Page 3 of 5 FirstFirst 12345 LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 49

Thread: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

  1. #21
    Guru

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Last Seen
    Yesterday @ 01:16 PM
    Lean
    Undisclosed
    Posts
    2,670

    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by PirateMk1 View Post
    I KNOW the people at Rutan. They are as good as ANY at Boeing, Lockheed, Sikorsky, some of those Rutan boys are better. They have pioneered many firsts in flight. I guarantee you it wasn't a shoddy workmanship or cheap design that caused that accident. It was an unanticipated problem. It happens to the best teams. That's why they do test flights to figure out what they did wrong and fix them. That's the whole point of a test flight. They are supposed to find problems before they go to production. I put my money were my mouth is. I use their services for designing my specialty airframes. These guys aren't fly by night. They have DOD contracts of all sorts.
    It's not a question of how good the development team is, it's a question of how many of the decisions were dictated by profit, and not by engineering or safety. Why 6 passengers? Why not 4? Why not 2? And unanticipated problem doesn't fly. You don't get a do-over on someone’s life because something unexpected happened.

    Flight tests are the culmination of a vast battery of other tests. You don't stick a guy in the cockpit until you're sure that they're coming back again.

    Are you aware that the decision to change the fuel type was made in May. That's 5 months to completely redesign the engines and integrate them into the system. Why? Because the new fuel was much cheaper. I find that hard to defend.

  2. #22
    Resident Martian ;)
    PirateMk1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    California
    Last Seen
    Today @ 12:16 AM
    Gender
    Lean
    Private
    Posts
    9,922

    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithros View Post
    It's not a question of how good the development team is, it's a question of how many of the decisions were dictated by profit, and not by engineering or safety. Why 6 passengers? Why not 4? Why not 2? And unanticipated problem doesn't fly. You don't get a do-over on someone’s life because something unexpected happened.

    Flight tests are the culmination of a vast battery of other tests. You don't stick a guy in the cockpit until you're sure that they're coming back again.

    Are you aware that the decision to change the fuel type was made in May. That's 5 months to completely redesign the engines and integrate them into the system. Why? Because the new fuel was much cheaper. I find that hard to defend.
    Listen I am in a related business. There is a reason for tests, its to find the breaking point, problems ect. Apparently you don't understand that. I guarantee you they wouldn't use a different fuel solely because it was cheaper unless it was significantly so without significant penalty in performance, volume, or weight. In case you don't know what the original fuel was. It was rubber tire compound and nitrous oxide. This allows a solid fuel motor to be throttled. That's pretty damn cheap rocket fuel to begin with. The new fuel if was cheaper wouldn't have been all that much cheaper. I don't know what the new fuel mix was but I am willing to bet it was a type that had better properties and performance. The issue by the way wasn't with the fuel or propulsion system. It looks like the pilot switched the feathering switch too early and that lead to a unstable trim condition that lead to a structural failure. At least that's the initial reports.

    By the way when you send a test pilot up you are never sure they will return. That's why its a test, the pilots are specially trained to test new aircraft. Unanticipated problems happen all the time in new products and vehicles even at Boeing and Lockheed. I can think of several aircraft that are recent they made that crashed during testing. F-35, F-22, Osprey.
    Semper Fidelis, Semper Liber.
    I spit at lots of people through my computer screen. Not only does it "teach them a lesson" but it keeps the screen clean and shiny.
    Stolen fair and square from the Capt. Courtesey himself.

  3. #23
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Melbourne Florida
    Last Seen
    04-18-17 @ 03:15 AM
    Gender
    Lean
    Other
    Posts
    16,763

    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithros View Post
    It's not a question of how good the development team is, it's a question of how many of the decisions were dictated by profit, and not by engineering or safety. Why 6 passengers? Why not 4? Why not 2? And unanticipated problem doesn't fly. You don't get a do-over on someone’s life because something unexpected happened.

    Flight tests are the culmination of a vast battery of other tests. You don't stick a guy in the cockpit until you're sure that they're coming back again.

    Are you aware that the decision to change the fuel type was made in May. That's 5 months to completely redesign the engines and integrate them into the system. Why? Because the new fuel was much cheaper. I find that hard to defend.
    The deserts are littered with the ghosts of test pilots that gladly got into a craft whether it be for military or commercial use.

  4. #24
    Guru

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Last Seen
    Yesterday @ 01:16 PM
    Lean
    Undisclosed
    Posts
    2,670

    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherman123 View Post
    You are wrong in every way it is possible for you to be wrong. No one has ever contended that Virgin Galactic is pioneering an innovative new approach to space exploration, or for that matter that it is even engaging in space exploration. What makes it visionary is that it is a first nascent step to commercialize human space flight, even if it's just a suborbital celebrity experience. It is by these steps that the future is constructed. Indeed Branson had made clear that his ambition was to see that the next iteration was to be a bonafide orbital craft.

