back to article Boeing didn't run end-to-end test on Calamity Capsule, DSCOVR up and running, and NASA buys a Falcon Heavy

Quite a bit transpired in the world of rocketeering over the past few days, and The Reg has got all the highlights. DSCOVR satellite back in business after a quiet nine months There was good news for space weather watchers this week as the DSCOVR spacecraft was pulled out of a lengthy safe mode due to an issue with its …

  1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
    FAIL

    Sounds like my workplace

    The bean counters took control from the Engineers more than a decade ago. Metrology tools for measuring whether parts meet specs? Unnecessary cost. Testing hardware functionality, again unnecessary as we can stimulate it (sure we can). About that fire department down the road, let's get rid of that too. Another unnecessary cost. After all, where's the fire?

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like my workplace

      Guess it won’t be the bean counters who take the flack if some component fails for lack of proper specs costing your company and/or their insurers a packet. Perhaps it should be pointed out that they are exposing the company to major liability.

      1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Sounds like my workplace

        What planet do you live on? The settlements are just the cost of doing business.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Jack's 1st law

          Take the total number of likely fatalities and multiply by the average out-of-court settlement. If that number is less than a recall, don't do a recall.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Jack's 1st law

            When i worked in a flight control computer in 1998, the cost told to me was $250k per passenger. But then it was "only" a passenger plane.

            Now I do spacecraft, and my current ones do not have any live passengers; they are the "passenger" of the rocket. The cost per passenger is 1000M€,

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Sounds like my workplace

      well, I'm not convinced that NASA shouldn't subcontract more things out. If contractors can do it cheaper than "governmentium", WITHOUT sacrificing safety and/or reliability, then GO FOR IT!

      From the article: study a metal asteroid between Mars and Jupiter to help humanity etc.

      Seriously, to help humanity START THE NEXT GOLD RUSH! Droids first, then ultimately, individual space prospectors (or even corporate teams). SPACE PIONEERS! TRUE FREEDOM!

      (if I could do it right now I would)

  2. Jon 37
    Mushroom

    It's tradition

    I see Boeing are following the traditions blazed by NASA, and treating manned spaceflight just as carelessly as NASA treated Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Coat

    "A few more minutes of testing"

    Well, at least there had been some testing, eh, Microsoft ?

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: "A few more minutes of testing"

      That's a little bit unfair. I think it's reasonable to conclude that Microsoft do test their telemetry. Can't miss an opportunity to capture just which swear words are uttered at the computer each time if FUBARs.

    2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: "A few more minutes of testing"

      MS have lots of testing done their SW. That's why they keep forcing updates out on to their "customers". I mean what other use is there for customers if it isn't do the testing for us.

  4. Threlkeld

    "... the North Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ... ?

    That would be 'National', not 'North'. Suspect NATO got in there, somehow.

  5. HammerOn1024

    Testing Axium

    Never be caught hardware poor. Boeing... shame on you. The minimum number of units is five (5):

    - Murphy will take one

    - Engineering bench testing will let the smoke out of another

    - Environmental lab testing will consume another

    - Simulation Testing 1x minimum, two (2) preferable since Murphy is still out there waiting

    - Flight 1x; Two (2) is preferable... Murphy again.

    So while five (5) is a minimum, an ideal is at LEAST seven (7). Seven... huuummm... a statistically relevant number... huuummmm.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Testing Axium

      As of (now) the post has 5 upvotes...

      I don't really want to add one, it looks pleasantly symmetric.

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: Testing Axium

        Somebody broke the symmetry - but now it's got seven

        1. Psmo Bronze badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Testing Axium

          Got 14 now.

          Guess Murphy's working overtime.

  6. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    Do you think someone should lend them a copy of

    Failure is not an option

  7. TVU Silver badge

    "Boeing didn't run end-to-end test on Calamity Capsule"

    What the 737 Max scandal has taught us is that Boeing's supposed 'quality control' took a very distant second place to churning out planes on time and that conscientious engineers raising points of concern were completely ignored and sidelined.

    1. YourNameHere

      Boeing here is just a symptom of the drive to increase profits at all costs. This problem is not limited to them. You see it in everything now days. Even the refrigerator I just bought is so much more cheaply made than before but costs more and the reviews say that it will require more repairs than before. Off shoring the SW development to cheaper locations...

      1. Blank Reg

        The difference though is that when your refrigerator fails then maybe your milk will taste funny. When Boeing's products fail, people die.

        1. YourNameHere

          Minor detail. We still got our bonus on beating the budget targets months before this happened.....

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The former residents of Grenfell Tower may disagree with your assertion.

    2. Baldrickk Silver badge

      Sounds like they are indeed testing like they fly... both in space and terrestrial craft.

  8. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    "The fault, dear NASA, is not in our Starliners,

    But in ourselves, that we are bean counters."

    1. Imhotep

      *Shakes spear at the heavens.*

  9. fishman

    Cheap!

    The SpaceX launch of Psyche is $117M.

    Compare that with Curiosity, whose launch cost was around 20% of its $2.5B budget. Or the cost for the upcoming Mars 2020 launch at $243M.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Cheap!

      Or the cost per mile of HS2.

  10. Curly4
    Joke

    And for this the US federal government has paid how many billions of dollars and have waited how many years?

    1. Blank Reg

      Yes but the politicians make much of that money back in k̶i̶c̶k̶b̶a̶c̶k̶s̶ donations.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      "And for this the Federal government has paid how many $Bn and..waited how many years?"

      Hard to believe but Commercial Crew has been an absolute bargain compared to the stripping LM have given NASA over the Orion capsule.

      When you're asking ESA to contribute the SM for the vehicle because you've run out of money for the programme you know LM have turned them over properly.

  11. YourNameHere

    24 or 28 hours of testing

    This would have been way to expensive in terms of time and resources to do end to end testing.... Lets just wing it, what could go wrong....

  12. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Better way of testing...

    The first flights should always have the CEO and few board members on board. This goes for aircraft and space flight.

  13. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Separate component testing

    "The parachute company tested the harness, the pilot 'chute and the main 'chute and they all performed well above specifications. Unfortunately neither of those tests revealed that at the time the unfortunate parachutist left the aircraft, the three items were not in fact attached to each other ..."

    1. Patched Out
      Facepalm

      Re: Separate component testing

      Funny you should say that, because Boeing's earlier landing test of the capsule had an "anomaly" where 1 of the 3 parachutes failed to deploy. The test was deemed a success because the remaining two chutes successfully brought the capsule down without damage. It was later determined that “The root cause was a lack of secure connection between the pilot chute and the main chute lanyard,”

      https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/11/07/boeing-identifies-cause-of-chute-malfunction-continues-preps-for-first-starliner-launch/

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Separate component testing

        “The root cause was a lack of secure connection between the pilot chute and the main chute lanyard,”

        Translation: the parachute wasn't attached to the spacecraft.

  14. Sanctimonious Prick
    Happy

    Attitude

    "Attitude Control Systems." Yep, that's a problem, alright.

    ;)

  15. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    FAIL

    Data management of settings, configuration, scripts etc.

    We've heard of it.

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