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SpaceX Launch Failure Due To Timing Problem

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the ironically-he's-an-atheist dept.

Space 244

FleaPlus writes "Private orbital spaceflight company SpaceX recently announced that last weekend's Falcon 1 rocket launch failure was caused by a collision between the first and second stage of their rocket. This was due to a timing problem, when their brand-new engine design produced residual thrust for 1.5 seconds longer than expected; they're currently working to fix the problem and launch again, perhaps as early as next month. In a recent interview with Wired, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk remarked on their efforts: "Optimism, pessimism, f-ck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work.""

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ooohhhh (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 6 years ago | (#24508529)

Silly me. And here I was thinking it was due to a crashing problem...

Re:ooohhhh (5, Funny)

Wiseazz (267052) | about 6 years ago | (#24508565)

Well, there was the blowing up problem, followed by the gravity problem. Then, I suppose the crashing problem might have come into play at some point.

Re:ooohhhh (4, Funny)

Wiseazz (267052) | about 6 years ago | (#24508593)

"Neither stage exploded," Musk said. "They just got a little bit cooked."

Sorry - didn't rtfm. It was a cooking problem.
 

Re:ooohhhh (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 6 years ago | (#24509113)

Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Perhaps they need a new Chef Engineer.

That's what they get for launching in the dessert.

I could go on... but it's probably best if I don't.

Re:ooohhhh (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 6 years ago | (#24509265)

I could go on... but it's probably best if I don't.

Yes, I think we can all agree that your jokes were pretty tasteless.

Re:ooohhhh (3, Funny)

vyruss000 (525644) | about 6 years ago | (#24509753)

Yeah, I can't stomach that guy!

Re:ooohhhh (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 6 years ago | (#24508995)

Bah, crashing is only a problem if the deceleration involved is a rapid one.

Re:ooohhhh (4, Funny)

Loibisch (964797) | about 6 years ago | (#24508613)

race conditions often can lead to crashes

Hell-bent (4, Funny)

adpsimpson (956630) | about 6 years ago | (#24508531)

As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work.

Something tells me that perhaps he doesn't genuinely, really believe that God is his witness... :)

Re:Hell-bent (2, Insightful)

rodney dill (631059) | about 6 years ago | (#24508589)

...and Mr. Carlson thought turkeys could fly.

Re:Hell-bent (1)

Gorgon31 (1005935) | about 6 years ago | (#24508773)

Re:Hell-bent (5, Funny)

rodney dill (631059) | about 6 years ago | (#24508829)

Yes, I know they do, my reference was to the drop of domestic birds in the TV show WKRP [about.com] in Cincinnati. Someone didn't get the joke.

Re:Hell-bent (0, Offtopic)

Dr. Cody (554864) | about 6 years ago | (#24509611)

Someone didn't get Nick at Nite.

Re:Hell-bent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24508767)

Hell-bent, with a blood-red "deity" as his witness? That's not God, that's Satan! Elon Musk has clearly sold his soul to the devil to win the new space race.

Re:Hell-bent (2, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 years ago | (#24508907)

Maybe it's just God's time of month, ever think of that?

Re:Hell-bent (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 6 years ago | (#24509045)

Or maybe God is Satan :p

Think about it... the most loving thing in the world who would use plagues, floods, fear and martyrs for his cause? Seriously?

Re:Hell-bent (2, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 years ago | (#24509317)

I don't even WANT to think about that. I mean, if it were true that God is Satan... all my worshiping, all of my praying, all of my sacrifice to the Dark Lord would be in vain! My last sacrifice was a whole sack of puppies! Did they die for no reason?

Re:Hell-bent (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 6 years ago | (#24508873)

On a side note, nothing says "We're a serious business venture" quite like a CEO who rants and uses phrases like "fuck that" in interviews. Perhaps the rocket stages aren't the only thing that can't hold back when it counts.

