Fight fire with fire
And fight pork with pork
The quest to discover exactly why a SpaceX rocket exploded on the pad last month is getting complicated – with politicians fighting over who will control the investigation. On Thursday, a group of ten Republican congresscritters sent a letter [PDF] to NASA administrator Charles Boden, Federal Aviation Administration boss …
Pork and fires are a good combination, in fact they can often be further improved by the inclusion of eggs, and beans at the start of the day, or beer and some french stick at the end of the day.
When will politicians stop meddling within things and let the rest of the workers get on and achieve things.
Reminds me of the expression Pro is to Con as Progress is to Congress.
...whats a mishap?
Also, despite the dramatic nature of the failures, why should TWO cause a government investigation? Expensive but no injuries or deaths. It would be lovely to live in a world so idyllic that any negative event happening more than once sparked an intervention to understand and solve it.
Icon is SpaceX rocket being sabotaged from grassy knoll.
A mishap is less than an "accident", but more than an "oops".
Sort of like bumping into someone drinking a pint.
Oops: just a bump, no beer lost.
Mishap: slight spillage, half a mouthful gone.
Accident: Most of the beer is spilt, and you best fetch the lad a refill
Catastrophe: Pint fully spilled, and you get a punch in the face even after you bought the lad a replacement
"It would be lovely to live in a world so idyllic that any negative event happening more than once sparked an intervention to understand and solve it."
Yeah, someone remind me again how many people die on the roads each year due to accidents and mishaps. It surely must be more than two,
The US tax payer should get value for money, and they're buying a bunch of launches. The US government is obliged to ensure that it gets best value for money, and the politicians hold it to account on behalf of the tax payer / voters to make sure they do that. If SpaceX wind up losing a few National Security payloads, questions will be asked and will have to be answered.
On the other hand, this latest mishap is really nothing to do with Uncle Sam (except for launch pad rental agreements presumably covering explosions like this), so butt out.
Both points of view are understandable (accounting for some heavy duty lobbying) However, at the end of the day Uncle Sam is not just another customer, they’re perhaps the biggest customer. If they don't like what they see they'll eventually go elsewhere.
Certainly as things stand, with the investigation seemingly not producing results, the next few launch customers are going to be feeling nervous.
If they try to hush up the reason why it blew up, it might matter if it later does carry US payloads. The government gets involved in finding out the cause of plane and train crashes (including cargo ones where no one dies) surely when a rocket blows up that's equally within their purview.
'The government gets involved in finding out the cause of plane and train crashes'
Regarding aircraft crashes, under ICAO rules the body investigating them should be independent of the government. This allows them to freedom to point out when government regulation is a factor in an accident/incident. Hence in the UK the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) is an agency of the government but isn't part of it and more importantly is separate from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that sets the regulation. Hence in the USA the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigates the crashes while the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) sets the regulation.
What I'm not sure about is how that works for space craft, I'd assume NTSB investigates and NASA sets regulation but not 100% as I don't think it's really come up before.
Regarding aircraft crashes, under ICAO rules the body investigating them should be independent of the government.
In an ideal world - yes.
In a non-ideal world the government will replace an investigator which refuses to sign a rigged report and gets the investigation it needs (my mom had that done to her when she refused to sign the protocol for a crash).
Similarly, the government regularly announces what the result of the investigation is supposed to be like for example the Swiss in the Überlingen incident. In that case they got unlucky with the debris ending up on the German side which resulted in the Germans investigating it and revealing the REAL reason for the crash which is the swiss being 100% at fault, trying to white wash it and trying to hide the real reason and issue a Russophobic verdict of public opinion even before the investigation has started.
And the NTSB was setup because previously the FAA was given the job of promoting air travel AND investigating crashes. So all crashes were one-off freak occurrences, or the dead crew's fault and never a flaw with the aircraft.
There was a recent investigation into the FAA inspectors being a little too 'patriotic' in supporting US aircraft manufacturers post 9/11 = you can't find faults with Boeing because we need Boeing military aircraft to support our boys in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Let's face it, lobby money and votes are up for grabs and headlines help. Should we, as citizens and taxpayers expect anything less from our elected officials? Both sides are defending their turf.... ULA and SpaceX Congresscritters will now stand their ground.
On the other hand, why hasn't NASA or one of the agencies not jumped in with this investigation? Do they feel this is a matter for the company to sort out? Or will they wait until their next launch contract comes up?
Seems mighty suspicious a group of Republicans would ask for the US Government to interfere with a private business.
And just a question, will they also approve the spending budget for NASA? Or just the spending for the Air Force's newest space laser platform?
Also, what does the FAA have to say at all in this matter? "Umm we find the aircraft was unsuitable for flight because the wings could not provide enough lift."
Seems daft that FAA or some other independent of Politics and Manufacturer organisation doesn't do the investigating.
It should be treated more carefully and openly than an exploding aircraft, or by crazy logic are those only manufacturer investigated too?
The potential for cover ups or plain un-audited mistakes for self investigation is too high.
"The potential for cover ups or plain un-audited mistakes for self investigation is too high."
I disagree with that completely ... if SpaceX does not discover the root cause for the explosion then nobody will have confidence enough in them to let them launch their satellites ... so it's in their interests to be completely thorough and transparent about their findings.
I'm torn. On the one hand, there are some real experts in this sort of thing in the USAF, and they could be helpful. OTOH, there are also some overrated desk jockeys and bean counters who could be depended on to stall the investigation for years. And the USAF brass has shown great willingness to lobby, intervene or sandbag in favor of their buddies at ULA.
It is telling to see which politicians are on which side. Those asking for federal involvement are largely already in the ULA pocket. Certainly if the politicians were able to get an 'investigation' going, it will take a year or two before they even get started, and in the meantime SpaceX launches will be halted, decimating their market and forcing their customers to other competitors.
With the decades-long history of bribery, political manipulation (in the US and other governments around the world), and chicanery, it is not outside the realm of possibility that ULA or its parents Boeing and Lockheed might have had something to do with this call for an investigation. I strongly doubt actual sabotage, but I have fairly knowledgeable friends who suspected that from the beginning.
I strongly doubt actual sabotage, but I have fairly knowledgeable friends who suspected that from the beginning.
I can't recall where I read it, but I came across a story somewhere of attempts to inspect a rooftop with an excellent view of the launch platform. I'm no expert, but that struck me as less plausible as the chances of a projectile being picked up by cameras before impact would be too high to risk it.
That said, I think we can still blame Facebook. It seems the right thing to do, really. :)
Fully paid up member of the SLS supporters club.
The joke is what really lowers prices to customers (including the USG) is competition.
So what do these people want to strangle first?
Oops. Should have remembered this is the Con-gress, note the Senate.
No doubt the letter from the Senate will arrive in due course.
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