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SpaceX FUD: true or false

oneday

Active Member
Nov 29, 2014
1,140
4,986
Bay Area
Definitely regurgitating 1.5 yr old information, discussions and drama.

The fault analysis from the Amos-6 explosion identified a root cause. Using that information, SpaceX changed its load procedure so that particular failure could in no way be replicated.

The problem with that article is they made no mention of that. The article didn’t identify the cause of the Amos-6 failure, it didn’t mention that SpaceX along with NASA identified the cause and corrected it.

Even with the new COPV design they still don’t use liquid helium out of an abundance of caution.
 
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ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Moderator
While the article does contain some factual information, it leaves out critical pieces of data and overall fails to present a balanced view of the topic. As is often the case, the headline sensationalizes the topic, which is deliberately done to draw in readers.

Of course Boeing (ULA) wants to spread SpaceX FUD, and gullible Congresspeople will eat it up.But I think most NASA administrators know better. NASA needs two successful CCT programs.

I laugh every time I think about the fact that SpaceX volunteered to do an in-flight abort test and ULA is doing their abort test on the pad.
 
While the article does contain some factual information, it leaves out critical pieces of data and overall fails to present a balanced view of the topic. As is often the case, the headline sensationalizes the topic, which is deliberately done to draw in readers.

Of course Boeing (ULA) wants to spread SpaceX FUD, and gullible Congresspeople will eat it up.But I think most NASA administrators know better. NASA needs two successful CCT programs.

I laugh every time I think about the fact that SpaceX volunteered to do an in-flight abort test and ULA is doing their abort test on the pad.

What is different from what SpaceX is doing and what NASA did with the redstone, atlas, titan, and Saturn rockets? My memory is they all kept fueling LOX right up to launch.
 

Nikxice

Active Member
Oct 31, 2014
1,176
2,021
Hudson, NH
The fueling differences are highlighted in this letter I linked back in March.

The accomplishment bullet points are a sign of progress. A lingering question is whether SpaceX and NASA have worked out a resolution for the Falcon 9 boarding procedure. SpaceX's preference is known as "load and go". The plan is (or was) to get the astronauts on board, commence the approximate 30 minute fueling procedure, then launch. This method facilitates keeping the super-chilled oxygen in a denser liquid state. I know former Apollo astronaut Tom Stafford was on a NASA advisory committee that voiced strong opposition to this procedure. I've linked a letter he wrote highlighting concerns dated 12/09/15. Worth noting that this was written 9 months before the COPV launchpad failure.
https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/FOIA/17-HQ-F-00079-ID.pdf

The method of boarding proposed by Stafford's committee is to load crew only after the Falcon 9 is fueled and stabilized. Then the astronauts and essential personal would be allowed near the rocket.

Does anyone know if this issue has been settled? My understanding is that the two major drawbacks to late boarding could either be limiting payload or possibly affecting booster RTLS/ASDS capability.

I suppose it could be argued that by omission of some details the Washington Post article contains FUD. Just speculating, the article could have been edited to fit the page. The author invites emails, could ask him specifics. I don't see factual errors in the article. I think it all boils down to these two quotes from NASA officials, "the agency had not decided whether it would allow SpaceX to load crews before loading the fuel, but he did not rule it out." Also, "the agency is in deep discussions with SpaceX about the safest way to go." Hopefully there will be a resolution soon in SpaceX's favor.
 

Electroman

Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2012
6,955
9,415
TX
I think we should follow the most risk averse and safest approach. An approach that will give you 100% safety, better than any transportation.

Australia has 100% safety record in manned space flights. Kenya, Tanzania, the whole of Africa, and South America. Zero deaths. Better than anything NASA or Russians did. And that safety record didn't come by being a cowboy and cutting corners, like SpaceX.
 

Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
6,563
8,962
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The goal of this article is not to prevent SpaceX from participating or launching astronauts but to spread enough FUD to generate enough extra bureaucratic safety checks to cause a delay in a launch with astronauts. This is evidenced by just asking the question of what would come of this. If SpaceX is delayed by even a few months then Boeing can complete their capsule first and launch first. That would be a big publicity coup for them. Anything they can do to prevent SpaceX from garnering even more positive publicity is a win.