Re:Hell-bent (4, Insightful)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | about 6 years ago | (#24509165)

This isn't your average widget company. People don't invest in companies like SpaceX just because of the profit potential, they do it because they desperately and fervently want to see us get our bald monkey asses off this rock. Having a CEO that unabashedly shares this passion is heartening to investors like those. If anything, I expect this "outburst" will help SpaceX more than harm them.

Re:Hell-bent (1)

dugjohnson (920519) | about 6 years ago | (#24509885)

<quote><p>As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work.</p></quote>

<p>Something tells me that perhaps he doesn't genuinely, really believe that God is his witness... :)</p></quote>

God=witness plus hell-bent merely helps determine WHO his God is.

I must ask (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 6 years ago | (#24508535)

Did it have the mortal remains of any famous actors onboard?

Re:I must ask (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | about 6 years ago | (#24508645)

It's what they use as propulsion material.

Re:I must ask (3, Funny)

rugatero (1292060) | about 6 years ago | (#24508693)

Actually it's got a million and one uses. Torgo's Thespian Powder!

Re:I must ask (2, Informative)

dontPanik (1296779) | about 6 years ago | (#24509053)

Did it have the mortal remains of any famous actors onboard?

From TFA

the ashes of 208 people, including astronaut Gordon Cooper and James Doohan, the actor who played Scotty in the original Star Trek television show

Do they have payloads lined up to be blown up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24508537)

Or are they just pushing the ashes of dead movie stars into low earth orbit?

Re:Do they have payloads lined up to be blown up? (3, Informative)

dontPanik (1296779) | about 6 years ago | (#24509087)

There was a DoD satellite and a NASA thingie on board when it failed.
Also there's plans to make deliveries to ISS once the shuttles are through.

Wow (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24508563)

Optimism, pessimism, f-ck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work

Now that sounds like a man who gets things done.

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

BigDaddyOttawa (948206) | about 6 years ago | (#24508751)

Or a man who can drive your company in to the ground faster than a failed Falcon 1.

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

oliderid (710055) | about 6 years ago | (#24509433)

if you invest into spaceX Obviously:
  • You are aware of the risk
  • You don't expect any return on investment in a short/medium term...Or better you don't expect anykind of return at all.
  • You know it will waste large sum of money.
  • You are looking for fun.

What you need are fanatics investing all their energy in the project and leading the team. Like him. And then it could be a success IMHO. Cold blood/rationnal manager would have left this project already.

Re:Wow (2, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 6 years ago | (#24508771)

Actually, it sounds like a man who is altogether too comfortable with profanity and who cares little for the problems faced by his team. Would you like to work for such a man?

Hint: when he says "I'm hell-bent on making it work", he actually means "I will not be doing any of the actual work myself, but I'm hell-bent on pushing my workers". Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

Re:Wow (2, Insightful)

kipman725 (1248126) | about 6 years ago | (#24508793)

yeah but he uses the profanity so well, why can't all press releases be like this.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24508847)

Even if that's the case, it's a lot better than the play on words that most companies do.

And hey, trial and error never hurt anyone before

Re:Wow (1)

Darfeld (1147131) | about 6 years ago | (#24509455)

And hey, trial and error never hurt anyone before

Famous last words?

Well maybe not in this context, but I wouldn't generalize.

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

e2d2 (115622) | about 6 years ago | (#24508895)

And what the fuck is wrong with profanity?

They are trying to shoot people into space for God's sake and that takes passion. This sometimes manifests itself in profanity.

Personally I like this attitude much more than the life-less suit who can't relate to the passionate. I prefer Larry Ellison's "I'm gonna kick the fucking door down and take that shit!" to Bill Gates "well, we better see if we can sneak in the back and steal everything". It's much more honest. Both have the same goal, but one isn't delusional about it.

Re:Wow (0, Offtopic)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 6 years ago | (#24508953)

Criticism of abusive bosses modded to -1 flamebait. Only on slashdot...

Re:Wow (0, Troll)

damburger (981828) | about 6 years ago | (#24509233)

Yep. He is a Randian hero - a 'rugged individualist' who drives society single-handedly by paying other people to do things.

