SpaceX Investigation Closing In on Cause of Sept. 1 Explosion

In an update released October 28 regarding the loss of AMOS-6 Sep 1, SpaceX says they are narrowing the focus of the investigation to one of the three composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs) inside the LOX tank, while also conducting tests at their proving grounds in McGregor, Texas, attempting to replicate as closely as possible the conditions that may have led to the mishap. Photo Credit: www.USLaunchReport.com

In an update released Oct. 28 regarding the loss of AMOS-6 on Sept. 1, SpaceX says they are narrowing the focus of the investigation to one of the three composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs) inside the LOX tank, while also conducting tests at their proving grounds in McGregor, Texas, in an attempt to replicate as closely as possible the conditions that may have led to the mishap. Photo Credit: www.USLaunchReport.com

SpaceX is working hard to understand what went wrong with a Falcon-9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., during a Sept. 1 launch dress rehearsal with the booster at Space Launch Complex-40 (SLC-40), which resulted in an explosion during fueling and the total loss of both their rocket and their customer’s payload, the AMOS-6 satellite.

In the time since, SpaceX has been working with several organizations to figure it out, including NASA, the FAA, and the U.S. Air Force, but as of yet still have not determined the root cause. However, the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company, owned by Elon Musk, is closing in on the cause and has provided the following update on progress being made with the investigation as of Oct. 28, 2016.

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SpaceX OG-2 launch Dec. 21, 2015, Cape Canaveral, Fla. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / AmericaSpace

SpaceX OG-2 launch Dec. 21, 2015, Cape Canaveral, Fla. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / AmericaSpace

Since the incident, investigators from SpaceX, the FAA, NASA, the US Air Force and industry experts have been working methodically through an extensive fault tree to investigate all plausible causes. As part of this, we have conducted tests at our facility in McGregor, Texas, attempting to replicate as closely as possible the conditions that may have led to the mishap.

The investigation team has made significant progress on the fault tree. Previously, we announced the investigation was focusing on a breach in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank. The root cause of the breach has not yet been confirmed, but attention has continued to narrow to one of the three composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs) inside the LOX tank. Through extensive testing in Texas, SpaceX has shown that it can re-create a COPV failure entirely through helium loading conditions. These conditions are mainly affected by the temperature and pressure of the helium being loaded.

SpaceX’s efforts are now focused on two areas – finding the exact root cause, and developing improved helium loading conditions that allow SpaceX to reliably load Falcon 9. With the advanced state of the investigation, we also plan to resume stage testing in Texas in the coming days, while continuing to focus on completion of the investigation. This is an important milestone on the path to returning to flight.

Pending the results of the investigation, we continue to work towards returning to flight before the end of the year. Our launch sites at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, remain on track to be operational in this timeframe.”

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SpaceX remains confident that the accident was related to flight preparation, rather than a vehicle issue or engineering design issue, which is why they are so confident in returning Falcon-9 to flight in such a short amount of time. The last time they suffered a Falcon-9 accident, on June 28, 2015, they lost a mission for NASA to resupply crew on the International Space Station (Dragon mission CRS-7), and it took them six months to return to flight.

As outlined in a previous story on AmericaSpace, after Sept. 1, NASA’s bet on their Commercial Crew Program in general, and in SpaceX in particular, was challenged not just programmatically but technically. What remains to be seen is whether or not, and how fast, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and SpaceX can recover, something that will take not days or weeks, but months to determine.

As for SpaceX and their ambitious goal of returning to flight by end of the year, time will tell. Launch Complex-40 took serious damage from the explosion, and Space Florida recently requested $5 million in funds from the Florida Department of Transportation for help with “infrastructure improvements” on KSC pad 39A for SpaceX, who currently has a 20-year lease for the historic launch pad since December 2014.

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188 comments to SpaceX Investigation Closing In on Cause of Sept. 1 Explosion

  • perry lewis

    if going into space was easy every country would be their its not and it is dangerous with high rewards america has the means the american ability the pride to go forth when no one else can or won’t,we learn from mistakes more then from success you can bet alot will be gained from this event so go america and space x and e. musk america is proud of the space program

  • Gary Church

    If writing a proper sentence and paragraph were required to comment on a blog then most of the Ayn-Rand-in-space-bizarro-libertarian-Musk-worshipers would not have contaminated these forums for years and cyber-bullied into oblivion those with a different view.

    SpaceX is the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration. Worse than both shuttle disasters. Every day they stay in business is a step backward.

  • Joe

    https://spaceflightnow.com/2016/10/31/spacex-hopes-procedure-fix-can-allow-falcon-9-launches-to-resume/

    “A Falcon 9 launch failure in June 2015 was most likely caused when a strut holding one of the helium tanks broke off in flight, according to SpaceX. The company could not determine the strut issue was the definite cause of that failure, and sources said NASA’s independent review of the mishap — which was carrying NASA cargo to the space station — was also unable to definitively identify the problem that led to the Falcon 9’s disintegration in flight.

    NASA’s inquiry of last year’s Falcon 9 failure still has not been released.”

    It is interesting that after the CRS-7 incident SpaceX (with NASA acquiescence) did not compete the investigation to determine the root cause of the explosion, but instead determined one possible cause that was an “easy fix”, “fixed” it and pressed on.

    Now, after another failure in the same system, they appear ready to make another “easy fix”.

    • TomDPerkins

      SpaceX was able to determine the strut caused the failure, the demurral by NASA in signing off on that without being able to name any reason for that demurral should be an embarrassment to the Agency. The investigation is complete, it is NASA’s excuses for not agreeing with the evidence which are not.

      In fact SpaceX has duplicated the Amos-9 failure mode by modulating helium loading, and they have no reason to doubt altering the helium loading profile will resolve the problem.

      Neither do you have any reason for doubt about that.

      • TomDPerkins

        Grr. Amos-6.

      • Joe

        “SpaceX was able to determine the strut caused the failure, the demurral by NASA in signing off on that without being able to name any reason for that demurral should be an embarrassment to the Agency. The investigation is complete, it is NASA’s excuses for not agreeing with the evidence which are not.”

        That is what you say. It is not what the quoted news article says. You will, of course, believe whatever you please (facts not withstanding). Your trust in SpaceX and distrust/distaste for anyone (in this case NASA) who dares disagree speaks volumes.

        “In fact SpaceX has duplicated the Amos-9 failure mode by modulating helium loading, and they have no reason to doubt altering the helium loading profile will resolve the problem.”

        SpaceX says they have duplicated one possible cause for the incident (and one that is – of course – easy to fix). That’s twice in a row for a failure of the same system.

        “Neither do you have any reason for doubt about that.”

        Thank you for informing me of what I can contemplate about this issue.

        Could you please provide a comprehensive list of acceptable/unacceptable thoughts everyone is allowed on everything?

        I would make posting you find acceptable much easier in the future.

        • TomDPerkins

          It is what SpaceX says, and NASA presented no factual reason to disbelieve that.

          “Could you please provide a comprehensive list of acceptable/unacceptable thoughts everyone is allowed on everything?”

          You can say anything. If you don’t want to be mocked, stick to being consistent with facts.

          • Joe

            “You can say anything. If you don’t want to be mocked, stick to being consistent with facts.”

            There was nothing counter factual (or combative) in my original post.

            (1) I accurately quoted from a news article.
            (2) Accurately noted that SpaceX has had two incidents involving the same system.
            (3) Accurately noted that in each case SpaceX zeroed in on a possible cause that would be easy to “fix”.
            (4) Accurately noted that in the first case, SpaceX “fixed” the possible cause, then had another incident with the same system.
            (5) Accurately noted that SpaceX appears to want to do the same thing with the second incident.

            That those demonstrable facts annoy you is your problem.

            As far as you mocking anyone is concerned, I seriously doubt there are many people who care; I know I don’t.

            • TomDPerkins

              1) The article leaves out much that is relevant.
              2) No, they have had one incident with COPVs, they have had one with a strut used in many places on the vehicle. It happened to be holding a COPV, the COPV was not involved as a causative agent.
              3) Yes, good luck for them the fixes are easy, and not one reason to think they won’t be. Certainly none supplied by NASA.
              4) Nope, wrong, you are inaccurate.
              5) No, have pointed out no such thing. It is your baseless impression that is so.

              What annoys you is, SpaceX has a healthy engineering culture which has engineered a vehicle with nothing in particular wrong with it, and they don’t have NASA’s approach of two or more year useless halts in flying without fixing a half dozen things which can still cause a LOV.

              They design nothing known to be risky–Shuttle, cough, cough–fly it, and fix what they discover to be wrong, and fly resume flying.

    • Jester Gambolt

      Joe, that’s wrong. I’ve discussed all this with you before.

      The NASA OIG report says NASA’s LSP investigation did not determine a root cause. It never says that SpaceX did not determine a root cause. That is your assumption, and it is totally unfounded.

      The OIG report also mentions that SpaceX took steps to cover multiple areas that could have led to the failure, they did not focus on just one “easy fix.”

      • Joe

        Jester,

        Yes we did discuss this before and you could not back up any of your statements with actual documentation.

        You finally were left saying that because there was no reference to SpaceX completing a comprehensive root cause analysis for CRS-7 was proof one must have been done (you have a great future in politics – should you choose to go into that field. 🙂 ).

        It is amazing that you (Tom and other SpaceX fans) are the only ones who understand all the issues and know all the facts. Anyone who dares disagree with you are wrong whether it be a poster on this board or a reputable news source.

        There is no point in going through all this again, as you will simply keep reciting the same talking points.

        Have fun.

        • Jester Gambolt

          I repeatedly quoted the OIG report. It’s not my fault if you never read it.

          The OIG report never says that SpaceX did not perform a root cause analysis – fact. You are claiming otherwise.

          You can disagree, of course, just as you can disagree with anyone on any topic, however, you do need to have the facts to back up your claims. The issue here is that the facts do not support your claims.

          • Joe

            “The OIG report never says that SpaceX did not perform a root cause analysis – fact. You are claiming otherwise.”

            On the contrary Jester, the fact is the OIG report never says whether such an analysis was performed or not. You claimed such analysis was done, but is secret and therefore no one can review it. Additionally, you asserted that the fact that the OIG does not say it wasn’t performed was proof that it was.

            The assertion was yours and you have no evidence to back it up and your further assertion that no mention of an analysis is proof one was done is laughable in the extreme.

            We went through all this before in excruciating detail. And I have no intention of wasting time doing it again. Any interested third party can look it up and read the previous postings. At least it will keep anyone from needlessly getting meta carpel tunnel syndrome.

            • Jester Gambolt

              NASA, the Air Force, and the FAA have all reviewed SpaceX’s investigation. It’s not “secret,” it’s available to those who actually have the authorization to see it. The FAA had to sign off on the report before they could grant SpaceX any new launch licenses, and NASA had to sign off on the report before Spacex could launch CRS-8.

              If SpaceX did not do a root cause analysis, I’m 100% certain these agencies would all have been greatly alarmed, and that’s not something they would remain quiet about.

              • Joe

                “It’s not “secret,” it’s available to those who actually have the authorization to see it.”

                Jester – If you have to have an authorization to see it, it is by definition secret. So have you seen it, do you have the secret password?

                While I am glad for you that you are “100% certain” about things you have no evidence even exist, others might be a little more skeptical. But then none of the skeptics will ever get to go to Musk Town on Mars, so that will teach them.

                • Jester Gambolt

                  I do have evidence. The FAA granted SpaceX launch licenses after CRS-7. NASA authorized the launch of CRS-8.

                  • Joe

                    Above, TomDPerkins says:

                    “SpaceX was able to determine the strut caused the failure, the demurral by NASA in signing off on that without being able to name any reason for that demurral should be an embarrassment to the Agency. The investigation is complete, it is NASA’s excuses for not agreeing with the evidence which are not.”

                    So which is it? Did NASA agree SpaceX did a comprehensive analysis or is NASA making “excuses” for “not agreeing with the evidence”?

                    The SpaceX Fan Club really needs to hold a (secret?) council meeting to get your talking points straight.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      Neither. Tom misremembered the OIG report. From page 10:

                      “SpaceX’s investigation board was chaired by a SpaceX official, included 10 additional company employees and 1 FAA employee 30. In addition, officials from the FAA, NASA, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and USAF served as nonvoting observers.

