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NASA Government Space

NASA Delays First Flight of New SLS Rocket Until 2019 (arstechnica.com) 115

schwit1 writes: Despite spending almost $19 billion and more than thirteen years of development, NASA today admitted that it will have to delay the first test flight of the SLS rocket from late 2018 to sometime in 2019. "We agree with the GAO that maintaining a November 2018 launch readiness date is not in the best interest of the program, and we are in the process of establishing a new target in 2019," wrote William Gerstenmaier, chief of NASA's human spaceflight program. "Caution should be used in referencing the report on the specific technical issues, but the overall conclusions are valid." The competition between the big government SLS/Orion program and private commercial space is downright embarrassing to the government. While SLS continues to be delayed, even after more than a decade of work and billions of wasted dollars, SpaceX is gearing up for the first flight of Falcon Heavy this year. And they will be doing it despite the fact that Congress took money from the commercial private space effort, delaying its progress, in order to throw more money at SLS/Orion.
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NASA Delays First Flight of New SLS Rocket Until 2019

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    This rocket was built on top of SLS Linux [wikipedia.org]. Cool stuff!

  • It's not worth rushing it [wikipedia.org]

    • by cadeon ( 977561 )

      ^ This

      Also, foam fell off the ET due to the vibrations SRBs produce. Just saying.

    • Rushing things was NOT the lesson to be learned from Challenger.
      The lesson there was this: Listen to your engineers. If they say the air temp is outside of design limits, listen to them. Don't let middle managers overrule them.

      The overall lesson of the Shuttle was this: Sporks designed by a committee look cool, but don't do any one job well.

  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Friday April 28, 2017 @03:49AM (#54317997)

    SpaceX is notorious for delays.

    The big and crucial difference between the two organizations is that SpaceX has been incrementing up to FH while simultaneously doing something commercially useful, as opposed to NASA's One Big Project approach (which it had to do for a variety of reasons.

    • >SpaceX is notorious for delays.

      You misspelled "every rocket maker ever". Name me one manned rocket system that was on-time and on-budget.

      Space is hard.

      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        Delays aren't caused by "space is hard"; they're caused by planners not internalizing that "space is hard" and so creating too aggressive schedules.

        • by Sivaraj ( 34067 )

          So which is better? Pushing an aggressive schedule to to launch, but getting delayed or having a well planned (aka leisurely) schedule and still getting delayed?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Nutria ( 679911 )

            Which is better: promising 3 years and launching in 8, or promising 7 years and launching in 8?

            • If you want your project to get funded, the former.

              • by Nutria ( 679911 )

                Only in (one form of) dysfunctional political systems.

                • No, it applies to almost any political system or within almost any private organization.

                  If it didn't, there would be some institution on this planet that consistently completes most of their ground-breaking development projects on the original schedules. I don't think that you'll find one.

  • Did anyone seriously think they would kick the thing off on time? This is a govt. project.

  • ...I WONT be going to Mars? I thought that was the plan.
  • The government exists for defense and the things the private sector can't/won't do. Now that there are multiple private rocket companies NASA should be refocused to things like breakthrough propulsion (EM Drive, Warp Drive, even Orion-style nuclear, etc), life support/reclamation (as opposed to the current wasteful system of "crack water and dump the shit overboard"), and other supporting technologies to colonization of space. The government, including NASA, is always going to be slower than the private
    • Those private companies are financed by NASA contracts. NASA has literally always used private sub-contractors. The only difference in the new contracts is they are fixed price as opposed to cost-plus contracts. NASA is working on all those things you listed (except the Orion drive b/c it would kill 1% of humanity if you launched one from the ground and there is no reason to build one if you're just going to use conventional chemical rockets to reach space) and the only reason you've heard of them is becaus
      • To say NASA is working on them is outright wrong. They still crack water for breathable air instead of recycling it, they still use the same old space suits because they keep going for over-priced contractors with an in who don't actually know what they're doing, the worst part is their "breakthrough propulsion" lab is so pathetically under-funded that they had to use 6 months of their entire budget to afford a vacuum chamber worth a few thousand dollars to test the EM Drive in. Likewise they've done near
  • by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Friday April 28, 2017 @10:45AM (#54319333)

    This is why you set goals and let the scientists & engineers figure it out. When Apollo was built we didn't have Congress constantly dictating to NASA how it should be built, where it should be built or making design decisions. Fast forward to the 21st Century, we have endless committees getting nowhere with a constant tug of war on where components should be built and by whom.We've laid off the core of NASA who knew how to make the shuttle work and yes, regrettably we've had to spend tax dollars on busy work to keep ATK and others from going out of business.

    In the meantime, ISS manned missions will be handled by the Russians who are our sometimes on again/off again friends. Now, because of these relationship issues, do any of us believe that the costs of doing business with the Russians won't significantly increase over the next few years? The ISS will be shuttered before it's end of life in 2024, another multi-billion dollar boondoggle that now the US can't fully support yet we provided most of the funding for. Bravo!

    After billions spent on Orion/SLS, we still have no way to get our astronauts into LEO much less beyond. Didn't we win the race to the moon?

    • By the standards of Soyuz and the current SpaceX effort, the shuttle wasn't even a man-ratable launch system. It was designed without the required abort modes. Also the Russians can't raise their prices too much or it will become cost-effective to accelerate SpaceX's effort. They only a have a handful of tests to complete, and while they are by far the furthest along, they are not the only one. If you want the scientists and engineers to figure it out -- let NASA procure launch services rather than rock
    • by e r ( 2847683 )
      You're making a pretty strong case that the government (NASA) should get out of this whole space thing all together and leave it to people who can actually get stuff done and get it done cost effectively (i.e. SpaceX)
      • Why should pizza shop have to also build & own a fleet of cars?

        Let NASA make the cool new space probes, and get a lift up there from commercial rockets. Getting into obit is easy enough that multiple private companies can do it. The real science out there is hard and doesn't (yet) have commercial payback. That's NASA's niche.

        • by e r ( 2847683 )
          I think you're talking sense, and I agree with you.
          We can agree, right, that it would be far far far more cost effective for NASA to just stick to building and running probes and just buy rides on cheap private rockets?
  • be able to tell us what he really thinks. I wonder if 30 years from now he will say, "None of you understood the situation and some of the [insert scenerio here] that I was facing and all the [insert list of dirty laundry here]."

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.