Time to Put A Fork in SLS

techrat

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What would it take to focus on the SLS program and not back on forth on unrelated programs, politicians, etc?
I'm all for that. But I wonder if the corporate culture at NASA hasn't swung too far the other way. If you recall, one of the problems identified by the Challenger Commission was that the culture at NASA had become one where they were too willing to take risks. And thus we had situations where dangerous rockets were being launched and the possibility existed that someone (or many people) were going to die. And some did. Which is bad. But also, sometimes necessary.

I think NASA is now unwilling to take any kind of risk. And that's also bad. Because space is dangerous. And there's literally nothing that can be done to make it 100% safe. You can make it 80% safe at best.

It's kind of like computer uptime. You can make computers and operating systems with 80% to 90% uptime. Easily. You can even make them with 97% uptime, but that takes considerably more money. And that last 3%? Well, now you're into millions, and even then, the best you're going to get is 99.5% uptime.
 

MidOH

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The entire shuttle program was risky. I've always figured that Challenger and Columbia was just a normal part of the game. Only 2 disasters for that entire programs duration, was actually darn good work IMO.

There's no way to make a giant orbiter as tough and survivable, as a space capsule from a normal rocket.
 

CalebJ

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I'm all for that. But I wonder if the corporate culture at NASA hasn't swung too far the other way. If you recall, one of the problems identified by the Challenger Commission was that the culture at NASA had become one where they were too willing to take risks. And thus we had situations where dangerous rockets were being launched and the possibility existed that someone (or many people) were going to die. And some did. Which is bad. But also, sometimes necessary.

I think NASA is now unwilling to take any kind of risk. And that's also bad. Because space is dangerous. And there's literally nothing that can be done to make it 100% safe. You can make it 80% safe at best.

It's kind of like computer uptime. You can make computers and operating systems with 80% to 90% uptime. Easily. You can even make them with 97% uptime, but that takes considerably more money. And that last 3%? Well, now you're into millions, and even then, the best you're going to get is 99.5% uptime.
Corporate culture within NASA and the associated companies seems completely on topic.
 

cerving

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Going to and returning from space is risky. Plenty of ways to die. The early astronauts knew that, all the way through the Apollo program. The physics hasn't changed, just the perception that somehow going to space is "safe", even though you're sitting on top of hundreds if not thousands of tons of highly flammable and volatile propellants. I think it's admirable that NASA is being more conservative than they've been in the past... although there's no people on board with this flight so it's more because they don't want the bad press that a failure would generate.
 

Peartree

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I think it's admirable that NASA is being more conservative than they've been in the past... although there's no people on board with this flight so it's more because they don't want the bad press that a failure would generate.
And, I think NASA is well-aware that, at this point, a major accident will kill any congressional will to fund this project at all. One kaboom and the next congressional reauthorization is DOA.
 

cls

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It's kind of like computer uptime. You can make computers and operating systems with 80% to 90% uptime. Easily. You can even make them with 97% uptime, but that takes considerably more money. And that last 3%? Well, now you're into millions, and even then, the best you're going to get is 99.5% uptime.

Not entirely true. I worked on machines with continuous 100% uptime, they ran for years. They were not outrageously expensive.
 

techrat

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Not entirely true. I worked on machines with continuous 100% uptime, they ran for years. They were not outrageously expensive.
I worked on Mainframes -- IBM Z-series with hot swappable CPUs, hot swappable memory units, and then there was a system called "Stratus" that ran its own OS called "VOS" -- again, you could replace half the machine while it remained operational and serving customers - its was used for OTC trading on wall street and had nearly continuous uptime, but cost a small fortune. How did your systems manage 100% uptime, and what were they running? I mean, even mainframes crash once in a while, and they have virtual partitions that should prevent that - LPARs, that essentially virtualize the entire machine.
 

cls

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I worked on Mainframes -- IBM Z-series with hot swappable CPUs, hot swappable memory units, and then there was a system called "Stratus" that ran its own OS called "VOS" -- again, you could replace half the machine while it remained operational and serving customers - its was used for OTC trading on wall street and had nearly continuous uptime, but cost a small fortune. How did your systems manage 100% uptime, and what were they running? I mean, even mainframes crash once in a while, and they have virtual partitions that should prevent that - LPARs, that essentially virtualize the entire machine.

Z systems are amazing!

I remember Stratus. Friends worked there. I used to wear a Stratus t shirt when I needed a raise.

I worked at Tandem for about 10 years. Tandem outlasted Stratus, Biin, Pyramid, Sun (feeble attempts to retrofit some reliability), Linux HA. HPE still sells NSK systems.
 

Vitruvius

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The entire shuttle program was risky. I've always figured that Challenger and Columbia was just a normal part of the game. Only 2 disasters for that entire programs duration, was actually darn good work IMO.

There's no way to make a giant orbiter as tough and survivable, as a space capsule from a normal rocket.
I realize that it was just a TV program but even the late lamented "Men into Space" in 1959 acknowledged that Astronauts would die.
 
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