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Satellite Tip-Over Mishap Due to Missing Bolts

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the all-the-king's-horses-and-all-the-king's-men dept.

Space 76

cradle writes "On September 6th, the $239 Million Dollar NOAA N-Prime Satellite toppled over and crashed to the floor of Lockheed Martin Space Systems' factory in Sunnyvale, CA, as it was being repositioned to replace an instrument. Today NASA released their report on the cause of the accident. It seems somebody forgot to check whether it was bolted down: '... during an operation that required repositioning (rotating) the TIROS NOAA N-PRIME spacecraft from a vertical to a horizontal position, the spacecraft slipped from the Turn-Over Cart (TOC) and fell to the floor. The spacecraft fell because the TIROS adapter plate to which it was mounted was not bolted to the TOC adapter plate with the required 24 bolts. The bolts were removed from the TOC by another project while the cart was in a common staging area, an activity which was not communicated to the NOAA project team.'"

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76 comments

I bet that wise guy is bolting now (5, Funny)

Johnny Doughnuts (767951) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443439)

I bet the wise guy who decided to do that is 'bolting' right now. ;D

Reason for mishap: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10443448)

"I didn't feel like it."

And, another Simpsons quote:
"Haw-haw!"

So... what they said originally? (4, Interesting)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443453)

That's exactly what they said had happened right after the accident. A detailed study of the cause is always in order, but I'm surprised that it took a year to verify what they apparently knew at that outset.

Re:So... what they said originally? (4, Funny)

JVert (578547) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443535)

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2003/9.6.2003_01.l rg.jpg [spaceref.com]
This time we are pretty sure it was the guy on the left. What do you think he's got behind his back?

Re:So... what they said originally? (4, Funny)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443612)

I keep expecting to see little ruby slippers sticking out from under the spacecraft, but I have a weird mind.

not to be a smart-ass but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10444989)

hehe, i like the way they've put a cordon 'round it and kept their hats on. don't want anyone to get hurt, nor any contamination. the words "barn" and "door" spring to mind. Also looking at that pic it's obvious the bolt heads should have been... conspicuously absent.

Re:So... what they said originally? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10445410)

Sorry to spoil the fun, but hands behind the back, feet shoulder length apart. He's probably military or ex-military.

(Please don't mod this up. People shouldn't have the joke spoiled unless they really want to know more.)

Re:So... what they said originally? (1)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 9 years ago | (#10460361)

>>What do you think he's got behind his back?

If he's smart, an updated copy of his resume!

Re:So... what they said originally? (2, Informative)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443648)

Ah, here's the origins forwarded message I got 13 months ago just after the mishap. I knew I had a copy somewhere.

------------- Begin Forwarded Message-------------

Earth Science Missions Anomaly Report: GOES/POES Program/POES Project: 6 Sep
2003
EARTH SCIENCE MISSIONS ANOMALY REPORT
TO: GSFC: 100/A. Diaz, 100/W. Townsend, 100/ 400/D Perkins, NASA HQ: Y/G. Asrar,
Y/M. Luther, Q/B O?Connor
FROM: GSFC/POES Project/480/K. Halterman
DATE: September 6, 2003
PROGRAM/PROJECT: GOES/POES Program/POES Project
DATE OF ANOMALY: September 6, 2003
LOCATION OF ANOMALY: Lockheed Martin, Sunnyvale CA

DESCRIPTION OF EVENT:

As the NOAA-N Prime spacecraft was being repositioned from vertical to
horizontal on the "turn over cart" at approximately 7:15 PDT today, it slipped
off the fixture, causing severe damage. (See attached photo). The 18' long
spacecraft was about 3' off the ground when it fell.

The mishap was caused because 24 bolts were missing from a fixture in the ?turn
over cart?. Two errors occurred. First, technicians from another satellite
program that uses the same type of ?turn over cart? removed the 24 bolts from
the NOAA cart on September 4 without proper documentation. Second, the NOAA team
working today failed to follow the procedure to verify the configuration of the
NOAA ?turn over cart? since they had used it a few days earlier.

