Congress, NASA, Other

Space policy challenges and strategies to be discussed this week

Much of the space community has its attention focused this week on the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco. Although NASA has tamped down the wild speculation in the last couple of weeks about a major discovery by the Curiosity Mars rover, there will still be news coming out of the conference on Curiosity, as well as missions as varied as the GRAIL lunar orbiters and the Voyager spacecraft on the outskirts of the solar system. On the other side of the country, it will also be a busy week in Washington on space policy, with a focus on what the future direction of the nation’s space program will, or should, be.

That discussion starts Monday with a panel discussion titled “Space Policy Challenges Facing the Second Obama Administration”, organized by the Secure World Foundation. The event will examine issues ranging from budgets to export control reform to better overall coordination of space activities. The panel will be moderated by Scott Pace of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, who, ironically, worked on space policy issues for the Mitt Romney campaign earlier this year.

On Tuesday, the Space Foundation is hosting an event on Capitol Hill tied to the release of a report titled “PIONEERING: Sustaining U.S. Leadership in Space”. The 70-page report, whose research included interviews with “nearly 100 space leaders”, contains “recommendations for redefining and restructuring the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and strengthening the U.S. civil space program,” according to the advisory about the event.

On Wednesday the National Research Council is scheduled to release its final report on “NASA’s Strategic Direction”, a study commissioned by Congress that the NRC performed over the last several months. (One meeting in late June featured testimony from three former NASA administrators: Richard Truly, James Beggs, and Sean O’Keefe.) There’s been no formal announcement from the NRC about the report’s impending release, although committee member Marcia Smith of noted the release on her site, SpacePolicyOnline.com, with the NRC’s permission.

On Thursday, the full House Science Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing titled “The Future of NASA: Perspectives on Strategic Vision for America’s Space Program”. However, no witnesses have been announced for the hearing, and it has reportedly been postponed as the House doesn’t plan to be in session that day.

96 comments to Space policy challenges and strategies to be discussed this week

  • Robert G. Oler

    Scott Pace…wow there is a genius.

    Pace is like the rest of the GOP right wing, he cant admit he got things wrong and just fade away into a sort of nothingness.

    Meanwhile according to a Spaceflight now article both Garver and Bolden seemed surprised that they are “losing” the argument on commercial space. It is hard to imagine two people who should be advocating it better and yet have done a cluster job at it.

    RGO

    • joe

      http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1211/30congress/

      “We are obviously not communicating this well,” said Lori Garver, NASA’s deputy administrator, who said the agency has had a tough time selling commercial crew transportation and technology development funding on Capitol Hill. “I can’t believe we’re losing this argument.”

      “We somehow have not characterized it in a way that’s been able to get those types of people who absolutely should believe in what we’re doing to see that it’s going to allow NASA to advance that much more quickly and positively,” Garver told a NASA advisory panel Monday.

      Perhaps the saddest example of the “I just don’t understand why the dogs won’t eat the dog food” defense ever recorded.

      • Robert G. Oler

        “We are obviously not communicating this well,” Lori Garver.

        As a talk show host would say, “Lori you have stumbled into the truth”…”WE” are not doing it well and hence it is not being done.

        The essence of America is what SpaceX and OSC and SN and Boeing are trying to do; it is the glue that has bridged the gaps between a pure government program and a pure commercial effort since the dawn of The Republic.

        the problem is that Garver and Bolden but mostly Garver are mounting the weakest and most inept defense/advocation of the policy that is possible.

        I cannot decide if they are simply incompetent or dont give a darn

        Robert G. Oler

      • Perhaps the saddest example of the “I just don’t understand why the dogs won’t eat the dog food” defense ever recorded.

        Maybe because they have a competing factory that makes very expensive, but crummy dog food, at taxpayer expense?

        • joe

          Or maybe they know the dog food you are selling not only tastes bad but is not nutritious.

          • Robert G. Oler

            Or maybe they know the dog food you are selling not only tastes bad but is not nutritious.>

            I am comfortable going to the American public and comparing a program that is consuming 3 billion a year, producing hardware that is cracking, failing on parachutes and the Creator only knows what the booster is doing (whatever configuration it is in), has an open ended cost and schedule situation that is AT BEST a decade from flying crew…so if it flies a decade from now will have consumed, along with its legacy program somewhere close to 50 billion dollars.

            against commercial cargo and crew.

            ” that produced a rocket that in actual flight has (so far) had one engine out of eighteen fail.”

            Ah those statistics they tripped the GOP right wing up pretty bad

            Falcon9 has 9 engines per flight, its flown 4 times…lost 1 going up the hill

            Should I do the math for you or can you find something on line.

            BTW

            Scott Pace…you take the SLS side I’ll do commercial and I’ll let you go first.

            Robert G. Oler

            • Ben Russell-Gough

              Additionally, two or three of the same class of rocket have flown on the Falcon-1 too without any significant issues. The failure rate for Merlin-1c can thus be realistically given as being around 1:45 at this time.

          • Robert G. Oler

            Falcon9 has 9 engines per flight (on the first stage), its flown 4 times…lost 1 going up the hill

            And Joe its actually better then that…there is a Merlin a piece on the second stage…

            well you can do the math or should I help? RGO

            • joe

              They also lost an engine on one of the earlier Falcon 9 launches due to what they eventually described as an oxygen rich shut down.

              Dealing with the first stage environment that is two engine failures in four launches. There are nine engines on the first stage so that is two failures in thirty six engines – one engine in eighteen.

              They have a significant (and as yet unresolved) reliability problem.

              • Robert G. Oler

                “They also lost an engine on one of the earlier Falcon 9 launches due to what they eventually described as an oxygen rich shut down. “”

                Nope there is a difference between a preventative shut down and one that shuts down due to issues…I see you dont fly airplanes.

                “They have a significant (and as yet unresolved) reliability problem.”

                as much (so far) as the Saturn.

                You dont understand “reliability” either. There is component reliability and system reliability and the discussion you are trying to have mixing the two to come up with stats that are something you like is an indication of how you dont understand life…have to take the baby to the toilet. RGO

          • No, that’s obviously not it.

      • Coastal Ron

        There is a reason politicians are less trusted than even a car salesman – they don’t operate by logic. So understanding that, it’s easy to see why most people are confused by the actions (or lack thereof) of Congress.