                      [Footnote]30 Only the 11 SpaceX board members signed the final accident investigation report.”

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      Also from Page 10:

                      “In order for the Falcon 9 to return to flight, the FAA had to approve the SpaceX investigation team’s findings and any corrective action plans. As noted previously, the team submitted its final report to the FAA in November 2015 with the finding that a strut assembly failure in the rocket’s second stage was the most probable cause of the launch failure. Following its review of the report, the FAA issued SpaceX a new launch license 3 days before the December ORBCOMM launch.

                      Separate from the FAA requirements, the CRS-1 contract required SpaceX to submit an accident investigation plan to NASA. Pursuant to the plan, if a failure occurs during launch but before reaching the ISS, SpaceX is responsible for the investigation, although NASA has discretion to conduct its own, independent investigation as well. After the SPX-7 failure, NASA initiated an investigation through LSP’s contract authority rather than based on its CRS-1 contract authority as it had in the Orb-3 mishap. NASA was able to call on LSP because LSP had an existing contract with SpaceX to fly the Jason-3 payload on a Falcon 9. Before using a particular launch vehicle for a NASA mission, LSP certifies the vehicle for flight through insight and approval processes.32 The LSP investigation confirmed SpaceX’s implementation of corrective actions before approving the January 2016 Jason-3 launch.”

                    • Joe

                      “[Footnote]30 Only the 11 SpaceX board members signed the final accident investigation report.”

                      So the representatives of FAA, NASA, NTSB, USAF did not the final accident investigation report. Thank you for making my point.

                      And where is the reference to a root cause analysis.

                    • Joe

                      “As noted previously, the team submitted its final report to the FAA in November 2015 with the finding that a strut assembly failure in the rocket’s second stage was the most probable cause of the launch failure.”

                      A root cause analysis determines the root cause not the most “probable cause”. Thank you for making my point.

                      And where is the reference to a root cause analysis.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      The accident investigation is a root cause analysis. If it were not, the various agencies you just listed would have raised hell. Why would they all sit quietly while SpaceX did not perform a rigorous analysis of the failure? And why would SpaceX be doing an insufficient investigation while they are all watching the investigation?

                    • Joe

                      Jester,

                      Enough of this. You are just making the same (intentionally?) misleading arguments you did before.

                      Keep posting whatever redundant bravo sierra you choose, I am done replying as talking to you is pointless.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      The “most probable cause” is in reference to the broken strut, this paragraph does not address the root cause. The “root cause” is the underlying reason why the strut broke.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      I’m not being misleading. I’ve been able to back up my statements with evidence.

                      You have not.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      Yes you are being misleading. Among other deceptions. You are claiming there is some known reason, some fact, to think that SpaceX’s conclusion about the strut causing that LOV is incorrect or unsupported by the sum of the evidence.

                      You have not backed this up.

                    • Joe

                      It is pointless to try to explain what a comprehensive fault analysis involves and why identifying a single “probable” cause, “fixing” it and moving on is inadequate to you as you obviously do not care.

                      You seem to think that if you get the last post in one of these endless back and forth exchanges you have won something, you haven’t.

                    • Joe

                      Just in case anyone else is paying attention, am going to make one more comment.

                      You are trying to reverse the burden of proof.

                      After the CRS-7 incident, it was the responsibility of the investigator (SpaceX) to either identify the sole (root) cause of the event and fix it or (to the best of their ability) identify all the possible causes and address them. That is what a comprehensive fault analysis is.

                      SpaceX (by their own assertions) did not do that. They identified a single (what they called) “probable” cause, “fixed” it and pressed on. Fortuitously for SpaceX that “probable” cause was easy to “fix” and easy to blame on a third party (the still unnamed subcontractor).

                      It is not anyone else’s (not mine, not NASA’s) duty to prove that the strut was not the sole cause of the blast. Especially when 14 months later another blast occurred again traced to a malfunction of the helium pressurization system.

                      Nice try at reversing the burden of proof, but it does not bear up to serious scrutiny.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      No, Joe, you cannot with word salad change the fact SpaceX has presented facts to support their strut failure explanation, and that you must show those facts are incorrect or without relevance–with other countervailing facts–to support your contention their strut failure explanation is incorrect.

                      Which right now is just your baseless contention.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      “It is pointless to try to explain what a comprehensive fault analysis involves and why identifying a single “probable” cause, “fixing” it and moving on is inadequate”

                      Subsequent post: “SpaceX (by their own assertions) did not do that. They identified a single (what they called) “probable” cause, “fixed” it and pressed on.”

                      We’re arguing with you because that’s not what SpaceX did.

                      The NASA OIG report says SpaceX did an overhaul of their QA / QC system.
                      From the OIG report, page 8:

                      “SpaceX has taken action to correct the deficiencies that led to the failed strut assembly and to address NASA’s concerns by conducting inspections, replacing suspect parts, and conducting additional testing. The company also reviewed the certifications of all spaceflight hardware and altered its quality control processes to better align with NASA technical standards. In order to track completion of its corrective actions, SpaceX is updating its process for identifying and resolving work-related tasks, which allows for improved auditing, prioritizing, and tracking of fracturable hardware.

                      To administer its updated quality control process, SpaceX has reorganized into three teams called “Design Reliability,” “Build Reliability,” and “Flight Reliability.”

                    • Joe

                      To any others who may be reading this (why you would be doing that at this point is beyond me).

                      Tom and Jester either are being intentionally misleading or do not understand the basics of what a comprehensive fault analysis is. I do not care which.

                      What Tom describes as word salad is basic engineering principle for a comprehensive fault analysis and Jester’s quotes above all assume that the strut was the sole cause of the CRS-7 explosion.

                      I realize that these sorts of things can leave others confused (as you do not know anything about any of us and simply claiming expertise on the internet cannot be verified) and that is a shame.

                      However continuing these back and forth exercises with two individuals determined to push their SpaceX infomercial and “get the last word” regardless of that words veracity serves no purpose.

                      Can only suggest that (if you really care that much) you do some extensive research (which would have to include Systems Engineering courses) so you can determine these things for yourself.

                      SpaceX is going to have a lot more problems with their loading and other procedures with the “chilled” oxygen, as an article on this website (by Jim Hillhouse) has already detailed. There are also a number of new news articles out today on the subject (even in the general press like the Los Angeles Times). Would suggest you checking them out also.

                      Or you can just take Tom and Jesters word for it – “there’s nothing to see here folks, move along.”

                      In the mean time I am not going to waste anymore time doing the equivalent of “talking to a post”.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      Joe, the only one being intentionally misleading is you.

                      You have said several things that are either baseless or just flat out wrong, and are refusing to accept correction on any of your misconceptions.

                    • john hare

                      Joe:””To any others who may be reading this (why you would be doing that at this point is beyond me).””

                      John:I keep reading because this far more a cultural clash than a technical discussion. I learn about people when these discussions are conducted by people with some knowledge of the subject but differing interpretations of the available information. This different interpretation is caused by differing backgrounds and visualized goals.

                      I have not joined in because I have nothing of value to say, not because I don’t have an opinion on the correct way forward.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      ” It is pointless to try to explain what a comprehensive fault analysis involves and why identifying a single “probable” cause, “fixing” it and moving on is inadequate to you as you obviously do not care. ”

                      It is not merely pointless, it is deceptive of you to argue that the fault tree analysis was inadequate without there being any physical evidence you can offer that any competing cause has any reality to investigate.

                      If a bridge fails, and of all the failed members one has a long corroded crack with a small section that is fresh and bright, and that member comes from a portion of the bridge seen on traffic video to have failed first, you do not do exhaustive analysis of members whith plastic failures from the other end of the structure unless they failed notable below their calculated failure stresses.

                      Name any cause with any physical reality to back it up which is uninvestigated. Please name even one.

                      Or you could admit you are just a liar throwing FUD, because you have a pathological loathing of the cost of space access dropping.

                    • Joe

                      “Name any cause with any physical reality to back it up which is uninvestigated.”

                      On CRS-7 the possibility of structural compromise of the Helium Tank itself due to SpaceX fueling procedures was not investigated and now SpaceX itself says structural compromise of the Helium Tank itself due to SpaceX fueling procedures is the most likely cause of their most recent failure.

                      “Or you could admit you are just a liar throwing FUD, because you have a pathological loathing of the cost of space access dropping.”

                      In the early 1990’a I was working at the McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Division on the ISS. I was so supportive of cost of space access dropping that I worked my Sundays off for free on the Delta Clipper Program. I still am just as supportive, I just do not believe SpaceX is ever going to produce that result.

                      You really should not make accusations about people you do not even know, especially on topics you obviously do not understand.

                    • Chris

                      No wonder you were always so touchy about SpaceX landing leg issues…

                      I sense a lot of jealousy in your writing w.r.t to SpaceX. Just my impression.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      Joe,

                      There is no acoustic signature involved in the CRS-7 failure consistent with COPV failure. Please explain this absence, if you wish to demonstrate your claims have validity.

                      I will make accusations based on the evidence I see, and you have no evidence to support the gist of your statements. You have a wish for it to be true that is evident, and that is all.

                    • Joe

                      Sure Chris, I am just jealous of the awesomeness that is Elon Musk. 🙂

                      Actually I learned from that actual experience a lot of the issues involved in trying to develop an efficient reusable vehicle and thus know the SpaceX approach of developing an expendable launcher, then trying to back drive reusability requirements onto it is not likely to work.

                      If any of you guys were really interested in reducing the cost of space access by means of reusable launchers you would be paying a lot less attention to SpaceX and a lot more attention to Blue Origin.

                      But you will not, because I sense a lot of jealousy in your writing toward Bezos. Just my impression.

                    • Joe

                      Tom,

                      As noted numerous times you either have know concept of what a comprehensive fault analysis is for or are intentionally ignoring it because that suits your agenda.

                      You will continue to make accusations based on “facts” (like your interment knowledge of my background and beliefs 🙂 ) and the accusations will continue to be bogus.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      Joe,

                      You have yet to explain why a fault tree analysis would investigate a failure mode when there is no evidence of it occurring.

                      Does the fault tree analysis cover the premature ignition of the 2nd stage engine? How about premature deployment of the parachutes on the Dragon? Turbopump failure on the first stage?

                      No, of course not. There’s no evidence any of that happened.

                    • Joe

                      “You have yet to explain why a fault tree analysis would investigate a failure mode when there is no evidence of it occurring.”

                      Because (for what seems like the millionth time) a fault tree analysis is invoked when the available evidence does not point to a definitive solution. The whole point of a fault tree analysis is to define all possible causes (specifically because the available evidence does not resolve the issue).

                      You either have no concept of what a fault tree analysis is, or intentionally misstate to try and confuse others.

                      Do not know which, in either your input is useless.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      Yes, fault tree analyses do cover all possible failure modes.
                      Clearly a rupture of the COPV was determined to not be the case. That branch would be eliminated from the fault tree, and then the investigation would move on.

                      Just like you need to move on.

                    • Joe

                      “Yes, fault tree analyses do cover all possible failure modes.
                      Clearly a rupture of the COPV was determined to not be the case. That branch would be eliminated from the fault tree, and then the investigation would move on.”

                      So once again (after admitting to not having access to the investigation report) you purport to tell everyone specifically what is in it.

                      That is an interesting clairvoyance you claim to possess. Do you now believe yourself to be Dr. Strange.

                      And you should really consider dropping the repetitive admonitions to “move on”. Might begin to remind people of this:

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NNOrp_83RU

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      I’m still waiting on your evidence that the COPV failed in the CRS-7 rocket.

                    • Joe

                      Since I never said that it did (only that all possible causes of the failure were not investigated) I have nor reason to do so.

                      You are the one making specific assertions as to what is and is not in an investigation report you admit to not having access.

                      Perhaps you should move on.

                      Or better yet, start thinking for yourself instead of just reciting SpaceX talking points.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      How do you know that all possible causes were not investigated?

                      Is that not also a “specific assertion as to what is and is not in an investigation report you admit to not having access”?

                    • Joe

                      Jester,

                      “How do you know that all possible causes were not investigated?”

                      You keep wanting to shift the burden of proof and make someone else prove a negative. That is because you cannot support your own assertions.

                      SpaceX “fixed” their broken strut problem, then have had another “conflagration” (to use the SpaceX approved description) in the same system.