IMPACT ON PROGRAM/PROJECT AND SCHEDULE:

The shock and vibration of the fall undoubtedly caused tremendous damage.
Significant rework and retest will be required. NOAA-N Prime is planned for
launch in 2008.

CORRECTIVE ACTION:

Lockheed Martin formed an Accident Review Team in which GSFC is participating.
The immediate actions concern safety (preventing the spacecraft from rolling,
discharging the batteries, and depressurizing the propulsion system). NOAA-N
Prime is under guard, all records have been impounded, and the personnel
interviewed. After the safety issues are addressed, attention will focus on
assessing the damage to NOAA-N Prime.

------------- End Forwarded Message -------------

Re:So... what they said originally? (2, Insightful)

Gogo Dodo (129808) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443712)

The Mishap Investigation Board doesn't just figure out what happened, but why it happened and also writes recommendations on what to do about the problems they find.

What happened is easy: the bolts weren't put in. Why took some looking into: People were sloppy in following procedures.

Re:So... what they said originally? (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444129)

They knew that people hadn't followed procedures right away, too. See the email forward posted above.

Re:So... what they said originally? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10444291)

and also writes recommendations on what to do about the problems they find.

Cause: Bolts not holding satellite down

Recommendation: Put bolts in before turning satellite upside down.

How big was NASA's budget this year?

Re:So... what they said originally? (1)

luna69 (529007) | more than 9 years ago | (#10451003)

> How big was NASA's budget this year?

This WASN'T NASA. It was Lockheed-Martin.

There's enough NASA-bashing as it is - lay the blame where it belongs, please.

Re:So... what they said originally? (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 9 years ago | (#10453156)

Which gets billed to whom?

If not this project, it will be buried in the appropriations for the next one...

Re:So... what they said originally? (1)

luna69 (529007) | more than 9 years ago | (#10453369)

> Which gets billed to whom?

Well, um...Lockheed, actually. Contracts generally specify that things like this are the responsibility of the contractor and come out of their profits, not NASA's budget.

It's about organizational problems (2, Informative)

cradle (1442) | more than 9 years ago | (#10445421)

The report covers much more than just the proximate cause of the accident. It focuses on the organizational and procedural failures that led to a situation where nobody checked the bolts. Whoever posted this story should have mentioned, that, too.

Re:It's about organizational problems (1)

Saige (53303) | more than 9 years ago | (#10445566)

Yeah, but you see, if they mention that, then they can't pretend that they're smarter and more efficient than all of NASA and Lockheed-Martin and everyone put together. Now you've gone and shattered their illusions of being so smart that they could personally replace NASA.

At least they can all continue to pretend they write better code than anyone at Microsoft.

Re:It's about organizational problems (1)

cradle (1442) | more than 9 years ago | (#10447112)

I know what you mean. Whoever posted this story definitely sounds like one of those know-it-all types. And what the hell does that username mean, anyway?

Re:It's about organizational problems (1)

zygote (134175) | more than 9 years ago | (#10447537)

Oh, sure, sure, they should have. But how many "Score:5, Funny" posts would THAT have generated.

C'mon, it's /. It is about the laughs.

(PS: "Daily Show" watch your back!)

Re:So... what they said originally? (1)

Kiliani (816330) | more than 9 years ago | (#10450188)

Accident investigations involving spacecraft are typically lengthy. After all, you want to *really* find out why it happened, and how to avoid it. Sure, not bolting it down is a trivial on to find, and should be easy to catch/avoid. But: satellites are typically very unique (very few are alike), multiple, changing teams work on them at the same time, deadlines loom. Really nailing the cause of a problem may seem easier than it really is. Plus, all hell breaks loose should you make the same mistake twice ...

