Saturday, March 13, 2010

SpaceX Failures

SpaceX: Falcon 9 engine test aborted before ignition

This is to be expected..

It's about perception though.  Elon Musk is talking to the media, and that's a start, but he isn't saying enough to educate the public about what a test program is and what the purpose of it is.  For example:

   Elon Musk on CNBC (YouTube)

Interesting, but a wasted opportunity.  He needs to say something like:

   "We're starting our test program now at Complex 40 at KSC.  Our goal is to figure out all the things that can go wrong and develop procedures to safely deal with them.  If everything works first time that'll be disappointing as we won't have the opportunity to learn anything.  So we're going to keep trying and trying until we get a problem, analyze that problem so we know how serious it is, then go again until we know where all the problems are.  That way, by the time we go for launch, we'll know how to work through any problems and safely launch on schedule.  Obviously we haven't set a launch date yet."

This achieves three things. First, it invites the public to see what they're doing as a learning exercise. Second, it admits that there are things they don't know, that they need to learn how to fix them, and that safety is their primary concern. Finally, it says they are not trying to launch yet - that they haven't even set a launch date.

But none of that is being said, so the public thinks they were trying to launch the other day, ran into problems and now they've delayed their launch until next month. In other words, they're a pack of amateurs who can't do it right on the first try.

3 comments:

  1. Gary Warburton3:16 AM

    Do you really think the general public is that logical?
    Have you noticed how little the politians seem to understand the Obama Space Plan? Even people who you would think would understand can`t seem to understand like Miles Obrien, Bob Zubrin, Bill Nelson, Vidder, sure you get the odd one like Clark Linsey, Pete Worton, or the republican Rochader(I can`t remember the spelling) but on the whole Bolden might as well be talking to a wooden post. I`m sorry I find it to frustrating.

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  2. If everything goes right the first time, you aren't testing it hard enough.

    SpaceX REALLY needs better PR. They've got an insanely good opportunity RIGHT NOW to be AMERICA's space program (the one the public thinks of when you say "rocket") and they are wasting it! (Much like NASA TV is mostly a wasted effort!)
    Come on Elon! GET WITH THE PROGRAM!! Inspire our kids! The ball's been dropped on the field, all you have to do is PICK IT UP and run with it!!

    Emory Stagmer
    (Follow me on Twitter @VAXHeadroom)

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  3. Hi,

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    ReplyDelete