When a person, such as Musk, has his ambition turned into results through the ingenuity of those he has employed, it is tempting for him to attribute that success solely to the ambition part. Its a fairly quick path from there to monomania and hubris.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24509255)

Equally unlikely that any one person will do the actual work it takes to get the thing into space. The same guy doing the math AND turning the wrenches isn't likely.

You've taken his figure of speech too literally, a good perspective on that sort of thing was posted early on in yesterday's Subject to Change story but I'm too lazy to find and link it. In summary: you have literacy problems.

Coming from someone in his position the quote should be taken to mean something along the lines of: I'm going to do what it takes to make sure this company does not give up and that is has the resources necessary to get this done. He does not need, nor would any news source give him the necessary space to, name each individual who would be doing each portion.

A back article isn't the Oscars. And praise be to Bob who tightened the bolts on the flanges that delivered the crude that was refined into rocket fuel, or the like.

And I've entirely refrained from profanity throughout this post to keep from offending your delicate sensibilities.

Good luck in the world.

It's called passion. (2, Informative)

JonTurner (178845) | about 6 years ago | (#24509693)

General Patton would have disagreed. He understood the problems faced by his "team" and inspired them to overcome incredible odds. Sometimes a little profanity can be inspiring, if not used gratuitously.

>>Would you like to work for such a man?
Yes, actually I would. Because that sort of man, and the people who work for him, are going to do great things! That's real passion, which is sadly lacking from most corporations. He's not just your average CEO coasting toward a golden parachute and a retirement filled with golf and tea parties -- he's trying to overcome incredible odds to get a vehicle into space.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24509369)

With so much drive to just make it work, lets hope they take the time to make it work every time before sending people up.

Re:Wow (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | about 6 years ago | (#24509609)

Optimism, pessimism, f-ck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work

Now that sounds like a man who gets things done.

He sounds like the lovechild of D. D. Harriman [wikipedia.org] and Henry Rollins.

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

deshkanna (730038) | about 6 years ago | (#24509833)

This was the thing I liked the most in the article...

Wired.com: Your whole mantra is "cheaper and more reliable." But so far you're zero for three, which is anything but cheap and reliable, and guys like GlobalSecurity.org's John Pike say the reason it has taken billions of dollars and tens of thousands of people to successfully launch rockets is physics, not some new design or economic model.

Musk: Guys like John Pike have existed since the dawn of time, and if you listen to people like that then things will never get better, never change. It's a false point of view. Yes, we need to put some rockets into orbit. But the first order of business is to get rid of design errors, which we're doing, and once those are eliminated then you're dealing with repeatability, and people should judge what we're doing from the point of view of all the design issues we've ironed out through these F1 test flights.

Rockets falling to earth? (4, Funny)

Alzheimers (467217) | about 6 years ago | (#24508569)

Personally, I blame Newton.

Re:Rockets falling to earth? (2, Funny)

AliasTheRoot (171859) | about 6 years ago | (#24508755)

You cannae break the laws of Physics

Literature (2, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 years ago | (#24508581)

"Optimism, pessimism, f-ck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work."

Wow, it's like listening to Ahab rant about getting Moby-Dick. Hopefully this will have a better outcome.

Re:Literature (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24508695)

More like cowboy neal ranting about getting underaged dick. Hopefully, this time, they'll find him before he dies.

Less Viagra? (2, Funny)

SanderDJ (1004445) | about 6 years ago | (#24508585)

"produced residual thrust for 1.5 seconds longer than expected" Cut back on the Viagra next time?

Re:Less Viagra? (1)

OK PC (857190) | about 6 years ago | (#24509603)

Did they use Imperial or Metric seconds?

did he really say that? (2, Interesting)

Seraph787 (859123) | about 6 years ago | (#24508611)

"Optimism, pessimism, f-ck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work." I can't find a reference to that quote in the wired article or on google.

Re:did he really say that? (5, Informative)

th1nk (575552) | about 6 years ago | (#24508687)

I think it's the part in the wired article that goes like this:

Musk: Do I sound optimistic?