Re:So... what they said originally? (1)

captainClassLoader (240591) | more than 9 years ago | (#10452294)

The accident stems from the fact that they put the satellite on the Turn Over Cart, which did it's job and turned it over. The new reports states that what the team actually meant to do was to put the satellite on the Don't Fscking Move A Millimeter Cart instead. Mixing up the two cart types was the root problem.

??? We knew this the day it fell over! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10443460)

Seriously, the day it fell over it was reported that someone had forgotten to replace the bolts after some shake-table test. Did NASA need a year and a thousand committees to agree on it or something?

I'm sorry. (3, Funny)

JVert (578547) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443466)

I can't be expected to show up for school every day. So I get the flu and miss one day.

Who knew "Lug nut day" would be soo important?

A year? (1)

PrvtBurrito (557287) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443547)

It took them a year to find that? No wonder it costs so much for these things. Al gore was right when he tried to remove gov't beauracracy....

Re:A year? (2)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443825)

Its a multi-million dollar project.

Of course they're going to take their time to publish the full results of the mis-hap. Since its millions of dollars of tax-payer money, the report must be complete, accurate, and fully account for the entire mis-hap.

Would you want to have to do such a report in a day? A week? I think a year is fine for this sort of event; assuming, of course, that in the meantime repair work was being done ... anyone know what sort of repair is required, and what state the project is now in, a year later?

Re:A year? (1)

Noofus (114264) | more than 9 years ago | (#10453286)

The satellite is scrap. Too many sensitive instruments inside were damaged.

I received an email from my boss about this (lockheed internal email) the day after it happened. It said "See what happens when we dont follow our procedures?"

Wow!!! (0, Redundant)

EABird (554070) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443577)

And I thought I had a bad day at work.

Re:Wow!!! (2, Informative)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444217)

Not breaking a quarter billion dollar piece of equipment make your day?

My baseline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10445005)

is to try to move a few thousand dollars to better or an objective every day. Backwards a quarter of a billion dollars is significantly below that baseline.

Re:My baseline (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#10447404)

I hear ya. I was trying to think of the worst mishap that I've had - and it's nowhere near that (thankfully).

Summary article (1)

Gogo Dodo (129808) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443639)

There's another article with the summary of the report [spaceflightnow.com] on SpaceFlightNow.

My personal summary: They forgot to put the bolts in. People got sloppy/lazy and just signed off on stuff without really looking at what they signed off on.

Re:Summary article (1)

wetlettuce (765604) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444031)

People got sloppy/lazy and just signed off on stuff without really looking at what they signed off on.
I bet those people are glad nobody was under that thing when it fell. They'd be in a whole heap of trouble right now.

Re:Summary article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10444439)

Yep. This sort of shit happens all the time. Only that time it blew up in their faces like a motherfucker.

I work for a company that makes one of the many sensors on the NOAA spacecraft. Ours was damaged, but I'm not a hardware guy so I can't honestly recall whether they've been able to salvage it. But the point is that we have very strict and involving processes for every aspect of how we do business. In software, we document everything, carefully track changes, testing, peer reviews, management and customer approval... The whole shebang.

But lots of people get lazy and try to cut corners. Following process down to the letter is a bitch and often kinda boring, but it's there precisely to prevent disasters like this on multi-million dollar projects. I know plenty of guys who don't want to do rigorous testing of their software, and worst of all, documentation. I'm always amazed when I see high level management or customers sign off on stuff without really looking it over and asking tough questions. It sounds like that's what happened here - somebody "borrowed" the bolts without following process, and somebody else didn't follow the process to put them in, didn't even notice they were gone!!

It's one thing to screw up and make a mistake. Everyone does it, and hopefully it doesn't cost 9 figures. :) With proper process, the mistake can be identified before it's too late, or the process can be updated to prevent a future occurrence. To screw something up because you didn't follow process is totally inexcusable. I hope the responsible parties lost their jobs.

