Saturday, August 16, 2008

ARES-1? Maybe Not?

We’ve all heard the saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Unfortunately, the minions have been directed to do a lot of things they don’t have a grasp on. And then they are told how smart they are by people that don’t know any better. Experienced mentors are hard to find. Just ask Steve Cook. Maybe not?

Take the issue of controllability of Doc’s (remember him? must be doing time somewhere by now?) spaghetti string? Five segments of looseness, being pushed from the bottom, and making organ tones around just above 10 Hz as it lurches upward. You’d think someone designing rockets would have been familiar with the problem. Maybe someone did but thought it would be a fun problem to solve. Maybe not?

So our soon, simple, safe rocket, now has more moving parts than an Atlas 5. We dare you to run the reliability numbers on the two. That SRB now looks about as stock as the Cheerios car at Richmond looks like a real Dodge. Maybe not?

So out come the pencils and the computers and the power point charts. Numbers churn. S squareds and omega squareds are scribbled down. Simple control problem spews out on the paper. Given enough bandwidth and a bunch of little rockets up top, and some spring, mass, dampers down below, we can get the Emperor’s limp rod in the air. Maybe not?

“Not so fast!” yells Mr. Nyquist. “Looks good on paper,” he says, “but don’t forget about transforming those s’s into z’s!” Ahhh, yes, the real-world implementation of a control problem . Pick a computer and a bus to move sensor data and take controlling actions back and forth to those vibration dampers. Moving a continuous reality to the chunked-up digital world should be easy these days. Maybe not?

Time for another number: 1553.

Mr. Nyquist is about half-satisfied. He’s sending the spaghetti into the sauce.

And here’s another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul. Maybe not?

9 comments:

kT said...

So how much acid do you think these guys are taking? I can think of no other explanation.

Anonymous said...

Doc? Doc? Oh, yes. I remember him. He got out of Dodge before it was clear to anyone with a 6th Grade education that this POS won't fly.

Safe, Simple, Soon. Thanks Doc/ATK! Thanks Emperor! What was that ILC? 2011? 2013? 2014? 2015? 2018?

When will we get some adult supervision? Where are the REAL rocket scientists? Why don't the EELV guys help put a stop to this madness?

Oh wait.... I remember.... The Emperor had those EELV guys silenced.

Anonymous said...

way back when i had hair
i used to program mil-std 1553
which was a serial bus.

Is this the same reference?

jeez, Nasa can't use modern data comms?

Specific Imp said...

The last time we ULA types even suggested that an EELV could do the job if they would allow us we got nasty calls from the CEO of LM to shut the hell up and toe that invisible line. Such is the influence of the vicious on the weakminded (meaning our bosses you understand). We have done this numerous times, almost for entertainment value, but the direct threats to our personal jobs were getting too close for comfort.

After a few of these events I was reminded of the comments of the incomparable Dick Jones of Robocop fame:

"i had a maintenance agreement for 10 years with ED209- who cares if it worked!"

The big boys are not willing to rock the boat. They perceive no upside. I have pointed out that this makes them party to this cluster. But I think they are betting it will all be cancelled before chips are cut.

Everyone who has spent a few hours on the ESAS and ARES designs KNOWS they will fail on basic rocket equation principles coupled to some very obvious physical and financial limitations. The whole industry is waiting for this to die. It is inexplicable that it has gone on this long. But that is an illustration of the degeneration of NASA technical oversight into a simple headnod for fear of rapid head loss.

Regrettably the lesson of Shuttle is that things can be kept alive for DECADES if you have enough money. They may never accomplish anything they set out to do but can be willed into physical reality to do whatever they can eek out of them. They may slow the evolution of US launch capability for thirty years but will be seen as the cat's meow. Meanwhile the rest of the world marches forward shaking their heads at us..

Bright flames and loud noises can have a powerful influence on the masses. So exciting.

kT said...

Breaking News! Barack Obama thinks he can make pigs fly! Details at 11:00.

I'm beginning to think that the acid contamination is fairly widespread.

Anonymous said...

If Doc doesn't take over for Dirtymore at ATK on October 1, or sometime during Ron's outbound transition, I'll be extremely surprised.

Anonymous said...

It's official! Problem solved! Smooth ride to orbit is assured!

How?

14000 lb of weights, electrical devices to move the weights, bigger batteries to power the mess some springs for the parachutes and a great big, honking spring between the stages!

The emperor has come through in fine fashion once again.

I guess I misunderstood the objective when I signed on - I thought we were supposed to put something in orbit, not just get it up and out of sight!

Is it time to invest in Rolaids?

Anonymous said...

assume almost double that weight.

If one of those springs dies, you need some
redundancy in there.

Same with if you lose a battery in
the dampers or an actuator there.

You might not need 100% redundancy but
you need something.

Given the Orion is overweight and the Ares is
overweight, i'm not sure where this
is going to come out of.

Anonymous said...

Anonymi said:

14000 lb of weights, electrical devices to move the weights, bigger batteries to power the mess some springs for the parachutes and a great big, honking spring between the stages!


and

Everyone who has spent a few hours on the ESAS and ARES designs KNOWS they will fail on basic rocket equation principles coupled to some very obvious physical and financial limitations. The whole industry is waiting for this to die.

If this plan for dealing with TO had come out on April 1, we'd all be laugning and saying, "Good one!"

It would have been amusing in reality if Ares I had died a while back. But more and more money and time are being poured down into the pit. When Ares I finally rattles its last breath, who's willing to believe Congress will rush in with a new pile of money to start all over again?