Congress, NASA, Pentagon

House members press NASA for information on “epidemic of anomalies” with SpaceX missions

Three members of Congress from Alabama and Colorado have asked NASA to provide information on what they receive to be an “epidemic of anomalies” on missions performed by SpaceX.

“Recent news reports have shown that an epidemic of anomalies have occurred during SpaceX launches or launch attempts,” write Reps. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Mike Coffman (R-CO), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) in a July 15 letter to NASA administrator Charles Bolden. Those anomalies cited in the letter include issues with both SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, ranging from “multiple” helium leaks to seawater intrusions into the Dragon spacecraft after splashdown.

The congressmen are seeking information from NASA about those incidents because of the role the agency has played in support the development of Falcon 9 and Dragon, and as a customer of the cargo transportation services they provide. “In the interest of full disclosure and accountability to the American taxpayer, we request that NASA publicly release all anomalies and mishap information, un-redacted, so that Congress can gain a better understanding of what has occurred and ensure full transparency,” they write. They also ask for information “on the various aspects of risk and reliability with these programs” and the agency’s “understanding of the specific technical issues, failures and resulting consequences for ISS.”

The members’ argument for providing this information is NASA’s support for the development of Falcon 9 and Dragon. “Again, because the vehicles in question were funded by American taxpayer dollars, there should be no issue in making this report publicly available,” they write. However, development of Falcon 9 and Dragon was supported, but not exclusively funded, by NASA through the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, using Space Act Agreements versus conventional contracts. SpaceX supplemented the NASA funding with its own; SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said on a number of occasions that the company used no NASA funding for development of the Falcon 9.

SpaceX does have a contract with NASA for ISS resupply, but that contract is for cargo services: that is, NASA is buying transport of cargo to and from the station, and not the launch vehicle and spacecraft itself, and thus the agency may not have the technical insight that the congressmen expect. In addition, providing “un-redacted” technical information publicly, even if it is available to NASA, could run afoul of export control restrictions.

The timing of the letter coincides with a hearing this morning by subcommittees of the Senate Commerce Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee on space access. The Armed Services’ strategic forces subcommittee is chaired by Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), who is running for reelection this fall; Rep. Gardner is the Republican challenger to Udall.

In their letter, the congressmen say they support competition for EELV launches, but worry that “the process may be weakened due to recent attacks on the Air Force regarding oversight and the need to certify providers launching national security payloads. We strongly support the Air Force certification process and object to any effort to bypass it or loosen its standards.”

The congressmen issued their letter the same day as the Air Force confirmed that it had certified as successful the second and third Falcon 9 v1.1 launches, a major milestone towards the overall certification of the launch vehicle for EELV payloads. “I applaud SpaceX on achieving the three flights,” said Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, in the statement. “With this significant part of the agreed-to path in certifying the Falcon 9 v1.1 launch system complete, we look forward to working with SpaceX to complete the remaining certification activities and providing SpaceX with the opportunity to compete for EELV missions.”

55 comments to House members press NASA for information on “epidemic of anomalies” with SpaceX missions

  • Winston Churchill

    Talk about sour grapes. These people really must be getting desperate.

  • Craig Oliver

    Colorado and Alabama? Hmm…that makes sense. United Launch Alliance is based in Centennial, CO and assembly operations in Decatur, AL.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    The original release included a URL to this LockMart website:

    http://lmhostediq.com/

    The release has been updated with a new URL. But it’s clear which corporation bought Brooks, Coffman, and Gardner. And it’s funny what a ham-handed job they did in covering their tracks.

    “In their letter, the congressmen say they support competition for EELV launches, but worry that ‘the process may be weakened due to recent attacks on the Air Force regarding oversight and the need to certify providers launching national security payloads. We strongly support the Air Force certification process and object to any effort to bypass it or loosen its standards.’”

    Several points:

    1) The letter suffers from multiple personality disorder. If Brooks, Coffman, and Gardner are worried about the integrity of the USAF’s certification process, then they should send this letter to the USAF, not NASA.

    2) Similarly, Falcon 9 is already going through the USAF’s certification process. If Brooks, Coffman, and Gardner are so worried about the integrity of that process, then they should abide by the process and await the results, rather than circumventing USAF certification with NASA data.