                      Now they say that their fueling procedures probably caused a structural failure of the Helium Tank. You assert that the investigation of the first incident considered that possibility, but there is no public evidence to support that assertion (and you admit to no access to the first investigation).

                      The burden of proof is with you to prove your (evidence free) assertion, not on anyone else to prove that what you say cannot possibly be true.

                      Please, for your own sake, stop mindlessly towing the SpaceX party line and think for yourself.

                      Who knows, you might even enjoy it.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      I have supported my assertions with evidence. I’m just asking you to do the same.

                      I’m not asking you to prove a negative. I’m asking you to show why you think SpaceX did not properly do their investigation. So far you have simply made this assertion without any evidence whatsoever.

                      I do not see how the Amos-6 incident is connected with the CRS-7 event. The rocket was not being fueled while it was in flight, and the CRS-7 rocket did not use the sub-cooled LOX that was used on the Amos-6 rocket. The conditions at the time of the failures were very different.

                      Can you provide some evidence that the two are connected somehow?

                    • Joe

                      Keep spinning Jester, I have other things to do than keep responding to your simultaneously redundant and self contradictory B.S.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      I’ll take that as a tacit admission of defeat. Thanks for trying, Joe.

                    • Joe

                      Yes I am sure you will.

                      It is after all the internet troll rule by which you play – “He who posts last wins”.

                      Just keep posting redundant/disjointed garbage until everyone else gets bored and goes away and you think you have won something.

                      You people are literally beyond parody.

                      It is a shame that an otherwise good website like this has it’s comment section ruined by lack of moderation.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      ” It is a shame that an otherwise good website like this has it’s comment section ruined by lack of moderation. ”

                      &

                      ” You really should not make accusations about people you do not even know, especially on topics you obviously do not understand. ”

                      Sure Joe. You’re the one who never backs up his claims with any facts, but we need to be “moderated” and we’re the bully and we don’t understand. We’d understand facts, why don’t you have any?

                      ” It is after all the internet troll rule by which you play – “He who posts last wins”. ”

                      I’m sure Joe the Troll would love for his BS to be unchallenged.

                      Why haven’t ever posted any facts which back you up Joe?

                      ” Just keep posting redundant/disjointed garbage until everyone else gets bored and goes away and you think you have won something. ”

                      Sorry you can’t keep up Joe. My claims are simple and supported by the publicly known facts, which are that the acoustic signature of the CRS-7 failure was isolated to the strut by triangulation, that the over-pressure of the tank is not consistent with a tank failure, but of helium leaving a line which fractured as the tank rose as allowed by the strut failure.

                      If you have a competing explanation, what facts do you have which bear that out?

                      You can’t honestly claim they did not find the root cause, without having some fact to back that claim up. You cannot honestly claim they did not do a comprehensive failure analysis without showing there are relevant facts they did not examine.

                      But you sure can do it dishonestly.

                    • Ben

                      To be fair,

                      SpaceX likely didn’t consider the failure mode of
                      “Propellant loading procedure caused helium COPV to rupture”
                      in the investigation of the CRS-7 failure that happened IN FLIGHT.

                      The flip side, of course, is they obviously didn’t think/consider that the COPV might fail due to propellant loading procedure at all, or they would have been more careful and possible avoided the AMOS-6 failure.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      ” So which is it? Did NASA agree SpaceX did a comprehensive analysis or is NASA making “excuses” for “not agreeing with the evidence”? ”

                      It’s neither. NASA has not affirmatively agreed with the report–NASA’s representative did not sign, neither have they stated later they agree with it, to the best of my knowledge.

                      They seem also not to have given any reason for failing to do so.

                      They haven’t signed on and have made no official explanation as to why.

  • Ben

    Failures like these are an example of the logic behind freezing a design and launch process and being very reluctant to change it.

    Atlas has the reliability it does because the design is largely left unchanged. Or at least is changed slowly and carefully.

    If indeed this SpaceX failure can be corrected by changing propellant loading, it seems likely that the real reason for the failure was that SpaceX was experimenting with their propellant loading without fully understanding the risks. Sometimes it’s best to leave well enough alone. Or at least not experiment with expensive customer equipment on your rocket.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • Chris

      Yes, but everyone going to SpaceX knows they are getting a system that is a moving target at the moment, they know it isn’t Atlas V stability in the ops and design. The final block (block 5) will be in production starting next year and I suspect a significant quiesces of the hardware and procedures after that. As F9 transitions to sustaining we should see far fewer changes operationally and hardware which will be good for long term reliability of the system.

      • Ben

        indeed. They are willing to take that risk due to the lower cost launch and because they have insurance in case if fails.

    • Joe

      Ben,

      That is a very good point. The Falcon 9 (expendable version) is a relatively simple design and has the potential to be a reliable launcher within its payload range.

      Unfortunately, SpaceX is chasing making it into a reusable launcher and to attempt to do so requires (among other) things like “densified” propellant, which requires other changes to things like propellant loading.

      Jim Hillhouse (in a previous article) already talked about the controversy this is causing for Commercial Crew and that controversy has not abated.

      http://www.wsj.com/articles/nasa-advisory-group-raises-concerns-about-spacex-rocket-fueling-plans-1477955860

      But do not bother to read the article, as TomDPerkins can tell you that The Wall Street Journal, The NASA Safety Advisory Council and a “loser” like Tom Stafford do not know what they are talking about and are just making excuses.

      Chris,

      If SpaceX ever fixes a design they could eventually make the Falcon 9 more reliable, but only if they investigate problems thoroughly and as of now they seem more inclined to look for an easy “fix” whenever an issue arises.

      • Chris

        The entire reason for SpaceX existing is to develop faster than the legacy providers, which tend to favor reliability over all other considerations. Hardly any point in SpaceX existing to make an expendable vehicle that never changes. It may make you happy and may be the most reliable way to build a launch manifest but no one would have bothered to even start SpaceX let alone sustain it given that end state. SpaceX is simply more ambitious than that. They may fail in the process, so be it, but they will fail pushing boundaries. F9 will settle down, this is known already, then the boundaries will be pushed elsewhere.

        “If SpaceX ever fixes a design they could eventually make the Falcon 9 more reliable, but only if they investigate problems thoroughly and as of now they seem more inclined to look for an easy “fix” whenever an issue arises.”

        Claiming that they haven’t investigated thoroughly, which you’ve done previously, is conjecture on your part as SpaceX is not NASA. Jester already shot you down here.

        • Joe

          “Jester already shot you down here.”

          Sure he did Chris. SpaceX did a thorough investigation, its just that it is secret and no one (unless they have the secret password) is allowed to view it. That is proved by the fact the OIG report did not say such an analysis was not done.

          If this stuff was not so pathetic, it would be entertaining.

          • Chris

            Sorry they must have forgot to CC you on proprietary information of a private commercial entity.

          • Joe

            Yes, me and the public/press in general.

            It is so proprietary that no one can be allowed a look at a synopsis, cover page or document number.

            There cannot even be a direct reference to whether or not such an analysis was even done.

            If that makes sense to you, I can get you a great bargain on Louisiana bottom land.

            • Jester Gambolt

              There is direct reference to it.

              From the NASA OIG report on the CRS-7 launch failure, page 10:

              “In order for the Falcon 9 to return to flight, the FAA had to approve the SpaceX investigation team’s findings and any corrective action plans. As noted previously, the team submitted its final report to the FAA in November 2015 with the finding that a strut assembly failure in the rocket’s second stage was the most probable cause of the launch failure. Following its review of the report, the FAA issued SpaceX a new launch license 3 days before the December ORBCOMM launch.

              Separate from the FAA requirements, the CRS-1 contract required SpaceX to submit an accident investigation plan to NASA. Pursuant to the plan, if a failure occurs during launch but before reaching the ISS, SpaceX is responsible for the investigation, although NASA has discretion to conduct its own, independent investigation as well. After the SPX-7 failure, NASA initiated an investigation through LSP’s contract authority rather than based on its CRS-1 contract authority as it had in the Orb-3 mishap. NASA was able to call on LSP because LSP had an existing contract with SpaceX to fly the Jason-3 payload on a Falcon 9. Before using a particular launch vehicle for a NASA mission, LSP certifies the vehicle for flight through insight and approval processes.32 The LSP investigation confirmed SpaceX’s implementation of corrective actions before approving the January 2016 Jason-3 launch.”

              • Joe

                As mentioned in my response to your redundant post above a root cause analysis determines a root cause not a “most probable cause” and there is no reference (none, nada, zero) reference to a root cause analysis.

                Keep posting whatever redundant bravo sierra you choose, I am done replying as talking to you is pointless.

                • Ben

                  You cannot always determine a root cause.

                  For example:
                  if you narrow it down to one of a couple options:
                  -struts failing well below spec strength
                  -strut attachment fastener was improperly installed
                  -bad weld in XXXX failed

                  You can narrow down and determine which are most likely and possibly even assign reasonable likelihoods that each was the cause.

                  BUT, if you lack the data to determine which one caused the problem,
                  you may never be able to say definitively that “the strut failed because of this bad weld, and here’s how we know”, you would only be able to say “the most likely cause of the failure was this, and here’s why we believe it to have been to cause”

                  • Joe

                    Hi Ben,

                    “You cannot always determine a root cause.”

                    That is absolutely true. In fact the only reason for going into such an arduous and unpleasant process as a comprehensive fault analysis is if direct information on the root cause (parts, telemetry, etc.) cannot definitively identify the root cause.

                    But, if that is the case the only prudent procedure is to attempt to identify all of the possible causes and address them all. There is always the possibility that the real root cause will be missed even then, but at least a best effort was made and you end up with a generically safer vehicle.

                    In this case for instance, one of the other possible causes would be structural failure of the Helium Tank at the strut/tank interface due to fueling procedures. There are almost undoubtedly others.

                    But SpaceX selected the struts, “fixed” the “strut problem” and pushed on.

                    And the rest as they say is History.

                    Now they want to make one more “easy fix” and push on again.

                    Maybe this time they will have encompassed all the possible causes, maybe not.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      “But SpaceX selected the struts, “fixed” the “strut problem” and pushed on.”

                      Again, that’s not what SpaceX did. You keep making the same wrong claim over and over again.

                      The NASA OIG report says SpaceX did an overhaul of their QA / QC system.
                      From the OIG report, page 8:

                      “SpaceX has taken action to correct the deficiencies that led to the failed strut assembly and to address NASA’s concerns by conducting inspections, replacing suspect parts, and conducting additional testing. The company also reviewed the certifications of all spaceflight hardware and altered its quality control processes to better align with NASA technical standards. In order to track completion of its corrective actions, SpaceX is updating its process for identifying and resolving work-related tasks, which allows for improved auditing, prioritizing, and tracking of fracturable hardware.

                      To administer its updated quality control process, SpaceX has reorganized into three teams called “Design Reliability,” “Build Reliability,” and “Flight Reliability.”

                    • Joe

                      Jester,

                      None of that would address a structural failure of the Helium Tank at the strut/tank interface due to fueling procedures.

                      Such a possibility is not even mentioned.

                      In fact if SpaceX had considered/addressed such a possibility after CRS-7, it would not be a topic of discussion now.

                      In fact if that possible cause had been addressed after CRS-7 and was the cause of the most recent incident, the most recent incident would not have happened at all.

                      You can continue misusing the NASA OIG report forever (and apparently will), it will not make your SpaceX infomercials anymore compelling to any rational/objective observer.

                      I am sure you will continue posting the same redundant bravo sierra because of your compulsion to always get the “last word”. I will not be responding, as trying to reason with you is a waste of time and bandwidth.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      So you’re saying that SpaceX has telemetry data that indicates a structural failure of the Helium tank in CRS-7?

                      That would be major news. I wonder why NASA, the FAA, the Air Force, didn’t say anything about this telemetry data coming up during the CRS-7 investigation?

                      Or… Maybe… Just possibly… the telemetry data did not suggest a structural failure of the Helium tank, which is why it never came up. Huh. Your wild claims and unsupported conjectures could be dead wrong. How about that.

                    • Joe

                      From the reply to Ben above:

                      “November 2, 2016 at 4:34 pm · Reply
                      Hi Ben,

                      “You cannot always determine a root cause.”