That's my guess about this.

I laugh every time I think about the fact that SpaceX volunteered to do an in-flight abort test and ULA is doing their abort test on the pad.

Which SpaceX already did awesomely in 2015.

 

pilotSteve

Active Member
Jul 14, 2012
1,588
1,537
Prescott Az
The goal of this article is not to prevent SpaceX from participating or launching astronauts but to spread enough FUD to generate enough extra bureaucratic safety checks to cause a delay in a launch with astronauts. This is evidenced by just asking the question of what would come of this. If SpaceX is delayed by even a few months then Boeing can complete their capsule first and launch first. That would be a big publicity coup for them. Anything they can do to prevent SpaceX from garnering even more positive publicity is a win.

That's my guess about this.



Which SpaceX already did awesomely in 2015.

THAT is one wild ride! Whoa
 
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SpaceX did put NASA in a hard spot with the fueling procedure because it doesn't go against 50+ years of history of manned spaceflight.

By retaining the ability to fly the F9 without super-cooled propellant SpaceX has given NASA the choice.

#1- Either fly with the normal process of astronauts load and then the F9 is fueled.

#2- Or fly with the process of not using super-cooled propellant and the astronauts load after the rocket is fueled.

NASA's knows that option #2 isn't a good choice because they would be using a different fueling procedure than the rest of SpaceX's launches. This introduces a whole new set of possibilities for things to go wrong because SpaceX would be dramatically changing a critical launch process for just 1-2 launches a year. Despite all the noise made by certain groups about the fueling process, NASA knows the safest process is #1.

It also looks like SpaceX really made a effort to prove to NASA that the design changes in block-5 for the COPV will prevent a repeat of AMOS-6. SpaceX was also smart by not backing itself into the corner about using super-cooled propellant by retaining the option to not use super-cooled propellant if NASA still demanded the fueling of the rocket before the astronaut load.
 

Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
6,563
8,962
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Firing off the abort system at Max-Q in a launch is a simulation of a RUD at the worst possible moment. That test is coming toward the end of the year. The abort test they've already done is a simulation of a RUD on the pad.

As I argued elsewhere, you can plan for a repeat of what has happened in the past and something new will pop up and cause a RUD for something you had not planned. So you come up with a system that works under circumstances you haven't planned for. SpaceX's abort system is pretty comprehensive for almost any RUD scenario. The only thing against it is that it is a new system. SpaceX has had a very good track record since the COPV anomaly. We're at 27 successful load and go launches. 28 tomorrow. If NASA forces a change then it will be for political reasons, not for safety reasons.
 

ggr

Expert in Dunning-Kruger Effect!
Moderator
Mar 24, 2011
7,158
30,086
San Diego, CA
Firing off the abort system at Max-Q in a launch is a simulation of a RUD at the worst possible moment. That test is coming toward the end of the year. The abort test they've already done is a simulation of a RUD on the pad.
I have a feeling that having the Dragon leave the rest of the Falcon at MaxQ might induce a RUD anyway... suddenly having a hollow blunt end at just over Mach 1 couldn't be much fun for the boosters.
 
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ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Moderator
I have a feeling that having the Dragon leave the rest of the Falcon at MaxQ might induce a RUD anyway... suddenly having a hollow blunt end at just over Mach 1 couldn't be much fun for the boosters.
That may well be true, but since the Dragon will have separated itself from the rocket and be moving away it won’t matter if the rocket has a RUD.

What amazes me is that the Super Dracos can push the Dragon away from the F9 while it is moving at well over Mach 1 during the period of Max Q. As soon as the Dragon separates it is no longer being propelled by the 9 Merlin engines, it’s on it’s own and would decelerate dramatically of course if it wasn’t for the Super Dracos kicking in near instantaneously.

It’s a technological accomplishment that blows my mind. :confused:
 
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