Holy crap, I hate doing process (I'd much rather spend 100% of my time doing the fun analytical work), but here I am raving about how good it is! I've been brainwashed...

Re:Summary article (2, Insightful)

Euler (31942) | more than 9 years ago | (#10445237)

I agree with you, but good process doesn't bore me at all. But I know I'm the exception. The truth is Managagment just wants to get the job done with the least resources, so they pressure the techs with increasing workload and tend to look the other way when people cut corners to get the job done. Techs know they are supposed to do process 100%, but they don't want to be the guy who takes twice as long to do stuff because of following procss. So whenever I see major screw ups like this, I blame management and ops equally.

Engineers, BTW, write processes but never follow their own process. Thus, they leave messes for the techs to sort out.

Re:Summary article (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 9 years ago | (#10445756)

Holy crap, I hate doing process..., but here I am raving about how good it is! I've been brainwashed.

No, not brainwashed. You've become an adult. I.e., we do things because they are important, even though we have them.

Of course, this flies directly in the face the "everything must be fun" society that is rapidly being created around us.

in other news, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10443738)

shit happens. also, it has been reported that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, at the worst possible moment. more at 6.

(Expletive here) happerns! (3, Insightful)

going_the_2Rpi_way (818355) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443765)

Yeah that sucks but these things happen. Whether you're working on a 100K toy or a $300 million dollar one, every once and awhile there's going to be a mishap. Still, it sounds like there's a management problem here if people are going around removing bolts and the project team isn't even aware of it. If there's literally so few nuts and bolts handy for the various projects going on that they feel the need to cannabalize other projects, that's a disaster waiting to happen. I hope my neighbour doesn't decide to remove my brakes without letting me know.

Re:(Expletive here) happerns! (2, Insightful)

Ayaress (662020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444995)

If this was something like a burned out computer, a bolt shearing off, or the machine it was supposed to be bolted to failing and dumping the satellite on the ground, I'd agree with you. There are some things that just happen, even though every reasonable analysis says they won't.

However, there are still some things that shouldn't go wrong, ever, and there's not an excuse for it after the fact. This is one of them. You don't pull parts off something that's supposed to work without replacing them. This is almost akin to a mechanic servicing your engine and having "extra" parts left over when he closes the hood again. They were there for a reason, and they need to go back on before you finish whatever you're doing.

Re:(Expletive here) happerns! (1)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10445160)

False. The vast majority of mechanical devices, especially the (mechanica) housings of computers have at least a 70% redundency of fasteners. Hell, a computer store could make money by selling product at time+materials based on turning in spare screws to recylcers.

Re:(Expletive here) happerns! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10449673)

But this common reduction of fasteners doesn't cause massive failure. I also question your percentage as 74% of statistics are made up, including this one.

Re:(Expletive here) happerns! (1)

StarWynd (751816) | more than 9 years ago | (#10450303)

Sure, there are going to be mishaps, but there didn't have to be. Having worked in the space industry and with some very expensive satellite equipment I can say that the number one concern is the health and safety of the people working on it and the number two concern is the health and safety of the instrument or satellite. I can't speak for all of the NASA institutions out there, but we have series of long checklists and procedures for when we work with the satellite. Another policy of ours is that if we will stop working with the satellite for a time, we have a procedure to put the satellite into a safe configuration and then another procedure to check everything before starting up again.

As far as cannabalization goes, we do cannabalize from other projects, but only after those other projects are done. Mishaps happen. Accidents happen. That's a part of life. But this particular incident didn't have to happen. This is why we have all the procedures we do. Not following procedures is one of the most serious mistakes that can be made. Following procedures was the very first thing drilled in my head when I first started doing that kind of work. Nine times out of ten, a "mishap" is the result of a very simple, easily caught mistake. A mistake that could have been prevented only by following a correct procedure.

