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20 Apr 2021, 18:46 [ UTC - 5; DST ]


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 Post subject: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2021, 08:11 
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Serving up insights & science for 31 years, Hubble is struggling:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technolo ... li=BBnb7Kz

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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2021, 09:20 
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What is even sadder is that it's replacement is over a decade behind schedule!
https://bgr.com/2020/06/11/james-webb-s ... p-grumman/

Why do I have the feeling that Elon Musk and his team of engineers could have the replacement reengineered and in space for less than $500M in today's dollars?


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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2021, 09:26 
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Username Protected wrote:
What is even sadder is that it's replacement is over a decade behind schedule!
https://bgr.com/2020/06/11/james-webb-s ... p-grumman/

Why do I have the feeling that Elon Musk and his team of engineers could have the replacement reengineered and in space for less than $500M in today's dollars?


And we’d get to watch 2 of them blow up along the way, too. :duck:

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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2021, 09:34 
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Username Protected wrote:
What is even sadder is that it's replacement is over a decade behind schedule!
https://bgr.com/2020/06/11/james-webb-s ... p-grumman/

Why do I have the feeling that Elon Musk and his team of engineers could have the replacement reengineered and in space for less than $500M in today's dollars?


As a project manager that has delivered numerous high profile projects on schedule and within budget, this is hard for me to understand without knowing/understanding the NG project manager. I suspect NG has subcontracted for many items/parts/engineering and those issues were not overseen properly. At the same time, NASA, has some blame also as the "owner". A key cornerstone of successful project management is to carefully track milestones and don't let them fall behind or to take corrective action asap when they do occur.


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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2021, 10:11 
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And we’d get to watch 2 of them blow up along the way, too. :duck:


In 1990, I worked as an engineer at NASA-Lewis Research Center before going into the USAF. It was an amazing place to work, from the people there, to the ability to wander around and see all the projects, to the way they were treated, etc. They did a much better job of making everyone feel like a valued member of the team than did any unit in the Air Force or even my current employer. They also did a much better job at keeping their people educated on the latest goings on (no doubt a big part of the team atmosphere). During the Hubble issue, the #2 guy in charge of the program came and gave us a briefing in the main auditorium detailing the mirror's issues, the planned fix, etc.

I can't remember if it was that brief or another, but they said something that stuck with me all these years. And that was, if you're not seeing a failure or two along the way, you're probably not as leading edge as you think. Of course, that was then, and this is now, and NASA is probably as risk averse as any other govt agency, so it can only be companies like Space X truly leading the way these days.

In the case of Hubble, they learned thay they had to suspend the mirrors right side up and upside down and at all angles, then shoot lasers at them to measure deflections, then average them all out to see what it'd do in weightless conditions.


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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2021, 11:57 
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Username Protected wrote:
As a project manager that has delivered numerous high profile projects on schedule and within budget, this is hard for me to understand without knowing/understanding the NG project manager. I suspect NG has subcontracted for many items/parts/engineering and those issues were not overseen properly. At the same time, NASA, has some blame also as the "owner". A key cornerstone of successful project management is to carefully track milestones and don't let them fall behind or to take corrective action asap when they do occur.

That's the difference between the private sector and a government contract. In the private sector there is a motivation and incentive to deliver on time and on budget. With a government contract, as they seem to be typically structured, there is little consequence for delays or budget overruns, and stretching out the project by a few years is merely job security for the team. It's unlikely that Northrup Grumman is any different from Lockheed or Boeing at this point. They're all cogs in the military industrial machine and their product is income. Aircraft, missiles, telescopes, etc. are just byproducts of that production.

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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2021, 18:01 
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Username Protected wrote:
As a project manager that has delivered numerous high profile projects on schedule and within budget, this is hard for me to understand without knowing/understanding the NG project manager. I suspect NG has subcontracted for many items/parts/engineering and those issues were not overseen properly. At the same time, NASA, has some blame also as the "owner". A key cornerstone of successful project management is to carefully track milestones and don't let them fall behind or to take corrective action asap when they do occur.