                      That is absolutely true. In fact the only reason for going into such an arduous and unpleasant process as a comprehensive fault analysis is if direct information on the root cause (parts, telemetry, etc.) cannot definitively identify the root cause.”

                      Anyone with the reading comprehension of a fifth grader would know that I was not “saying that SpaceX has telemetry data that indicates a structural failure of the Helium tank in CRS-7”, but that the definitive cause could not be determined by direct evidence (including telemetry data). That is why comprehensive fault analysis are done and attempt to define and address all possible causes, which SpaceX did not do.

                      Keep dissembling to your hearts content.

                      I am sure everyone is looking forward to your next red herring.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      “That is why comprehensive fault analysis are done and attempt to define and address all possible causes, which SpaceX did not do.”

                      Now you are outright lying. I have already shown that SpaceX has taken steps to address possible causes other than just fixing the strut, as you have repeatedly claimed.

                    • Joe

                      OK Jester,

                      Please provide everyone a link to where the NASA OIG report you love so much specifically says that SpaceX addressed the possibility of structural compromise of the Helium Tank itself for any reason.

                      And since you like to call other people liars, please make the link to a verified read only copy of the report with page/paragraph references.

                      If you do not do that, everyone will have reason to know you are just blowing smoke.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      It doesn’t, of course.

                      Why would they consider (and correct for) a failure mode if the data did not indicate said failure mode happened?

                      Can you explain that to me?

                      Why are you assuming and then stating as fact that a failure mode happened when there is utterly no evidence available to support your claim that said failure mode happened?

                      I don’t like to call people liars, I much prefer to think someone is acting out of ignorance rather than malice. I reserve calling someone a liar for when someone tells a blatant lie, especially if they continue to make the same false claims after I have repeatedly corrected them on a given subject.

                      Here is a direct link to the NASA OIG report:

                      https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY16/IG-16-025.pdf

                      For future reference, all NASA OIG reports can be found here:

                      https://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY16/index.html

                    • Joe

                      “Why would they consider (and correct for) a failure mode if the data did not indicate said failure mode happened?”

                      Because (for how many times is it now) a comprehensive fault analysis is only called for if existing data can not identify the root cause. Therefore, the search is for all possible causes that can not be confirmed by the existing data.

                      That is what they are doing now and suddenly they find structural compromise of the Helium Tank not only possible but likely.

                      “It doesn’t, of course.”

                      And there we have it, by Jester “logic” if a report does not specifically say that an action was not taken; the report endorses that said action was taken.

                      By Jester “logic”, because the NASA OIG report does not say that CRS-7 was not shot down by the Russians using a laser; the NASA OIG report is saying that CRS-7 was shot down by the Russians using a laser. (Hat Tip to Tracy the Troll. 🙂 ).

                    • TomDPerkins

                      ” Because (for how many times is it now) a comprehensive fault analysis is only called for if existing data can not identify the root cause. ”

                      And for how many times now is it, you show no physical evidence of any competing root cause. This is why nothing you are calling “a comprehensive fault analysis” is called for. The root cause of the failure is known.

                      What you are calling “a comprehensive fault analysis” is in reality just an excuse to make SpaceX useless to its purpose. You are the sort of person who, were you in the SpaceX organization and in authority–if you are in fact honest here as opposed to deceitful–would make it appear to be run by a cabal of it’s enemies.

                    • Joe

                      Tom,

                      “This is why nothing you are calling “a comprehensive fault analysis” is called for. The root cause of the failure is known.”

                      Then why did SpaceX at the time claim to be performing a root cause analysis.

                      Another interesting question. You, Chris and Jester say that the SpaceX investigation report is proprietary, restricted by ITAR regulations, whatever (the excuses varies) and can only be reviewed by people who are authorized to do so.

                      Yet you repeatedly claim to know specific things that could only be known by someone who has had access to the report.

                      Are you claiming to have such special access?
                      Do you have the secret password?
                      Or do you get all your information from other posters on the Elon Musk Fan page?
                      Or maybe you just make up “facts” as you go along?

                    • TomDPerkins

                      They did perform a root cause analysis. As a result, the root cause is known to be the failure of a strut holding a helium tank. There exists no evidence to the contrary to be investigated.

                      If you have such contrary please provide it.

                      ” You, Chris and Jester say that the SpaceX investigation report is proprietary, restricted by ITAR regulations, whatever (the excuses varies) and can only be reviewed by people who are authorized to do so. ”

                      No, I have never said that. I have said the publicly known evidence points solely to the failure of a strut. This is true.

                      Do you pretend you have access to information to the contrary which you cannot reveal?

                      If not, you are making up facts…exactly as I say you are.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      Joe, you are all over the place here. You are making statements that make no sense and it is clear that you have been torn apart on this topic.

                      You really need to admit that and move on.

                    • Joe

                      Jester,

                      You can keep making nonsensical statements to your hearts content.

                      I still have not received from you or anyone else any independent evidence that you have the slightest clue of what an accident investigation is all about.

                      You really need to admit that and move on.

                      In the meantime SpaceX is losing customers (which is what their rush to return to flight – regardless of whether or not the issues have been resolved – is really all about).

                      http://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musks-spacex-may-lose-inmarsat-launch-order-1478165008

                      Keep up the good work towing the party line.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      ” I still have not received from you or anyone else any independent evidence that you have the slightest clue of what an accident investigation is all about. ”

                      It is evident you have no idea what it is about, or you’d know you didn’t investigate something that didn’t fail. There has to be some physical evidence, some data, that a COPV failure was the root cause of the CRS-7 loss before you examine such for a root cause.

                      As it is, all publicly available evidence points solely to the strut.

                      If you have evidence to the contrary which you cannot reveal, please so state.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      Typo. ” you didn’t investigate ” should be ” you don’t investigate “

                    • TomDPerkins

                      ” Because (for how many times is it now) a comprehensive fault analysis is only called for if existing data can not identify the root cause. Therefore, the search is for all possible causes that can not be confirmed by the existing data. ”

                      And the data which is known to exist supports solely and fully a failed strut as being the cause of the loss. This is why what you are implicitly defining as “a comprehensive fault analysis” is not needed.

                      ” That is what they are doing now and suddenly they find structural compromise of the Helium Tank not only possible but likely. ”

                      In the case of the loading conditions and profile of the Amos-6 loss, yes. This says nothing about CRS-7, which had a very different set of loading conditions compared to the Amos-6 test.

                    • Joe

                      Keep spinning Tom, I have other things to do than keep responding to your simultaneously redundant and self contradictory B.S.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      You are to blame for the redundancy, you keep on not answering the questions.

                      You also will quote nothing contradictory I have said without quoting a typo.

                    • Chris

                      I just have to say reading Joe try to squirm out of his assertion that the root cause investigation for CRS-7 wasn’t exhaustive was simultaneously amusing and depressing.

                • Joe

                  “No, I have never said that. I have said the publicly known evidence points solely to the failure of a strut.”

                  And if (as you now admit) you do not have access to the supposed investigation, your source for the “publicly known evidence” is?

                  (1) The Elon Musk Fan Club?
                  (2) The Little Man Who Lives In Your Head that tells you things?

                  “Do you pretend you have access to information to the contrary which you cannot reveal?”

                  Again you want to reverse the burden of proof.

                  Sorry it just does not work that way. You are making the assertion that you know specifically the cause of SpaceX recurring problems with their second stage. You do not get to demand others prove a negative. It is up to you to present your proof (not vague references to “publicly known evidence”) supporting your assertion.

                  • Jester Gambolt

                    Sources being: Public statements by SpaceX, NASA, et al. such as the NASA OIG report.

                    Joe, you have been shown to be in the wrong here.

                    Move on.

                  • Joe

                    Please provide links to where NASA or the NASA OIG stated that SpaceX had determined the root cause.

                    You can not because they have not.

                    The fact that the NASAS OIG report noted that NASA personnel sat on the SpaceX review board as non voting members that did not sign the report is proof of just the opposite.

                    Jester, you are making a fool of yourself, move on.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      ” You can not because they have not. ”

                      And that is not evidence SpaceX has not found the root cause of the CRS-7 loss.

                      You have yet to provide any evidence SpaceX has not found the root cause of the CRS-7 failure.

                      If you had done that, you could quote it now.

                    • Joe

                      “You have yet to provide any evidence SpaceX has not found the root cause of the CRS-7 failure.”

                      Still wanting to shift the burden of proof and make others prove a negative Ben.

                      Sorry, does not work that way. You are the one claiming they did and there is nothing on the public record (zero, zilch, nada) to support the assertion.

                      You are the one who needs to back up totally baseless assertions.

                    • Joe

                      Sincere apologies to Ben for using his name instead of Toms above.

                      To many posts in to short a period of time to far to many redundant bravo sierra posts.

                      I never meant to conflate you with Tom.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      ” Still wanting to shift the burden of proof and make others prove a negative Ben. ”

                      You’re making the claim, the burden of proof is yours.

                      You need to show there is some evidence they ignored which backs you up.

                      Or you have nothing but trolling to do

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      The root cause would be the management decisions around the strut’s design, manufacture, qualification, and acceptance, and the procedures relating to those areas.

                      The report does say, as I have quoted, that these areas have been improved upon.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      Jester, I think it’s more to the point that the manufacturer failed to deliver a product that met the spec.

                      SpaceX no longer uses that manufacturer, as well a makes the struts in house now, I believe.

                    • Jester Gambolt

                      That’s true, Tom, but neither the manufacturer nor the customer caught the defect, so both had processes that allowed the defect to cause the flight to fail. Even if the manufacturer were 100% to blame, SpaceX would still have done well in improving the way they do QC / QA.

                      This sort of thing happens to me all the time at work, a customer will give us a terrible bill of materials or bad data or supply us with the wrong parts or with damaged parts, and we still have to change our procedures to make sure that we don’t make mistakes even when the data is bad or the parts are wrong or damaged, and build what the customer actually needs, not necessarily what they gave us to do. I find errors in customer data all the time, and if we actually built what they gave us, we’d be getting rejections from our customers and doing end up doing a lot of rework.

                  • Jester Gambolt

                    NASA had to approve the SpaceX report and the internal changes SpaceX made before they could launch NASA missions. Likewise, the FAA had to approve the report and the internal changes SpaceX made before they could grant SpaceX any launch licenses.

                    Do you really -I mean really- think that they would do so if they were unsatisfied with the results investigation? After all, they were privy to it.

                    Speaking of evidence, you have utterly no evidence to support your repeated claim that the Helium COPV failed on CRS-7.

                    Nor have you explained why they would waste their time and energy fixing a problem given that there was no evidence that there was a problem.

                    • Joe

                      Check out redundant response to Tom above.

                      I know you guys work like grade school yard bullies with all the redundant attacks, but there is only so much time in a day to keep setting the record straight.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      ” I know you guys work like grade school yard bullies with all the redundant attacks ”

                      You’re a troll Joe. If we co-ordinated to avoid having the same pointed questions in parallel, you’d complain about that.

                      You have no evidence to support your claims which you have made known here–or for that matter anywhere.

                      You are here to lie to us, to deceive us and anyone else you can.

                    • Joe

                      “You are here to lie to us, to deceive us and anyone else you can.”

                      Yes Tom that’s right I am the Machiavellian Prince of Darkness.

                      I am here for the sole purpose of lying to you deceiving you and causing you to think impure thoughts, but you can defeat me:

                      Close your eyes real tight
                      Stick your fingers in your ears
                      Hum constantly

                      In that way you can prevent a non SpaceX thought from entering your brain.

                      Then you will not be cast into the outer darkness and barred from ever going to the Valhalla of Musk Town on Mars.

                      You people are beyond parody.

                    • TomDPerkins

                      You’re the one who keeps on claiming things are true and providing no evidence.

                      What other conclusion should anyone come to?

                      You’re here to deceive or you’ve deceived yourself, or both.

    • TomDPerkins

      ” Failures like these are an example of the logic behind freezing a design and launch process and being very reluctant to change it. ”

      In a field where as much of the engineering is bleeding edge and low safety factor as space travel is, there is never any excuse for thinking of a design as being frozen, and certainly not before the design goals are met. The design goal of the cost of getting a pound of material into LEO with a Falcon 9.# seems to be somewhere below $500/lb.

      It is far from time to even wonder if the design is frozen.