    3) Many of the “anomalies” cited in the letter were on commercial, not government, launches.

    4) The USAF/Aerospace Corp certification process should be attacked. It’s a ridiculously long, expensive, and ineffective insurance policy. It’s taken six-odd months for the USAF to admit what everyone else knew after Thaicom 6 made it to orbit — that Falcon 9 v1.1 had completed three consecutive successful launches. (And the process won’t be done for another six-odd months.) USAF is spending $100 million on Aerospace Corp to execute the certification, which is almost double the cost of a Falcon 9 launch. (The insurance costs nearly twice the vehicle.) And for all this cost and time, the USAF’s certification process didn’t prevent both Atlas V and Delta IV from placing payloads in improper orbits. And it won’t prevent Falcon 9 or any other provider from doing the same.

    5) If they’re really so worried about the nation’s launch capabilities, Brooks, Coffman, and Gardner should seek similar reports on Atlas V, Delta IV, and Orion MPCV “anomalies”. Here’s a handful to start:

    USAF Launch On Hold Pending Delta IV Investigation
    http://aviationweek.com/awin/usaf-launch-hold-pending-delta-iv-investigation

    Glitch on October 2012 Delta 4 Mission Is Behind GPS 2F-5 Launch Delay
    http://www.spacenews.com/article/military-space/37792glitch-on-october-2012-delta-4-mission-is-behind-gps-2f-5-launch-delay

    Air Force Issues Final Update Regarding Atlas V Centaur Upper Stage Anomaly Review
    http://www.losangeles.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123070963

    Unlucky Orion Crashing Out of the Space Program as Drop Test Fails
    http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2010/02/unlucky-orion-crashing-space-program-drop-test-fails/

    Cracks Discovered in Orion Capsule’s Pressure Shell
    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1211/23eft1cracks/#.U8aB5SxOVpM

    • Malmesbury

      “The letter suffers from multiple personality disorder. If Brooks, Coffman, and Gardner are worried about the integrity of the USAF’s certification process, then they should send this letter to the USAF, not NASA.”

      Its a case of “Nice COTS contract you have there… and Commercial Crew. Would be unfortunate if something happened to it.”

      Next step will be try and hold hearings if SpaceX is in the next round of CC.

    • Dick Eagleson

      Agree almost completely except for this part:

      the USAF’s certification process didn’t prevent both Atlas V and Delta IV from placing payloads in improper orbits.

      I don’t believe anything resembling the current EELV “certification” proctological exam was ever applied to Atlas V or Delta IV. Atlas V could have met the “three successful launches with at least two of them consecutive” criterion, but I’m aware of no evidence this was ever made a formal requirement before SpaceX came along. It certainly wasn’t applied to Delta IV. That family of vehicles was launching a milsat on its second mission. Milsats and weathersats were nine of its first ten launches.

      Oh yeah, I agree with Malmesbury here too.

  • Coastal Ron

    The original link to the letter was hosted on a service owned by Lockheed Martin (now changed), which lends even more credence to this being a behind the scenes effort by ULA’s parents to attempt a smear job on SpaceX.

    If you read the letter, the authors are pretty ignorant of what the issues are, and ignorant of what the facts are too (apparently they don’t like to investigate before they start making allegations).

    For instance, a number of their questions can be answered by simply reading the GAO reports on the COTS program. There they can find out about what SpaceX was paid and not paid to develop (they were not paid to develop the Falcon 9), and they can find out what types of anomalies SpaceX experienced during the COTS program and what the outcomes were. A simple internet search is all it takes to find them…

    • MORE REALITY

      Not that Space X engages in smear tactics.

      • Winston Churchill

        I’m surprised the letter wasn’t written in ALL CAPS.

      • Dick Eagleson

        SpaceX correctly pointed out that the former USAF official, whose last significant official act was to sign the block buy deal with ULA, then conveniently retired from government service and popped up a short time later as a vice president of one of ULA’s major supplier firms. If the truth constitutes a “smear” maybe ULA should quit doing “smearish” things, eh wot?

  • Steve K

    Since it appears that John McCain is now SpaceX’s lapdog, I see no problem with ULA getting their representatives involved in the process as well.

