SPACEX and ROCKET TECHNOLOGY: Concerns at NASA over the astronauts’ safety hit a high point when, in September 2016, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blew up while it was being fueled ahead of an engine test. No one was hurt, but the payload, a multimillion-dollar satellite, was lost. The question on many people’s minds at NASA instantly became: What if astronauts were on board?”
“The proposal has raised alarms for members of Congress and NASA safety advisers as the agency and SpaceX prepare to launch humans into orbit as early as this year. One watchdog group labeled load-and-go a “potential safety risk.” A NASA advisory group warned in a letter that the method was “contrary to booster safety criteria that has been in place for over 50 years.” –Chicago Tribune
“In the nearly six years since SpaceX was awarded $440 million to develop a means to transport humans to space for NASA, the company has only sent cargo. The company was awarded another $2.6 billion in 2014 to send NASA’s astronauts to space, according to NASA. The company is on track to send its first astronauts to the International Space Station later this year. The past four years have raised some concerns about the safety of those astronauts though.” – The Washington Post
“The company had one of its Falcon 9 rockets bound for the ISS explode just 139 seconds into the mission in 2015, an explosion NASA called an “anomalous event” in a report this year. The following year, on September 1, another SpaceX rocket, along with the satellite it was meant to deliver to space, exploded at Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 40 during a static-fire test for the launch.” –Seattle Times
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
Despite the attempt of every non-management scientist and engineer at NASA, no one has been able to fully uproot the culture that gave rise to the STS disasters. We know why they occurred. Without a thorough assessment by NASA management however, “NASA advisers may express an opinion,” and SpaceX may be able to counter that opinion, but NASA has preciously little foundation to build on.
On the other hand, if SpaceX performance and accountability is to be enhanced it must have MORE independence as its owncorporation under Gwynne Shotwell, from its major capital investor – Elon Musk and the Ponzie-type scheme known as Tesla – rather than be forced to mimic every strange idea that pops into its Founder’s multi-tasked head. Like this one: USING ROCKETS DESIGNED FOR SPACE TO TRAVEL ON EARTH… ROUTINELY?
Do we actually need an explosive, rocketed-version of the failed Super Sonic Transport (SST)? Actually no. We are doin quite well without it. Our focus should be in a green, safer variety. In the event, business competition caboosed the SST a long time ago.
Do we need to replace one form of carbon-based transportation with an even BIGGER ONE, where the amount of fuel burned per passenger is astronomical? Definitely not!
We cannot take these TED Talks too seriously, however. TED Talks began in 1984 as a conference where… “Technology, Entertainment and Design converges.” Apparently. REAL SCIENCE was never part of the TED concept.
However, we must take seriously the grand-standing and entertainment approach being taken by SpaceX to rocket research, as a reflection of Tesla’s failed business model.
“In a recent email sent to Tesla employees and obtained by Electrek, Musk warned that outside workers will be denied entry into the factory come Monday morning, 7MAY18. The company CEO is planning to cut off access Tesla factories to any contractor who doesn’t have a Tesla employee to vouch for the quality of their work. The only way to keep those extra laborers around is if a Tesla employee is willing to place their own livelihood on the line in order to attest to the contractor’s skills.”
What if a similar approach is used in SpaceX factories?