Re:(Expletive here) happerns! (1)

Noofus (114264) | more than 9 years ago | (#10453318)

If there's literally so few nuts and bolts handy for the various projects going on that they feel the need to cannabalize other projects, that's a disaster waiting to happen.

Its not that they cannibalized the cart. They used the cart to turn a different satellite that had a different configuration of bolts to hold it on. They had to remove the bolts so the satellite would fit on the cart properly. The problem was they never documented that they removed the bolts like they were supposed to, and then never put them back on.

Personally... (4, Insightful)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443861)

If I was "repositioning" a $239,000,000.00 piece of hardware, I would visually check the bolts before starting the rotation. I would also check every other piece of safety equipment... twice. If the bolts were there, I would probably check the torque on them, if I hadn't tightened them myself.

Jeeeez, people, this isn't rocket science. Well actually it is rocket science, but that's the difference between rocket science and stuff that blows up on the pad.

Re:Personally... (4, Interesting)

boredMDer (640516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444029)

You say that now, but once you start working with that type of equipment every day, you get lazy.

They had used the TOC a few days prior, and there was no documentation that the bolts had been removed, so they assumed that it was fine. If some that other project team hadn't forgotten the documentation this wouldnt've happened.

Re:Personally... (2, Insightful)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444292)

>You say that now, but once you start working with that type of equipment every day, you get lazy.

Familiar -> Complacent -> Lazy -> Dead

>They had used the TOC a few days prior, and there was no documentation that the bolts had been removed, so they assumed that it was fine. If some that other project team hadn't forgotten the documentation this wouldnt've happened.

[Fred] OK Bob, let's run through the checklist and fire this 747 up.

[Bob] Don't bother with the checklist. Some guys flew it back from Tokyo a couple of days ago. Everything should still work, and I don't see any trouble tickets. They probably fueled it up, too.

Re:Personally... (2, Insightful)

BurritoJ (75275) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444269)

So, do you visually check the lug nuts on your car everyday before you drive off? How about after leaving it unattended in an airport parking lot for a couple of days? No? Well, that's the difference between being a driver and being an oozing pile of red goo on the highway...

I think the transition for sentient being to red goo is much more motivating than the loss of a few dollars in hardware. That's just me though... YMMV

Re:Personally... (2, Interesting)

JVert (578547) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444760)

At first I thought it was the CV joint but this car has like 30k miles! The car had a definate knock when we made a turn and had a slower knock as we drove straight. We looked under for any damage and everything look ok. While calling for a tow truck I stared at the car in disgust and noticed a few lug nuts missing... Curious I reached down and unscrewed another one with my fingers. Then I renember I did brakes a month ago... I thanked the operater for their time and said we wouldn't be needing any more help.

The wife doesn't let me do brakes alone now.

But no, I look out for tire pressure more then nuts. But thats another story...

Re:Personally... (2, Insightful)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 9 years ago | (#10445314)

Well yeah, but I also don't expect the guy in the next parking space to 'borrow' the lug nuts for any reason and I sure as hell hope that if he did, he'd leave a note on the windshield so I know about it before I drive away!

Re:Personally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10446087)

> Well yeah, but I also don't expect the guy in the next parking space to 'borrow' the lug nuts for any reason and I sure as hell hope that if he did, he'd leave a note on the windshield so I know about it before I drive away!

Funny thing, but your analogy is exactly like what happened to that satellite.

Re:Personally... (1)

ballpoint (192660) | more than 9 years ago | (#10445808)

No, you would NOT simply

"visually check the bolts before starting the rotation",

you would

"notice the Turn-Over Cart (TOC) to be in a common staging area, advancing the possibility that another project might have removed some bolts without communicating this to the NOAA team, and consequently realize the need to check whether the TIROS adapter plate, to which your TIROS NOAA N-PRIME spacecraft was mounted, was correctly bolted to the TOC adapter plate with the required 24 bolts before repositioning said spacecraft from a vertical to a horizontal position."

That's why it IS rocket science.