    The fact is that SpaceX has a bad history of these anomalies showing up on each and every mission. They finally got the last flight off, but only after 4 tries and how many months of delays. Their CRS delays cause problems with the rest of the ISS resupply schedule.

    Also, the last CRS flight was initially delayed for Dragon upgrades, one of which was to fix the problem with water entering the capsule. It was eventually delayed again (multiple times) for other reasons, but it appears they did not solve the problem with water getting into the pressure vessel.

    So, if these congressmen may actually have a right to ask NASA to review their suppliers performance on this CRS contract, and report back to the committee on their findings.

    Elon Musk likes to say, if it’s good enough for NASA, why isn’t it good enough for the DOD. Perhaps we should ask why is it good enough for NASA, when they continue to have issues each and every mission.

    • Winston Churchill

      I’m not seeing their customer complaining and I’m not getting how an ISS resupply option is not better then no ISS resupply option at all. Perhaps you can enlighten us.

    • Antares

      How do you know that ULA doesn’t have tons of anomalies on every flight?
      What was the initial delay history of Atlas V and Delta IV flights? How often can and do Atlas V and Delta IV fly?

      Atlas and Delta were developed on USAF tax dollars. Let’s see them open their PRACA systems.

      • GetYourFactsRight

        Actually, Delta IV and Atlas V development was primarily funded by Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

        • Winston Churchill

          I think you forgot the long term operational subsidies, which of course you can argue is not development costs if you want. I’m also sure by ‘primarily’ you mean more than 50%.

          • Steve K

            The total development cost for each of the EELVs was in the neighborhood of 3 Billion. DOD covered 500 million.

            You can argue that the development cost was excessive, but both Boeing and Lockheed invested more into their launchers than SpaceX did.

            Remember that DOD doesn’t work like NASA. NASA awarded SpaceX the CRS contract before they had an operational launch vehicle and capsule.

            • Winston Churchill

              I think you just pulled that figure off a wiki page and have no idea what you are talking about. Seriously, that is just laughable. But don’t stop!

              http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/nexgen/EELV_main.htm

              spirit.as.utexas.edu/~fiso/telecon/Money_5-9-12/Money_5-9-12.pptx

              Enjoy your retroactive rewriting of history!

            • Dick Eagleson

              You can argue that the development cost was excessive, but both Boeing and Lockheed invested more into their launchers than SpaceX did.

              If they did it was because they didn’t know how to do things any more cheaply. Neither firm has what you’d call a cost-minimization culture.

              And the launch vehicles that resulted from these gold-plated development programs have poorer mission success records than Falcon 9, can’t be made reusable and can’t carry as much to either LEO or GTO as Falcon 9 can without assistance from strap-on solids – legacy aerospace’s all-purpose tonic for weenie launch vehicles.

              Remember that DOD doesn’t work like NASA.

              True. It’s procurement practices are even more screwed up.

              NASA awarded SpaceX the CRS contract before they had an operational launch vehicle and capsule.

              SpaceX already had the launch vehicle, they just hadn’t launched it yet. NASA got a freebie there. As to the capsule, that was what NASA was paying SpaceX to develop. The DoD pays LockMart and Boeing to develop things that don’t yet exist all the time. In fact each has a major division dedicated to doing nothing else – Skunk Works and Phantom Works, respectively. NASA does the same thing with SpaceX, but without all the FAR/cost-plus bloat and this is somehow a national scandal? How?

  • Steve K

    ISS resupply missions that don’t launch are the same as the “No resupply option”.

    Perhaps their customer does notice their performance record, but doesn’t make their complaints public. NASA didn’t publically complain about the Taurus II accidents, but they certainly didn’t launch the replacement on the same LV, did they ?

    Let’s see what happens when the CRS-II contract is awarded. NASA will have other options.

    • Dick Eagleson

      Let’s see what happens when the CRS-II contract is awarded. NASA will have other options.

      Not for getting downmass back from LEO they won’t. Given that SpaceX is, far and away, the low-cost CRS supplier and has capabilities not matched by any other provider, eliminating them from the next CRS round would simply be bonkers.

      NASA didn’t publically complain about the Taurus II accidents, but they certainly didn’t launch the replacement on the same LV, did they ?

      SpaceX’s first three Falcon 1 missions could perhaps be very broadly compared to the Taurus II mishaps. But SpaceX has never done anything remotely comparable with the Falcon 9 so you are sorely missing a comparand here. This comment, in short, is a non sequitur.