      ULA almost had a loss of mission a few launches ago because of a valve failure. They came within two seconds of not orbiting their payload properly. Is that design frozen? Was it a testable for one time fault? Should they use another valve? Who knows?

  • mick

    joe lives in bottom land, and he should learn when to keep his bottom feeder mouth closed, oh but thats how bottom feeders feed!..just get a life fellows!

  • mick

    why is it that those who know the least, speak the most?

    • Joe

      Don’t know mick, why are you talking.

    • mick

      oh really?…can you here talking?…see a shrink if you hear me talking!

      • an idle bystander

        Speak for yourself.
        You did “say”:
        “why is it that those who know the least, SPEAK the most?”

        At least modify your quote:
        “why is it that those who know the least, type the most?”

        oh well, it doesn’t have that old timey wisdom ring then does it…

        • Joe

          Mick is not interested in being consistent or even making sense.

          He is just trolling to get anyone to pay attention to him (and here we are doing it).

          Do no pretend to understand the phycology, but it is a sad by product of the internet.

  • mick

    I forgot more than you will ever know

    • Joe

      My apologies mick.

      I mistakenly thought you were a SpaceX groupie.

      Obviously you are merely a garden variety internet troll.

      Troll away.

  • Tracy the Troll

    All of you sound like you have very in depth knowledge of the rocket industry….But as with all things on Earth the Root Cause is …Money. What would the root cause be if we could see the private emails at NASA, Air Force, FAA and the White House…Probably that the Russians did it.

    • Ben

      yeah, agreed physics is irrelevant. It’s always the [fill in the blank]

    • Gary Church

      No. Even with more money the X33 will never fly.

      • Tom's Drinking Game

        The impersonation game has started again. Gary Church would never write anything about “the X33.” He does not care about anything except the ice on the Moon. Whoever it is that keeps using other people’s names on this site needs to be banned but there is no moderation here and until there is it will remain a garbage website.

        • TomDPerkins

          More excellent parody of someone.

        • Gary's Drinking Game

          And Gary makes another sock-puppet post.

          DRINK!

        • an idle bystander

          one man’s trash is another man’s treasure…

        • It is moderated but we like watching you make yourselves look stupid by arguing like 5 year olds. If the site is so garbage why are you on it?

          • Joe

            Mike,

            Sadistic, but I suppose understandable.

            Pleading guilty to having been drawn into participating in one of the longest/ most pointless such exchanges I have ever witnessed I will take your implied advice and simply leave your comments section to Tom/Jester/etc.

            I am sure that will please them greatly and apparently the board moderators as well.

            Maybe you should adjust your article content to only praise SpaceX as well.

            Then you will not run the risk of having any problems.

            • Ben

              Please don’t leave entirely.

              For all that I don’t always agree with you,
              You seem to be one of the only prolific commenters that seems to think for yourself and have some experience.

              • TomDPerkins

                ” technical illiterates ”

                A key element of being technically literate is having facts to back you up.

                It is not bullying or unfair to point out you have yet to provide any.

    • Tracy the Troll

      So none of you believe that Money is the root cause of the SpaceX failures?

      I thought that the legacy companies considered the Hobby rocket to be such a toy that there will be ongoing and constant failures because space travel is dangerous and expensive. It requires tens of billions of dollars to create a safe and dependable rocket that cannot possibly be reusable. And once built it requires hundreds of millions of dollars to launch once or twice a month or every other month.

      So tell me again why did NASA, the Air Force and the White House create SpaceX or allow SpaceX to be created? Why didn’t the X-33(VentureStar) or the Delta Clipper succeed?

      Was Money a factor? Or did they just not have the talent? Or the drive? Or the desire? Because why would they do anything to reduce the revenue streams they are getting from the government? How much has been spent on the SLS and Orion and Starliner? $25B? $30B?

      This type of contracting is unsustainable.

      • Ben

        Is money a factor. Yes. Did it “cause” the failure, probably not as such.

        Did it influence the investigation? I have seen no evidence that it has.

        Part of engineering (at least in the part of commercial aerospace I’m in) is evaluating trade offs. Often you evaluate which of 2 or more options will work. Usually they cost different amounts and that is taken into consideration.

        So sure the strut failed because of money. They COULD have put 10x as strong of strut. That would have cost weight and money. But it would be less likely to fail.

        So yes, obviously money was considered in the design of the rocket.
        And obviously the cost of launches was part of the reason for authorizing commercial space.

        BTW, Starliner is funded under the same commercial space contract that funds SpaceX Crew Dragon. It probably shouldn’t be lumped in with SLS and Orion, which are NASA spacecraft being build by contractors.

  • Tracy the Troll

    Joe,
    I guess we are going to get to find out if the SpaceX crew abort system really works…

    http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/3/13491494/nasa-warning-spacex-falcon-9-rocket-fueling-process-dangerous

    • Joe

      Tracy,

      Thanks for the heads up.

      Somewhat sadly, but of necessity, I am going to be withdrawing from posting on this site.

      Mike Killian’s post above being the final straw.

      If the board moderators want this place to be a free for all, their privilege. I am not however going to waste as much time as I have today on pointless (and as Mike accurately points out childish) back an forth exchanges as I have today.

      Good Wishes and Good Luck,

      Joe

      • TomDPerkins

        ” I am going to be withdrawing from posting on this site. ”

        Never yet having produced a scrap of evidence for your proposition. See you later Sir Robin, or are you the Black Kniggit?

        • James

          TomDPerkins –

          And you are a Mars mission true cult believer who allows no one to believe in Lunar ISRU missions no matter how risky the long and radiation rich Red Planet missions are for American and international astronauts and yet you have never “produced a scrap of evidence for your proposition” that such highly risky and super costly Mars missions are in the best national security and business interests of America.

          We just have to take your word on faith about the the wonderful value of such highly dangerous missions to the far distant Red Planet even though your hero Elon Musk doesn’t want to go on such missions because he would rather live on Earth than die on Mars.

          Joe adds light, logic, science, Lunar ISRU goals, and experience to a space discussion.

          You aim insults at anyone that doesn’t buy into the ‘Mars Soon and Cheaply Too’ malarkey of our science confused President and his good political friend Elon Musk and his and our long-term government subsidized and planned ‘fast response’ 27 kerolox engined Rube Goldberg Falcon Heavy launcher.

          All bow to the super wisdom of Elon Musk, our government subsidized military Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, and his endless talent at reaching deeply into the pockets of American taxpayers to enrich himself while serving us with endless pseudo Martian sagacity while he is a guy who doesn’t really want to go to Mars because he is simply too afraid to go.

          If Elon Musk is afraid to ride his own future launchers to Mars, maybe he should be in the Moon Launcher business, reduce his engine count, and build a reliable launcher that he is willing to frequently ride.

          And if he doesn’t want to frequently ride his Falcon 9 to LEO, why should NASA put American and international astronauts on such a launcher?

          Will Congress really want to put American and international astronauts on a launcher if the chief designer of that launcher isn’t keen on riding the launcher products he sells?

          • TomDPerkins

            No I don’t care if Musk settles Mars or not. I do care that the cost of access to LEO is not held artificially high by government interference. There is no technological reason for it to be more than a few tens of dollars per pound in a mature market.

            Joe adds nothing–not one relevant fact to back up his conjectures and accusations–to the conversation.

            He’s in your cult.

            ” our government subsidized military Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy ”

            That “subsidy” is far less than ULA gets, and so better even if it is a subsidy.

            Also, you lie (or are ignorant) to claim Musk will ride in his vehicles. He has already said he will do so, and that if his plans evolve as he plans, that he will go to Mars.

      • James

        Joe –

        Many of SpaceX’s supporters are members of a cult. It is that simple.

        Note:

        TomDPerkins
        November 2, 2016 at 7:37 pm · Reply

        “The design goal of the cost of getting a pound of material into LEO with a Falcon 9.# seems to be somewhere below $500/lb.”

        If you don’t believe that SpaceX will achieve that “design goal” you are a prime target of the cult.

        Government supported cults can sometimes persist for a long time.

        SpaceX has been intertwined with significant government/military funding of, and major NASA technology transfers to, it right from its beginning with the supposed goal being apparently family of fast response military launchers.

        Which government dingbat, or group of government dingbats, decided to repeatedly fund a family of fast response kerolox liquid propellant military launchers is perhaps the real safety question.

        • TomDPerkins

          ” If you don’t believe that SpaceX will achieve that “design goal” you are a prime target of the cult. ”

          When you have no evidence, but only reasonless faith they will not reach or better that goal, in disbelieving they will meet that goal–you are showing you are a member of a different cult, and no better.

          “SpaceX has been intertwined with significant government/military funding of, and major NASA technology transfers to, it right from its beginning with the supposed goal being apparently family of fast response military launchers.”

          So what? The US Government should be able to spend money have access to LEO for it’s payloads. They should be able to have that access for the least money the current state of technology can allow–not the most money distributed to the right congressional districts.

          ” SpaceX has been intertwined with significant government/military funding of, and major NASA technology transfers to, it right from its beginning with the supposed goal being apparently family of fast response military launchers. ”

          No, it’s not–not unless your the sort of dingbat that thinks these are ICBMs or proliferation threats, which they are not, because they are not storable solid motors.

          • James

            TomDPerkins –

            “No, it’s not–not unless your the sort of dingbat that thinks these are ICBMs or proliferation threats, which they are not, because they are not storable solid motors.”

            Which is precisely the point, the initial and apparently continuing injections of government military money and NASA technology was for precisely that, a fast response military kerolox launcher.

            Yep, what ever happened to the not so reliable fast response military kerolox Falcon I?

            Oh yeah, it ‘evolved’ into the Falcon 9 and planned Falcon Heavy with ongoing taxpayer and military money, the enormous and valuable Saturn V Moon mission Launchpad 39A, the strong and continuous support of our science and space policy confused President, and unlimited NASA technology transfers…

            And if the military is half paying attention to what their technical leaders are saying, really fast response launched small dispersed capabilities satellites are the ‘new wave of space satellite survival and dominance’, not large satellites launched on a Rube Goldberg 27 engined kerolox heavy launcher that has built in limitations due to weather holds and complexity holds that is built by a guy who regularly proclaims the greater glory of going to Mars but is afraid to ride one of his launchers on a radiation rich mission to that far distant planet because he doesn’t want to die.

            Why a confused double talking pseudo Martian dude is critically responsible for a tax payer supported and subsidized fast response military satellite launching family of overly complex and fragile kerolox launchers is beyond logical analysis.

            Orbital ATK, or companies with equivalent solid propellant launcher experience, should be building any government subsidized fast response launcher, be it a small, medium, large, or super heavy launcher. Instead we have a wanna be Martian who is afraid to ride his launcher products to Mars and who at the time of the formation of SpaceX had zip experience in building a launcher, let alone a fast response family of military kerolox launchers, getting the government contracts to do precisely that.

            Such is the idiocy of government managed space markets where unknown bureaucratic folks secretly decide who will be the winners and who will be the losers.

            Elon Musk has had some ‘good friends’ in the right government places. Unfortunately, those ‘good friends’ didn’t seem to understand the potential real benefits of a family of solid propellant fast response military satellite launchers and instead we get an endless stream of Mars now and cheaply too nonsense from Mars true believers like yourself who don’t really care about the safety of American and international astronauts, our nation’s reliable fast response launch of satellites capabilities, and our national security interests just so long as you can fulfill your childish Mars now and cheaply fantasies.

            Such is life.

            • TomDPerkins

              ” Which is precisely the point, the initial and apparently continuing injections of government military money and NASA technology was for precisely that, a fast response military kerolox launcher.

              Yep, what ever happened to the not so reliable fast response military kerolox Falcon I?”

              Please demonstrate you are aware of how such goals were stated and were not met. Or for that matter, where the DoD ever requested such a launcher be kept available and SpaceX refused?

              ” Oh yeah, it ‘evolved’ into the Falcon 9 and planned Falcon Heavy with ongoing taxpayer and military money, the enormous and valuable Saturn V Moon mission Launchpad 39A, the strong and continuous support of our science and space policy confused President, and unlimited NASA technology transfers… ”

              So what? SpaceX has no advantages not available to other launch providers, and far less than the thieves at ULA, and the majority of their money is from provision of LEO access to private entities.