Wired.com: Yeah, you always do.

Musk: Optimism, pessimism, fuck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work.

Re:did he really say that? (1)

Seraph787 (859123) | about 6 years ago | (#24508835)

I'm just blind thanks

Re:did he really say that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24509151)

fuck that

Why did tfs censor the curse word?

Re:did he really say that? (2, Funny)

Darfeld (1147131) | about 6 years ago | (#24509515)

I think he like to play hangman.

I drink your milkshake! (1)

InDi0 (691823) | about 6 years ago | (#24508647)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has watched There will be blood too many times.

SpaceX is a pretty serious outfit (5, Insightful)

jacquesm (154384) | about 6 years ago | (#24508653)

And I fully expect them to be a major player in the future of commercial space travel.

They've done some absolutely amazing things in the last couple of years on a budget that makes all the governments combined look pretty silly. They remind me of Reid Malenfant and his outfit (only a bit more realistic), and I don't think any issues that crop up during this test stage are going to slow them down for long.

Maybe the 21st century will see some serious space exploration after all, instead of all those 'feel good' missions. $/kg to orbit is the only significant number for the next two decades or so, once there is enough construction capability up there to start hauling stuff inbound it should get interesting indeed.

Re:SpaceX is a pretty serious outfit (5, Funny)

samkass (174571) | about 6 years ago | (#24508753)

While I share your enthusiasm, maybe we should wait until they have at least one successful launch before holding them up as the template for success and the future of space flight. So far they're just a really, really expensive fireworks company.

Re:SpaceX is a pretty serious outfit (4, Insightful)

jacquesm (154384) | about 6 years ago | (#24508807)

In spaceflight you're on a very long trajectory (pun intended) where lots of stuff has to be tested, alone and in combination. The only way to be 100% sure that everything works is to do an all-or-nothing launch, which due to its very nature is a public event. Trouble is to be expected when you combine that large a number of components. ALL space programs have had their failures, there is absolutely no reason to expect commercial space flight to be an exception.

What you can expect is a slow decrease of these failures as more and more of the failure modes of the equipment are revealing themselves under different circumstances. This is even true for regular commercial aircraft today, and it is one of the major reasons for accident investigations.

SpaceX has just had a mishap that would have been hard to test for on the pad (I'm not knowledgeable enough in the field to comment on the exact differences between testing on the pad and a launch, but I suspect there are still numerous differences, caused by atmospheric pressure, the effects of acceleration etc). This failure, when dealt with is not going to cause another launch to go bad, the real question is how many more such issues are lurking under the grass. It would be nice to know if this failure would have been preventable, 1.5 seconds doesn't sound like much but during the critical period of separation it's like an eternity.

Re:SpaceX is a pretty serious outfit (4, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | about 6 years ago | (#24508973)

Not quite the pessimistic attitude you are showing here.

SpaceX is building real hardware and "getting it up there". I would call that a bit better than a typical fireworks company.

Besides, the problem with this last launch was more of things bumping into each other when they shouldn't have. It is also a situation where they made several changes to their rocket and were testing them all out at the same time. While the $10 million or so that it costs for them to send up a Falcon 1 rocket is expensive enough to not want to do repeated testing, it does make it more complicated to call something like this an "operational flight" when not all components have been tested in actual flight conditions.

If they can get another rocket shipped to Kwajalein and launched in less than a month, that will speak far more about SpaceX's capabilities than can possibly be said about snarky remarks like being a fireworks company.

They are certainly a whole lot closer to bringing down the cost of rocketry than companies like Rocketplane Kistler who haven't even really launched any hardware or even tested it in things like wind tunnels or a launch stand.

All this said, SpaceX does need to deliver something to orbit real soon. It looks like the Malasyian government is getting quite nervous about being the next customer to send something up, given the track record for SpaceX to put things into orbit. They simply must get this next launch if they are to keep some of their customers.

Re:SpaceX is a pretty serious outfit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24509801)

WHOOSH!!

