Monday, April 20, 2009

Come Hell or High Water

In this case, we are betting high water.

The new von Braun, a.k.a. our favorite Italian Waiter, is working feverishly to help Viceroy Hanley out of a bind. His spaghetti Stick is running way behind schedule and is technically bereft of any hope of flying successfully by 2015, or any other date, for that matter. So what is the best way to get back on schedule and avoid any failures that are inevitable in a rocket test program?

Skip the tests.

His goateed plumpness is preparing a proposal to skip green run acceptance tests on the ARES 1 upper stage and go straight to flight with Upper Stage #1. Now remember that this is the first upper stage that the minions have put together since Apollo. If you dig out the old Apollo test reports, you will find that the engineers back then never reached a point where tests were repeatable enough to skip green runs on stages, let alone engines.

Even Elon Musk has done aceptance testing on his rockets, and we know that track record. So as that first Upper Stage begins its trajectory towards the high water, we remind von Braun II of his predecessor's homage,"In this business of rockets, 99% success is absolute disaster."

And to Viceroy Hanley, we offer this Deke Slayton quote, "There is absolutely no value in an on-time failure."


Anonymous said...

And another of the anti-EELV pillars falls.

Anonymous said...

The Russians say “testing cost money and we have plenty of Cosmonauts”...
Learning from others is not always a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Just ask the Soviets and their magnificent N1 rocket how well those stages worked sans testing.

Anonymous said...

Well the best thing for any untried engineering team in a schedule pinch is to eliminate all susbystem testing. If any subsystems fail there will have to be fixes and schedule delays, but, if the whole thing is assembled untested, then, there will be no subsystem failures.

Anonymous said...

skipping subsystem testing is also good for the subsystem managers. After all if your system doesn't cause the flight failure it's not your problem.

Think of it as a natural follow on to launch chicken.
If you don't cause the launch delay you aren't the goat.