That's the difference between the private sector and a government contract. In the private sector there is a motivation and incentive to deliver on time and on budget. With a government contract, as they seem to be typically structured, there is little consequence for delays or budget overruns, and stretching out the project by a few years is merely job security for the team. It's unlikely that Northrup Grumman is any different from Lockheed or Boeing at this point. They're all cogs in the military industrial machine and their product is income. Aircraft, missiles, telescopes, etc. are just byproducts of that production.

That's not entirely true John. I'm intimately aware of how government construction contracting is run and liquidated damages in the tens of thousands are the norm, so there are clearly incentives in place to finish on time/budget. They just don't seem to make their way into most military contracting that isn't construction related.

That said, scope creep is a painful item that the government is REALLY bad at managing. The JSF is a perfect example where the original aircraft kept getting warped as new PMs were brought onboard and new requirements rolled out which brought with it cost increases and delays. The other is trying to make a jack of all trades, master of none, which inevitably turns into a pile of dogshit. The LCS is a great example of that. Talk about an expensive waste of money...yet the Navy continues to build them because one day they'll work out the kinks!

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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2021, 19:03 
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The JSF was fine until the Marines decided on the laughable proposition that they "needed" a Day 0 aircraft to fly off of their mini-carriers... now, the Marines are using the JSF as an excuse to get new mini-carriers. Self... licking... ice... cream... cone.

Had they just bought all “C” variants, told the Air Force to suck it up and turned the mini-carriers into razor blades in favor of two or more super-carriers, most things would be right with the world.

Of course, that would require the sacrifice of several sacred cows. :duck:

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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2021, 18:03 
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The JSF was fine until the Marines decided on the laughable proposition that they "needed" a Day 0 aircraft to fly off of their mini-carriers... now, the Marines are using the JSF as an excuse to get new mini-carriers. Self... licking... ice... cream... cone.

Had they just bought all “C” variants, told the Air Force to suck it up and turned the mini-carriers into razor blades in favor of two or more super-carriers, most things would be right with the world.

Of course, that would require the sacrifice of several sacred cows. :duck:


Not so fast ---- I worked JSF for the first 7 years of the program (propulsion). Ross is absolutely correct that scope creep had a major effect on cost and delivery schedules of the system. There are also a whole number of other issues that also affect the JSF program.

The F-35C (Navy) needs a carrier deck to launch and recover. Since the Marines needed a plane to work on their much smaller decks, they required the STOVL (F-35B) variant.

What most people don't realize is that although the F-35 A/B/C look somewhat similar, they are three distinct airframes. I recall a detailed discussion with Lockheed about the level of commonality between the the three variants. Basically, there were only a few hundred common parts between the three variants out of tens of thousands of parts on each plane.

In other words, there were actually three separate fighter development programs going on simultaneously. Difficult enough if three different companies were each working one variant - almost beyond control with one company juggling all three.

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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2021, 18:27 
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Username Protected wrote:

Not so fast ---- I worked JSF for the first 7 years of the program (propulsion). Ross is absolutely correct that scope creep had a major effect on cost and delivery schedules of the system. There are also a whole number of other issues that also affect the JSF program.


The primary "scope creep" was the absurd notion that the Marine Corps required a Day 0 aircraft in a conflict with a peer adversary.

Quote:
The F-35C (Navy) needs a carrier deck to launch and recover. Since the Marines needed a plane to work on their much smaller decks, they required the STOVL (F-35B) variant.


The question no one bothered to ask was: do we need those smaller decks? If we do need them, are we seriously suggesting the Marines require an aircraft like the F-35 to perform their mission?

The next question no one bothered to ask was: why does the Air Force need a different variant than the Navy? Imagine what one could do to extend FLEA by rotating F-35Cs through Air Force units and reducing the cats/traps-to-flight-hours ratio across an entire fleet of aircraft.