Re:SpaceX is a pretty serious outfit (4, Funny)

drooling-dog (189103) | about 6 years ago | (#24509025)

They've done some absolutely amazing things in the last couple of years on a budget that makes all the governments combined look pretty silly.

I, for one, don't mind not coming back alive as long as the tickets are cheap...

Re:SpaceX is a pretty serious outfit (2, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | about 6 years ago | (#24509303)

To be blunt, a serious outfit would know how long their damn engine burns for.

The reason they've done everything on such a small budget is because they cut through the red tape that holds government agencies back. Unfortunately, some of that red tape was obviously important for quality control.

In any case, they aren't doing that well at reducing cost - Falcon 9 for instance is 5 million dollars per flight more expensive than Proton (albeit it with a slightly bigger capacity) and Proton has the longest and best record of any currently operating heavy lifter. People with 20+ tonne satellites will be designing them for current heavy launchers like Proton so the extra payload capacity won't be an issue for quite a while, leaving Falcon 9 looking a bit mediocre even if it does ever fly.

So, for all Musk's bluster, your lean mean private enterprise doesn't seem to have much of an edge over decades old Soviet engineering.

Re:SpaceX is a pretty serious outfit (2, Insightful)

jacquesm (154384) | about 6 years ago | (#24509495)

I'm sure all your multi-stage rocket designs flew picture perfect the first time out :)

there is a reason why soviet tech is cheap, it's old and it's development has been paid for in the past (no comment on how it was paid for).

So, any new development will be 'more costly' at face than old tech, but over time those costs should come down significantly. What is more surprising is that the difference between the old tech and the new one is as small as it is.

Re:SpaceX is a pretty serious outfit (4, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | about 6 years ago | (#24509839)

My first multi-stage was a lawn dart (coincidentally, it failed to stage too, but I damn well knew how long the first stage would burn for. It said so on the engine packet...) my second one flew perfectly. Sure, Musks are bigger but he has a lot more money than me.

The launch market won't care for novelty though - 20 tonne satellites are Serious Business and people sending them up are likely to be quite cautious about embracing a potty-mouthed newcomer in favour of the old Russian stalwart. If nobody is buying his launcher how can he bring the price down?

Re:SpaceX is a pretty serious outfit (1)

Ilyon (1150115) | about 6 years ago | (#24509855)

They've done some absolutely amazing things in the last couple of years on a budget that makes all the governments combined look pretty silly.

Sure. It's amazing that such a well-funded "private" company can have a 100% failure rate in a 40 year old industry, using off-the-shelf technology and public funding.

We should keep in mind that there's nothing particularly new or exotic about SpaceX's rocket. Their failures have been caused by poor design of basic parts and lack of basic testing and rigorous analysis. This can't be compared to early NASA launch failures, when the science of rocketry had not been as firmly established as they are today.

Seriously folks, this may be rocket science, but it's rocket science that has been firmly established by the time time most of us were born.

Oblig. quote: (2, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | about 6 years ago | (#24508677)

"Would you consider that a launch problem or a design problem?"

- Chris Knight

Re:Oblig. quote: (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 6 years ago | (#24509145)

"Falcon 1? Wow! Isn't that the rocket that's raining debris all over Europe?"

-Chris Knight, slightly modified

Re:Oblig. quote: (2, Insightful)

xalorous (883991) | about 6 years ago | (#24509229)

:)

Real Genius shows us the kind of ingenuity that this country has all but lost. It's all about first to market, business plans and IPO's now.

Anyway, Elon Musk and Richard Branson remind me of D. D. Harriman in R. A. Heinlein's Future History short stories, especially, "The Man Who Sold the Moon."

More people need to say that. (5, Insightful)

Stoutlimb (143245) | about 6 years ago | (#24508705)

If NASA had that attitude, we never would have had a decade of stagnation after the first Shuttle accident. We'd have a moon colony by now. The problem is that the people at top too often see these kind of events as a signal to stop, where it really should be a sign that they're almost there. Remember when the Delta rocket flew and then fell over and burst into flames because of failed landing gear? LANDING GEAR! Something trivial to engineer (compared to the rest), and the project is shelved because of that failure. They should have kept going.

