back to article Yeah but, no, but... 'Overpaid' Boeing snaps back at NASA's watchdog

The Arianespace launch may have been delayed, but there remained plenty to bring delight to the hearts of rocket fans last week as Starliner neared launch and Boeing bit back at NASA. Boeing's Starliner has been mated to an Atlas V The Boeing CST-100 Starliner capsule took another step toward space last week as the spacecraft …

  1. Blane Bramble

    "During the second phase of descent, the reduction in velocity was more than the designed value."

    Or as they say, it's not the fall that kills you but the sudden deceleration at the end.

    1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

      I don't think the second stage was the final stage. They said the second stage slowed it more than it should have, so I suspect the final stage started too high... and possibly ran out of fuel before touchdown?? We'll have to wait for the final report.

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    the reduction in velocity was more than the designed value

    It isn't falling that kills, it's the sudden stop at the bottom

  3. Chris G Silver badge

    All for nothing

    So Boeing's decades of prior experience in rocket science counts for nothing against the Space X upstart getting a bit of a head start on the current generation of craft?

    Too stupid or too lazy to learn from past experience, or is it just that they no longer have real management and are run instead by bean counters and marketing wanks?

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: All for nothing

      Probably that like NASA itself it failed to maintain institutional memory. Letting experienced engineers retire without training replacements and dumping old plans and blueprints in a dumpster.

      Also I expect if you acquire the expertise by buying a company it is much easier to not value their institutional memory or look after their archives properly.

      Medicine does a better job than engineering in this respect. I was talking to a current 4th year med student recently and was gratified to learn they still teach them to take blood pressure the old fashioned way with a stethoscope and a column of mercury despite the existence of modern automated devices.

      This is because there are people paid to imagine how things like medicine will work in natural disaster scenarios. You could find yourself operating in a tent in the hospital grounds under lamplight with the generators only able to run fridges and freezers and lifesaving machines.

      For the same reason information like blood group are still hand written on blood bags for transfusion.

      I get that including serviceable parts adds weight and is hostage to advances in technology but the institutional memory thing is something we should be able to solve in the Information Age. SpaceX will encounter it as well when their current crop of smart people retire. Will they forget how to do the recovery fins down landing thing? They will if they don't take care to remember.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Although I generally agree with your post, I must say that I do not believe NASA has thrown away any blueprint or plan for whatever it may have had.

        You might be referring to the fact that we don't know how to make the Saturn V's engines any more, but it has been amply demonstrated now that that is not a case of having thrown anything away, it is a case of losing what you correctly referred to as institutional knowledge.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All for nothing

        "You could find yourself operating in a tent in the hospital grounds under lamplight "

        ...if Boris gets his dream of selling off the NHS

      3. Lotaresco

        Re: All for nothing

        "For the same reason information like blood group are still hand written on blood bags for transfusion."

        Not done anywhere that I worked. All blood bag labels are printed with a bar code and the blood group(s).

  4. aks Bronze badge

    I do commend what the Indians *have* achieved.

    1. stiine Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      re: India

      Of all of the countries on earth, only 8 have put their hardware on the moon:

      US, USSR, China, Japan, EU, Luxembourg, Israel, and India; and only 6 did so successfully. That's a pretty exclusive club.

      1. L3

        Re: re: India

        The EU is a country?

        1. Pete4000uk

          Re: re: India

          One day dear boy, one day...

      2. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: re: India

        of all the nations to achieve orbital capability, the only one to give it up is the UK

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      "I do commend what the Indians *have* achieved."

      Indeed so, but why are they being so bloody secretive about it?

  5. Imhotep

    Time To Flush The System

    Another case of a tapeworm abusing its host.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "did not elaborate on what caused the borked second phase"

    Oh come on, what's the National Security issue there ? Do you think you can possibly be more ridiculous than when NASA borked a landing because descent velocity was described in feet instead of meters ? Did someone leave a scarf on the altitude detector ?

    Man up and tell the world what actually went wrong. You're just making things worse for when we do find out - and we will, in the end.

  7. riffrafff

    "Hard landing?"

    When I crashed my car, I referred to that as a "hard parking."

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Coat

      "The result was that things were not to the lander's liking at the start of the final phase of descent and Vikram went splat hard-landed lithobraked within 500 metres of the planned site."

      FTFY.

      Mine has a dogeared copy of the Haynes Repair Manual for Firefly-class ships in the pocket.

      1. Imhotep
        Pint

        A Star Is Borked

        Lithobraked - that's marvelous.

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