        In the case of Commercial Crew, an average U.S. Taxpayer would quickly understand why the CCDev and CCiCap programs are being supported by the administration and NASA – to end our dependence of the monopoly Russia currently holds over our access to space.

        But I guess politicians could make the case that they too support a domestic transportation capability, but they “are concerned” about the program the Obama administration wants funded. But what alternatives do they support? Changing over to another monopoly? Delaying the program so we have to buy MORE rides from Russia? Suggesting an overpriced government-run alternative?

        It’s logic like this that makes U.S. Taxpayers not trust politicians.

        The politicians responsible for delaying the Commercial Crew program know what they are doing, and it’s not a matter of NASA personnel talking slower or using less complicated words. Lobbyist money is strong in the halls of Congress, and sometimes money talks louder than logic. Which is the problem here, not the idea of a competitive and redundant commercial transportation system to LEO…

      • Dark Blue Nine

        “Perhaps the saddest example of the ‘I just don’t understand why the dogs won’t eat the dog food’ defense ever recorded.”

        In this case, the “dogs” aren’t dogs that have actual, achievable, efficient human space flight and exploration as their highest priority. They’re congressional pigs that are content to wallow in the mud of space architectures so expensive as to be unexecutable as long as the taxpayer continues to fill their trough.

        “Or maybe they know the dog food you are selling not only tastes bad but is not nutritious.”

        How is a ’60s-era heavy launcher using ’70s-era components and a ’60s-era capsule “nutritious” for American space technology?

        How is a program that is so expensive to develop that NASA must have the only piece of actual space exploration hardware in the program (MPCV’s SM) built overseas “nutritious” for American space industry?

        How is program that is so expensive that only 1-2 expendable copies of that hardware will be built “nutritious” for what is suppossed to be a sustained, multi-mission, American human space exploration program?

        “They also lost an engine on one of the earlier Falcon 9 launches due to what they eventually described as an oxygen rich shut down.”

        No, they didn’t. COTS Demo 2 had a launch abort at T-5s when one engine chamber was outside parameters. The onboard computer executed an automatic shutdown, and the vehicle and engine were successfully safed. It launched just three days later. The only time SpaceX has “lost an engine” on a Falcon 9 launch is on CRS-1.

        Don’t make stuff up.

        If I was an astronaut, I’d take a ride on a space transportation system that loses an engine in flight and still gets me to my destination over:

        Repeated parachute failures and issues that crash-land my return vehicle.

        http://gizmodo.com/5039573/nasa-tests-orion-parachute-result-spectacular-failure

        http://nasawatch.com/archives/2010/02/another-orion-p.html

        Structural failures that threaten to depressurize my capsule in space.

        http://www.spacesafetymagazine.com/2012/11/26/orion-capsule-cracks-pressure-test/

        Or launcher configurations with acceleration and vibration loads that compromise my capsule.

        http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/11/dynetics-pwr-liquidize-sls-booster-competition-f-1-power/

        In short, I’ll take crew- and mission-survivable events over crew- and mission-killing failures, any day.

        • joe

          ““They also lost an engine on one of the earlier Falcon 9 launches due to what they eventually described as an oxygen rich shut down.”

          No, they didn’t. COTS Demo 2 had a launch abort at T-5s when one engine chamber was outside parameters. The onboard computer executed an automatic shutdown, and the vehicle and engine were successfully safed. It launched just three days later. The only time SpaceX has “lost an engine” on a Falcon 9 launch is on CRS-1.
          Don’t make stuff up.”

          Not making anything up.

          http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385&plckPostId=Blog%3A04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3Afdf0d27c-fdf2-4efb-a71f-8272017dbfc3

          From the linked article:
          “It is worth noting that this is not the first time Falcon 9 has experienced an engine anomaly. During a Dec. 8, 2010 launch that orbited a Dragon qualification unit for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, one of the rocket’s engines experienced an “oxygen-rich shutdown,” according to Ken Bowersox, a retired NASA astronaut and former SpaceX vice president for astronaut safety and mission assurance. Bowersox revealed the anomaly in a September 2011 interview with Space News shortly before leaving the company.”

          It might be a good idea to get your own facts straight before accusing others of dishonesty. But no, what would be the fun in that

          • Dark Blue Nine

            “It might be a good idea to get your own facts straight before accusing others of dishonesty. But no, what would be the fun in that”

            I do have my facts straight. Nowhere does that blog post support your statement that SpaceX “lost an engine on one of the earlier Falcon 9 launches.” A shutdown, due to an oxygen-rich mix or anything else, is a controlled event. The engine wasn’t blown apart or otherwise “lost”. The mission certainly wasn’t affected.

            “Not making anything up.”

            Yes, you are. You’re portraying a controlled shutdown as a destructive event. It wasn’t.

            And again, survivable and/or controlled events are much more desirable from a crew- and/or mission-survivability standpoint than the kinds of fatal failures we’re seeing in MPCV testing and fatal flaws we’re seeing in certain SLS configurations.

            • joe

              The engine went out, its performance was lost. The same can be said for the CRS-1 anomaly (failure). You can play whatever word games you want; SpaceX has a problem with its first stage Falcon 9 engines underperforming and they are now doing fault tree analysis to try to figure out why.

              Perhaps it will be fixed, perhaps not. Time will tell.

              • Dark Blue Nine

                “The engine went out, its performance was lost.”

                That’s not what you wrote.

                “You can play whatever word games you want”

                I’m not the one ratcheting back my words after my earlier statement was shown to be false.

                “Perhaps it will be fixed, perhaps not. Time will tell.”

                If only you showed so much concern for the fatal test failures and configurations on MPCV/SLS as you do for the controlled shutdowns and mission-survivable events on Falcon 9.

            • SarK0Y

              Dark, keep in mind, missions have carried too light payloads, thereby it gives room for additional reliability.

    • Mark R. Whittington

      The reason that Bolden and Garver are failing is that they are charged with defending the indefensible. Not only is providing commercial space companies Solyndra-style subsidies the wrong strategy, because of Obama administration bungling, the commercial space plan is tied in many peoples’ minds with the near destruction of hopes for space exploration beyond LEO.

      Scott Pace, by the way, has far more intelligence and grasp of reality that most people who regularly comment here combined.