Argh. Enough of my ranting, you people get the idea. I just wish the pointy haired bosses did.

Re:More people need to say that. (1)

ThreeE (786934) | about 6 years ago | (#24508785)

You are a fool if you think any government agency is going to lead you to the future.

Grow a pair and get to work with your own money. It seems Elon is.

Risk. (5, Insightful)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | about 6 years ago | (#24508813)

If NASA had that attitude, we never would have had a decade of stagnation after the first Shuttle accident. We'd have a moon colony by now. The problem is that the people at top too often see these kind of events as a signal to stop, where it really should be a sign that they're almost there. Remember when the Delta rocket flew and then fell over and burst into flames because of failed landing gear? LANDING GEAR! Something trivial to engineer (compared to the rest), and the project is shelved because of that failure. They should have kept going.

Argh. Enough of my ranting, you people get the idea. I just wish the pointy haired bosses did.

if Musk et al. has an accident where someone dies, I bet the FAA and others will be introducing some delays in his schedule. And I'm sure they'll some public outcry that he's flying over people and putting them in jeopardy - whether or not it's true.

We've lost our sense of adventure, the acceptance of risk and, well, we've become a society that's so bent on being safe that we're afraid to take any warranted risks: we've become a society of pansies.

Re:More people need to say that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24508815)

It's a wee bit different with people on board. I'll predict a short career for the NASA administrator who'll say this after a launch failure killing the entire crew:

"Optimism, pessimism, f-ck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work." ...we'll launch again next month.

Re:More people need to say that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24508827)

If NASA had that attitude, we never would have had a decade of stagnation after the first Shuttle accident.

Ahhh, yeah. I think some people actually died during that accident. That's going to change the tone, just a bit.

Re:More people need to say that. (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | about 6 years ago | (#24508923)

If NASA had that attitude, we never would have had a decade of stagnation after the first Shuttle accident

NASA made the error of designing the shuttle in a top-down manner, which is a clear design procedure mistake. According to their engineering estimates the shuttle has about 1:100 chance of failure per flight, which means a high-profile shuttle disaster every few decades or so. The public and politicians are not willing to put up with that and NASA has no options to fix this, given that redesigning the shuttle from the ground up is out of budget. Instead they put the shuttle on the backburner and went for other areas to spend money on. It's looks like less progress, but I think it's taking the longer view atm.

Re:More people need to say that. (1)

g0dsp33d (849253) | about 6 years ago | (#24509039)

If NASA had that attitude we'd probably have thousands of blown rocket husks laying about the island of Florida's thousand of craters.

Considering where NASA had to start from, I think their management style has worked best to get us where we are now. Which style will lead us best forward remains to be seen.

Re:More people need to say that. (1)

Forbman (794277) | about 6 years ago | (#24509667)

Delta Clipper/DC-X, you mean?

Re:More people need to say that. (3, Interesting)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | about 6 years ago | (#24509715)

It was the Delta Clipper or DC-X. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DC-XA [wikipedia.org]

I remember seeing video of one of the test flights and being absolutely pole-axed. "It just fucking took off vertically, hovered cross-range and LANDED again!?!"

Apparently it wasn't really the crash that ended the program, it had already had funding pulled before that flight. Still, it was a very Buck Rogers kind of vehicle.

Wrong attitude for rocket science? (4, Insightful)

Hozza (1073224) | about 6 years ago | (#24508757)

I hate to say this, but the CEO has an attitude problem.

He needs to do some reading up on the reviews of NASA after the two shuttle disasters. In both cases overconfidence, and management overruling/ignoring the views of engineers were found to be major factors.

If he keeps running "hell-bent" towards his goal he's never going to reach it.

Re:Wrong attitude for rocket science? (1)

Splab (574204) | about 6 years ago | (#24508899)

So because he backs up his team of engineers, who says they should have nailed the problem you put him up with pointy haired bosses who overrules their engineers?