So, what's the torque of your car's lug nuts now? (1)

wernst (536414) | more than 9 years ago | (#10446179)

You yourself probably operate a motor vehicle that uses lug nuts (or bolts) to keep the wheels on the car. When was the last time *you* checked them for proper torque?

Mistake and omissions happen everywhere, and all the time.

Re:So, what's the torque of your car's lug nuts no (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 9 years ago | (#10446283)

>When was the last time *you* checked them for proper torque?

Last month. Eight lug alloy rims on a Dodge Ram 2500. Spec is 125 lb-ft. I check regularly, every 90 days, or all wheels every time one has been off, whichever is more often. Same with the wheels on my horse trailer.

Piss test anyone? (1)

KingArthur10 (679328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443871)

If they were in the AirForce, the whole team would be in for a piss test to see who they can blame for it ;-)

What mama learnt ya... (4, Funny)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443945)

You're inside or outside. Stop running through the door. We're not trying to air condition the whole street.

Rinse off your dishes when you're done eating.

Don't sass back to your teacher.

Brush your teeth before bed.

Put things back where you found them.

JUMPIN' JESUS, PUT THE FUCKING BOLTS BACK IN THE 230 MILLION DOLLAR SATELLITE!!!

Re:What mama learnt ya... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10449183)

Haha, goddamn funny.

Ouch (5, Interesting)

Pinkoir (666130) | more than 9 years ago | (#10443996)

As somebody who has personally watched stuff fall off of test tables as they rotate to vertical I can definitively say that that the sinking feeling in your stomache as the equipment slowly topples off the stand is exceeded only by the sinking feeling in your bowels when it shatters on the ground.

I can only imagine the multiplicative factor involved when it's a $240M satellite instead of a $20K prototype.

As for why they took a year to report out on the cause...the thing cost 240 million frickin' dollars! I'm sure the managers wanted more of an answer as to why it's in pieces on the ground than "Uh...we dropped it". Maybe they wanted to know "why it was dropped" and "how it was dropped" and "what is the likelyhood that a thing will be dropped again" and "where does that tech who dropped it live?"

-Pinkoir

Re:Ouch (1)

JVert (578547) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444827)

That makes alot of sense actually.

I'm picturing it taking a year before NASA stops screaming long enough to actually hear the answer. Did I say stop? I meant pause.

Of course, when you hire Laurel and Hardy to move the stuff around...
http://images.spaceref.com/news/2003/9.6.2003_01.l rg.jpg [spaceref.com]

Re:Ouch (1)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 9 years ago | (#10445139)

I work in the building next door to where this happened. We actually knew all this within days of the accident to a high degree of certainty. The only reason I can think of for the official report to have taken so long is that, given there was really no new information to discover, it was a low priority.

Well it would have saved them $400,000 except (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444073)

They're just trying to save some money. After all four bolts is $4000,000

LaForge! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10444166)

More power to the structural integrity field!

De Ja Vu? (1)

Homo Stannous (756539) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444184)

Note that this refers to sept. 6, 2003, not 29 days ago.

Or, as Bender would say (1)

camusflage (65105) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444398)

John Bender, that is. Not the robot Bender.

"Screws fall out all the time, the world's an imperfect place."

Collary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10446546)

Manager to Tech: "The next bolts that fall out, I'm coming back here and cracking skulls!"

It took them one year to do this report? (0)

raider_red (156642) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444664)

Your government at work again. The cause of this was reported on at the time of the incident, and now a year later, they've issued a lengthy report. The gist of it being: If not bolted down, things tend to fall over.

Old news (1)

d_p (63654) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444772)

That was Sept 6th, 2003. Those pictures have been circulating for a year.

Did anyone look at the report? (1)

Tree131 (643930) | more than 9 years ago | (#10444810)

Did anyone look at the report?
It's a monstrous PDF 113 pages in length to describe every detail of the project. The beef doesn't start until page 62!!!