      • Robert G. Oler

        Whittington

        the comments in your post are so goofy that they are not worth a comment except this

        “Scott Pace, by the way, has far more intelligence and grasp of reality that most people who regularly comment here combined.”

        the last time you tried such a comparison was M. Barone and his knowledge of politics and the outcome of the election..

        HOW DID THAT WORK OUT FOR YOU BUD? RGO

      • …not only is providing commercial space companies Solyndra-style subsidies…

        Only a moron could continue to believe and repeat that fixed-price contracts for delivered milestones are “Solyndra-style subsidies” after having it explained to them ad infinitum.

        • joe

          Delivered milestones that produced a rocket that in actual flight has (so far) had one engine out of eighteen fail. When is the next SpaceX CRS flight scheduled? Oh yes no earlier than March.

          • Coastal Ron

            Joe, equipment failures happen all the time, which is why there are backups.

            Notice the primary mission was still accomplished to the customers satisfaction despite those failures? If SpaceX had not completed the mission as NASA had contracted, then NASA would not have had to pay for the mission. Sounds like a good deal for the U.S. Taxpayer, no matter how you try to spin it.

            • joe

              Yes, SpaceX did manage(barely)to deliver 882 lbs. of cargo to the ISS for $133 Million (about $150,000/lb.). Quite an accomplishment.

              • Please stop repeating this innumerate (lack of) argument. You’ve been schooled on it many times. NASA does not purchase payload by the pound. They are happy with both the price and performance.

              • Coastal Ron

                joe said:

                Yes, SpaceX did manage(barely)to deliver 882 lbs. of cargo to the ISS

                Quantify “barely”.

                Unless you know something that isn’t public (highly doubtful):

                1. The Dragon was inserted into it’s planned orbit with additional fuel available in the 2nd stage (showing it didn’t have to dip into it’s fuel reserves).

                2. The Dragon was berthed at the ISS ahead of it’s pre-planned schedule (showing it didn’t use more fuel than planned.

                How can you infer “barely” out of any of that? Weird.

          • Delivered milestones that produced a rocket that in actual flight has (so far) had one engine out of eighteen fail.

            Which has absolutely nothing to do with Solyndra, or loan guarantees. And NASA got what it paid for.

      • Dark Blue Nine

        “Not only is providing commercial space companies Solyndra-style subsidies”

        Solynda received a loan from a bank that was guaranteed by the Department of Energy. If Solyndra failed (and it did), the U.S. taxpayer had to pay off Solyndra’s debt (and we did).

        NASA’s commercial cargo and commercial crew programs employ Other Transaction Authority under the Space Act to pay for deliverables only upon their receipt. If any of these companies fail (and Kistler Rocketplane did), the U.S. taxpayer owes these companies or their banks nothing (and we didn’t owe anything in the case of Kistler Rocketplane).

        They’re nothing alike. Your statement is either a lie or made out ignorance.

        “the commercial space plan is tied in many peoples’ minds with the near destruction of hopes for space exploration beyond LEO.”

        On the contrary, the “commercial space plan” is enabling space exploration:

        http://www.newspacewatch.com/articles/golden-spike-news-conference-update.html

        Your statement is either a lie or made out of ignorance.

        “Scott Pace, by the way, has far more intelligence and grasp of reality”

        He used to. But if he still did, given the position he was in at NASA HQ under Griffin, he would have killed Constellation or handed in his resignation long before the Augustine Committee came along.

      • Robert G. Oler

        Mark R. Whittington
        December 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm · Reply

        the commercial space plan is tied in many peoples’ minds with the near destruction of hopes for space exploration beyond LEO. >

        but in your mind there was WMD in Iraq.

        First off the US is exploring space beyond LEO. Messenger has just announced really “earth shattering” discoveries near the poles of Mercury; and the data about the Moon that is promising in some fashion (ie water there) has all come from “exploration”

        But I guess in your mind “exploration” is human…sigh.

        If so how goofy. Cx spent 6 years and 15 billion and got nothing SLS/Orion will spend about 30-40 billion if left unchecked to get to its first launch with people…and that in 10 years.

        What hopes? Go back to reliving the glory years of Bush43…you are being left behind by history RGO

  • E.P. Grondine

    I wonder if there is any mention at all in this mound of planetary defense from impact. I have no intention of reading through it, as I doubt that there is.

    Aside from that, if OSTP’s 2010 statement is their reply to the Congress’s request, then there’s a lot of good jokes coming. Otherwise their report is 2 months past due.

  • Coastal Ron

    The NRC report seems like the one to watch since it from a unbiased committee (as much as anything can be in politics), should be covering NASA as a whole, and it was commissioned by the people that decide the funding for NASA. That doesn’t mean Congress has to take their suggestions seriously, but it could be used for the administration later to justify requests for changes.

    Anything coming out of the AGU is just going to be wishes, or in the case of anything Scott Pace says, likely politically-biased hot air.

  • common sense

    “Scott Pace, by the way, has far more intelligence and grasp of reality that most people who regularly comment here combined.”

    Darn! And I thought I was pretty smart but I guess not. But that’s right. Romney won the election and Griffin took his position back at NASA.

    Yeah. Intelligence is the word I would have used.

    Oh well.

  • joe

    Rand Simberg December 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm
    “Please stop repeating this innumerate (lack of) argument.”

    When you start allowing me to tell you what arguments (or lack thereof) you may make, I will be glad to consider the same favor for you.

    “You’ve been schooled on it many times.”

    And do not think I do not really appreciate your fact free schooling.

    “NASA does not purchase payload by the pound. They are happy with both the price and performance”

    Perhaps Bolden/Garver (or at least Garver) are, but it would seem (based on the source article) they are having trouble convincing others to be equally happy.

    • Guest

      Joe, since Constellation/Ares I/Ares V/Orion/SLS/MPCV has delivered zero pounds of cargo for twenty billion dollars over seven years so far, I am confident that we can declare SpaceX to be the winner of your silly game.

      • joe

        Not a game (silly or otherwise) to note the extremely high cost of the SpaceX hardware in delivering cargo to the ISS.

        As far as Constellation goes, it was cancelled several years ago now, before it got a chance to fly anything; why are you so obsessed with a program that is gone?

        • Guest

          Not a game (silly or otherwise) to note the extremely high cost of the SpaceX hardware in delivering cargo to the ISS.