      As a side note, despite the Taurus mishaps, NASA still contracted with Orbital for a more capable and reliable vehicle and, by all appearances, has gotten it. Antares has had “anomalies” and delays too. But no one in ULA’s Amen Corner cares about them because Orbital is not seen as the existential threat to ULA that SpaceX is. So the real issue here is not “anomalies.” It is that – if Vladimir Putin doesn’t beat him to it first – Elon Musk is poised to gut ULA like a trout in fairly short order.

      • Steve K

        There will be other options available for downmass. You know that both Boeing and SNC are interested in the CRS-II contract as well.

        SpaceX is nothing but the low-cost leader of space launch. Sometimes, you need to shop somewhere other than Walmart. You get what you pay for.

        • Winston Churchill

          We will all be waiting patiently for their new engines on their new launch vehicles.

          In the meantime, The Delta IV is going to be a pretty pricey ride for these people. If I were them, I would start talking to Jeff Bezos.

        • Coastal Ron

          Steve K said:

          There will be other options available for downmass. You know that both Boeing and SNC are interested in the CRS-II contract as well.

          The challenge for both of them is having their vehicles and systems certified for ISS operations by the time CRS2, since the service period starts in 2017. In the eyes of NASA, that may not leave enough room for Boeing or Sierra Nevada to have proven out their systems by that point, much less be ready to support both crew and cargo at the same time.

          I think it’s very likely CRS2 will go to both Orbital Sciences and SpaceX again.

          SpaceX is nothing but the low-cost leader of space launch.

          What if we were to say:

          ULA is nothing but the high-cost leader of space launch.

          How do you think that sounds? It’s true of course, but it does leave out lots of details, just like your statement does.

          For instance, the Air Force is VERY concerned about the cost of using ULA, so to the Air Force they look forward to using a service provider that is characterized as “nothing but the low-cost leader of space launch.” To them it’s a good thing.

          Sometimes, you need to shop somewhere other than Walmart. You get what you pay for.

          I don’t shop at Walmart myself, but for reasons that you haven’t mentioned.

          But it’s interesting that you bring up Walmart, since in the example we’re using the Walmart example shows why SpaceX is GOOD for the launch services market, just as Walmart is good at commodity retail.

          For commodity goods, which are goods you find just about anywhere, you get the same product for the lowest average price at Walmart. So in that case yes, you do get what you pay for, which is the exact same product you could buy elsewhere for a higher cost. I’m not seeing the bad side of that.

          SpaceX is offering the exact same service that ULA and all the other launch providers are offering, which is to move their hardware from Earth to where they want it in space. What the color of the launcher is, or the cost, really doesn’t matter to the hardware as long as it gets to where it’s supposed to be. So why pay more than you have to?

          I think you have failed to make your point using any real factors…

        • Jim Nobles

          There will be other options available for downmass. You know that both Boeing and SNC are interested in the CRS-II contract as well

          Speaking of that, I wonder what Dream Chaser’s engine change is going to do to its schedule? Anyone heard anything?

          And of course Boeing and SNC both want to use the Atlas V. Which we need to hurry up and send more money to Russia to buy the engines for. Since they need the money to replace some anti-aircraft missiles near the Ukrainian border.

  • Winston Churchill

    ISS resupply missions that don’t launch are the same as the “No resupply option”.

    Is there some sort of unknown terrible problem that will prevent ISS resupply missions from launching? Please, by all means, point it out to us, unless you think there is some kind of conspiracy and massive coverup of some fatal ISS resupply problems that was not exposed by the numerous ISS resupply missions already flown. This is becoming … laughable. But by all means, do continue. I want to hear more.

    • Andrew Swallow

      NASA has had problems with the Saturn 5, the Shuttle, the Atlas 5 and all the other spacecraft it has used. Hence assuming that there will be problems with what ever launch vehicle(s) is chosen for ISS resupply is a safe assumption. If we knew what the problems were we could fix them in advance.

      NASA is just making sure that it has redundancy to overcome the inevitable unknown problems. Good planning.

  • Jim Muncy

    Since I like both SpaceX and ULA, I’m not going to participate in this foodfight.

