's business decisions in general, it's fair to say that they're very comfortable taking risks, and that's typical for this new group of billionaire entrepreneurs, as evidenced by Mark Zuckerberg's famous quote:
Quote from: Mark Zuckerberg
The biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: The nature of risk-taking in space launch
« Reply #46 on: 01/14/2018 03:07 AM »
Going back to the original post in this thread, which talked about the risks SpaceX took to achieve reusability, I kind of see it the opposite.  Musk's analogy: It's like there's a pallet with $ millions in cash falling through the sky. Why wouldn't they try to catch that?

Speaking only about SpaceX, Musk's original motive was to get "stuff" to Mars, and not being able to do it as inexpensively as he needed. In startup-speak that is the "pain" that he experienced.

The "solution" to that "pain" was not based on a wild-assed guess, it was based on investigating the engineering and physics involved in launching mass to space, and then comparing that to the existing business models. And what Musk observed was that there was room for improvement on the product side (potential reusability), and room for improvement on the business side (i.e. customer price).

Existing providers rarely want to disrupt their own markets, and for the launch industry pre-SpaceX everyone was happy with the market segmentation.

Those conditions allowed SpaceX the opportunity to become dominant, but of course they had to be both good and lucky in being able to survive until they could get to that point. And it was far from assured that they would, so we're lucky they did.

Quote
And now that SpaceX has shown it works, I think any company that isn't designing their next rocket for reusability is taking a huge risk.

As I've been saying, the race is on to see who will be the LAST company to commit to reusable rockets. Because I think SpaceX has shown that the few protected markets for expendable launchers that are left won't be enough to allow for a dominate player in the near future.

Quote
But looking at SpaceX's business decisions in general, it's fair to say that they're very comfortable taking risks, and that's typical for this new group of billionaire entrepreneurs, as evidenced by Mark Zuckerberg's famous quote:
Quote from: Mark Zuckerberg
The biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

Zuckerberg is talking about taking risks once you are already successful, which is different than what Elon Musk did to start SpaceX.

As to what SpaceX does today, maybe a different way to say it is that they are very good at taking calculated risks, in that they've done their homework and determined that what they could do is possible, and they are OK with failure on their way to proving that it was inevitable.

My $0.02
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

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