          SLS/MPCV is the continuation of Constellation with merely a name change and the cancellation of Ares I, enforced by legislation at the funding level of $3 billion per year for the last seven years now. These programs have not made a single orbital flight and are not expected to make any orbital flights for the next five years. That’s $35 billion dollars to deliver ZERO lbs of cargo to ANY orbit. And yet you continue to insist that this program can be compared to an eminently successful COTS and CRS program. Why is that?

        • Of course it is a game. It is not “extremely high cost.” It is very low cost for that particular mission, which no other system can perform, and it is lower cost than any previous way of doing it, unless you play the game of marginal cost with the Shuttle.

          • joe

            “It is very low cost for that particular mission, which no other system can perform, and it is lower cost than any previous way of doing it, unless you play the game of marginal cost with the Shuttle.”

            First Constellation, now the Shuttle (two programs that are gone). The obsession around here with rearguing history is rather sad.

            The facts are as follows:
            - The SpaceX contract pays them $133 Million/ flight.
            - On CRS-1 they delivered 882 lb. cargo.
            - That (charitably) comes out to $150,000/lb.
            You claim to believe that is the best that can be done. I simply wonder if you would be saying the same thing if the vehicle making the deliveries (if it can resume making them) were not a “commercial” program.

            • Why do you continue to stupidly use cost per pound to ISS as a metric as though it had any utility in assessing the value of the mission to NASA? I repeat, NASA does not buy payload delivery by the pound.

              • joe

                Yes, you do tend to repeat yourself.

              • Robert G. Oler

                joe
                December 4, 2012 at 11:29 am

                Yes, you do tend to repeat yourself.

                with some people Joe you have to, so for instance when you continually say things that are wrong; sadly we have to correct you. I am use to it we are potty training our two year old RGO

            • You claim to believe that is the best that can be done.

              Why do you make things up about what I claim and what I believe? Is reality too harsh for you?

        • Coastal Ron

          joe said:

          Not a game (silly or otherwise) to note the extremely high cost of the SpaceX hardware in delivering cargo to the ISS.

          The price NASA is paying SpaceX for delivery of 20mt of total cargo to the ISS hasn’t changed. Apparently you keep forgetting what the contract terms are, which is not a specific amount per flight, but a total over 12 flights. And NASA determines what goes up on each flight, not SpaceX.

          Would you have been crowing about how little NASA was paying if the first flight would have been an above-average payload weight? Likely not. And you still ignore the return capability that is part of the SpaceX contract, but that doesn’t fit nicely into your upmass derision.

          And again you use an undeclared unit of comparison – “extremely high cost”. Is that in comparison to what the Shuttle cost? Or what the Ares I/Orion configuration would have cost if it would have been on schedule? The SpaceX contract price is still far lower. The facts don’t support your arguments Joe, time for you to move along.

    • “NASA does not purchase payload by the pound. They are happy with both the price and performance”

      Perhaps Bolden/Garver (or at least Garver) are, but it would seem (based on the source article) they are having trouble convincing others to be equally happy.

      Of course they’re not happy. Their high-cost taxpayer-funded rice bowls are being broken. That doesn’t mean that the taxpayer and NASA aren’t getting a good deal.

      • joe

        Insulting people is usually a really good way to win them over.

        In the past you have asserted that you are a personal friend of Garver’s. She seems to be acknowledging that she needs help in selling her program. Why don’t you volunteer to run a charm-offensive for her, that should fix “commercial” space once and for all.

  • MrEarl

    The real news Thursday will come from the announcement a commercial venture to start commercial sorties to the moon.

    • Neil Shipley

      Yes but which decade? Sorry, couldn’t resist!

      • Ben Russell-Gough

        That’s a good question, really. I’ll wait until I hear Golden Spike’s announcement and learn a bit about the background before making any pronouncements. Much about their plans and proposed methods are only guesses right now.

        That said, just typing my initial thoughts, I would be very, very surprised if there was a planned landing before 2020; 2025 is an optimistic figure. Personally, I would like to see a lunar orbiter by the Apollo 8 hemicentenary (December 2018) and the first landing by the Apollo 17 hemicentenary (December 2022). However, I am genuinely unsure if this is achievable by a commercial endeavour without any government cash.

    • I hope you’re right. Keeping my mind open and my fingers crossed that I will hear something that will be worth my enthusiastic support.

    • Robert G. Oler

      I am titillated by this as well…RGO

    • Coastal Ron

      I think the Golden Spike pre-announcement coverage is going to make their real announcement seem underwhelming…

      • Robert G. Oler

        Coastal…I have tried to reason out how they make money….so far RGO

        • Coastal Ron

          Robert G. Oler said:

          I have tried to reason out how they make money….so far

          Golden Spike? We’ll have a better idea tomorrow, but my guess is that they would only be trying to partially offset their costs, and that it’s an “exciting goal” they are willing to spend money on. Maybe it’s one of those “I can’t take my Billions with me, so I might as well have fun spending it” type of things. We’ll hear soon…

  • joe

    Robert G. Oler December 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Then why are they doing fault tree analysis to try to figure out how to fix their reliability problems?

    According to you they do not have any.

  • Robert G. Oler

    joe
    December 4, 2012 at 9:09 am · Reply

    Then why are they doing fault tree analysis to try to figure out how to fix their reliability problems?>>

    A root tree analysis is a good idea to perform anytime you have a single point failure to try and see if it is related in any way to anything else. This is how you find problems or potential problems before they announce themselves and it is a particularly good idea on a new vehicle.

    That does not imply a reliability issue. SpaceX no more has a reliability issue then American airlines had one after they lost that DC-10 in Chicago…but because the airline has a first rate safety organization it ran root tree analysis on both the performance of the maintenance folks and pilot training and they (and the manufactor) changed the configuration of the hydraulics. In a safety oriented culture, one does that.

    Either Amateurs or people who work at NASA (grin) who are functionally incompetent in safety analysis frequently mistake individual failures for something systemic or something systemic for individual failures.

    NASA really is not in a position to comment on spacelift (ie rocket) safety…their record is abysmal. RGO

  • joe

    Dark Blue Nine December 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm
    OK one more pass at this Bravo Sierra and then it is done.

    “That’s not what you wrote.”