    But the hosting of the letter on a so-called Lockheed website is NOT a conspiracy.
    Lockheed Martin information services provides the backbone of the U.S. House of
    Representatives internet infrastructure, including web servers and the “Quorum” correspondence management system, which is how Congressional offices manage their replies to the huge volume of mail and constituent service requests they get.

    I have no idea if anyone in industry drafted the letter for these Congressmen, but the website address is not evidence of anything, other than Lockheed Martin being a really big company with a lot of different business sectors working for far-flung parts of the government.

    • Michael J. Listner

      Jim,

      You’ll find on these boards that if you’re not 100% Space X there is a conspiracy afoot and you’re a ULA troll. Fittingly, that is politics. :)

    • Dark Blue Nine

      “Since I like both SpaceX and ULA”

      Agreed. But it’s ULA’s parent company, LockMart, in question.

      “But the hosting of the letter on a so-called Lockheed website is NOT a conspiracy.”

      Conspiracy is strong word. Covering tracks is more accurate. Regardless, it’s clear that the URL was changed. If LockMart had nothing to hide, the URL would not have changed.

  • Michael J. Listner: if you’re not 100% Space X there is a conspiracy afoot

    There clearly is a “conspiracy afoot” amongst southern Republicans with a stake in NASA’s old way of doing business and a new-found advocacy of socialism to stop “wasting” money on COTS and CCiCAP and instead “invest” it in the SLS. However, I take issue with the idea that it’s all about SpaceX. SpaceX is the noisiest, so they get all the press, but these members of the Senate are also attacking Orbital (much closer than SpaceX to a traditional NASA and military contractor) and even Boeing’s CST-100 (built by a traditional contractor if there ever was one). They are also attacking Sierra Nevada (primarily a military contractor). There are many companies (and jobs) with a stake in this fight, and not all of them are people working on the SLS versus SpaceX.

    – Donald

    • P.S. – I should disclose here that I am a shareholder in Orbital (and not at all unbiased!).

      – Donald

    • Malmesbury

      “There clearly is a “conspiracy afoot” amongst southern Republicans with a stake in NASA’s old way of doing business and a new-found advocacy of socialism to stop “wasting” money on COTS and CCiCAP and instead “invest” it in the SLS.”

      To be fair there are quite a few democrats on the same page as well.

      You have to remember that from the point of view of Congress a program where they can’t control where the money goes is fatally flawed. They see it as voting the money for a program and getting nothing back. They have to raise 6 figures a week to get re-elected. Why should anyone contribute if they can’t “fine tune” where the money flows??

    • Speak of the devil, I just read an op ed in defense of SpaceX (though it doesn’t appear to start out that way) by none other than W. David Thompson. Enjoy!

      http://www.spacenews.com/article/opinion/40927no-3-d-printing-will-not-save-you

    • Malmesbury: To be fair there are quite a few democrats on the same page as well.

      Yes, and they are just as wrong. However, since they start out arguing for government intervention in the economy, they are nowhere near as hypocritical. I don’t think I’m overstating the case when I say that one of the great ironies of our age is watching supposedly free market Republicans fighting tooth and nail for a socialist space program against a liberal Democrat who is trying to at least partially privatize the relatively routine parts of it. I can’t wait to see the history books a few decades from now.

      – Donald

      • Malmesbury

        “I don’t think I’m overstating the case when I say that one of the great ironies of our age is watching supposedly free market Republicans fighting tooth and nail for a socialist space program against a liberal Democrat who is trying to at least partially privatize the relatively routine parts of it.”

        The old joke is that the Republicans want free markets below the Kármán line and socialism above it and the Democrats seem to want the reverse.

        • Malmesbury: The old joke is that the Republicans want free markets below the Kármán line and socialism above it and the Democrats seem to want the reverse.

          The problem with the joke is that the southern Republicans can’t even get that right. The SLS may well remain stuck below the Kármán line, while the COTS folks have already been above it — repeatedly. So, the Republicans have preserved non-productive socialism below the line while the Democrats have created relatively free and productive markets above it!

          – Donald

  • Nothing wrong will a little more transparency from SpaceX since so much faith is being put in them. One assumes they have procedures for corrective action and preventative action for failure incidents. My company has them and must disclose them to an oversight agency. NASA should be no different. Let’s see’um.