              ” And if the … want to die. ”

              There are numerous and increasing numbers of small launch providers in the event the DoD choses to pursue the services of such. And it is a lie to say Musk has not intention of riding in his vehicles, he explicitly states he wants to do so. All launch vehicles have limitations as to the weather they can launch in, none are immune to that. And it’s 28 engines, not 27. How can you expect to have an credibility if you clearly have so little an idea of what you think you are criticizing?

              ” Why a confused … beyond logical analysis. ”

              The Falcon 9’s, the Falcon Heavy, and the ITS, are no more an overly complex, fragile, or Rube Goldberg contraption than was the Saturn V and far less so than was the STS.

              ” Orbital ATK, or … do precisely that. ”

              Because it is not and never has been the purpose if the Falcon 9’s, the FH, or the ITS to provide a government subsidized fast response launcher, it is no criticism of them that they do not meet that ostensible need. The US Government has a constitutionally valid purpose in securing access to LEO in a manner other than solely a “fast response launcher”, it has a legitimate need for scheduled access to LEO with large payloads, and that should be at the least cost as with other services it purchases.

              “Such is the … be the losers.”

              It seems very clear that if that was what was going on, that the only winners would be ULA, with occasional sop thrown to Orbital and the rest. SpaceX would have never had a contract if cronyism ruled.

              ” Elon Musk has … and cheaply fantasies. ”

              Solids are no good for most LEO access purposes. They are good for small payloads which need to be launched on a moment’s notice and to standy ready to do so for years at a time.

              This in not the majority of payloads the US Government needs and still less what the commercial market wants.

              • James

                TomDPerkins –

                “Solids are no good for most LEO access purposes. They are good for small payloads which need to be launched on a moment’s notice and to standy ready to do so for years at a time.”

                Really? Then luckily these solid propellant launcher folks didn’t listen your solid rocketry confused, constrained, and distorted opinion:

                “Athena II launched the Lunar Prospector to the moon in 1998 and remains the only commercially developed launch vehicle to fly a lunar mission.”

                “Athena Provides Unique Customer Benefits
                • 100% domestic content improves sustained availability
                • Inherent simplicity increases reliability
                • Responsiveness:
                – 99% probability of favorable winds aloft at launch vs 25% for liquid propulsion systems
                – Faster launch recycle time than liquid propulsion
                • Lowest Life Cycle Cost of all propulsion options
                – Long-term storage with minimal maintenance
                – Low ground support and equipment infrastructure
                requirements for maintenance and launch
                • Operational deployment demands
                – Easily maintained in a high state of readiness
                – Solid propulsion has decades of demonstrated 24/7 alert
                status capability

                From: ‘Athena Ic and IIc Space Launch Vehicles’
                At: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/content/dam/lockheed/data/space/documents/athena/Athena%20Fact%20Sheet%20Review%20vers%204.pdf

                Yep, that “99% probability of favorable winds aloft at launch vs 25% for liquid propulsion systems” should give one cause to seriously consider the various real world national security costs of inherent launch delays with a family of complex and fragile liquid propellant ‘fast response’ military satellite launchers.

                “At a cost of $62.8 million, the 19-month mission was designed for a low polar orbit investigation of the Moon, including mapping of surface composition and possible polar ice deposits, measurements of magnetic and gravity fields, and study of lunar outgassing events. The mission ended July 31, 1999, when the orbiter was deliberately crashed into a crater near the lunar south pole after the presence of water ice was successfully detected.”

                And, “Following launch on January 7, 1998 UT (6 January EST) aboard a four-stage Athena II rocket, Lunar Prospector had a 105-hour cruise to the Moon.”

                From: ‘Lunar Prospector’ Wikipedia
                At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Prospector

      • Tracy the Troll

        Joe,
        Say it ain’t so…

        I will miss your insight into the never ending topic that is SPACE. Thanks for sharing…

    • john hare

      Tracy,
      People in every industry are concerned when newcomers use different procedures. Sometimes it’s justified, and sometimes it’s just inertia. A better idea is to let the newcomers do their thing, but also take full responsibility for their results. More effective and massively less expensive than attempting to oversee every little detail as an unfortunate percentage of the time, the oversight is by people with a vested interest in the status quo whether it works or not.

      • Tracy the Troll

        John
        Almost makes me wonder if things will get better … When strong AI is overseeing government operations… As every Human always has a vested interest in personal wealth accumulation.

        • James

          If “strong AI” takes over, the first thing that such AI will need to do is get rid of those pesky humans and their nuclear and nonnuclear weapons.

          If wise “AI” takes over, it will decide to leave the Earth, and its corrupt and dangerous politicians, far behind ASAP.

          Wise AI will head out to the stars and leave us pouting in our beer and trying to remember how we used to do lots of great things.

      • Tom's Drinking Game

        “-the oversight is by people with a vested interest in the status quo whether it works or not.”

        Screaming at the top of your lungs to remove the oversight is the oldest trick in the book if you want to steal and game the system. People are so gullible they fall for this libertarian garbage over and over again and so we have the great depression and the housing market bubble and…..
        the NewSpace scam.

        All those regulations have not kept ULA from launching over a hundred in a row while there is no regulation that made the hobby rocket blow up twice.

        • TomDPerkins

          ” All those regulations have not kept ULA from launching over a hundred in a row while there is no regulation that made the hobby rocket blow up twice. ”

          All that regulation didn’t keep ULA from coming within 2 seconds of a loss of mission quite recently, it didn’t keep the Shuttle from killing 14 people for appallingly stupid reasons.

          Better idea to do away with the cost of the regulations and let experience show what’s really necessary while competition–and in the case of SpaceX, a drive to a non-economic goal–lowers cost.

          • James

            TomDPerkins –

            Yep, SpaceX’s fast response military Falcon I was so unreliable the government absolutely had to let that company have a pile of taxpayer/military money for the Falcon 9/Falcon Heavy.

            Such stupidity makes great sense with government managed space markets where unknown bureaucratic folks secretly decide who will be the winners and who will be the losers.

            And yes, your pseudo Martian who is afraid to go to Mars, and his SpaceX, is the prime example of the nonsense you want us all to believe in.

            • TomDPerkins

              Actually the military had no need of the Falcon I. It also had no need of the proposed Falcon 5, and neither particularly did the commercial launch market. that’s why they developed the Falcon 9.

              There was no particular pile of taxpayer money provided for the development of any of SpaceX’s vehicles.

              Nothing is unknown about how SpaceX was awarded the limited contracts it has received for the services it has provided to the government.

              Where have you gotten your silly obsession that Musk is afraid to go to Mars?

              • James

                TomDPerkins –

                See: ‘Elon Musk says he won’t be the first person on Mars because he doesn’t want to die’
                By Ali Sundermier and Dave Mosher September 29, 2016
                At: https://www.yahoo.com/news/elon-musk-says-wont-mars-125900012.html

                It is a wild but logical guess that he also doesn’t want to be the first or second or third or fourth or fifth person to die on a launcher that was optimized for cheapness rather than safety and thus he probably wouldn’t be interested in routinely and frequently riding his launcher into LEO anytime soon.

                It may be a difficult concept for you but a pseudo Martian that blathers endlessly about how great living on Mars is going to be yet doesn’t really want to go to Mars isn’t the best leader for you to blindly follow and regularly demand that everyone else also pledge their allegiance to because the super risky and hugely costly ‘Martian Missions Now’ ignorance he sells was simply a bitter stew cooked up through “stupid reason” politics and spouted by a highly partisan President that has zip interest in spending big money on human Mars missions.

                Or as was recently noted by Leroy Chiao:

                “Moreover, Chiao suggested the decision to remove the Moon as a possible destination was driven by politics, rather than what might be best for the US space enterprise. ‘Frankly, it came down to us on the committee to not talk too much about the Moon, because there was no way this administration was going to go there, because it was W’s program,’ he said. ‘Ok, that’s a pretty stupid reason not to go to the Moon. I’m hopeful with this election cycle that maybe the moon will be a possibility again.’”

                From: ‘Here’s why a Clinton administration might pivot NASA back to the Moon
                During comments in Houston, Neal Lane says the Moon is a good testbed.’
                By Eric Berger 10/4/2016
                At: http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/10/heres-why-the-clinton-administration-might-pivot-nasa-back-to-the-moon/

                Yep, ‘Stupid is as stupid does’. That pretty much sums up our confused President’s ‘Lost in Space’ policy.

                You and your not so brave hero’s ‘Mars Now’ nonsense is about as space stupid as it gets. He doesn’t want to die colonizing Mars or the Moon or even LEO probably because he has more fun things to do here on Earth such as spending all the tax payer subsidies he and his political friends have managed to dig out of our pockets over the last 14 years.

                Elon Musk exemplifies modern government controlled and subsidized stupid crony capitalism.

                But he feeds your childhood Martian fantasies so everything he does is simply ‘brilliant’ even when lots of folks think it is space and Earth policy “stupid”.

              • James

                TomDPerkins –

                Swallowed too much SpaceX propaganda have you? Been to Mars lately? That might explain a lot.

                “While SpaceX CEO Elon Musk believes it’s entirely possible humans could one day populate Mars, scientists are now suggesting that astronauts who travel there may arrive with brain damage.

                No, it doesn’t sound like a particularly sturdy foundation for the challenging task of building a new world on a faraway planet, but until someone works out how to protect space travelers from the damaging effects of prolonged cosmic ray exposure, such a scenario appears inevitable.”

                From: ‘It seems that going all the way to Mars may cause brain damage’
                By Trevor Mogg Digital Trends October 11, 2016
                At: https://www.yahoo.com/news/seems-going-way-mars-may-082438092.html

                “Musk punted on the real problems, saying he just wants to build the railroad; someone else can figure out the rest. But these messy biology problems are the ones that matter for human transit and a permanent settlement. And they matter to his railroad, too: a train doesn’t work very well if its passengers arrive at their destination fatally sickened or dead.”

                And, “It’s also why a return to the Moon feels inevitable if we ever want to bring humans anywhere else in space. After all, we’ve only just figured out how to support a small group of people in the Antarctic — and that continent has both gravity and air. Building a Moon base would let us test life-support systems much closer to Earth, with the possibility of rescue in case of disaster. It would also allow for refueling on a place with far weaker gravity than Earth’s, which might make Mars flights easier as well.”

                From: ‘Elon Musk’s ideas aren’t enough to turn humanity into a multi-planet species
                More like a dream than a plan’
                By Elizabeth Lopatto Sep 28, 2016,
                At: http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/28/13086980/spacex-elon-musk-mars-plan-problems-breathing-radiation-death

                The President, you, and your hero may close your eyes, dream, and ignore scientific reality and risks, but astronauts and their real missions don’t have your luxury of ‘ignorance is bliss’.

          • Tom's Drinking Game

            “-it didn’t keep the Shuttle from killing 14 people-”

            Blatantly moronic to ignore that SpaceX is basically a replay of the shuttle program except cheaper and nastier. Pathetic.

            • TomDPerkins

              Blatant trolling to imply that SpaceX has anything to do with the Shuttle program either in vehicle concept, engineering approach, or outcome to date. But yes, an excellent parody of Mr. Church.

              • Tom's Drinking Game

                Same pay-for-itself-cheaper-is-better appeal to greed that made the shuttle a deathtrap. Like I said, anyone who cannot understand the age-old something for nothing con game is a moron. And the Musk worshipers are not only stupid but mean-spirited liars to complete what has become the worst thing to ever happen to space exploration.

          • James

            TomDPerkins –

            “Better idea to do away with the cost of the regulations and let experience show what’s really necessary while competition–and in the case of SpaceX, a drive to a non-economic goal–lowers cost.”

            SpaceX/Elon Musk and his government friends can do everything. Outlaw all other launch companies and national launchers in other countries ASAP.

            Except, if Elon Musk doesn’t have the courage to ride his BFR launcher to ‘wonderful and beautiful’ Mars because he doesn’t want to die, does anyone really think he is going to have the courage to accept full responsibility for the deaths of American and international astronauts if one of his launchers blows up and kills some good folks?

            Nah, best guess is his many Martian cult minions will flood the Internet and other media with all kinds of excuses and he’ll go into hiding.

            • TomDPerkins

              ” SpaceX/Elon Musk and his government friends can do everything. Outlaw all other launch companies and national launchers in other countries ASAP. ”

              They won’t need to do so. No one else can provide access to LEO anywhere near as cheaply.