Having a boss that is hell bent on making a goal is nice, especially when he understands the risks involved and doesn't go flag someone up the posts for getting it wrong.

I think YOU have an attitude problem.

Re:Wrong attitude for rocket science? (1, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | about 6 years ago | (#24508903)

Fuck off?

Honestly, what attitude problem are you talking about?

Swearing is never a problem and never indicates anything except that the person swears.

Being "hell-bent" doesn't mean that he is going to overrule or ignore the engineers. Heck, with that attitude it would make sense to listen to the engineers. Because they are the actual ones who are going to have to do the work.

So yeah, the only "attitude problem" I can see is the same that any CEO has, "my workers will do X". What army gave them the right to boss anyone else around? (Oh right, in this case the USA army; capitalism, requiring government since it was started.)

(I've seen mixed results with the following sorts of quotes, but what the fuck: "I know I'll get modded down for this post, but ..." and "I've got karma to burn". Seriously, what's the point of having an opinion if you are too scared to post it?)

Re:Wrong attitude for rocket science? (4, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | about 6 years ago | (#24508947)

Also the GP clearly haven't read the interview.

The guy is smart, he listen to his engineers - in fact he refuses to elaborate on the problem until they are absolutely sure its what caused it. He might come off as someone a bit eager to get his product flying (and staying airborne), but comparing him to the fucktards that killed people in NASA launches where they where advised against it is just not right.

From the interview:
Musk: Patience is a virtue, and I'm learning patience. It's a tough lesson.

Re:Wrong attitude for rocket science? (1)

Hozza (1073224) | about 6 years ago | (#24508971)

Who mentioned the swearing? Not me. I've got no problems with managers who make their views clearly known.

The attitude problem is that after 3 out of 3 failed launches it must be time to take stock and let your engineers do what they're best at, fix problems.

All his recent statements (not just those in the article) about keeping the launch schedule on track seem to be more aimed at investors than anyone else.

Re:Wrong attitude for rocket science? (1)

bigpaperbag (1105581) | about 6 years ago | (#24509129)

Of course, those engineers would have plenty of time to fix the problems when they have to shut down after the investors bail out. Damn investors, they don't contribute anything anyway! Oh...

Re:Wrong attitude for rocket science? (1)

luzr (896024) | about 6 years ago | (#24509403)

BTW, note that CEO is deeply invested into SpaceX himself :)

Re:Wrong attitude for rocket science? (2, Insightful)

luzr (896024) | about 6 years ago | (#24509393)

Have you actually read the article?

They have found the problem and they know how to fix it. It has nothing to do with previous failures.

Sure, there might be another anomaly in the next launch. And then another. You never know, this is a rocket science after all...

Anyway, what I really like about Spacex is exactly what you dislike. They are not aiming at single shot, they know this is hard. They have full assembly line of rockets, producing one after another.

If they blow something, they just call "next" and try again until all quirks are resolved.

This is the only possible and *right* attitude!

Re:Wrong attitude for rocket science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24508965)

hell bent does not necessarily imply regardless of consequence.

Re:Wrong attitude for rocket science? (1)

timster (32400) | about 6 years ago | (#24509227)

Nonsense, this is not a manned program. He needs to read up on early rocket development, like the launch history of the V2 which failed over and over again, as a reminder that this stuff is hard and error is part of the process.

The road to hell... (1)

Smivs (1197859) | about 6 years ago | (#24508851)

"I'm hell-bent on making it work." Then he will succeed, because as everyone knows the Road to Hell is paved with good inventions!

Would you believe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24508901)

Missed it by 'that much'. Best of luck SpaceX, we're rooting for number 4 to make orbit.

f-ck that (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24508913)

f-ck what? What the f-ck you say? F-CK YOU!

Plans for new space ship? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24508921)

I was reading around a little bit, And i found an article explaining the next step for spaceX. Apparently they have a new Rocket type of rocket in development:
SpaceX [wikimedia.org]

Commercial flights ? (1)

Ksempac (934247) | about 6 years ago | (#24509077)

Space flights have often lead to mid-air explosions, even with successful, well-known launchers.