    My original statement reads as follows: “They also lost an engine on one of the earlier Falcon 9 launches due to what they eventually described as an oxygen rich shut down. “

    The Av Week article quote: “It is worth noting that this is not the first time Falcon 9 has experienced an engine anomaly. During a Dec. 8, 2010 launch that orbited a Dragon qualification unit for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, one of the rocket’s engines experienced an “oxygen-rich shutdown,” backs up my original statement almost verbatim.

    You asserted: “No, they didn’t. COTS Demo 2 had a launch abort at T-5s when one engine chamber was outside parameters. The onboard computer executed an automatic shutdown, and the vehicle and engine were successfully safed. It launched just three days later. The only time SpaceX has “lost an engine” on a Falcon 9 launch is on CRS-1.”

    That was a completely different incident. Translation you were wrong.

    Also the CRS-1 engine was not destroyed. It appears from analysis of the video that its fuel dome ruptured and it dumped fuel that was ignited by the plume of an adjacent engine. Its function was lost and an engine fairing was shattered (that was the shrapnel raining down from the vehicle), but the engine itself was not destroyed, so you are getting trapped in your own semantics. The real question is what caused the fuel dome to rupture?

    “I’m not the one ratcheting back my words after my earlier statement was shown to be false.”

    Per the above I am “ratcheting” back nothing, everything I said was and is entirely true. You are the one who made errors you are not willing to admit.

    “If only you showed so much concern for the fatal test failures and configurations on MPCV/SLS as you do for the controlled shutdowns and mission-survivable events on Falcon 9.”

    Since I know of no fatalities in testing for MPCV/SLS I am forced to assume you are conjuring hypothetical malfunctions to compare to the Falcon 9’s real ones. Have fun.

  • joe

    Robert G. Oler December 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm
    “with some people Joe you have to, so for instance when you continually say things that are wrong; sadly we have to correct you. I am use to it we are potty training our two year old RG”

    Yes “potty” humor, most eight year olds find it funny. The ones with three digit IQ’s outgrow it by the time they are twelve.

    Maybe in ten years your two year old can help you grow up.

  • Jeff Foust

    Let’s keep the discussion here on topic and polite, please. Thank you for your cooperation.

  • common sense

    “OK one more pass at this Bravo Sierra and then it is done.”

    Hope springs eternal…

    Now.

    Never ever fly a multi-engine aircraft! They are not reliable! Wait. Say what? What is important is the contained vs. uncontained failure? What is important is that the vehicle be designed with such failures in mind? What do you mean “designed”? As in an engine failure does not result in LOC or LOM? Something like that? You cannot be right sir. An engine cannot and must not fail. Just as in… Well I am sure I will find a vehicle that has no engine failure ever. Someday. Somehow. Oh yeah I forgot the never failing SRB. Right? I’d be curious to look at the GN&C simulation for SRB failure on the SLS and the abort modes, in flight, on pad. Oh no I forgot. SRB do not fail. Never ever.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbine_engine_failure

    • joe

      common sense December 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm • Reply
      “Never ever fly a multi-engine aircraft! They are not reliable! Wait. Say what? What is important is the contained vs. uncontained failure? What is important is that the vehicle be designed with such failures in mind?”

      Depends on how often the failures happen. So far the Falcon 9 has had one engine failure every two missions. If the DC-3 had a failure rate that high (even with no LOC/LOM) we would all still be doing out long distance travel by train.

      • common sense

        Oh come on. The vehicle is in development. AND it is not yet intended for crew. You have to know that safety is an ensemble of factors not one isolated system or subsystem. It can be critical but the various abort scenarios that include, or not, crew escape are devised to take care of that. The failure is/was important but the mitigating or corrective actions as necessary are at least as important. Shuttle is a prime example of the inability to devise or implement corrective actions when necessary.

        I will submit that an SRB failure would be a far worse day than a Merlin failure.

        What is important now is what SpaceX do to prevent further failure but their system showed it was competent to handle at least one failure.

        And Shuttle by the way had many failures, some critical, more or less known, that may have been catastrophic. But it is no longer the point. Shuttle is gone.

  • So far the Falcon 9 has had one engine failure every two missions.

    And you really believe that’s a statistically meaningful number for a new vehicle, when it’s only had four flights?

    Really?

    • joe

      Actually to be statistically significant you would need numbers in the tens of thousands, no rocket based system has yet had that (and none including the Falcon 9 will anytime in the foreseeable future). Therefore, the numbers are what the numbers are.

      Since you like bringing the Shuttle up so much, what would you be saying if the Shuttle had two engine failures in four missions?

      • what would you be saying if the Shuttle had two engine failures in four missions?

        I’d say that they need to analyze the problem and fix it.

        Was that a trick question?

        • joe

          Then on that point at least we are agreed.

          Questions for SpaceX:
          - How long will that take?
          - How much will it cost?
          - Can they afford the down time (with no income from Falcon 9 launches)?
          - Will they seek more government money to cover any shortfalls?

          Time will tell.

          • common sense

            “Questions for SpaceX:
            - How long will that take?
            - How much will it cost?
            - Can they afford the down time (with no income from Falcon 9 launches)?
            - Will they seek more government money to cover any shortfalls?

            Time will tell.”

            But see joe here is one of the problem with your questions. Unless you are a customer it is none of your business. Are you asking the same questions to Boeing when one of their aircraft experiences a malfunction of some sort? All those have to be negotiated between the customer(s) and SpaceX.

            In a contract there usually are penalties if you don’t deliver on time on budget as well as incentive if you do better. Whether they seek government money or not again is none of your business. Procurement from the government comes in so many different flavors but is also usually firewalled.

            So even though your concern is understandable it is not enough to break a deal with SpaceX or any of the commercial provider. AND those questions apply as well to NASA led design for LVs or anything. AND performance-wise unfortunately NASA and its HSF programs have not set any high bar to adhere to.

            So now what?

            Be constructive and help instead of whining. There will be incidents, malfunctions, accidents, they are inevitable. But we can lower the occurrence. And any commercial provider who wants to stay in business will not sell a defective product or at least not for long.

            • joe

              I think you are missing the point.

              Most if not all of the SpaceX launch contracts (other than ISS Cargo) have provisions for the customer to use other launch services if SpaceX cannot provide the launch in a timely manner.