As I said earlier... too many sacred cows (even before we discuss the involvement of congress).

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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2021, 18:45 
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Username Protected wrote:

Not so fast ---- I worked JSF for the first 7 years of the program (propulsion). Ross is absolutely correct that scope creep had a major effect on cost and delivery schedules of the system. There are also a whole number of other issues that also affect the JSF program.


The primary "scope creep" was the absurd notion that the Marine Corps required a Day 0 aircraft in a conflict with a peer adversary.

Quote:
The F-35C (Navy) needs a carrier deck to launch and recover. Since the Marines needed a plane to work on their much smaller decks, they required the STOVL (F-35B) variant.


The question no one bothered to ask was: do we need those smaller decks? If we do need them, are we seriously suggesting the Marines require an aircraft like the F-35 to perform their mission?

The next question no one bothered to ask was: why does the Air Force need a different variant than the Navy? Imagine what one could do to extend FLEA by rotating F-35Cs through Air Force units and reducing the cats/traps-to-flight-hours ratio across an entire fleet of aircraft.

As I said earlier... too many sacred cows (even before we discuss the involvement of congress).


The USAF, USN, and USMC have different missions. Simply put, the carrier variant is significantly heavier than the USAF plane due to larger wings (they need to have a slower approach speed to the flattop), beefed up landing gear, and a host of other issues. You just can't substitute one for the other.

The USMC is allowed to have an air arm to support their forces, but the Navy (their chaperones) weren't going to let them have their own carriers, so they had to settle for a smaller deck.

I was involved in a number of discussions regarding the strategic and tactical thinking that drove the designs (sorry can't discuss them here). My opinion is there's a lot of 'ego' from each of the services that pushed combat narratives that, by themselves, would support the path the program has gone down. Taken together, one could easily argue a much more focused program aligned with existing capability would have been just as effective and a whole lot cheaper.

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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2021, 19:53 
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The USAF, USN, and USMC have different missions. Simply put, the carrier variant is significantly heavier than the USAF plane due to larger wings (they need to have a slower approach speed to the flattop), beefed up landing gear, and a host of other issues. You just can't substitute one for the other.


Not true. You cannot substitute an Air Force fighter aircraft for a Navy aircraft, but you damn sure can substitute a Navy fighter aircraft for an Air Force fighter aircraft... especially now-a-days.

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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2021, 20:10 
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What is even sadder is that it's replacement is over a decade behind schedule!
https://bgr.com/2020/06/11/james-webb-s ... p-grumman/

Why do I have the feeling that Elon Musk and his team of engineers could have the replacement reengineered and in space for less than $500M in today's dollars?


Cant happen.

1. There are no seats on Hubble, so no profit motive to convert it to "commercial" use. There is no "return on investment" except the knowledge it brings. You cant know how much you'll learn in advance.

2. The only reason Hubble is up there is that NASA had funding in those days; including the "Fix". The STS was operating then. Since then there hasn't been the public will to fund things that don't have a clear and explainable public benefit.

Building a roller coaster for rich people is more marketable.

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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2021, 20:57 
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Not true. You cannot substitute an Air Force fighter aircraft for a Navy aircraft, but you damn sure can substitute a Navy fighter aircraft for an Air Force fighter aircraft... especially now-a-days.

Well, yes, you can substitute aircraft, but the Navy jet won't be able to fly the same missions (or fly them efficiently) as the AF jet - and vice versa.


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 Post subject: Re: Hubble's Struggles ...
PostPosted: 21 Mar 2021, 21:01 
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Username Protected wrote:
Not true. You cannot substitute an Air Force fighter aircraft for a Navy aircraft, but you damn sure can substitute a Navy fighter aircraft for an Air Force fighter aircraft... especially now-a-days.

Well, yes, you can substitute aircraft, but the Navy jet won't be able to fly the same missions (or fly them efficiently) as the AF jet.


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