Although i hope theses companies will succeed (for the progress of science), I wonder if it is really ready for commercial flights. The first flight which ends up with the death of a customer will scare away all potential customers and stop investment for 10 years...

Death (1)

Organic Brain Damage (863655) | about 6 years ago | (#24509281)

>> The first flight which ends up with the death of a customer will scare away all potential customers and stop investment for 10 years... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_notable_accidents_and_incidents_on_commercial_aircraft

Re:Death (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 6 years ago | (#24509705)

Yet NASA stops dead in its tracks for years if the shuttle goes boom. And how would they have handeled the PR issues if one of the moon walkers dropped dead on national TV.

The data indicates that even one death in a US based space program is a disaster of enormous proportions requireing a complete halt on all maned operations.

Imagine if we did that with car crashes?

Re:Death (2, Insightful)

Ksempac (934247) | about 6 years ago | (#24509815)

Good objection, but airlines are a little different from space travel for several reasons :
- First, even though there have been a lot of airlines accidents, the numbers are pretty low compared to the number of flights per day. Notice also that the first accident was on 1922, 8 years after the first commercial flight. I think that space travel has a much higher accident/flight ratio. (I admit i don't have numbers to prove it : Wikipedia says that about 4% of people who went to space died inflight, but that includes early flights so it's not exactly the same thing.)
- Second, plane flights were useful to people from the beginning : you could get from point A to point B in much less time than train or boat. Space travel has no such thing : it's a leisure activity. You won't miss a business opportunity if you don't try it.

Father Ted, Is That You? (4, Funny)

segedunum (883035) | about 6 years ago | (#24509133)

Optimism, pessimism, f-ck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work.

I take it he's also going to kick Bishop Brennan up the arse as well for good measure?

Timing? WTF? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 6 years ago | (#24509147)

I haven't RTFA, but are these things timed individually?

Call me crazy, but shouldn't each part be communicating with the other parts so that they can synchronize?

Re:Timing? WTF? (4, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | about 6 years ago | (#24509245)

Bottom stage detached, continued burning. Less mass against the thrust, it accelerated and pushed on the top stage (but not perfectly centered as it would when still attached).

I'm sure they do communicate, but after detaching that's gone.

Basically the thruster(s) dieseled - continued running for a moment after fuel/whatever was cut.

Re:Timing? WTF? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 6 years ago | (#24509289)

If the bottom stage detached shouldn't the stage above it be already ignited and doing its own thrust, hence pushing the bottom stage out of the way at the same time?

I'm not a rocket surgeon, though.

Re:Timing? WTF? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 6 years ago | (#24509387)

Me either. I think perhaps the detached stage being right-up-in-your-business with the next stage may have interfered with it's thrust, but not being a rocket scientist I think I'm reaching far past my understandings.

Re:Timing? WTF? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24509797)

I AM a Rocket Scientist.

Traditionally, no, they wouldn't be timed individually. That's kind of a silly thing if you asked me.

Typically you should wait until the first stage stop accelerating the rocket before dropping it. A sensor typically detects that condition and initiates seperation. To be safe, it may wait a beat or two before taking action to make sure the booster isn't just "chuffing". Or the sensor could have just been faulty, initiating seperation too soon.

If the booster begins accelerating again (as in blows up) or gives a last burst of unexpected glory, that's just bad design or manufacturing issue. If it's a solid-fuel booster, that could happen from time to time, but if the motor is liquid fueled it should just cut off fuel and be done with it.

Now, you could put the stages on their own timers, but there are risks. Usually the problem is a failed booster, and the timer on the upper stage fires with the rocket pointing the wrong way.

Re:Timing? WTF? (1)

Pontiac (135778) | about 6 years ago | (#24509845)

Call me Crazy but shouldn't they have done a test run on a new engine design before launching a commercial payload? Maybe you get a big discount for sending your payload on the untested rockets.

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