The actual post-mortem and recommendations are only 20 pages, half of which are flow charts.
Who puts this stuff together, I mean 82% of this document is FLUFF!!!! Is that why these things cost so much? Most of the money is spent on fluff?

Bush comments on mishap, says it's okay (1, Funny)

jerde (23294) | more than 9 years ago | (#10445357)

In remarks earlier today, President Bush shrugged off the mishap, explaining, "Setbacks like this in the space program are to be expected. It's hard work! How can you expect them to succeed if you criticize their mistakes?"

Hey, (1)

adeyadey (678765) | more than 9 years ago | (#10446361)

Butterfingers!

LAME EXCUSE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10446415)

'Someone removed the bolts...'

Hell, any idiot knows that if you're gonna be moving a 14 ton piece of stuff you check everything before you move it. 'Uh we bolted it down last week' is about as lame an excuse as your kid saying he cut the grass last month when you tell him it needs cutting this weekend.

Someone is in charge of rigging. That person is responsible. If she had seen the missing bolts, then it's the guy who yanked them who should catch the grief. But she didn't see it because she didn't look. FIRE HER ASS! You've got an idiot in a roll that could well get someone killed and NASA doesn't even recognize where the proble is after a edffing year of investigation.

How did people this clueless manage to get a man back from the moon? Oh yeah, by following 'good practice' rather than THINKING! That's why it takes them so long to do anything and why it only works after a zillion fuckups have been dealt with.

They were probably $112,000/each bolts anyway.

duh (1)

Down8 (223459) | more than 9 years ago | (#10447130)

This isn't news at all. This was known the same day that it happened. LM said so in their original press release - an engr hadn't check that the satelite was secured before rotating it.

-bZj

Obigigatory Simpson's version: (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 9 years ago | (#10447205)

**CRASH*** "D'OH!, Marge, somedody broke the satellite!...Gotta go now"

Who took out the 24 bolts? (1)

Frans Faase (648933) | more than 9 years ago | (#10448302)

I studied the report, but nowhere I found any mention of who took out the 24 bolts. I figure this is the typical example of trying to save some bucks by having one set of high grade bolts being used for two TOC units. That would be a typical management type of decision that I have seen made so often, trying to save on small things not realizing that they could cause large costs elsewhere. But the funny thing is that those type of decisions never end up in this type of reports, because they reveal the deeper cause of the problem being a bad "management" attitude, due to lack of technical insight.

Re:Who took out the 24 bolts? (1)

Noofus (114264) | more than 9 years ago | (#10453429)

I guess I am being a bit redundant bit its worth pointing out. The bolts were removed to allow a different satellite to be adapted to this TOC unit. The other satellite didnt have the same bolt pattern, so they removed the ones they didnt need (actually they would have been in the way). This is a regular occurance and is supposed to be documented.

Now, why the people mounting the original satellite didnt notice the missing bolts, I dont know. Screw ups on both teams caused the accident...

Re:Who took out the 24 bolts? (1)

Frans Faase (648933) | more than 9 years ago | (#10458449)

Okay that makes some sense. If I understand it correctly, it means that in between the bolts and the ring were replaced by another ring for another satelite, and that afterwards these people removed that ring and replaced it by the original ring, but did not put on the bolts again.

Yet, again, I could raise the question why they did not use one TOC per satelite, and keep it mounted on it all the time? What's the cost of a TOC compared to the satelite? I also wonder how much time is wasted with putting the satelites on/off the TOC's. From the document it seems that 8-10 people are needed and that these procedures take half a day. Swapping satelites ten times would cost about 3 men months of work.

Damn screws... (1)

technopinion (469686) | more than 9 years ago | (#10451038)


This is almost as bad as the IT guy who never puts the screws back in the computer cases when he's done.

So... What was a salvaged? (1)

Archeopteryx (4648) | more than 9 years ago | (#10454348)

How much actual damage was there, and what is the current state of the project?
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