Monday, January 14, 2008

Making the Mistakes Avoided in the Past

Just when you thought our lunar lander friends were making progress, putting a BAA on the streets to get industry involved in reviewing their LSAM designs, we now learn that they have not learned from the lessons of the past. And by disrespecting the history, they are prone to make the mistakes that the Apollo Lunar Module engineers avoided.

You see the lander program office has decided to not develop a risk reducing propulsion system development test article for Altair. The Apollo LM test article saved untold millions of dollars of rework and patching by flushing out issues before the flight articles were constructed. In a program where weight is at such a premium, and margins are correspondingly thin, engineering analysis is prone to failure. But since the Altair test article is estimated to cost about 80% of a full-up flight article, the program office has decided to forgo the expense.

Here we sit on top of the mountain. We see the two trains, but they can not see each other.

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