              You can be sure all of those customers have back-up launch providers lined up. Not because of any hostility toward SpaceX, but because they have their own interest to look out for. If (as seems likely) the Falcon 9 is grounded for some period of time SpaceX will not get paid for those launches (other launch providers will) and that is money SpaceX will never get.

              They will also during that period be spending money they did not intend to be spending in an attempt to fix their broken rocket.

              The question is do they have those resources available and will they be willing to expend them?

              If not, will they seek more government money to correct their deficiencies?

              You say I (are presumably anyone else) have no right to ask those questions, then what is the purpose of this whole board. Shouldn’t we all just shut up and let Elon (or the Congress or whoever) take care of everything and assume it will all work out alright.

              Time will tell.

              • pathfinder_01

                Why do you assume Space X has no resources to fix its rockets? I mean at the moment they are about to retire that version of the Falcon 9 in one or two flights and have developed another version of the Merlin engine.

                As for back up plans via Space X, Well the ISS keeps on hand 3 months worth of supply just in case of a missed mission(Russian Requirement) or in case you need to do a rescue mission via Soyuz. ISS still has Progress, Orbital coming online soon, 2 ATV missions left and an HTV. Orbital can pick up supply if needed. Oh and the last shuttle mission left about a years worth of supply in case Space X was late, plus there was the COTS 2 mission granted the ISS did lose 1 Progress flight last year but then again that didn’t bring the ISS crashing to the ground. The ISS has multiple methods of resupply and multiple systems that do it. The only thing lost would be down mass.

              • common sense

                “I think you are missing the point.”

                Nah. You are.

                “Most if not all of the SpaceX launch contracts (other than ISS Cargo) have provisions for the customer to use other launch services if SpaceX cannot provide the launch in a timely manner.

                You can be sure all of those customers have back-up launch providers lined up. Not because of any hostility toward SpaceX, but because they have their own interest to look out for. If (as seems likely) the Falcon 9 is grounded for some period of time SpaceX will not get paid for those launches (other launch providers will) and that is money SpaceX will never get.”

                So? I have nothing against any of that. Business is business.

                “They will also during that period be spending money they did not intend to be spending in an attempt to fix their broken rocket.”

                Just like any one.

                “The question is do they have those resources available and will they be willing to expend them?”

                This is a question for SpaceX to answer to themselves.

                “If not, will they seek more government money to correct their deficiencies?”

                You are suggesting they already sought such money which is totally untrue. But so what?

                “You say I (are presumably anyone else) have no right to ask those questions, then what is the purpose of this whole board. Shouldn’t we all just shut up and let Elon (or the Congress or whoever) take care of everything and assume it will all work out alright.”

                No I don’t say that. I say your question is normal to have but why would they answer to *you*? What makes you so special that they owe you an answer? You’re mixing up everything. Those questions are for the customers to have and not necessarily for public release! Are you part of some sort of board of enquiry that businesses have to answer to? If not you have your questions and that’s it. What if I gave you answer since we are on a board? Would you believe me? Why?

                “Time will tell.”

                Yes indeed and so far time told us that SpaceX is on their way to becoming next NASA HSF ops, right or wrong. If NASA is unable to field their own rockets for whatever reason the problem is not with SpaceX now, is it?

                But do you have similar concerns with BO, Boeing, SNC, etc? Or it is just that SpaceX is ahead? Or that you have a problem with Elon?

                If you want to have a constructive conversation start to substantiate your arguments with valid data and not whining. For example, SpaceX has the CRS contract with NASA. If NASA is happy with it then what is your problem??? Stop arguing the weight nonsense that you are. Or provide data that shows SpaceX is at some fault and that NASA is unhappy with them. *That* would be worth a conversation otherwise it’s just empty disgruntled nonsense.

          • I didn’t say they should ground it while investigating.

            • joe

              So you would be in favor of flying a vehicle known to have malfunctions that (regardless of the source and depending on when the malfunctions unpredictably may take place) could drop shrapnel on the residents of the state of Florida.

              That is certainly one point of view. After all the election is over.

              • So you would be in favor of flying a vehicle known to have malfunctions that (regardless of the source and depending on when the malfunctions unpredictably may take place) could drop shrapnel on the residents of the state of Florida.

                What a monumentally stupid question.

                But typical.

              • Coastal Ron

                joe said:

                So you would be in favor of flying a vehicle known to have malfunctions that … could drop shrapnel on the residents of the state of Florida.

                No rockets launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) overfly continental Florida, so your theoretical question is not only theoretical, but invalid. What a surprise.

      • vulture4

        The number of tests required to achieve statistical “significance”, i.e. p less than .05, can be as low as six, if all are successful. There is plenty of time for the Falcon to incorporate whatever design changes are needed and achieve the 6-10 consecutive successful launches needed to demonstrate reliability, assuming that any new failure modes that are identified are eliminated through appropriate design changes.

        The principal problems with the Shuttle were actually identified during the first few launches. Some, like the shock reflection that nearly destroyed STS-1, were fixed by design changes. Others, like the O-ring leakage and foam damage to TPS, were not fixed, either because of delays in getting recommended design changes through the system (O-rings) or because there was no feasible way to change the design that would eliminate the problem (foam/TPS).

        • Robert G. Oler

          vulture4
          December 4, 2012 at 4:39 pm · Reply

          The number of tests required to achieve statistical “significance”, i.e. p less than .05, can be as low as six, if all are successful. There is plenty of time for the Falcon to incorporate whatever design changes are needed and achieve the 6-10 consecutive successful launches needed to demonstrate reliability, assuming that any new failure modes that are identified are eliminated through appropriate design changes.>

          I would say that the system achieves statistical safety if the vehicle flies 5 or 6 times and has no loss of vehicle nor repeated malfunctions…or malfuctions with a root cause. RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    joe
    December 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm · Reply

    Since I know of no fatalities in testing for MPCV/SLS I am forced to assume you are conjuring hypothetical malfunctions to compare to the Falcon 9’s real ones. Have fun.>>

    what? when did fatalities become a metric? OK if they are I know of none with the Falcon/Dragon combination either.

    Shuttle? Yes 14 and a lot of near misses. RGO

    • joe

      Incredible.

      The other poster said: “If only you showed so much concern for the fatal test failures and configurations on MPCV/SLS ….”

      They said:” fatal test failures”. Got it.