    • Coastal Ron

      amightywind said:

      Nothing wrong will a little more transparency from SpaceX since so much faith is being put in them.

      Unless of course it violates ITAR and proprietary agreements the government has signed.

      In fact these congresscritters want the information released publicly, which would violate ITAR and proprietary agreements the government has signed with SpaceX.

      Oops!

      Bunch of yahoos fishing in a dry lake…

    • Reality Bits

      So how about a little more transparency out of the SLS program .. like where is the KDP-C documentation…

  • Add Orbital to the list with their AJ-26 anomaly and the GOP has shut down the entire US manned space program, again.

  • Gemini Nine

    Oh forgive those two dinosaur politicians, they’re only doing due diligence to cover their platforms come re-election time. SpaceX is the genie and it is out of the bottle. As for anomalies, American, Delta and Southwest record hundreds of anomalies everyday. The only thing that matters is that cargoes get home safe and on time.

  • numbers_guy101

    This food-fight reminds me in so many ways of the history we see with Ma’Bell, it’s rise and fall, and all that came right after the breakup, and all that came much further along as the telecom sector saw more innovation enabled by the elimination of previous barriers. Along the way, so much conflict, but the end will be the same.

  • Paul Scutts

    Business as usual, just the politics of mud-slinging. They (ULA & its supporters) can sling as much mud as they like, but, the bottom line is the bottom line. What cannot be forgiven is that they have now reached the point where they are ripping off the American Taxpayer. I read somewhere that that is a criminal offense. The gravy train ride is over, accept it or else go straight to goal, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 (billion)!

  • josh

    @windy

    We know you’re proud to be a redneck but do you have to talk like one on here? ‘Murica!! Lol…

  • For those who can’t get enough of this hearing, it’s now on my YouTube channel:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1xvlUwPDCE

    It begins at the 14-minute mark, since they ran late.

  • Mark M

    I’m curiuos about one major anomaly. On an ISS cargo mission with a secondary payload being an Orbcom communications satellite, one Falcon 9 engine on the first stage appeared to blow up about 70 seconds into the boost phase. This caused an under perfomance of the the first stage. As a result, the second stage had to burn longer to get the Dragon cargo carrier to the Station. This left inadequate fuel in the second stage to boost the Orbcom payload to its proper orbit. Six days later, the Orbcom payload burned and crashed and this was a $10 million loss for them. The mission was declared to have been a success and everything worked as it was supposed to. What I would like to know is what was the “anomaly” with the engine that blew up? There has never been any published response. I would consider the loss of a $10 million payload less than successful.

    • Winston Churchill

      It was an addon experimental test payload for Orbcomm on a primary CRS mission. They knew the risks and they considered six days enough time to carry out their tests. The loss more more related to NASA’s refusal to allow an upper stage engine relight due to their proximity to the space station’s orbit. At least that’s how I remember it.

      The test of the engine out capability of the Falcon 9 was an obvious success as well. Some people are just not happy unless everything is perfect, but that’s not how the real world works and you need these kinds of failures to continue to make progress.

      Progress and innovation are what SpaceX and Elon Musk is all about. Others differ in their opinions on how these things should proceed, and some want no progress at all.

      What is your position? I mean really, you can watch this stuff live and then wiki it.

    • Coastal Ron

      Mark M said:

      What I would like to know is what was the “anomaly” with the engine that blew up?

      The engine didn’t blow up – it was shut down due to the engine sensing a pressure drop. However when the engine does a fast stop, as it did in this case, you have to remember what is happening around it at the time.

      There is a lot of air moving by the rocket at high speed, and lots of pressure regions in and around the engine skirt. When the engine shut down, and no more exhaust was coming from the engine, the pressure difference caused the engine skirt area to break off – that’s what fell off the launcher, the skirt material.

      It is talked about in the Wikipedia article on Falcon 9:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9

    • Neil

      I don’t think anyone has added that the engine was a Merlin 1C. F9 use the Merlin 1D now which is a less complex by part number beast, better performance and SpaceX also introduced a bit more NDT as part of an improved QA process.
      Cheers

  • Art

    And these Congress clowns should be asking NASA to publicly release the information on the Dream Chaser mishap during landing.

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