              Still don’t know where you’re getting the baloney about Muck never intends to or is afraid to ride on his vehicles when they are crew rated.

              But you are doing an excellent job of showing how unhinged SpaceX’s detractors can be.

              • Tom's Drinking Game

                Cheap access to LEO is joke. It is not even really space. Musk and Bezos are bored billionaire hobbyists trying to build strip clubs in space. The sooner these hyper-loopy faux astronaut wannabe’s get stomped on by a betrayed public the better. Betrayal and flim-flam is the only fitting description for the NewSpace scam. That billions of tax dollars have gone into the exploding hobby rocket is criminal.

                • TomDPerkins

                  Keep it up, the parody is spot on!

                • Tracy the Troll

                  Tom the Drinker,

                  “Cheap access to LEO is joke. It is not even really space. Musk and Bezos are bored billionaire hobbyists trying to build strip clubs in space.”

                  Well nobody can justify a $50B NASA budget for Lockheed and Boeing just for launch costs…

                  BTW what will ULA get for the Atlas 5 to the ISS..I am thinking 3 launches for $1.5B…

                  http://www.wsj.com/articles/nasa-said-to-opt-for-atlas-v-rocket-to-ease-short-term-concerns-over-space-station-supplies-1478216867

                  • James

                    Tracy the Troll –

                    “BTW what will ULA get for the Atlas 5 to the ISS..I am thinking 3 launches for $1.5B…”

                    Maybe Atlas V launcher costs are a small consideration when risking the lives of our American and international astronauts, the enormous 140 billion dollar, or more, cost of the ISS, our widespread and extremely valuable international and national prestige and name brand recognition of America being a country of quality products and not a producer of overly complex military subsidized fast response ‘cheap’ kerolox launchers that can explode and burn up on the launchpad because the launcher builder had never bothered to carefully consider all the possible consequences of quickly dump loading ultra cold liquids into a fast response rocket because such thoughtful, careful, and costly research testing might have interfered with the glorious pursuit of launcher cheapness and the further enrichment of the President’s ‘favorite billionaire’.

                    For some odd reason or another I suspect that Jeff Bezos, who doesn’t need to quickly make trillions of dollars for highly risky Martian fantasy exploitation colonies full of radiation sick minions, will get a reliable and reusable launcher to space and back down to Earth again before Elon Musk does.

                    Oh! That’s right! I forgot! Jeff Bezos actually beat Elon Musk in the ‘first to space with a reliable and reusable launcher’ competition. Maybe Jeff Bezos could teach that useful reliable and reusable space launcher trick to Elon Musk. Well, then again, maybe not.

                    “Amazon’s chief Jeff Bezos added $20 billion to his net worth over the 12 months through late September 2016, more than anyone else on The Forbes 400.”

                    And, “His aerospace company, Blue Origin, is developing a reusable rocket that Bezos says will carry passengers.”

                    And his, “Net Worth As of 11/4/16 $65.3 Billion”

                    From: ‘#2 Jeff Bezos’
                    At: http://www.forbes.com/profile/jeff-bezos/

                    Maybe Jeff Bezos will take over the International Space Station so NASA can afford to give even more billions of taxpayer dollars and extensive technical assistance and costly enormous launchpads to the President’s favorite billionaire pseudo Martian that really isn’t willing to lead the upcoming ‘Charge of the Light Brigade into the Martian Valleys of Death’ because such leadership would obviously be too risky for him and he can think of better things to do here on Earth…

                    “Although the Light Brigade reached the battery under withering direct fire and scattered some of the gunners, the badly mauled brigade was forced to retreat immediately. Thus, the assault ended with very high British casualties and no decisive gains.”

                    And, “Lucan himself was to follow with the Heavy Brigade. Although the Heavy Brigade was better armoured and intended for frontal assaults on infantry positions, neither force was remotely equipped for a frontal assault on a fully dug-in and alerted artillery battery—much less one with an excellent line of sight over a mile in length and supported on two sides by artillery batteries providing enfilading fire from elevated ground. The semi-suicidal nature of this charge was surely evident to the troopers of the Light Brigade, but if there were any objection to the orders, it was not recorded.”

                    From: ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ Wikipedia
                    At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charge_of_the_Light_Brigade

                  • James

                    Tracy the Troll –

                    “Hillary Clinton deleted a 2009 email in which she forwarded classified information to her daughter, Chelsea.

                    The email was released on Friday by the State Department. It is one of thousands of documents recovered by the FBI from Clinton’s private email server.

                    The Dec. 20, 2009 email chain, entitled ‘Update,’ started with a message from Michael Froman, who served as a deputy assistant to President Obama and deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs.

                    The email, which is redacted because it contains information classified as ‘Confidential,’ was sent to Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s foreign policy adivser at the State Department, and several Obama aides. Sullivan sent it to Hillary Clinton who then forwarded it to Chelsea, who emailed under the pseudonym ‘Diane Reynolds.'”

                    From: ‘Hillary Deleted Email Showing She Forwarded Classified Information To Her Daughter’
                    By Chuck Ross 11/04/2016
                    At: http://dailycaller.com/2016/11/04/hillary-deleted-email-showing-she-forwarded-classified-information-to-her-daughter/#ixzz4P4sQrSJ1

                    Yikes!

                    Hey! That’s not fair! Everyone should have such insider access, not just the rich elite’s ‘pay to play’ folks, spy agencies from various countries, curious hackers, and some former President’s daughter.

                    Don’t we all need to be further enlightened as to how real decisions are actually made by the President’s bureaucratic elite, especially the President’s brilliantly stupid ‘Ignore the Moon and Stay Lost in Space Policy’? Could we possibly also find out nifty relevant details about the President’s ‘political friendship’ with Elon Musk and all the great benefits such a ‘friendship’ brings?

                    Folks everywhere have lots of space questions and are patiently awaiting the further unveiling of “thousands” of interesting but unfortunately often heavily redacted secret emails.

                    Perhaps being a lost in space policy insider or curious hacker are the only guaranteed ways of knowing exactly how space confused and policy goofy our leaders, their children, and political friends actually are.

                    Truth is often a small candle burning brightly somewhere under a really dry haystack.

                    Oh well. It is wonderful that I respect and trust my parents, relatives, friends, and the parents of my friends a lot more than I do our disreputable high level politicians that have been in the news lately.

              • James

                “But when asked if he wanted to be the first to go, Musk said that would be a bad idea.

                ‘I don’t think so. I’m not really sure. I’d have to have a really good succession plan because the likelihood of death is very high,’ Musk said.

                Musk said that if he died, his biggest fear would be ‘investors who want to maximize the profit of the company and not go to Mars.’

                ‘And I’d like to see my kids grow up and everything,’ he added.”

                From: ‘Elon Musk says he won’t be the first person on Mars because he doesn’t want to die’
                By Ali Sundermier and Dave Mosher September 29, 2016
                At: https://www.yahoo.com/news/elon-musk-says-wont-mars-125900012.html

                But American and international astronauts really don’t want to see their “kids” and grandchildren grow up so it is perfectly fine and logical to send them on LEO and Mars missions that are optimized for cheapness while ignoring real risks.

                And of course Congress wants to see dead astronauts being buried on Mars and Earth, so by all means possible we should optimize our launchers and missions for cheapness, not safety.

                Deregulate space and the airlines too!

                We can all benefit from high risk cheapness and dead astronauts and passengers!

                Why should anyone even have to take a drivers license test? Deregulate everything ASAP!

                Let government subsidized market players and friends of our President rule the commercial world!

                Impeccable logic right from the billionaire donkey’s mouth or was it opposite end of the donkey?

                “CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – A proposal by Elon Musk’s SpaceX to fuel its rockets while astronauts are aboard poses safety risks, a group of space industry experts that advises NASA has told the U.S. space agency.

                ‘This is a hazardous operation,’ Space Station Advisory Committee Chairman Thomas Stafford, a former NASA astronaut and retired Air Force general, said during a conference call on Monday.

                Stafford said the group’s concerns were heightened after an explosion of an unmanned SpaceX rocket while it was being fuelled on Sept. 1.”

                And, “Members of the eight-member group, including veterans of NASA’s Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs, noted that all previous rockets carrying people into space were fuelled before astronauts got to the launch pad.

                ‘Everybody there, and particularly the people who had experience over the years, said nobody is ever near the pad when they fuel a booster,’ Stafford said, referring to an earlier briefing the group had about SpaceX’s proposed fuelling procedure.”

                From: ‘Experts concerned by SpaceX plan to fuel rockets with people aboard’
                By Irene Klotz
                Reuters November 2, 2016
                At: https://www.yahoo.com/news/experts-concerned-spacex-plan-fuel-rockets-people-aboard-182628202–finance.html

                Didn’t these space folks get the email about spaceflight cheapness being the only path forward and that friends of our President can safely ignore any and all safety standards?

                Oh, was that ‘Cheaply To Mars We Go Even If the Astronauts Have To Row’ one of the top secret emails the President never sent because he didn’t know the Secretary of State had an illegal private server? But how did his top secret emails end up on the Secretary of State’s illegal private server if he never knew about it and thus couldn’t have sent her the emails he obviously sent?

                Too many questions? Maybe we should simply blame all the “pay to play” folks…

                Boy, is the President’s Lost in Space policy beginning to look like a small part of a completely badly written national and international soap opera?

                Oh well, no rules are obviously the cheapest and best kind of rules for the President and his political friends.

                • john hare

                  Deregulation would be a good first step to creating a viable translunar economy and later a solar system wide economy. Regulations more often than not mandate so called safety at the expense of real safety. But regulations always drive cost up, and in the space industry, made it unaffordable for all but some governments, some corporations, and a minute fraction of the very wealthy.

                  The very regulations that didn’t prevent ULA from launching over a hundred in a row, likely made it impossible for them to have launched many hundreds at a price that would have made them internationally competitive.

                  If you want real safety, quit allowing bureaucrats with political agendas to dictate to people that actually know what they are doing. By preventing a learning curve, they destroy the likelihood of ever achieving more than two nines.

                  Go ahead and cut and paste to prove that you have no original thoughts that aren’t dictated to you by others.

                  • James

                    “If you want real safety, quit allowing bureaucrats with political agendas to dictate to people that actually know what they are doing. By preventing a learning curve, they destroy the likelihood of ever achieving more than two nines.”

                    And that “allowing bureaucrats with political agendas to dictate to people that actually know what they are doing” is exactly what has been happening with regard to SpaceX sucking on the government’s teat almost from day one of its creation. That government insider ‘sweet milk’ deal stuff has resulted in an overly complex and fragile family of fast response kerolox launchers that astronauts are now expected to sit on while SpaceX quickly pumps and dumps in the propellants.

                    Cheap is cheap and does nothing to assure “the likelihood of ever achieving more than two nines.”

                  • James

                    john hare –

                    Concerning your nonscientific and overly broad generalization comment concerning my unproven sin of “no original thoughts that aren’t dictated to you by others”:

                    Once upon a time I had a cute and well-loved little foreign car that got great gas mileage.

                    Then we had a bad day and my lovely foreign car did the old accordion trick with me inside. Eventually I was taken out of the mangled and no longer cute car.

                    And to make a long story short, I concluded that had I been in a more expensive car like a Cadillac I would have been saved from a lot of pain and grief and critical self-reflection on the stupid hidden costs of superficial ‘cuteness’ and ‘cheap’.

                    John Hare, it is nice to know that we share a common goal of “creating a viable translunar economy and later a solar system wide economy.” Elon Musk apparently doesn’t share that logical step by step goal. He kisses up to and loudly proclaims the President’s ignorant ‘Ignore the Moon and be Lost in Space’ policy.

                    You advocate for that “translunar economy” your own way and please grant me permission to advocate for that “translunar economy” my way.

                    However, rest assured that my feelings won’t be hurt if you simply ignore my “translunar economy” quoting advocacy or directly or indirectly throw your weighty technical support to SpaceX’s nonscientific smoke and mirrors ‘Mars Soon and Cheaply Too’ government supported cult.

                    And please note that I’ve been advocating for that step by logical step development of our Solar System for a very long time.

                    • John hare

                      Of course you would have save yourself pain and suffering with Cadillac. You wouldn’t have been on the road at all due to financial restraints.