      • Robert G. Oler

        Joe. my mistake…sorry I was doing a few things at once (no not potty training) and just misread that…a bit of what I was saying here has carried over from a report on “reliability” that I am doing and that included “fatalities” of the human kind.

        but the issue is correct in terms of MPCV/SLS

        RGO

      • Robert G. Oler

        but the SLS and Orion have had test failures RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    joe
    December 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm · Reply

    Since you like bringing the Shuttle up so much, what would you be saying if the Shuttle had two engine failures in four missions?>>

    NASA did that, it wasnt with the engine, instead it was something that could lose the vehicle…the O rings. and they kept flying.

    There so far is no “loss of vehicle” scenarios that occurred with Falcon9. and this moves me to your notion of the DC-3.

    The DC-3 was like the Falcon9 a vehicle that could survive some powerplant failures (its not a direct comparison of course the DC-3 had 2 and the Falcon9, under some scenarios the DC-3 could survive a failure of 1/2 of propulsion, I dont think that the Falcon9 can do that period)…but the 727 could lose 2/3 or its powerplants and in a large envelope of cases survive (although the pilot had to do everything correct quickly)

    Airplanes (airliners) which routinely carried passengers over water (ie intercontinental) had in large measure 4 powerplants because they would need 3 to finish the trip.

    Navigators in the prejet but post WW2 routinely plotted 1 and 2 engine failure scenarios.

    I am not telling you that SpaceX is content with losing an engine ever so often…but unless they find a root cause in the failures/shutdowns which would put the entire vehicle propulsion in jeopardy well…aviation went a long way with that operation. In fact Part 25 is built on it.

    We have just now (in the last 20 years) gotten to a standard with ETOPs that is sat.

    You are free to bark up trees but that is all it is.

    (btw I apologize for the potty comment it wasnt meant to engage you or enrage you it was just meant to say I might not be back that quick…sorry to you and Jeff) RGO

  • Robert G. Oler

    I would say this about “reliability”

    There is no excuse for “vehicle reliability”…ie if you cant make the car or plane or whatever capable of completing the mission safely (and economically) then you have a problem. but buried inside that is system reliability.

    I am sure SpaceX wants to fly with all engines running all the time…but that “holy grail” has driven up space access cost “a lot”, particularly if Musk can really build his 1D for under 1 million and maybe someday recover them.

    My Ercoupe has zero backup for the cables that run the flight controls. neglect those and one day they might kill you…A 737 NG has two hydraulic systems which can run the primary flight controls and when or if those fail then one can go down to cables running tabs.

    there is a tradeoff with reliability of a system (ie the cables) and reliability found through redundancy. There are statistically 737′s flying right now with the electric pump of System A failed…and they can fly multiple legs in that condition.

    NASA had the worse of both worlds in the shuttle…it had complicated systems which had complicated redundancy…and they were uncomfortable even after XX number of flights, flying with any sort of main system failure…ie flying with a “System A electric driven pump” not working or in other terms having an MEL…Meanwhile they at least twice grew comfortable with systems fialing which had no real redundancy.

    I am not telling you that SpaceX would…but if they flew an average of say 20 flights between engine failures but the engine failure did not affect vehicle reliability AND there was nothing that was “root” with the failures (ie they were not seeing the same failure all the time)…they would be in friendly territory…the airlines do that all the time.

    the vehicle would be safer then the shuttle. (which is not saying much) and I suspect safer then SLS…it would also be cheaper then Atlas or Delta. RGO

  • pathfinder_01

    Shuttle? Yes 14 and a lot of near misses. RGO

    Including one engine shutdown in flight and atleast one engine shutdown on the pad.

  • Neil Shipley

    Joe.
    Couple of points that others here are making but you seem incapable of understanding:
    1. NASA so far, is happy with SpaceX performance since they haven’t cancelled their CRS contract or even modified it AFAIK other than accept a delay of several months to allow for sorting the issues on the first flight as per point 2 below.
    2. SpaceX and NASA are undertaking an analysis of the failure to determine what, if any, modifications are required to the engine and / or LV. This will mainly be SpaceX since the vehicle in question is their’s, designed, built, tested, and flown, not NASA’s.
    3. NASA has, btw, never designed, built, tested or flown a vehicle in their entire existence; only their contractors possess that ability.
    4. Some issues have arisen with the Dragon that likewise are being worked up by SpaceX and again NASA hasn’t cancelled or modified the CRS contract.
    5. Failures don’t have to mean LOM or even that they are undesirable – just thought I’d mention this since you seem to think they are somehow unavoidable. Failures provide insight into components and systems and although not welcome, can provide valuable information.
    6. Orbital Sciences have a vehicle in development under COTS-B as the other commercial supplier to the ISS due to start operations next year.
    7. SpaceX, along with Boeing, are working on the CiCap program to develop crew capabilities for the U.S. for transport to and from the ISS. SpaceX will utilise an upgraded F9 lv.
    8. SpaceX has an extensive manifest split roughly 60% commercial and 40% government which would, on the face of it, indicate considerable confidence in the viability of that organisation. Prior to entering into contracts, said customers would no doubt have undertaken due dilegence to protect their investment.
    9. SpaceX is a privately owned company who has investors but no shareholders to answer to as such therefore your desire for information along with others, from them will have to find another outlet.
    10. SpaceX are continuing to expand their operations and win more contracts, an indication of viability together with public statements concerning profitability (always subject to interpretation) but certainly they must be cash positive otherwise they wouldn’t be in business.

    So far you have contributed nothing by negativity to the above and I find, along with others, inconsistencies in your arguments.
    Cheers

  • joe

    Coastal Ron December 4, 2012 at 9:52 pm
    “joe said:
    “So you would be in favor of flying a vehicle known to have malfunctions that … could drop shrapnel on the residents of the state of Florida.”
    No rockets launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) overfly continental Florida, so your theoretical question is not only theoretical, but invalid. What a surprise.”

    And if the next time the engine malfunction were to occur it happened in the first few seconds of flight (and since you do not know what caused the failure you cannot predict when it will occur) the shrapnel would fall on the state of Florida – specifically on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

    Either you are ignorant of that fact (and that would be no surprise) or that does not seem to concern you, but I suspect it does concern the Range Safety Office.