    I'm not sure what the rest of your argument is supposed to mean. Because the 777 cost X amount and Spaceship 2 didn't... Spaceship 2 is shoddy? That's a really nonsensical argument for reasons that should be abundantly clear if you think about that for a moment. As for time pressures and hacks that is precisely what makes commercial space corporations so exciting. The pressure to conform to a business timeline, their limited resources, and their desire for a marketable product is what will bring us innovations and further the development of the high frontier. This has costs and we accept those costs as do the test pilots who sign up for the job.
    Here's a rule of thumb. Reducing mean failure rates by 10^3 increases costs by an order of magnitude. Spaceship 2 was developed at roughly 100x less than anything comparable. The x-15 had a roughly 1/20 catastrophic failure rate. Is it surprising that the Spaceship 2 averages roughly a catastrophic failure every 4 hours?

    The 777 cost 7.7 billion because reliability is expensive. I think it's clear that Spaceship 2 was underfunded, over-promised, and was forced to follow a schedule dictated by business rather than engineering.

    The Shuttle Program had a 1/100 failure rate. Virgin Galactic was planning on hundreds of flights, it's very clear now that even if this disaster didn't happen, one of those would have certainly failed.

  5. #25
    Guru

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Last Seen
    Yesterday @ 01:16 PM
    Lean
    Undisclosed
    Posts
    2,670

    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by PirateMk1 View Post
    Listen I am in a related business. There is a reason for tests, its to find the breaking point, problems ect. Apparently you don't understand that. I guarantee you they wouldn't use a different fuel solely because it was cheaper unless it was significantly so without significant penalty in performance, volume, or weight. In case you don't know what the original fuel was. It was rubber tire compound and nitrous oxide. This allows a solid fuel motor to be throttled. That's pretty damn cheap rocket fuel to begin with. The new fuel if was cheaper wouldn't have been all that much cheaper. I don't know what the new fuel mix was but I am willing to bet it was a type that had better properties and performance. The issue by the way wasn't with the fuel or propulsion system. It looks like the pilot switched the feathering switch too early and that lead to a unstable trim condition that lead to a structural failure. At least that's the initial reports.

    By the way when you send a test pilot up you are never sure they will return. That's why its a test, the pilots are specially trained to test new aircraft. Unanticipated problems happen all the time in new products and vehicles even at Boeing and Lockheed. I can think of several aircraft that are recent they made that crashed during testing. F-35, F-22, Osprey.
    What failure rate do you feel is acceptable on a passenger aircraft? They were planning on actual passengers next year! What do you think the survival rate would have been? 1 in 10?

    If you have a major design change, and 5 months later it fails on the first test, then my first thought is why the hell were you flight testing after only 5 months?

    How long was the Osprey in flight testing? What about the F-35? F-22? Years... And that's on programs that were much better funded and much more willing to accept risk. (A failure of a Military aircraft is typically much more acceptable.. and more frequent... than that of a commercial one.)

  6. #26
    Guru

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Last Seen
    Yesterday @ 01:16 PM
    Lean
    Undisclosed
    Posts
    2,670

    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Capster78 View Post
    This is why looking to the private sector to develop a space program is asinine. The only way to develop a space program is thru government funding, because private companies are only looking at how they can profit from it, while government agencies don't have to worry about or care about a profit from it.
    I think you can have private space flight. SpaceX is a great example. The key is making intelligent decisions that correctly weigh the risks. Virgin Galactic clearly didn't weigh the risks.

  7. #27
    Guru

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Last Seen
    Yesterday @ 01:16 PM
    Lean
    Undisclosed
    Posts
    2,670

    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by PirateMk1 View Post
    Listen I am in a related business. There is a reason for tests, its to find the breaking point, problems ect. Apparently you don't understand that. I guarantee you they wouldn't use a different fuel solely because it was cheaper unless it was significantly so without significant penalty in performance, volume, or weight. In case you don't know what the original fuel was. It was rubber tire compound and nitrous oxide. This allows a solid fuel motor to be throttled. That's pretty damn cheap rocket fuel to begin with. The new fuel if was cheaper wouldn't have been all that much cheaper. I don't know what the new fuel mix was but I am willing to bet it was a type that had better properties and performance. The issue by the way wasn't with the fuel or propulsion system. It looks like the pilot switched the feathering switch too early and that lead to a unstable trim condition that lead to a structural failure. At least that's the initial reports.