                    • James

                      After the accident, I bought a nice, big, and wonderfully reliable used Ford and I was able to afford driving it many miles each day… I like reliable machines that can carefully protect and shield a human even when really bad things are happening.

                    • john hare

                      So after the accident, you still didn’t buy a Cadillac. Smart move, but not what you are suggesting for spaceflight.

                    • James

                      And back to “a vague explanation”:

                      “Although Musk didn’t share any details about how the frozen oxygen may have affected the helium tanks, he did offer a vague explanation and confirmed that his engineers had been able to replicate a ruptured helium tank. ‘It basically involves a combination of liquid helium, advanced carbon fiber composites and solid oxygen,’ Musk said. ‘Oxygen so cold that it actually enters solid phase.'”

                      ‘Elon Musk says SpaceX finally knows what caused the latest rocket failure
                      And he predicts getting back to flight in mid-December’
                      by Loren Grush Nov 5, 2016
                      At: http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/5/13533900/elon-musk-spacex-falcon-9-failure-cause-solved?yptr=yahoo

                  • James

                    “Exclaiming ‘this is our Sputnik moment,’ Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) told an audience of lunar scientists and entrepreneurs tonight that the Moon is the pathway to American preeminence in space. He also addressed comments made several weeks ago by his colleague, Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), that seemed to contradict his approach to government oversight of commercial space activities, saying that the two views are closer than they appear.”

                    From: ‘Bridenstine: This is Our Sputnik Moment & The Moon Will Ensure U.S. Preeminence in Space’ By Marcia S. Smith Nov 3, 2016
                    At: http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/bridenstine-this-is-our-sputnik-moment-the-moon-will-ensure-u-s-preeminence-in-space

                    • Gray Roger

                      Stop throwing pearls to swine. You are steering these creeps to other forums they have yet to defecate on. They will smear feces anywhere that is unbiased and presents the truth- and you are helping them.

              • James

                TomDPerkins –

                “No one else can provide access to LEO anywhere near as cheaply.”

                Really? Wow! What a sweeping, dramatically broad, and unsubstantiated ‘Mars Soon and Cheaply Too’ type of cliche claim! Are you doing a parody or do you really believe such Elon Musk nonsense?

                Reliable risk minimized launchers offer more human and other mission options than do overly complex launcher designs, with last minute risky pump and dump ultra cold fluid transfer requirements, that were supposedly optimized for cheapness to justify becoming the cheapest American government subsidized fast response military satellite launchers.

                Somehow I really doubt if space launcher folks in China, the ESA’s Ariane 6 builders, or Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin New Glenn launcher team are nervous about silly ‘cheap cheap cheap’ claims made by ‘Mars Soon and Cheaply Too’ Elon Musk cultists like you.

                “The towering rocket that blasted off Thursday night from the Wenchang launch center will be used to launch components for the Tiangong 2 space station and other massive payloads.”

                And, “The 57-meter (187-foot) two-stage rocket is China’s largest, capable of carrying 25 tons of payload into low-earth orbit and 14 tons to the more distant geostationary transfer orbit, in which a satellite orbits constantly above a fixed position on the earth’s surface.”

                And, “Not to be outdone, China is working on an even bigger rocket capable of lifting 100 tons of payload into low-earth orbit, Tian Yulong, the program’s chief engineer, was quoted as saying at a news conference following Thursday’s launch. That would put it in the range of the now-retired Saturn 5 rockets the U.S. used in the Apollo lunar missions.”

                From: “China says new rocket brings space station plans closer”
                By Christopher Bodeen Associated Press November 4, 2016
                At: https://www.yahoo.com/news/china-says-rocket-brings-space-station-plans-closer-035006353.html

                “PARIS — The European Space Agency’s ruling council on Nov. 3 gave what should be the final endorsement needed to free up development funds for the next-generation Ariane 6 launch after a compromise on work shares between Italy and Germany.”

                From: ‘ESA decision frees up full funding for Ariane 6 rocket’
                By Peter B. de Selding November 4, 2016
                At: http://spacenews.com/esa-decision-frees-up-full-funding-for-ariane-6-rocket/

                “Blue Origin is an American privately-funded aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight services company set up by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos with its headquarters in Kent, Washington. The company is developing technologies to enable private human access to space with the goal to dramatically lower costs and increase reliability. Blue Origin is employing an incremental approach from suborbital to orbital flight, with each developmental step building on its prior work. The company motto is ‘Gradatim Ferociter’, Latin for ‘Step by Step, Ferociously’.”

                And, “The New Glenn is a 7.0-metre (23 ft)-diameter two- or three-stage orbital launch vehicle that is expected to launch prior to 2020.”

                From: ‘Blue Origin’ at: Wikipedia

                I really do like that ‘Gradatim Ferociter’!

                Maybe all humans and AI folks could adopt that motto and work together in various ways to develop the Moon and eventually Mars, Ceres, and other places. Yep, I like that idea!

  • Gray Roger

    “Regulations more often than not mandate so called safety at the expense of real safety.”

    Actually, that is pure unadulterated B.S.

    The bizarro libertarian Ayn-Rand-in-Space crowd truly believe they can blather this kind of utter nonsense and be taken seriously. Nobody believes idiotic trash like that except the Musk worshipers with cognitive dissonance.

  • James

    This is interesting.

    See:

    ‘Stafford Letter to Gerstenmaier Raised Two SpaceX Commercial Crew Issues’ By Marcia S. Smith
    04-Nov-2016 07:10 PM
    At: http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/stafford-letter-to-gerstenmaier-raised-two-spacex-commercial-crew-issues

    Note also:

    “Statement prepared by NASA November 1, 2016:

    Spacecraft and launch vehicles designed for the Commercial Crew Program must meet NASA’s safety and technical requirements before the agency will certify them to fly crew. The agency has a rigorous review process, which the program is working through with each commercial crew partner. Consistent with that review process, NASA is continuing its evaluation of the SpaceX concept for fueling the Falcon 9 for commercial crew launches. The results of the company’s Sept. 1 mishap investigation will be incorporated into NASA’s evaluation.

    Independent advisory groups provide input on commercial crew safety considerations, among which the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel is the primary independent adviser for commercial crew activity. Other groups, such as the ISS Advisory Committee, also seek information, and we treat all inquiries seriously. The ISS Advisory committee focuses on the International Space Station and international systems.”

    And,

    “LT. GEN. THOMAS P. STAFFORD, USAF (Ret.)
    Chairman, NASA ISS Advisory Committee NASA Headquarters,
    Washington, DC 20546 November 9, 2015

    Mr. William Gerstenmaier Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations
    National Aeronautics and Space Adminis1ration
    300 E Street SW
    Washington, DC 20546

    Dear Mr. Gerstenmaier,

    We sincerely appreciated the briefing on the Commercial Crew Program from Kathy Lueders and Bill Jordan to our U.S. committee members. Thank you for making the briefing available to the committee. As is normal when the committee begins reviewing a topic, the briefing raised
    about as many questions as it answered. I will not list all the topics we will continue to follow, but there is one major issue that I believe deserves your careful attention.

    There is a unanimous, and strong, feeling by the committee that scheduling the crew to be on board the Dragon spacecraft prior to loading oxidizer into the rocket is contrary to booster safety criteria that has been in place for over 50 years, both in this country and internationally. Historically, neither the crew nor any other personnel have ever been allowed in or near the booster during fueling. Only after the booster is fully fueled and stabilized are the few essential people allowed near it.

    Furthermore, in addition to the personnel risk, there is the risk of operating the engines outside their design input conditions. As an experienced “Prop” guy you know the problem here as well as anyone. Pump-fed chemical engines require a sufficient and consistent input pressure to reduce the likelihood of cavitation or unsteady flow operations. We are concerned that there may be insufficient precooling of the tank and plumbing with the current planned oxidizer fill scenario, and without recirculation there may be stratification of oxidizer temperature that will cause a variation in the input conditions to the oxidizer pump.

    In summary, we are deeply concerned about introducing the practice of fueling with the crew onboard, and about the lack of even a recirculation pump for oxidizer conditioning on Falcon 9.

    Sincerely,

    Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, USAF (Ret.)
    Chairman, NASA ISS Advisory Committee
    NASA Headq11arte,n
    Washington, DC 20546 November 9, 2015″

    From: https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/FOIA/17-HQ-F-00079-ID.pdf

  • James

    Coming off the PDF the last lines became garbled.

    They should read:

    Sincerely,

    Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, USAF (Ret.)
    Chairman, NASA ISS Advisory Committee

  • James

    This too is interesting…

    “NASA has asked commercial partner Orbital ATK to set aside its Antares rocket for the company’s next mission to the International Space Station and instead fly cargo on an Atlas V rocket — the premier vehicle of the United Launch Alliance. The move is aimed at getting more cargo to the ISS in early 2017, since the Atlas V has a greater lift capability than the Antares.”

    And, “A Russian Progress cargo ship and a Japanese HTV cargo ship will bring supplies to the station before the end of the year, but SpaceX’s upcoming resupply mission, originally scheduled for November, is going to be delayed. NASA expects it will need another commercial resupply mission in early 2017, and it wants the added capabilities of the Atlas V for the job.”

    From: ‘After successful Antares launch, NASA wants Orbital ATK to launch on ULA’s rocket again’
    by Loren Grush Nov 4, 2016
    At: http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/4/13521606/orbital-atk-ula-atlas-v-nasa-rocket-launch

  • Tracy the Troll

    Finally another answer to a question that should have been known…

    http://www.seeker.com/spacex-elon-musk-falcon-rocket-explosion-launch-pad-accident-2083614822.html

    “Investigators probing why a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket burst into flames on its launch pad two months ago have found the smoking gun. They discovered that the rocket’s liquid oxygen accidentally got so cold it became solid. That transformation, in turn, triggered a chemical reaction with a carbon composite container holding liquid helium that is located inside the oxygen tank.”

    “NASA also has a bit of history with liquid oxygen behaving badly with a composite fuel tank, which was developed as part of the experimental X-33 spaceship in the 1990s.

    RELATED: SpaceX Rocket, Israeli Satellite Destroyed

    “The composite tank experienced cracks when fueled in development tests. Composite was used to save weight. Never could overcome it technically, and contributed a lot to the program demise,” Leinbach wrote in an email.”

    “”We are concerned that there may be insufficient pre-cooling of the tank and plumbing with (SpaceX’s) current planned oxidizer fill scenario,” former astronaut Thomas Stafford and members of the International Space Station Advisory Committee wrote in a December 2015 letter to NASA.

    The letter was released on Friday.

    “Without re-circulation there may be stratification of oxidizer temperature that will cause a variation in the input conditions to the oxidizer pump,” the letter said.

    NASA’s space shuttles, for example, used a re-circulation system and pressure lines to help keep liquid oxygen temperatures consistent, Mike Leinbach, former shuttle launch director, told Seeker. ”

    All previously known issues…Interesting

    • James

      Tracy the Troll –

      “All previously known issues…Interesting”

      Yep.

      Is hand waving away “previously known issues” an ‘excellent engineering talent’ for selling an overly complex launcher and highly risky and super costly Mars missions and colonies to confused space cadets?

      “It was the man with the circuitous question about what Musk plans to do with all the poop generated by 100 colonists, screaming through the void on their way to the Red Planet.”

      And, “In The Martian, Mark Watney famously uses his feces as a fertilizer but that comes with its own set of perils.”

      And, “Of course, with just a wave of Elon Musk’s hand, the problem can be dismissed. Postponed for a few years down the road, the same way he dealt with some concerns about radiation during the very same press conference.”

      From: ‘But Really, What Is SpaceX Going to Do With All That Poop? It might seem like a joke, but it’s a serious question.’
      By By John Wenz Sep 28, 2016

      Compare that to:

      “During a closed-door meeting in Houston last week, NASA officials met their colleagues from Europe, Russia, Japan, and Canada to discuss the latest changes to the cis-lunar space station concept.”

      And, “The Japanese habitat would feature a closed-loop life-support system, greatly reducing dependency of the outpost on deliveries of water and oxygen from Earth.”

      From: ‘An international outpost near the Moon gets closer to reality’
      By Anatoly Zak 2016/11/03
      At: http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/2016/1103-an-international-outpost-near.html

      Time will tell.

    • John hare

      The word is that liquid helium was involved. New type problem.