    • Coastal Ron

      joe said:

      the shrapnel would fall on the state of Florida – specifically on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

      There you go again Joe. First you start by crying about shrapnel falling down on the “residents” of Florida, but now that I’ve pointed out that rockets flying out of CCAFS don’t fly over continental Florida (i.e. residents of Florida), now you’ve changed your concern to CCAFS. Make up your mind!

      And I guess you don’t know that the range safety folks have thought about what happens when rockets blow up, and they would take that into account in their range safety planning? Maybe that’s why no one is standing next to rockets when they take off? Hmmm?

      You seem to assume that everyone in this world is an idiot except for you, huh Joe? Weird.

      • joe

        Coastal Ron December 5, 2012 at 10:23 am • Reply
        “There you go again Joe. First you start by crying about shrapnel falling down on the “residents” of Florida, but now that I’ve pointed out that rockets flying out of CCAFS don’t fly over continental Florida (i.e. residents of Florida), now you’ve changed your concern to CCAFS. Make up your mind!”

        Using terms like crying may seem to you to be a clever way to discredit someone, but it is rather crude. It may have escaped your attention but there are people (in the main residents of the State of Florida) who work at the CCAFS.

        “And I guess you don’t know that the range safety folks have thought about what happens when rockets blow up, and they would take that into account in their range safety planning? Maybe that’s why no one is standing next to rockets when they take off? Hmmm?”

        Not next to them, but around the area, that is why they will not take chances on flying a rocket that has had repeated potentially dangerous malfunctions until those issues are resolved. There is always additional risk when flying any rocket, but (at least if you are the Range Safety Office) you are not going to exacerbate that risk by allowing a rocket to fly that has an unresolved known flaw.

        “You seem to assume that everyone in this world is an idiot except for you, huh Joe? Weird.”

        No, that is not true at all. I do not believe “everyone in this world is an idiot except for” me. In fact I find most of the general populace to have a reassuring amount of (you should excuse the expression) common sense.

        • common sense

          “In fact I find most of the general populace to have a reassuring amount of (you should excuse the expression) common sense.”

          Okay this time but you should not use my name in vain.

        • Coastal Ron

          joe said:

          Not next to them, but around the area, that is why they will not take chances on flying a rocket that has had repeated potentially dangerous malfunctions until those issues are resolved. There is always additional risk when flying any rocket, but (at least if you are the Range Safety Office) you are not going to exacerbate that risk by allowing a rocket to fly that has an unresolved known flaw.

          I would disagree with your definition of range safety. They are not rocket inspectors, so they are not validating the design of the rockets that use the range. Their job is to mitigate damage when things go wrong.

          For instance, they have control over the self destruct mechanisms on each rocket, which they can activate if they feel the rocket is not following it’s intended route and could endanger people and property. They already know what the planned debris pattern is supposed to be everywhere along the route the rocket will take prior to self-destruct, so I think they would tell you that “residents” and “residents who work at CCAFS” are not in any danger. And they have blown up a lot of rockets (and watched quite a few blow up on their own), so I think they have their processes and procedures pretty well worked out.

          This is a non-issue.

          As to your “unresolved known flaw” comment, calling it a “known flaw” is unsubstantiated. It was a failure, and not one that had been seen previously. It might not have even been an engine issue, but one involving a tank or plumbing upstream of the engine.

          And it may turn out that no root cause is ever found for this issue, especially if it is not a design issue but a manufacturing or assembly defect. That’s the problem with single use vehicles, is that it’s difficult to get absolute resolution of problems when you can’t examine the actual item.

          SpaceX is also at an interesting inflection point, in that they only have one more launch of this design of the Falcon 9 before changing over to a pretty much completely new design (v1.1). If they can’t find any obvious root cause for the shutdown, then it will be up to SpaceX and NASA to determine if they will go ahead with the next flight as planned (i.e. Falcon 9 v1.0) or push out the flight to when they can use the new (and currently unproven) v1.1 of the Falcon 9.

          This is not a business for the faint hearted, as Musk has explained many times. We’ll see.

  • Neil Shipley

    Hey Joe.
    Seeing that you’re a concerned citizen regarding the performance of SpaceX, would you like to comment on the fact that SpaceX has just been awarded a couple of satellite launches for the DoD? This after their recent performance to the ISS and they are also for 2 ‘new’ vehicles – F9v1.1 upgraded F9 (you know, 10 engines all up) and their new FH (28 engines all up).

    Breaking the mould methinks. ULA’s going to have to do something about their cost structure else their business is ‘gone’.

    • joe

      You guys sure do like crowing about things that have not been done.

      Get back to me when SpaceX can make the one rocket they actually have work.

      • Coastal Ron

        joe mumbled:

        Get back to me when SpaceX can make the one rocket they actually have work.

        What’s to get back to your about? The CRS-1 mission was a success – Dragon was put in it’s proper orbit, and it even docked at the ISS ahead of schedule.

        You even admitted that it was a success, so are forgetting what you said? Sounds like a medical issue you need to address Joe…

  • joe

    Ron,

    I guess this better sum up this “debate”.

    - They lost another payload that was flying on CRS-1.
    - The Falcon 9 literally blew chunks off itself during ascent.
    - There is currently an investigation underway to determine the cause of the incident.
    - The Falcon 9 next flight has been delayed to no earlier than March 2013 (and will likely be delayed beyond that)

    And you wish to characterize that as a success.

    I try very hard to avoid the kind of personal insults you (and others around here) deal in routinely, but if anyone has “a medical issue” that needs addressing it is not me.

    Have a nice day,

    Joe

    • Coastal Ron

      joe said:

      I guess this better sum up this “debate”.

      Except it seems you’re changing, yet again, what you’re talking about. Previously you said “Get back to me when SpaceX can make the one rocket they actually have work.”, and I pointed out that the Falcon 9 did work for it’s primary mission. The Falcon 9 also had a flawless previous flight on the COTS-2/3 flight, so they actually do have a history of rockets that actually work.

      Now you’re slicing and dicing to pick out something that shows the Falcon 9 isn’t perfect. Well OK, it’s not perfect. There, I said it. We good?

      I try very hard to avoid the kind of personal insults you (and others around here) deal in routinely, but if anyone has “a medical issue” that needs addressing it is not me.

      Well that’s good to know, but how do you explain your forgetfulness?

      No need to answer, as I’m off to new conversations…

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