    By the way when you send a test pilot up you are never sure they will return. That's why its a test, the pilots are specially trained to test new aircraft. Unanticipated problems happen all the time in new products and vehicles even at Boeing and Lockheed. I can think of several aircraft that are recent they made that crashed during testing. F-35, F-22, Osprey.
    Here's a writeup a few weeks before the accident:
    Still looking up: former Nasa chief who now nurtures Virgin

    Spaceship 1 suffered potentially life threatening disasters on 2 of 6 flights. In 2007, an explosion during testing killed 3 engineers. That's catastrophic or near catastrophic failures on 3 of 10 flights and their testing has killed 4 people.

    I think the most important quote of the article is this
    “We’ve changed dramatically as a company,” claims Whitesides. “When I joined in 2010 we were mostly a marketing organisation. Right now we can design, build, test and fly a rocket motor all by ourselves and all in Mojave, which I don’t think is done anywhere else on the planet.”
    To borrow a phrase, there's a reason no one thinks marketing is rocket science.

  8. #28
    Sage
    Gaius46's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    New York
    Last Seen
    Today @ 02:51 PM
    Gender
    Lean
    Libertarian
    Posts
    8,446

    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Mithros View Post
    It's not a question of how good the development team is, it's a question of how many of the decisions were dictated by profit, and not by engineering or safety. Why 6 passengers? Why not 4? Why not 2? And unanticipated problem doesn't fly. You don't get a do-over on someone’s life because something unexpected happened.

    Flight tests are the culmination of a vast battery of other tests. You don't stick a guy in the cockpit until you're sure that they're coming back again.

    Are you aware that the decision to change the fuel type was made in May. That's 5 months to completely redesign the engines and integrate them into the system. Why? Because the new fuel was much cheaper. I find that hard to defend.
    The guys driving - many of whom have engineering backgrounds as well as being aviators - are the final check on the safety of the flight. They won't execute the flight unless they're satisfied that they aren't going to get killed.

    Cost is concern in everything. Even the government makes tradeoffs between cost and safety. Don't kid yourself otherwise.
    Don't be a grammar nazi - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 1 #7

  9. #29
    Guru

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Last Seen
    Yesterday @ 01:16 PM
    Lean
    Undisclosed
    Posts
    2,670

    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius46 View Post
    The guys driving - many of whom have engineering backgrounds as well as being aviators - are the final check on the safety of the flight. They won't execute the flight unless they're satisfied that they aren't going to get killed.

    Cost is concern in everything. Even the government makes tradeoffs between cost and safety. Don't kid yourself otherwise.
    You're right. I don't have a problem with risk. I don't have a problem with pushing the envelope. And I don't have a problem with developing technology to make a profit. What I have a problem with is marketing decisions trumping engineering concerns and selling things you have no way to provide.

    You take the cost of failure, multiply it by it's probability and then account for it accordingly. If the cost of preventing something is less than this cost, you should do it. Unfortunately I think Virgin Galactic took a different approach. The cost of not starting commercial flights soon meant that the company would likely fail. The cost of a catastrophic failure meant that company would fail. Ergo it becomes much easier to trade-off safety for time and simply hope for the best.

    This isn't the first time Virgin Galactic has had problems. They have a dismal safety record. Of 10 flights in 2 aircraft, 2 had near catastrophic failures, 1 had a catastrophic failure, and 3 engineers died when an engine exploded in testing. According to their head engineer, as of 2010 they were predominately a marketing company.

    Think about that. Spaceship 2 had 3 flights under it's belt; none of which reached the desired altitude and speed. The 4th ended in catastrophic failure, and yet Branson was anticipating commercial flights early next year. That is simply not responsible. What constituted proof of safety? One, two flights without incident? Fly in our spaceship, you might not even die!

    Also, lets not kid ourselves. The guys piloting didn't have a good idea what the risks were. What they were told, and what was true are likely to be worlds apart.

  10. #30
    Professor
    Capster78's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Florida
    Last Seen
    08-24-15 @ 02:35 PM
    Gender
    Lean
    Centrist
    Posts
    2,253

    Re: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

    Quote Originally Posted by PoS View Post
    Are you kidding me? How many people died in NASA's space programs compared to the private industry? The fact is that government programs became bloated due to politics and corruption. There will always be deaths in space exploration, that is inescapable. The private industry will learn from this and get better.
    The reason why people died in the NASA program is directly due to the reduction in NASA's budget. They had to start using the shuttle as a tool to raise revenue for the program because the government was not supplying enough funding to keep the program afloat. NASA started cutting corners to save money, and that is why those people died.
    - There was never a good war, or a bad peace.
    - Idealistically, everything should work as you planed it to. Realistically, it depends on how idealistic you are as to the measure of success.
    - Better to be a pessimist before, and an optimist afterwords.

Page 3 of 5 FirstFirst 12345 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •